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Spanish Water Dog Breed History

The Spanish Water Dog is an ancient breed. Its exact origins are not precisely known. One theory suggests that the SWDs' ancestor was a wooly-coated dog that originated in North Africa. The Moors brought these dogs to the Iberian Peninsula during their occupation (710-1036). It is also thought that these dogs might have come with the barbarians. Therefore this Asian origin might have giving rise to the common type of water dogs. It is documented that by 1100 a wooly-coated shepherd dog existed throughout the Iberian Peninsula. It was primarily used to herd goats, sheep and other livestock. Additionally, they worked upland game and waterfowl retrieving, and some worked as assistants to fishermen. In the mid 1970s Antonio Garcia Perez and Santiago Montesinos began efforts to get the Spanish Water Dog recognized as a pure breed. In 1985, the breed was officially recognized and admitted into the European registry, Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) under Group 8 Section 336. In January 2004, the Spanish Water Dog Association of America established the breed standard with the United Kennel Club in the Gun Dog Group. The breed is primarily a herding dog. Credit must be given to the goat and sheepherders of southern Spain that have bred and maintained the breed that we know today. Most recently the Spanish Government as a bomb and drug detection dog as well as a rescue dog is employing the Spanish Water Dog.

Length of body/size (height at withers)= 9/8-Depth of chest/size (height at withers)= 4/8-Length of muzzle/length of skull = 2/3 Note: Profile is rectilinear (longer than it is tall).

Height at withers: males 44 to 50 cm (17.32-19.69 inches) Females 40 to 46 cm (15.75-18.11 inches). Weight: Males 18 - 22 kg, (39.69 - 48.5 lbs.) Females 14 - 18 kg. (30.86 - 39.69 lbs.). Note: 2 cm (.78 inches) maximum deviation is admitted in both sexes whenever the subject maintains balance according to his height at withers.

Solid: White, black and brown in their different shades. Bicolor: White and black or white and brown in their different shades. Note: Tricolor subjects are not admitted. One of the two colors must be white.

Faithful, obedient, gay, hard working, watchful and well balanced. Unusual characteristics: Never brush or comb. The cords are formed naturally. Activity level: High.

Best owner:

Special needs:
No aesthetic haircuts. Must be totally sheared at least annually.

This history was provided by Craig Pope at

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