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Specializing in waterfowl, American Water Spaniels are medium-sized hunting dog, which come in different shades of brown. Known as the state dogs of Wisconsin, American Water Spaniels are happy and charming breeds bred to work in icy waters and marshy banks.
See the fact file below for more information on the American Water Spaniels or alternatively, you can download our 20-page American Water Spaniel worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
HISTORY AND ORIGIN
- The development of the American Water Spaniels is a classic case of “Yankee ingenuity”. This is a method of altering Old World materials to resolve New World problems.
- Developed in the Fox and Wolf River valleys of Wisconsin during the mid 1800s, American Water Spaniels are the descendants of the Irish Water Spaniel, Curly-Coated Retriever, Field Spaniel, and the extinct Old English Water Spaniel.
- They were bred by hunters who needed a dog who could work and hunt on both land and water, resilient enough to withstand varying temperatures.
- Originally, these breeds were known as the American Brown Spaniel, weighing around 40 pounds (18 kilograms). It had thick and curly coats that were able to stand temperatures of icy waters and winters.
- They were also used to hunt waterfowl, Ruffed grouse, Greater Prairie chicken, and a number of fur-bearing animals.
- Their numbers declined when larger retriever breeds emerged in England. Luckily, Dr. F.J. Pfeifer of New London, Wisconsin, saved the breed from extinction.
- He bred and sold American Water Spaniels, and developed a breeding standard, causing these dogs to be recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1920, the Field Stud Book in 1938, and the American Kennel Club in 1940.
- “Curly Pfeifer”, Pfeifer’s own dog, was the first American Water Spaniel to be listed in these registries.
- As rare breeds, there are less than 3000 American Water Spaniels in existence today, saving the breed from being divided into two groups – as show dogs and as hunting companions.
- In 1986, these breeds were named Wisconsin’s official state dog.
- American Water Spaniels are medium-sized, sturdy dogs, standing about 15 to 18 inches tall, and weighing about 25 to 45 pounds (11 to 20 kilograms).
- Known as the “little brown dog”, this breed is famous for their luscious curly and wavy waterproof outer coat, usually liver or dark chocolate in color, with white toes and underbelly.
- American Water Spaniels have long ears with curly hair, thickly padded feet, webbed toes, and long and furry tails.
- Coats of American Water Spaniels can either be tightly curled or in the “marcle pattern” (wavy fur).
- American Water Spaniels experience separation anxiety so they always look for companionship. If they are left alone for quite some time, they may show destructive behaviors to express their boredom or loneliness.
- Although intelligent breeds, they can be a little stubborn and manipulative. It is best for owners to show superiority by establishing rules during training. Harsh treatment makes them timid or stubborn; they best respond to delicate approach and training methods.
- They love to roam and wander; they are independent thinkers who are fond of using their noses and have that strong urge to hunt.
- Owners should always make sure these dogs are safely confined when outside or else they will hunt on their own.
- American Water Spaniels are territorial and aggressive to other unfamiliar dogs, although they are friendly and affectionate towards family members and family dogs and pets.
- Naturally, they chew, dig, and jump a lot. Given they are active breeds, owners should train them at an early age to overcome these behaviors.
- They are all-around hunting dogs, both on land and in water.
- American Water Spaniels most like to hunt, fish, and retrieve.
- They are mentally and physically tough enough to jump in frigid waters of lakes and ponds and petite enough to catapult themselves out of a fishing boat.
- American Water Spaniels are generally healthy, and can be expected to live 10 to 13 years, as long as they are handled with care and kept on a good diet.
- Hip dysplasia. An abnormality in the hip socket, causing crippling lameness and painful joint inflammation, such as arthritis.
- Growth Hormone-Responsive Dermatitis. Caused by somatropin (lack of growth hormones), American Water Spaniels can suffer from skin diseases, such as hair loss which is more common in male dogs under five years old.
- Pattern baldness (Saddle Alopecia). American Water Spaniels experience continuous, symmetric, thinning and hair loss (Alopecia), that can plague the breed between 6 to 9 months. Saddle Alopecia can lead to loss of hair within the neck area, on the back, and on the tail.
- Cataracts. An eye condition which causes difficulty in seeing, usually affecting dogs in old age.
- Retinal dysplasia. An abnormal condition of the retina which can lead to a number of visual problems, such as a small blind spot to total blindness.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). An eye condition that may lead to blindness.
- Epilepsy. A hereditary condition which can cause mild or severe seizures.
- Since they are active breeds, they need regular exercise, such as a two-hour walk, run, or games of fetch.
- American Water Spaniels are recommended to owners where someone is home during the day.
- They are light shedders, so you need to brush their coats twice a week to get rid of mats and tangles. Their coat might also turn oily and might produce a foul smell.
- They do not need regular baths, but it is important to give them an intensive freshwater rinse if they dive in saltwater or in lakes or ponds.
American Water Spaniel Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the American Water Spaniel across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use American Water Spaniel worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the American Water Spaniels which are medium-sized hunting dogs, which come in different shades of brown. Known as the state dogs of Wisconsin, American Water Spaniels are happy and charming breeds bred to work in icy waters and marshy banks.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- American Water Spaniel Facts
- Little Brown Dogs
- Breed Standards
- Little Brown Facts
- Growing Up AWS
- The Three Spaniels
- American and Irish
- Other Water Dogs
- Owner’s Duties
- Bring Home AWS
- Namely, AWS
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Link will appear as American Water Spaniel Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 13, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.