Spanish Water Dog

The Spanish Water Dog is a medium size, athletic, robust dog that is slightly longer than tall.

Daily Care

Grooming Tips

The Spanish Water Dog has a single coat, meaning there’s little or no undercoat. He doesn’t shed heavily, although he does lose hairs, just as people do. The single, curly coat often leads people to believe that the SWD is hypoallergenic, but all dogs produce allergens to some extent in their dander, saliva and urine. If you have allergies, you should spend time with several Spanish Water Dogs to determine whether you react to them.
The most important basic guidelines for a properly groomed Spanish Water Dog are that the coat is never to be brushed, and it should be the same length all over. Frequency of clipping is up to the owner’s preference for the length of hair on their dog, with some owners choosing to let it grow for many months to form cords. While the breed is typically described as having a low-maintenance coat, the cording process does take ongoing attention and some expertise. Because the cording process for this breed is different from that of other corded breeds (such as theKomondororBergamasco), owners wanting to undertake this for the first time are encouraged to find someone experienced with Spanish Water Dog Coats.
Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and fight gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear down the toenails naturally.

Exercise Tips

This breed is high-energy and needs a vigorous workout. Without regular stimulation, the breed can become a couch potato or show nuisance behaviors such as excessive barking. Spanish Water Dogs benefit from a good run at least once a day.
Once they have reached full maturity and the bone growth plates are closed, they have the capacity for lengthy, strenuousexerciseand make great companions for activities such as running, hiking, or snow-shoeing.WDs are usually strong swimmers, and playing fetch in the water is a great way to burn off energy without the risk of injury that repetitive impact through retrieving on land can cause.

Feeding Tips

The Spanish Water Dog is a medium- to large-sized breed, so it should be offered a dog food that has been formulated to meet the energy requirements of large-breed dogs. Spanish Water Dogs are also a highly active breed so, especially if you intend to train your dog for herding or other dog sports, you may want to consider an active breed formula.
If you get an SWD puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it’s important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy’s diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don’t develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it’s best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It’s best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it’s good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It’s also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog’s life by several years so it’s important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Treatscan be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about whichhuman foodsare safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. SWDs are also strong chewers and enjoy a substantial knuckle-bone from time to time, which may also help to keep their teeth clean.

Health Tips

All dogs have the potential to developgenetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on her puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
The Spanish Water Dog is generally a healthy and hardy breed but, like all breeds, it is prone to developing certain health problems. The health concerns most likely to affect the Spanish Water Dog breed include hip dysplasia, allergies, glaucoma, PRA and hypothyroidism. Responsible breeding practices and genetic testing can help to greatly reduce the risk for these and other inherited diseases in the Spanish Water Dog.


The Spanish Water Dog is an intelligent breed so it typically responds well to training. These dogs have strong natural herding and guarding instincts so they do best when given a job to perform. This breed can become fairly territorial and protective of family, so early socialization and training is needed to prevent the Spanish Water Dog from becoming wary around strangers. If trained and socialized from an early age, these dogs can get along well with children and household pets.
Harsh training methods may cause the SWD to lose his enthusiasm for the tasks asked of him, and he may “shut down.” Potential owners are reminded that as herding dogs, some SWDs have a very high prey drive. They need a reliable recall. Even with diligent training, some will not be able to resist the temptation of a squirrel, rabbit, or deer. The temperament of the Spanish Water Dog deserves special consideration. These dogs are very loyal to their owners but can be quite wary of strangers. Ongoing socialization, as well as positive new experiences, are essential from an early age.


Little is known of the SWD’s origins. Some dog experts theorize that they descended from African dogs or that they are related to other European water dogs, such as thePortuguese Water Dog, or to Turkish or Hungarian herding and flock-guarding breeds.
What is known is that this rustic multi-purpose breed was developed in Spain many centuries ago to fulfill a variety of purposes including herding, hunting, water work and companionship. Starting in 1975, the breed was brought out from obscurity and in 1985, it was recognized by the Real Sociedad Central de Fomento de Razas Caninas en España. The Spanish Water Dog was officially recognized by the AKC in 2015.