Spanish Water Dog
aka: Perro de Agua Español
Spanish Water Dog Description
The Spanish Water Dog was developed by the shepherds in Spain as a multi-purpose herder who was also used sometimes as a gundog, as well as an assistant to fishermen.
He is a medium size, athletic, robust dog that is slightly longer than tall. Their tails are usually docked in the US, but undocked tails are not a fault in conformation showing if the dog was bred in a non-docking country.
The head should be strong and carried with elegance. The skull is flat and the top is parallel with the top of the muzzle. The nose, eye-rims and paw pads are the same colour as the darkest part of the coat or darker. The eyes are expressive and set fairly wide apart. They should be hazel, chestnut or dark brown in color, depending on the coat colour. The ears are set at medium height on the skull, and are triangular.
The Spanish Water Dog is an extremely intelligent and well balanced versatile working dog with strong herding, hunting and guardian instincts. He is an exceptional companion, devoted to family, attentive and happy dog, showing strength and stamina combined with unusual agility. He is versatile and easily trained, performing his assigned tasks with competence and dignity. He is reserved with strangers but should not exhibit shyness. Although an authoritative worker, viciousness toward people or animals is intolerable. The Spanish Water Dog is a large dog in a medium body. They should be socialized at a young age with people and other small animals.
Be sure you are this dogs firm, consistent, confident pack leader to prevent them from becoming protective and territorial. Although they make fine companions and pets, Spanish Water Dogs (as any other dog) should never be left unsupervised with small children. Because of their high intelligence and working drive, they must be kept mentally and physically active doing something. Some of the tasks that the Spanish Water Dogs are used for are search and rescue, bomb detection, narcotics detection, herding, water sports, competitive agility, therapy work. etc.. teams of Spanish Water Dogs as rescue dogs were sent to Turkey, Mexico and Colombia after they experienced earth-quakes.
The Spanish Water Dog requires time and effort to maintain a nice looking coat. Brushing should not be done since it will damage the look of their coat. Their coat can be sheared down if the dog is going to be hunting or engaging in similar activities. Another option is letting the hair grow and form cords, but these cords will matt very easily. If they get matted, pulling the cords apart with your fingers should help. They do not need many baths but when they are bathed these dogs need special care to keep the look of their coat nice. Shampoo should be worked into the coat carefully, and their coat should never be blown dry or harshly dried with a towel.
The Spanish Water Dog’s origins are not known for certain. Some theories suggest the breed came from Turkey or from North Africa. In either case, this breed is definitely an ancestor to most of the modern water breeds.
In Spain, the dogs were used for herding and moving cattle. They continued providing these services in the southern parts of Spain. Further north, they were used to bring in boats and hunt game. The breed only gained true recognition in the 20th century after a man interested in the breed saw one at a dog show. Working with the dog’s owners, Antonio Garcia Perez decided to standardize the breed and help it gain more notoriety. After many years of effort, the breed became fully recognized in 1999.
The Spanish Water Dog is very trainable and obedient. They actually enjoy doing work, being such lively and active dogs. Training of positive reinforcement from puppyhood should be used on this breed.
While the SWD seems to be a very healthy breed there are some issues that the SWD have, just like all other breeds. There are cases of Hip Dysplasia in the breed, so choose your breeder carefully. All breeding dogs should have their hips tested, either by OFA or PennHIP. There have been a few cases of PRA reported in Europe so it is advised that all breeders should test their breeding stock for PRA and other such genetic eye diseases with a yearly CERF exam. A responsible breeder will be able to produce the results in writing. Like other Water Dogs and related breeds, they grow hair in their ear canals and can be prone to ear infections. The ears must be kept dry and clean. . Because these dogs are (as a general rule) so active and energetic as puppies, they may seriously injure themselves from too much running and jumping when their skeletal structure is still developing.