The origin of Spanish Water Dog is unknown but debated by experts. It is believed that it was developed many centuries ago in Spain to accomplish different purposes like water work, herding, hunting, companionship, etc. Further theory suggests that it was transported to North Africa by Moors who invaded and occupied Spain. There is another story that the Turkish traders in Spain introduced it.
The dog was not famous until 1975, as it was brought out from opacity. It got its first recognition in 1985 by Real Sociedad Central de Fomento de Razas Caninas en España. In 2015 it was officially recognized by AKC.
Temperament & Personality
Spanish Water Dogs are intelligent, vigilant and loyal to their masters. They can do anything to please their masters. Though it is not a family dog, with early socialization, owners can minimize their herding instincts. They are lovable and affectionate towards its family members. They are very active due to their natural athleticism and small size which makes them perfect for tasks like herding, hunting, assisting fisherman, etc. Apart from being amicable to its family members, it is not friendly to strangers which make them ideal watchdogs.
They can only mix with other puppies if they are familiarized early. Otherwise, SWD will think it as prey and will not stop chasing them. SWD has a strong prey drive and often runs after moving object and small animals. Being sporting in nature they do not like to spend their time sitting on a couch but they roam and walk inside or outside the house. These dogs can adjust to any climatic conditions. Additionally, it adapts all environments provided it gets an adequate amount of exercise.
Due to its active nature, it requires sufficient amount of exercise like a long walk or runs once a day in their growing stage. But when they have reached their maturity level long exercising schedule will benefit them. They make excellent companions for specific activities like hiking, running and snowshoeing. SWDs are steady swimmers, and it is the best way to release their excess energy as it does not have any risk of getting an injury.
Apart from these activities, owners can also provide them with agility training, commands training and puzzle toys to keep them busy and mentally active.
The primary guidelines to properly groom SWDs are that their coat should not be brushed and should be trimmed in a uniform length. However, the length depends upon the owner’s choice, some grow it for a longer duration to form cords while others trim it before it forms wires. The breed is famous for low maintenance, but maintaining their wiry coats is tough because the process is entirely different from that of other corded breeds like Bergamasco or Komondor. Grooming SWDs will be tough for the first time owners and to groom them they can hire professional groomers or email on its national club, some members are always ready to help. However, it has a unique coat which can adapt to any climate like humidity or drought of its homeland.
Additionally, their ears, eyes, nails, and teeth need weekly checks and cleanups to prevent multiple diseases.
Spanish Water dogs are healthy breeds but sometimes suffer from significant problems like eye anomalies or hip dysplasia. Their droopy ears are prone to accumulate dirt, water which can result in the wax collection and painful infection. But with proper care, the risk can be minimized.
Additionally, their teeth require regular brushing or else can develop tartar and various oral problems. Vet recommended toothpaste is ideal for use. Occasional tests like ophthalmologist and hip evaluation will minimize chances of significant issues. However, random veterinarian checkups can keep the dog healthy.
The dog being highly active and intelligent makes training easy. They learn quickly with positive training methods. Their willingness to please nature makes them flexible and highly capable of learning all the tricks. But harsh techniques can have adverse effects, and the pet might end up learning nothing.
Leash training is essential to minimize their prey drive. Socialization from an early age will make them well mannered. Also taking them to busy streets and Dogs Park will make them learn how to face different situations, socialize them, and even polish their behavior.
Spanish water dogs are prone to food allergies, but high-quality dry dog food manufactured commercially or prepared at home will be sufficient to keep up with their energy level. But it is important to get veterinarian’s approval and supervision before. Some tend to gain weight and owners should check their calorie intake and weight. Treats acts like magic while training, but too much can make them overweight. Divide the meals into two halves for better digestion. However, visit a Vet if the dog gets overweight. Some dogs are strong chewers, therefore, offering them a bone will not only satisfy their chewing habit but also keep their teeth clean.