The American Water Spaniel - originally called the Brown Water Spaniel and now nicknamed the “AWS” - is a medium-sized, dark brown woolly-coated dog that has long been appreciated by American sportsmen - especially in the Midwest, where it gained its reputation as a steady, all-around working gun dog. Today’s American Water Spaniel looks like a shorter, smaller Irish Water Spaniel, except that its legs are less hairy and its tail is more hairy than its larger cousin. This breed is not well-known outside of the United States and is not common even within this country. However, among enthusiasts the American Water Spaniel is prized as an eager and efficient hunter, retriever, watch dog and friendly family companion. The American Water Spaniel is a high energy dog. While they can fit nicely into smaller homes and apartments, they require regular exercise. They tend to be a bit “barky,” which nearby neighbors may not appreciate. The American Water Spaniel was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1940, as part of its Sporting Group.
The average height of the AWS is 15 to 18 inches. Males typically weigh 30 to 45 pounds, while females weigh between 25 and 40 pounds. Their coat can range from marcel (uniform waves) to closely curled, and the degree of waviness or curling can vary at different places on the animal. The undercoat must be dense enough to provide protection against inclement weather, icy water and rugged terrain. Their medium-length coat requires regular grooming. American Water Spaniels do well in both cold and warm climates. Acceptable colors are solid liver, brown or dark chocolate. White on the toes and/or chest is permissible.