The American Water Spaniel (AWS) is a rare breed with only an estimated 3000 in existence on any given date. While the American Water Spaniel is one of the few dogs recognized as having been developed in the United States, it has never been a popular breed. The breed was reportedly developed in the Fox and Wolf River valleys of Wisconsin – where it is officially the State Dog – during the mid 1800s. It was frequently used by the market hunters of the day to help harvest all manner of game but, as the folklore says, most notably waterfowl harvested in the Great Lakes Region. In fact, even today one will find the majority of the American Water Spaniel owners and breeders are still located in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and surrounding states.

General Appearance

The American Water Spaniel was developed in the United States as an all-around hunting dog, bred to retrieve from skiff or canoes and work ground with relative ease. The American Water Spaniel is an active muscular dog, medium in size with a marcel to curly coat. Emphasis is placed on proper size and a symmetrical relationship of parts, texture of coat and color.


Demeanor indicates intelligence, eagerness to please and friendly. Great energy and eagerness for the hunt yet controllable in the field.


15 to 18 inches for either sex. Males weighing 30-45 lbs. Females weighing 25-40 lbs.


Color either solid liver, brown or dark chocolate. A little white on toes and chest permissible.

Learn more at the American Water Spaniel Club.