The American Water Spaniel is a breed of field Spaniel that was developed in the Great Lakes region in the mid-1800s as a retriever of waterfowl. They are a medium-sized breed that was developed as one of the first all-around sporting dogs that were easily able to work out of a boat. These are very active dogs that require some work in order to ensure that they get enough exercise, particularly as inactive American Water Spaniels are prone to developing obesity. The activities listed here can help keep your dog healthy in both body and mind.
The sport of dock diving is a fairly new canine activity, first introduced in 1997 at the Incredible Dog Challenge. This sport, which is growing in popularity, involves the dog running to the end of a thirty-five-foot dock and jumping off in pursuit of a specific target. There are now several dock dog jumping competitions in the United States as well as several different clubs dedicated to the sport. The American Water Spaniel breed was developed with a strong ability to swim and a strong desire to retrieve, so that they could more easily be trained to retrieve downed game birds for hunters, making them particularly well-suited to this activity.
American Water Spaniels, for all of their good-natured and enthusiastic charm, do have a tendency to go into unwanted barking frenzies with a very small amount of provocation. They were originally bred to have a fairly loud bark so that they can be found far afield if needed, and barking frenzies can become tiresome very quickly, so it’s a good idea to attempt to curb that behavior with training as early as possible. While it seems counterintuitive on the surface, one of the most effective techniques for teaching your dog to be quiet when asked begins with teaching them to on command.
The American Water Spaniel was originally bred as a gun dog suitable for hunting from a small boat, but it is usually considered to be a dual-purpose dog breed as many of the dogs that are seen in the show ring are also employed in the field. There are several games and activities that can be utilized as a way to improve your dog’s hunting and retrieving skills as well as providing your dog with some much-needed fun and mental stimulation. These games are generally enjoyable for dogs of all ages and can even be used to help prepare pups that may still be too young to hunt.
American Water Spaniels were developed to retrieve game from the water and they, like most dogs bred for this purpose, love a good game of fetch, often playing for hours at a time.
Although spaniels such as the American Water Spaniel don’t typically have the stamina of the larger retrieving dogs, they generally are very agile and enthusiastic in the water.
American Water Spaniels are active and energetic working spaniels that require vigorous activity on a daily basis. Many of these dogs are still actively being used as gun dogs, assisting hunters in retrieving waterfowl, often from boats rather than from shore. It is important for these dogs to get enough physical and mental exercise whether they hunt or not, however, as this breed is prone to developing obesity when they are inactive.