Breed standards

Spanish Water Dog

Breed standards are the official guidelines that describe the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential.

Last Updated: 01 May 2018

FCI Standard No 336
TRANSLATION : Mrs. Peggy Davis
ORIGIN : Spain
UTILIZATION : Used as shepherd dog, hunting dog and assistant to the fisherman.
FCI-CLASSIFICATION : Group 8 Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs
Section 3 Water Dogs.
Without working trial.

Group 3 (Gundogs)

The presence of this dog in the Iberian Peninsula is most ancient. His origin is the same like that of the old « Barbet ». His most dense population is in Andalusia where he is used as a shepherd dog, and where he has been known for centuries as the « Turkish dog ». His characteristics, most particularly the quality of his coat, are adapted to the variation of humidity and drought of the marshy regions, which qualifies him as a shepherd dog and as a helper to the hunters of waterfowl and fishermen in those regions.


Rustic dog, well proportioned (medium weight), dolichocephalic, of rather elongated harmonious shape and attractive appearance, of an athletic nature with well developed muscles owing to his regular exercise; the profile is rectilinear; his sight, hearing and scent are well developed.

- Length of body / size (height at withers) = 9 / 8
- Depth of chest / size (height at withers) = 4 / 8
- Length of muzzle / length of skull = 2 / 3


Faithful, obedient, gay, hard working, watchful and well balanced. Learning ability is outstanding owing to his extraordinary mental grasp; he adapts to all situations and conditions.

Head And Skull:

HEAD : Strong, carried with elegance.

Skull : Flat with only slightly marked occipital crest. Axes of skull and muzzle parallel.
Stop : Facial-cranial depression gentle, only slightly marked.

FACIAL REGION : Profile is rectilinear.
Nose : Nostrils well defined. Nose is of the same colour or slightly darker than the darkest tone of the coat.
Lips : Well fitting; labial corners well defined.


Slightly oblique position, very expressive; of a hazel to chestnut colour, should harmonize with the colour of the coat. The
conjunctiva is not apparent.


Set at medium height, triangular and drooping.


Teeth : Well formed, white, with well developed canines.


Short, well muscled, without dewlap, well set into the shoulders.


General appearance : Strong and vertical.
Shoulders : Well muscled and oblique.
Upper arms : Sturdy.
Elbows : Close to the chest and parallel.
Forearms : Straight and sturdy.
Carpus(Pastern joint) and pastern : Straight, rather short.


Topline : Straight.
Withers : Hardly marked.
Back : Straight and powerful.
Croup : Slightly sloping.
Chest : Broad and well let down - ribs well arched; diameter of thorax ample indicating considerable respiratory capacity.
Underline : Belly slightly tucked up.


General appearance : Perfectly vertical with not too pronounced angulations and muscles capable of transmitting to the body a very energetic impulsion and the spring necessary for easy and elegant jumping.
Upper thighs : Long and well muscled.
Second thighs : Well developed.
Hock joint : Well let down.
Hock : Short, lean and perpendicular to the ground.


Front feet : Rounded, toes tight, nails of varied colours; resistant pads.
Hind feet : As the forefeet.


Set at medium height. Docking must be done at the height of the 2nd to the 4th caudal vertebra.
Certain subjects show a congenital shortened tail (brachyouria).


The preferred gait is the trot.


SKIN : Supple, fine and well adhering to the body. Can be pigmented brown or black, or be without pigment according to the colour of the coat. The same applies to the mucous membranes.

HAIR : Always curly and of a woolly texture. Curly when short, can form cords when long. Clipped subjects are admitted; the clipping, always complete and even, must never become an « aesthetic » grooming.

The recommanded maximum length of the hair for shows is 12 cm (15 cm extending the curl) and the minimum is 3 cm to see the quality of the curl.

The puppies always are born with curly hair.


· Solid : White, black and chestnut in their different shades.
· Bicoloured : White and black or white and brown in their different shades.

Tricoloured subjects, and black and tan as well as hazelnut and tan dogs are not admitted.


Height at withers:
Males -  44 to 50 cm
Females - 40 to 46 cm
2 cm maximum deviation are admitted in both sexes whenever the subject maintains balance according to his height at withers.

Males 18 - 22 kg
Females 14 - 18 kg


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be
regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

· Dorso-lumbar region distinctly saddle-backed.
· Limbs incorrect.
· Belly let down or excessively tucked up.

· Aggresive or overly shy.
· Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
· Inferior or superior prognathism.
· Presence of dewclaws.
· Smooth or wavy coat.
· Albinism.
· Spotty or flecked coat, black and tan or chestnut and tan coat.
· Lack of balance in character.


· Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
· Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.