Information about the Spanish Water Dog

The Spanish Water Dog or Perro de Agua Español is a breed of dog developed by the shepherds in Spain as a multi-purpose herder who was also used sometimes as a gundog, as well as an assistant to fishermen.

The SWD is a medium size, athletic, robust dog that is slightly longer than tall. Their tails are usually docked in the US, but undocked tails are not a fault in conformation showing if the dog was bred in a non-docking country.

The head should be strong and carried with elegance. The skull is flat and the top is parallel with the top of the muzzle. The nose, eye-rims and paw pads are the same colour as the darkest part of the coat or darker. The eyes are expressive and set fairly wide apart. They should be hazel, chestnut or dark brown in color, depending on the coat colour. The ears are set at medium height on the skull, and are triangular.

It has a distinctive curly coat which is woolly in texture and may form cords when long. The coat should not be clipped or groomed for aesthetic purposes. Instead, it should look entirely natural, as though it is not groomed at all. It should never be trimmed, but sheared down at least once a year. SWD puppies are always born with curly hair.

The SWD can be seen in a variety of colours. It may be solid black, beige, brown, or white; bicolour where the second color is white; or particolour . Tri-coloured dogs are strictly prohibited by the currently held (worldwide) standards for the breed as are black and tan or brown and tan colour combinations.
More colours SWDs can be seen in.

The Spanish Water Dog is a medium-sized dog. The approximate measurements are:

Height (at the withers): 44 to 50 cm (17 to 20 in)
Weight: 18 to 22 kg (40 to 49 lb)

Height (at the withers): 40 to 45 cm (16 to 18 in)
Weight: 14 to 18 kg (31 to 40 lb)

The SWD is diligent, loyal, affectionate, and intelligent. They have very strong natural herding and guarding instincts, leading them to become the “self-appointed” guardians of their homes. SWDs thrive on work and play. Their athleticism and extremely hard working nature leads them to excel at any number of tasks. They can be wary with strangers, and early and continuing socialization with a variety of people and other animals is essential for a well-adjusted, social dog. Good socialization at an early age greatly helps them cohabit with small children.

SWDs require minimal grooming.

SWDs should never be brushed, instead, as the cords grow they should be checked for matting. When matting does occur they should be gently pulled apart without tearing the cords. If there is too much matting the cords should be sheared.
SWDs should be bathed only when dirty in lukewarm water. Use a neutral shampoo, never use human shampoo. SWDs should be allowed to air dry.
The cords must be sheared one or more times a year.
Ears and eyes should cleaned as often as they are dirty and excess ear hair may need to be plucked.
As with all dogs nails should be trimmed.
SWD puppies should be trimmed for the first time at around the age of 4 months

The breed’s life expectancy is thought to be about 14 years. Recent health testing has uncovered the following issues:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (prcd-PRA)
  • Hypothyroidism

This SWD is swimming in the ocean. Many SWDs love the water, but not all.

There are many different theories as to its origin and history. Records suggest water dogs have been around the main wetlands of the Iberian Peninsula since ancient times. Portuguese and Spanish water dogs are clearly related and have a common ancestor. The SWD was also known by many other names such as, “Perro Turco”, “Laneto”, “Perro Patero”, “Perro Rizado”, “Churro”, “Barbeta” and most recently “Perro de Agua Español”.

In Southern Spain (Andalusia) the SWD was often called the “Andalusian Turk” and some thought the breed came with Turkish sheep boats, but this is very unlikelly since originally there were three separated populations of SWD in Spain with somewhat different phenotypes and sizes. One of these populations was found in Northern Spain, in Asturias and Cantabria, these dogs were usually smaller and of lighter color, becoming a new breed 22 March 2011, the Cantabrian Water Dog. The other group could be found in the marshes of western Andalusia, this type of dogs had coats made of long and thin cords. And finally the largest group came from the southern Andalusian sierras, this type of dogs were the largest and strongest since were mainly used for herding. Today the breed is well mixed and most SWD are well rounded and have a balanced of traits.

Regardless of its exact origin, it is documented that there was a wooly coated Shepherd Dog on the Iberian Peninsula around 1100 AD. What is then for sure is that this a very ancient and rustic breed, very well adapated to the climate and terrain conditions found in the wetlands and coastal mountains of the Spanish shores.

Historically, the SWD were primarily used as Herding dogs to move the flocks of sheep and goats from one pasture to another. The dogs were also called upon to work wherever a dog was required. For example, they were taught to work with fishermen as well as being taught to retrieve when hunting with the farmers.