The American Kennel Club (AKC) added the American Water Spaniel to its registry in 1940.
It was bred as a gun dog in the Midwest in the middle 1800’s. Because the breed was primarily used around the Great Lakes it began to retrieve from boats. Owners were hesitant to go into the ring for fear of diminishing the breed’s hunting abilities.
The origin of this dog is not clear but as the breed conformation stands today it has been determined that it had its foundation in the Irish Water Spaniel and the Curly-Coated Retriever.
This rare breed is very popular in Wisconsin and has been named the State Dog. A medium sized canine with a dark, dense coat that can be wavy or curly adapts nicely from the hunt to a good companion dog.
As with all dogs regular grooming is essential. Be sure to keep the claws trimmed so they do not catch on the carpet or on something in the field while hunting. Their thick coats require a combing. The standard states some feathering, but this is only necessary for the show ring.
Milwaukeeans who are interested in adding a dog to their family may want to own this State Dog.