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Spanish Water Dog

Group: Gundogs (Group 3)
Club: Victorian Gundog Club Inc (Group 3)
Contact: Ms Leanne Tormey
Phone: 0421 358 301

Brief History

The Spanish Water Dog’s most dense population is in Andalusia (Southern Spain). He is a multi-purpose farm dog, whose primary function has historically been herding livestock, including goats, sheep, and cattle. Characteristics, particularly the quality of the coat, are adapted to the variation of humidity and drought of the marshy regions. This makes him ideal as a shepherd dog and as an assistant to fishermen and hunters of waterfowl.

Average Life Span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime.

The average life span is 10 to 14 years.


Spanish Water Dogs have strong herding and protective instincts and are very loyal to their owners. They are commonly wary with strangers but should never be shy. They are faithful, obedient, hardworking, watchful and well balanced. Their learning ability is outstanding owing to their extraordinary metal grasp; they adapt to all situations and conditions.

General Breed Description

This is a rustic dog, slightly longer than tall, of medium size and weight, attractive appearance, harmonious in shape and of athletic nature. He has a distinctive, curly coat which is woolly in texture. The Spanish Water Dog is easy to train, as he has a strong desire to please. They enjoy dog sports such as Obedience, Agility, Dock Diving, Tracking and Conformation dog shows.

They come in solid colours of white, black and chestnut and two bicolours, white and black or white and brown.

Coat and Care Requirements

The Spanish Water Dog has a curly, non-shedding coat, that may naturally form cords when long. The almost unique, iconic coat is commonly a single coat, may vary in length and generally requires little grooming. The coat should never be brushed or combed. At least once or twice a year the coat must be evenly clipped from the entire body, very similar to shearing a sheep.


Height: Males 44 to 50cms, Females 40 to 46cms.

Weight: Males 18 to 22kg, Females 14 to 18kg.


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders it is recommended you enquire about the breed’s health and what health testing the breeder does. The Spanish Water Dog is generally a healthy breed, however health conditions do occur occasionally. These may include Hip Dysplasia (HD) and Eye Anomalies.


The Spanish Water Dog is a high energy dog best suited for an owner with an active lifestyle. While they are affectionate to everyone in the family, they tend to bond most closely with their main carer. This is an intelligent and curious breed who needs mental stimulation as well as physical exercise, and should not be left alone all day. They are easily bored and need a fair amount of exercise to wear them out; a long daily walk, plus play session should be enough. Their natural instincts may lead them to attempt to herd anything that moves, including small children.

In Conclusion

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to ANKC Breed Standard:

Registered Breeders

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