The Spanish Water Dog

The breed Spanish Water Dog(Perro De Agua Espanol) has been around several hundred years and is believed to have originated in Turky, imported into Spain and used as a general purpose working dog.


Sheepdog, guard dog and gun dog, it is used for all these. In fact some of the local shepherds where I live use them. They are genetically linked to the Portuguese Water Dog and the Irish Water Spaniel.




Medium in size the Spanish Water Dog is athletic and extremely robust. Longer than tall, their tails are quite often docked, but this is not regarded as a fault in showing providing that the dog was born in a non docking country.


They have curly coats, quite woolly in texture and the pups are always curly at birth. They come in a variety of colours, black, beige, brown or white or they can be bi or tri coloured.


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The Spanish Water Dog is diligent, loyal, affectionate, and intelligent. They can be wary with strangers, in fact you would be lucky to get within a few feet of the local shepherd’s dogs. They don’t run off but just keep a distance between you and them.


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It is essential that if you get one as a pet you start early with their socializing, introducing them to a variety of people and animals in order to get a well adjusted and friendly dog. It also helps them adjust and get along with small children.




When it comes to grooming they should never be brushed. Instead when their coat becomes matted it should be gently pulled out. If it is matted too much then they will need to be clipped. They should also be clipped once or twice a year as needed.


Clipping for the first time should not be before they are 4 months old.
Spanish Water Dogs should be bathed only when dirty in lukewarm water. Use a neutral shampoo, never human shampoo. They should be allowed to air dry.


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A Brief History

Portuguese and Spanish water dogs are related with a common ancestor. It is believed water dogs have been around the main wetlands of the Iberian Peninsula since ancient times.


In Andelusia the Spanish Water Dog was often called the “Andalusian Turk” and it was thought the breed came with Turkish sheep boats, but this is very unlikely since originally there were three distinct populations of Water Dog in Spain each somewhat different.


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One of these populations was found in the North in Asturias and Cantabria, these dogs were usually smaller and a lighter colour. They become recognised as a new breed 22 March 2011, the Cantabrian Water Dog.


The other group is found in the marshes of western Andalusia, These dogs had coats made of long and thin cords. And finally the largest group came from the southern Andalusian sierras, this type of dog is the largest and strongest and were mainly used for herding.


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Regardless of their origins it is obviously an ancient breed, well adapted to the climate and terrain found in the wetlands and coastal mountains of Southern Spain.


Prior to writing this article I fostered one for two months from Spanish Stray Dogs. When I collected it the dog was pretty traumatised from its’ experience in the rescue centre.


Afraid of everything, it was difficult just getting him in to my car without a fuss. Once at my house and introduced to my other dogs, he was a different dog within hours.


He turned in to a wonderful pet that went on to be adopted by a British family who I am sure are going to have many years of pleasure with him. I believe they have a life expectancy of about 14 years and he was only 1 when he left me.


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This is a fantastic breed of dog, strong, energetic intelligent and loyal. If you are contemplating taking one on please keep this in mind. It is a working breed and as such will need tremendous amounts of exercise. If you are not able to provide this then The Spanish Water Dog is not the breed for you.

Source References.



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