Spanish Water Dog

Spanish Water Dog

A medium-sized robust dog with a curly, woolly coat that forms cords when long, the Spanish Water Dog breed is strong and muscular. Adult male dogs are 44-50cm tall and weigh 18-22kg; adult females are 40-46cm and 14-18kg. The coat comes in solid black, white or brown, or black and white or brown and white.

Spanish Water Dog
  • Category size: Medium
  • Grooming requirements: Once a week
Spanish Water Dog
  • Shedding: None
  • Allergies: Yes
  • Noise: Vocal
  • Dog Group Kennel Club: Gundog
Spanish Water Dog
  • Alone: 1 to 3 hours
  • Other pets: Medium
  • Stability as a guard: High


Woolly-coated water dogs like the Spanish Water Dog breed have existed in Europe for several thousands of years, also developing into the Barbet (in France), the Lagotto Romagnolo (in Italy) the Portuguese Water Dog. The Spanish Water Dog may have arrived in Iberia with the Moors, the Romans or with traders, and was used for herding sheep and goats in rugged areas, and for assisting fishermen in coastal areas, retrieving items lost overboard and fetching nets. Today, he does all these things, as well as retrieving waterfowl and being a sniffer dog for the police force.


A loyal, amenable, even-tempered, happy dog, the Spanish Water Dog will love his whole family, but tends to bond particularly closely with one person within his group. He has natural guarding tendencies and will bark a warning if he feels it necessary.


As with many breeds, the Spanish Water Dog can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.


Spanish Water Dogs need at least an hour's exercise a day. This is a versatile dog, capable of herding, retrieving and swimming, he will enjoy most canine hobbies and activities. Do ensure that water areas are safe before walking near them, as he will dive in at the first opportunity. If in doubt, keep him on a lead.


Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.


A natural-looking dog, the Spanish Water Dog's coat grows into cords as it gets longer. These cords are manually separated, to prevent the coat matting into clumps. It is not brushed or combed. The Spanish farmers would shear their dogs every spring, at the same time as doing their sheep, and from this tradition, the Spanish Water Dog is clipped all over, the same length, when the coat gets too long.

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Is this the right dog breed for you?

All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.


What to Consider next


It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.

Finding a good breeder

If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.

Welcoming your dog home

Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information