Getting an AWS

Choosing Your American Water Spaniel

How to decide on an American Water Spaniel breeder?

Talk to breeders, talk to a few of them.  Most American Water Spaniel breeders will have a waiting list, please don’t be put off by this.  This is a great opportunity to get to know the breeders and see their dogs in person  and/or online.   

Some questions to ask an American Water Spaniel breeder

  • How long have they been involved with American Water Spaniels?  
  • When evaluating their breeding dogs what traits stand out? (size, coat, head type)
  • Do they participate in conformation, obedience, or other performance events with their dogs?
  • What field experience do their dogs have?  Waterfowl, upland or fur? 
  • What health and genetic testing has been done on the breeding dogs? Are all results recorded and available online?
  • Where are the puppies raised? 
  • What is their early socialization program? 
  • How do they evaluate temperament / aptitude of puppies for placements?

Some 'Sconnie tips on getting a Retriever

No AWS in this video, but our Irish Water Spaniel cousins are well represented!

Some questions to ask yourself

  • Are you ready to commit to a dog that needs a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least twice a day?
  • Are you ok with a dog that sheds?  Not a lot, but there will be brown curly hairs around. Seasonally they can form great tumble-balls in the corner if one isn’t diligent. 
  • American Water Spaniel coats are fairly low maintenance but they do require some grooming at least quarterly.  With a few good tools an owner can easily take care of everything: from ears, to toes, to tail. 
  • Hunters will spend time picking burrs.  Working dogs don’t have those fancy long ears, except in the off season
  • American Water Spaniels aren’t always very quiet, they have things to say about stuff.  Apartment life might be ok for some, but maybe not for others.  
  •  American Water Spaniels have a strong prey drive.  Relationships with other small animals or birds in the household can’t always be predicted.  Some AWS get along great with cats, others don’t – but sometimes it depends on the cat too.

What if there aren't any American Water Spaniel breeders in my area?

It’s not uncommon for an American Water Spaniel to travel across the country, or even the world, to their new home.  Once you choose a breeder they’ll have ideas and options for how to get your puppy to you.

American Water Spaniel breeders have placed their puppies all over.  If you’ve never met and AWS and are interested in a meet and greet, that can usually be arranged – don’t hesitate to ask!

What about American Water Spaniel Rescue?

If you’re looking to rescue an American Water Spaniel please let us know.  If we hear of an AWS looking for new digs, we’ll be in touch. 

If you’re looking to find a new home for an American Water Spaniel we’re happy to field any questions.  When possible, we’ll try to help find a direct placement.

There is not a formal rescue group active right now. 

Fake Sellers / Internet Scams

There is a persistent scam on Facebook and Craigslist advertising puppies for low prices, or just the cost of shipping.  They use generic photos and don’t offer any information about the sire or dam.  If you think you’ve stumbled across one of these, but aren’t sure – drop us a line and we’ll check it out:  [email protected]