A lovely companion and a steadfast pastoral, working breed, the Andalusian Spanish Water Dog is an ideal breed in the right hands. Although they resemble the Portuguese Water Dog to some extent, this breed has a temperament and appearance that is unique.
Cute and cuddly as a teddy bear, the Spanish Water Dog is sure to warm his way into his owner’s heart as a loving companion pet just as well as he can perform some other duties such as pastoral livestock shepherding and retrieval duties.
A medium-sized breed known for his charming looks and his corded, woolly coat, the Spanish Water Dog somewhat resembles the Portuguese Water Dog in his stature and initial appearance. Standing in a neutral stance, the Spanish Water Dog appears rustic, harmonious in proportions, athletic, and attractive.
His eyes are oblique and exude a curious expression whilst his ears are medium-sized, triangular, and droop forwards. His tail is kept at a medium height, although some have congenitally shortened tails.
Spanish Water Dogs have a distinctively woolly, curled coat up to 12cm long, and as puppies they’re born with their distinctive curls. Coat colours include solid black, white, or chestnut in various shades of each, as well as bicoloured black/white, white/brown in various shades.
They most closely resemble the Portuguese Water Dog and Cantabrian Water Dog, and to a lesser extent they resemble other pointer and retriever breeds.
How big do Spanish Water Dog dogs get?
Height: males 44-50 cm; females 40-46 cm
Weight: males 18-22 kg; females 14-18 kg
Spanish Water Dogs have an absolutely lovely temperament. Combining gaiety, faithfulness, obedience, and a hard-working, watchful, and high intelligence, they are extremely malleable and can be trained very easily to perform various working duties and to be loving household companion pets.
As an intelligent retriever/gundog breed (they are somewhat of a hybrid, with their breed category differing from kennel club to kennel club), the Spanish Water Dog is an excellent breed in the right hands.
Furthermore, their loyalty and watchfulness make them wonderful watchdogs and they have been widely used in official positions for this duty in their native country of Spain.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs intelligent? Yes.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs affectionate? Yes, very.
Do Spanish Water Dog dogs have high or low energy levels? High energy.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs loyal? Yes.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs playful? Yes, especially as puppies.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs aggressive? No.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs easy to train? Yes, they are wonderfully easy to train.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs good guard dogs? Yes, to an extent. They also make superb watchdogs, as well.
As a loyal companion, the Spanish Water Dog requires proper socialisation during puppyhood to grow and develop into a well-tempered adult. In fact, proper socialisation is extremely important if owners wish to discourage bad behaviour and to foster good behaviour since Spanish Water Dogs are intelligent and must learn their obedience early on in development lest they learn bad habits.
Around owners and their families, the Spanish Water Dog tends to get along very well and remains obedient and happy around them, but smaller children may be put at risk around them as they are a little large and can play boisterously at times.
Around other dogs, they may get along well if socialised early on, but they do tend to prefer being the only dog in the home. Around other pets, Spanish Water Dogs tend to exert dominance and will not likely be a good fit in a home with cats or other small animals as pets.
Since they make for ideal watchdogs, Spanish Water Dogs will show some hesitancy and caution towards strangers.
Do Spanish Water Dog dogs get along with other pets? Not particularly.
Do Spanish Water Dog dogs get along with other dogs? Somewhat.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs good with kids? Not really, but around older children they tend to get along.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs good with strangers? No, they tend to be cautious around strangers.
Spanish Water Dogs are suitable for just about any owner that can learn (or already has experience) how to train and socialise them properly as puppies. This can be a challenge, which makes them perhaps not the best choice for first-time owners. First-time dog owners can still adopt or purchase one and raise them well, but the challenge may make another breed more desirable.
In any case, owners that wish to purchase or adopt a Spanish Water Dog should be aware that they thrive in large homes with gardens or fields whereby they can roam and play freely. They are not at all suitable for small, urban apartment flats or confined homes in the city.
In such conditions, the Spanish Water Dog can claim the territory as his own and dutifully watch over the property. They can also be used as working dogs or pastoral dogs, but other, more dedicated pastoral breeds tend to perform this duty better than Spanish Water Dogs.
This breed sheds very little despite his somewhat long, curly coat, and is considered to be hypoallergenic. They tend to bark at times, roughly on average when compared to other breeds. They are adaptable to the British climate and can tolerate some warmth and colder winter days.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs good for first-time owners? No.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs hypoallergenic? Yes.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs prone to drooling? Not much.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs a good breed for apartment living? No, they need large homes with open spaces.
Do Spanish Water Dog dogs shed a lot? Hardly at all.
Do Spanish Water Dog dogs bark a lot? Sometimes, yes.
Can Spanish Water Dog dogs be left alone at home? Yes, but only for brief periods of time.
Can Spanish Water Dog dogs handle the heat? Yes.
Can Spanish Water Dog dogs handle cold temperatures? Yes.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs sensitive to loud noises? Yes.
