Spanish Water Dog

31-40 lbs
Perro de Agua Espanol; Turco Andaluz; Turkish Dog; Laneto; Perro de Lanas; Perro Rizado; Churro; Barbeta

Many experts debate the origins of the Spanish Water Dog, a breed not to be confused with the Portuguese Water Dog.  The Spanish Water Dog is so highly debated because it is an ancient dog, living and working in Spain for well over 1,000 years.  Most believe the Spanish Water Dog is a descendant of the Turkish Dog and spent a millennium developing in obscurity in the Andalusian region of Spain where it’s primary role was herding cattle, pigs, goats, and sheep.  The Spanish Water Dog is very active, upbeat, and work-oriented.  Despite a long history, this breed has only received recognition by the American Kennel Club in 2008 as a miscellaneous breed.  

purpose Purpose
history Date of Origin
10th Century
ancestry Ancestry
Ancient European Water Dog

Spanish Water Dog Health

Average Size
Male Spanish Water Dog size stats
Height: 17-20 inches Weight: 41-49 lbs
Female Spanish Water Dog size stats
Height: 15-18 inches Weight: 31-40 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
Minor Concerns
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Addison's Disease
Occasional Tests
  • Hip And Eyes
  • Blood Test
  • Thyroid Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Spanish Water Dog Breed History

The origins of the Spanish Water Dog are not clear, but many believe this breed is from an ancient line.  Dogs recorded in the Iberian Peninsula, known as Perro Turco, were described in the 10th century as wooly-coated water dogs and believed to be of Asian descent coming in from Turkey and Hungary.  Others believe the Spanish Water Dog’s ancestors arrived in Spain from Northern Africa via the Moors during the 8th century.  Regardless of the actual origin of the Spanish Water Dog, this breed is considered the oldest of all the Water Dogs and developed in relative obscurity in the Andalusian region of Spain over a millennium. The breed name, the Spanish Water Dog, is more of a historical record than a modern-day description.  Though the Spanish Water Dog is a capable water dog, his primary role is herding.  However, this versatile dog is capable of water work, search and rescue, and hunting, in addition to its excellent herding skills. The Spanish Water Dog enjoyed a reclusive life in Andaluz, Spain before 1975.  However, eager to establish this dog as a national breed for Spain, fanciers brought the Spanish Water Dog out of obscurity and introduced him to the world as a rare breed.  In 1985, just ten years later, the Spanish Water Dog was recognized by the Real Sociedad Central de Fomento de Razas Caninas en Espana. The Spanish Water Dog was presented the American Kennel Club as a rare breed in 2000 and was recognized by the AKC Foundation Stock Service in 2005.  In 2008, the breed was accepted into the miscellaneous breed category and then moved to the herding group in 2015 where it remains today. 

Spanish Water Dog Breed Appearance

The Spanish Water Dog has uniquely curly, coiled hair in solid colors thought parti-color with white is also common.  The curl is wooly and sometimes hangs in cords or dreads.  The Spanish Water Dog’s eyes range in several varieties of brown and harmonize with the coat color.  The ears are set at medium height and level with the eyes.  The ears droop slightly forward and are triangular-shaped.  The skull is broad and flat, and the head to muzzle is at a 3:2 ratio.  The muzzle is wide at the base and tapers to a round tip with a nose the same color as the coat or slightly darker.  The lips are tight, and the bite is most often scissor though it can be level as well. The Spanish Water Dog’s forelegs are straight and strong and moderately boned with well-arched toes.  The hind legs are strongly muscled, and the stifle joint is well bent leading into rounded compact feet with well-arched toes.  The tail is neither high nor low and is usually docked. 

Spanish Water Dog Breed Maintenance

The Spanish Water Dog needs little maintenance for its coat, which should never be brushed.  As the name suggests, some Spanish Water Dogs love the water, and their coats and skin can handle frequent contact with the water.  Even though this dog is not known to have a doggy “odor” water and debris can become trapped in the coat and you may have to bathe the Spanish Water Dog.  Always towel blot the coat and never towel dry or rub the coat.  If the Spanish Water Dog’s coat has knots or mats, work on removing them with your fingers from the top down. At least once a year, you should shear the Spanish Water Dog.  Historically, Spanish Water Dog’s coats were sheared at the same time as the sheep.  As the hair begins to grow out, you must assist the cording as to prevent matting at the skin. The Spanish Water Dog is a very active breed and requires daily exercise.  However, if given enough exercise, this breed relaxes very easily indoors and makes for a good apartment or urban living dog.  The history and skills of this breed demonstrate its versatility, and when it comes to climates, the Spanish Water Dog is very flexible. The Spanish Water Dog is a medium-sized dog, which means he should have between 1.5 and 2 cups of dry food divided into two meals daily.  The amount of food you feed your dog will depend on his size, age, metabolism, and activity levels.  Always pay close attention to your dog’s nutritional health and adjust as needed to help prevent illness and disease.

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Spanish Water Dog Temperament

The Spanish Water dog is a wonderful, obedient family dog that does well with children.  As a herder, this breed will even try to herd the kids.  Early socialization with people and other animals will help prevent protectiveness, but this dog should never exhibit any aggressive behaviors.  The Spanish Water Dog is reserved around strangers but is not shy. The Spanish Water Dog is a loyal, high energy dog who does well with a work-oriented task.  Make playtime fun for this dog with task-oriented play and make sure your Spanish Water Dog gets plenty of opportunities to exercise.  This breed is highly intelligent, and an active mind and body will help keep your Spanish Water Dog in healthy condition.  Their high intelligence and strong desire to please their people make the Spanish Water Dog easy to train.  However, this breed needs a firm owner how can take charge and fill the role of pack leader.  As such, this breed is not best suited for the novice dog owner. 

Spanish Water Dog Owner Experiences

15 Years
6 People
House & Yard
Eating Snacks
The best dog and friend a family could ever ask for.
2 years ago
10 Years
1 People
House & Yard
Long walks
Keeps me great company
3 years, 9 months ago
6 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Very affectionate dog, he follows us everywhere and wants to be a part of everything we do. He's talkative and always full of energy. Protective towards his people. Would never trade this floofy boy away.
2 years, 9 months ago
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