American Water Spaniels are medium-sized dogs with wither tightly curled or wavy coats lined with a dense and protective undercoat. The coat can be solid liver, brown, or dark chocolate, and will occasionally have a small amount of white on the toes or chest. The head is long but well-proportioned and the muzzle is smooth and square, and the breed boasts the classic spaniel “smile.” Water Spaniels ears are long, pendant, and covered with curls. The nose is either dark brown or black and the eye color of the individual dog will usually match with the coat color in shades of brown or hazel. The feathered tail, which is used as a rudder when swimming, tapers, ending in a slight upward facing curve.
Size and Weight
American Water Spaniels range from 15 to 18 inches at the shoulder. Their weight ranges between 25 to 45 pounds, with females averaging in at 32 pounds and males averaging 40 pounds.
Coat and Color
Water Spaniels have a double coat with a very dense undercoat that protects the dog from water, extreme temperatures and underbrush that may be encountered in the hunting field. The topcoat ranges from wavy to curly, with some dogs boasting a uniform wave throughout their body, where others may have some areas of wave and some areas of tight curl. Their faces are covered in short fur which lays flat against the skull, and their legs are often slightly feathered.
The American Water Spaniel's coat can be solid liver, brown, or dark chocolate, and will occasionally have a small amount of white on the toes or chest.
Water Spaniels shed lightly throughout the year and heavily twice a year during season changes. Regular brushing can help remove the loose, dead hair and keep floors and furniture neat. Some people prefer to trim the coat, while others leave them naturally wavy. The coat of the AWS is naturally very oily to repel water and dirt in the field, so they often leave oil spots on walls and furniture. Bathing should only occur when needed – over-bathing a Water Spaniel will strip the natural oils from the coat and leave the dog with dry, irritated skin.
Their pendant (hanging) ears are prone to infection, so weekly cleaning with at cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved solution can keep bacteria at bay.