Spanish Water Dog

Spanish Water Dog Breed description: Character & Co


What is the origin of Spanish Water Dogs?

There are different theories about the origin of the Perro de Agua Español, as the sweet curly haired dog is called in its native country. They say that it first came to Spain with North African Moors. But also Turkish roots are said to be the origin of the four-legged friend. In former times, they were also known as Turco Andaluz (Andalusian Turk). The reason for this is that they probably came to the country together with Merino sheep from Hungary. Since Hungary was occupied by the Turks at the time, this name was created. Ancestors of the Spanish Water Dog are probably the Hungarian Puli, the Portuguese Water Dog and the Barbet from France. The breed was used as a working dog in different areas: they drove herds of cattle together in the mountains of Andalusia. On the coast they proved their excellent swimming skills when hauling in fishing nets. The strong animals even towed small boats into the harbours. The targeted Spanish water dog breeding is still very young, however: In their homeland they have only been recognised as a breed of its own since 1985, the international dog association FCI have been in charge of them since 1999.

What are the breed characteristics of the Spanish Water Dog?

Their fluffy coat is the trademark of the Spanish Water Dog. It covers their elongated body, which forms a rectangle. According to the breed standard there are black, white and brown Spanish Water Dogs. Two-coloured drawings are also permitted. Loyalty, alertness and intelligence are among the many positive characteristics of the breed.

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Alternate Name Perro de Agua Español
Origin Spain
Life expectancy 10 - 14 years
Care requirements high-maintenance
Activity level average to high
FCI group Water Dogs
AKC group Herding Group
KC group Gundog Group

What are the typical character traits of a Spanish Water Dog?

Spanish water dogs are adaptable and are characterised by their ability to learn. Because of their great urge to move, couch potatoes are advised against buying a Spanish Water Dog. Taking them around the block once a day is not enough to keep them satisfied. They much prefer long walks and like to accompany you on short bicycle tours or on a run. Dog sports like dog dancing, flyball and agility are also fun for both dog and owner. If you want to please your four-legged darling, you should take them to go swimming regularly. Water is their element according to their origin. You can mentally challenge your furry friend with intelligence toys. The sensitive four-legged friends are also suitable for being trained as a therapy dog. Since they love children and are easy to train, they are perfectly suited as family dogs. The bright four-legged friend proves to be a patient playmate. In addition, your roommate presents itself as a good watchdog: as soon as someone approaches your home, they will let you know about it. They act reserved towards strangers, but never show aggression.

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What are typical diseases of Spanish Water Dogs?

The following diseases occur more frequently in this breed:

  • If you rescue a Spanish Water Dog in need from the animal protection, make sure they have had a thorough health check: Some animals from the south suffer from leishmaniasis, which is transmitted by the sand fly. Diarrhoea, weight loss and fever are some symptoms.
  • Tendency to develop hip joint dysplasia
  • eye disease progressive retina atrophy
  • Neural dystrophy: neurological disease that appears before the age of 18 months

What should be considered in regards to Spanish Water Dog breeding?

The best place to buy a Spanish Water Dog puppy is a reputable breeder. This provided, you have the opportunity to visit the little furry friends several times and build up a relationship with the puppy you have chosen. In addition, the puppies come into contact with various environmental stimuli at the age of only a few weeks, which makes it much easier for them to also get used to them in their home. If your puppy is from a reputable breeder you will be able to take a look at their pedigree. Many breeders also do genetic tests on the parent animals to exclude hereditary diseases.

Breed description Spanish Water Dog

With its medium-length curly coat, the Spanish Water Dog stands out. As the coat grows and grows and the coat doesn't undergo a change, your four-legged darling must be shorn at least once a year. If you leave the coat long, it forms strings. If this happens, you should regularly and carefully pull them apart so that enough air can get to the skin. When their fur is trimmed to a short length, the typical curls form, which you should brush out more often to avoid matting. If you want to shear your Spanish Water Dog for the first time, it is worth visiting a dog salon. Usually the hair is shortened on the whole body to a length of three to five millimetres. Later, with the right tools and a lot of patience, you can take care of the coat yourself.

How big does a Spanish Water Dog get?

  • Bitches: 40 to 46 centimetres
  • males: 44 to 50 centimetres

How much does a Spanish Water Dog weigh?

  • Bitches: 14 to 18 kilograms
  • Males: 18 to 22 kilograms

What is the average lifespan of a Spanish Water Dog?

A Spanish Water Dog can reach 12 to 14 years of age.

Fur length medium
Fur curly
Ear shape Triangle
Tail short
Anatomy rugged
Size ♀ 40 - 46 cm
Weight ♀ 14 - 17 kg
Size ♂ 44 - 50 cm
Weight ♂ 18 - 22 kg
Suitable For suitable for allergy sufferers, Blind people


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  • Hip dysplasia (HD)

    Hip dysplasia (HD) is a genetic condition in dogs where the hip joint is not shaped properly. This leads to pain, stiffness and restricted movement.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

    Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a slowly progressive death of the retina in dogs.

  • Eye diseases

    Often occur with allergies and intolerances.

  • Spanish water dogs cost well and gladly up to 2000 euros.

  • A medium sized dog with curly coat and floppy ears.

Sources and relevant links

Spanische Wasserhunde Deutschland e.V.

Accessed on 03.03.2023

Offizielle Seite des FCI

Accessed on 03.03.2023

Zuchtstätte "vom Lissfeld"

Accessed on 03.03.2023

Hada Del Agua

Accessed on 03.03.2023

Gabriele Lehari (2004). Ulmers Großes Lexikon der Hunderassen. Ulmer.

Eva-Maria Krämer (2017). Der KOSMOS-Hundeführer. Kosmos.

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