Spanish Water Dog


A lively, energetic, athletic dog. Quite an all-purpose breed used for guarding, herding, hunting, diving and also gundog abilities. Highly intelligent working dogs which learn quickly and have amazing memories. Can be bossy if allowed to lead the pack – don’t be fooled by their cute looks. They thrive on contact with their family. Not for the houseproud!

Minimum Exercise:

Exercise/Activity Level: High. 2 hours a day or more. Bred to work – they excel at and enjoy exercise – as much as you can give. A high energy dog. Will excel at and lap up agility, flyball, gundog and other field sports given the chance. Regular swimming is recommended!

Size: 16 to 20 inches

Weight: 31 – 49 lbs

Colour: All colours – any single colour or single colour with white. Black and tan or tricolour are not accepted in the standard.

Town or Country: Country breed - high exercise needs.

Low Allergy: Yes

Best Suited for: A highly active and energetic country household, with an owner / owners willing to give the training, exercise, and other physical and mental stimulation this breed requires, and where house cleanliness is not their top priority. Maybe ok for strong-minded first time owners prepared for a challenge.

Group: Working, also Emerging or Foundation

Originally From: Spain, possibly around 1100 AD

Original Purpose: Working. Hunting, diving, herding and guard.

Living Space: Medium indoors if given enough exercise. A large secure garden is desirable. They can jump high.

Coat: Medium to long, dense and curly.

Grooming: Low to medium. Cords should be pulled apart with fingers to prevent matting. Matted cords should be clipped off. Do not brush or comb. Cords should be clipped once or twice a year. Bathe only when dirty and allow to air dry.

Children: High. They will engage in fun willingly and have boundless energy. Children need to be involved in training for best results.

Sociability with strangers: Medium to low. Wary of strangers and will guard – weighing up people before accepting them. Early socialisation can help.

Sociability with animals or other dogs: Moderate to high. Will guard owners and protect against perceived threats. Early socialisation is very important – see special needs.

Trainability: High. They love human companionship and relish work. Highly intelligent and energetic – they require a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Training needs to be positive, consistent and firm to overcome their bossiness.

Noise Level: Moderate. This is a guarding breed. Quite vocal – early training can help overcome inappropriate barking.

Known Health Issues: Hip dysplasia (get CERF scoring), Progressive Retinal Atrophy, hypothyroidism, Addison’s Disease and Endocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. Check with the breeder.

Lifespan: Around 14 years

Special Needs: A primitive dog with 2 ‘fear imprint’ periods. Good socialisation is vital in both. The first is before 20 weeks. The second period starts at about 9 months of age and can be around 6 months long. Get advice from the breeder on what to expect and how to hande this.    Send article as PDF