Spanish Water Dogs are about average in terms of health when compared to other breeds. Many of the health problems which they may develop are inherited, and many of their health problems are fairly common with other breeds.
Some common problems include:
Allergies: allergies are somewhat common for Spanish Water Dogs, and the tough thing about allergies is that the exact root cause may be challenging to diagnose since there are many possibilities. Have your Spanish Water Dog inspected at the veterinarian’s clinic for diagnosis and treatment;
Cataracts: a cloudy, film-like marking on the eye(s) of your Spanish Water Dog could be a sign of cataract development. These can only be removed surgically by a veterinarian;
Hip dysplasia: medium to large-sized breeds such as the Spanish Water Dog tend to be prone to degenerative limpness or lameness of the leg due to hip dysplasia;
Addison’s disease: a rare disease that stems from a lack of aldosterone and cortisol hormonal steroids, Addison’s disease remains relatively unknown in its exact origin and treatment, although prednisone and intensive therapy can treat the disease.
How long do Spanish Water Dog dogs live? - 10-14 years
This breed requires plenty of exercise in order to remain tired, happy, and healthy. “A tired dog is a happy dog,” as the saying goes. Endeavour to spend no less than an hour, preferably two, every day playing and exercising with your Spanish Water Dog.
As a retriever-type breed, Spanish Water Dogs love to chase and run after things, so toss a ball or any old stick you find and they’ll play until your arms tire out. Preferably, spend off-lead time in a safe location such as on your property.
Every day, take them out for a brisk morning walk or jog and intersperse more vigorous outdoor exercise throughout the afternoon and evening.
As a water retriever, Spanish Water Dogs naturally love being in and around watercourses. They can swim just fine, but do keep their coats completely dry after they’ve gone in for a dip so as to prevent infection.
How much exercise does a Spanish Water Dog dog need? - At least 1-2 hours per day
Do Spanish Water Dog dogs like water play? Yes, as their name suggests, they love being in and around the water.
As an energetic and active medium-sized breed, your Spanish Water Dog will consume a fair bit of food as they develop and grow, including into adulthood. Please consult your breeder’s feeding schedule and do your best to follow it, accounting for changes in age and weight.
It is important to feed them a rich, high-quality diet full of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins needed to develop and promote good health. Cold-pressed or raw food diets may be suitable alternatives to kibble, but please consult with your veterinarian to ensure it’s right for your puppy.
Are Spanish Water Dog dogs prone to weight gain? Yes, especially as they age.
How much should I feed a Spanish Water Dog puppy? About 170-295g per day, in 2-3 sessions.
How much should I feed an adult Spanish Water Dog dog? About 180-330g per day, in total.
One might assume that the long, curly coats of the Spanish Water Dog would be a hassle to groom and maintain. The truth is that they’re quite easy to groom and care for, with minimal effort on behalf of the owner required.
Emotionally, Spanish Water Dogs thrive on companionship and don’t really tolerate being left alone for too long.
- Grooming: once a week, go through your Spanish Water Dog’s curly coat and remove any brambles or dirt by hand and/or with a brush.
- Emotional care: do not leave your Spanish Water Dog alone for more than perhaps a few hours during the day at most.
There are currently (and historically) myriad water dog breeds native to the Iberian Peninsula. In Spain, the water dogs native to Asturias and Cantabria, for example, bear resemblance to the Spanish Water Dog (which we refer to in this guide) from Andalusia, although the Andalusian Spanish Water Dog is clearly recognised as the biggest and strongest of these cousin breeds.
Perhaps as far back as antiquity, the Spanish Water Dog from Andalusia was used as a pastoral dog to guard over livestock, but he was simultaneously adapted to the marshy watercourses where he has also been used as a gundog retriever for waterfowl.
This breed has been formally recognised by the Spanish Kennel Club, the UK Kennel Club, and various other associations such as Federation Cynologique Internationale.
Historically in Spain, this breed was referred to as the ‘Turkish dog’;
This breed can be categorised as both a pastoral and waterfowl hunting breed;
Many Spanish Water Dogs are used by the Spanish national police force, Guardia Civil, as dutiful watchdogs and guard dogs.
Although popular in Spain, the Spanish Water Dog remains quite rare and unpopular in the UK. Therefore, we recommend all prospective buyers or adopters consult our buying guide before coming to a decision as to whether or not a Spanish Water Dog puppy is suitable for their home. Should you decide to adopt or purchase a Spanish Water Dog, consult our reputable breeders here in the UK.
How much does a Spanish Water Dog cost to buy? - Over £400-£600.
How much does a Spanish Water Dog cost to feed? - An adult Spanish Water Dog costs about £1.30-£1.50 per day to feed.
How much does insurance for a Spanish Water Dog cost? - About £25-£60 per month.
Sensible alternatives to purchasing a new Spanish Water Dog puppy include rescue and adoption.
Additional resources can be found via Spanish Water Dog registries and associations such as: