10 Breeds of Water Dogs - Characteristics & Photos
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Breeds of water dogs come for a large and diversified family of medium-sized dogs that stand out for their woolly and/or curly mantle, active behavior and remarkable vocation for aquatic activities. Historically, these dogs were associated with fishing and games, working mainly as bird and small aquatic mammal collectors.
Later, thanks to their energetc temperament, versatility and predisposition to training, water dogs managed to adapt easily to other activities and canine sports, but they also became very appreciated companion dog breed, despite their slightly independent character.
If you are thinking about adopting a water dog or would like to know more about the history of the different water dog breeds, you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading here at AnimalWised to discover our full list of breeds of water dogs.
Not only does the Poodle stand out for being on of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world, but it is also considered one of the most popular water dog breeds. While many attribute its birth place to France, others also believe that the Poodle dog breed, as we know it today, came from the Barbet dog breeds.
It’s popularity as a companion dog does not come as a surprise, thanks to its cheerful, intelligent and versatile temperament. This personal characteristic allows the Poodle to adapt easily to different personalities and lifestyles. But historically speaking, the Poodle used to work collecting waterfowl, which explains its strong and we-developed sense of prey.
For more, we recommend reading our article where we list all types of poodles - sizes and mixes.
The Barbet dog, also known as the French water dog, is considered a water dog par excellence, having participated in the creation of not only the poodle, but of all breeds of water dogs. This very old canine breeds originated in France and gained much popularity throughout Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It was originally trained to collect small game, such as wild waterfowl.
Of medium size, the Barbet dog is characterized by its long, woolly and curly mantle, which grows abundantly and can form wicks in adult dogs. This very striking and peculiar fur requires specific maintenance to avoid breakage of hair fiber, keeping it free of knots and dirt. Regarding its temperament, the Barbet dog is an energetic and sociable breed, who loves water and is an excellent swimmer.
For more, read our list of the best names for water dogs.
3. Spanish water dog
The Spanish water dog is one of the most popular Spanish dog breeds in the world. Because this dog breed is so ancient, little is known about the history of the Spanish water dog, but it is estimated that its origins bear on the arrival of the Muslims to the Iberian Peninsula, in the year 711 AD. While there are hypotheses that attribute their birth to the region of Cantabria (northern Spain), its breeding has always been especially popular in Andalusia, where it is known as the "Turkish Dog".
In the 18th century, Spanish water dogs worked among the Spanish fields, as grazers and small game hunting dogs. But upon perceiving their remarkable swimming skills, fishermen from northern Spain began to use them as helpers.
Over the years, other dog breeds began replacing the Spanish water dogs in these such works and its population faced a decline. Fortunately, due to its versatility, energy and intelligence, the Spanish water dog adapted optimally to canine sports, and is not considered one of the most loved sports dogs in Spain.
For more, we recommend reading our article where we list the most popular Spanish dog breeds in the world.
4. Portuguese water dog
The Portuguese water dog, also known as Portuguese cão, is a medium-sized dog with harmonic features. This water dog breeds is popular for its balanced temperament and predisposition to training, in addition to it´s swimming ability. The official breed standard recognizes two varieties of fur in the Portuguese water dog: wavy and curly, both considered hypoallergenic.
The history of this hypoallergenic dog breed is intertwined with that of the Spanish water dog. Its origins are also associated with the arrival of the Muslims to the Portuguese coast, mainly in the Algarve region. In addition to sharing common ancestors, both breeds were influenced by crosses with the Barbet dog.
For more about this breed, we recommend taking a look at our article where we list 10 hypoallergenic dog breeds for allergic families.
5. Lagotto Romagnolo
The Lagotto Romagnolo is a medium-sized Italian dog breed whose origins and its own name date back to the Romagna region. This capable water dog was originally trained as a waterfowl collector, and lives near swampy areas. Later, however, it was revealed that the Lagotto Romagnolo was a great truffle detector and companion animal.
Its most outstanding feature is, logically, its woolly, dense and curly mantle that characterizes water dog breeds. Regarding its character, the Lagotto Romagnolo is an energetic, alert and loyal dog, with well-developed senses and remarkable vocation for work and swimming. Because of their noticeable energy and remarkable intelligence, these dogs require daily physical and mental stimulation, in addition to an enriched environment.
For more about these amazing water dogs, we recommend reading our article where we list the top 10 Italian dog breeds.
6. American water spaniel
The American water dog, also known by its original name American water spaniel (AMS), is a not very popular American dog (outside of its country of origin). The birth of this water dog breed is linked to the rise of commercial bird hunting in the United States, dating back to the 1800s. To this day, it is not yet known exactly which breeds were used in the creation of the American water spaniel, but it is believed that the Spanish water dog, the field spaniel and the now extinct English water spaniel all participated in its development.
This medium-sized American water dog stands out for its energetic, friendly and intelligent nature. Additionally, they are known for their incredibly affectionate and protective character, but can be somewhat distrustful in the presence of strangers. When it comes to training this water dog breed, due to their strong and obstinate character, patience and dedication is required. With the correct socialization, these dogs can be great companion dogs, able to adapt to families with children.
For more, check out our article where we list the most popular american dog breeds.
7. Irish water dog
The Irish water dog, or Irish water spaniel, is one of the oldest dog breeds of the spaniel family. This first reference to water dogs in Ireland arose in the 1600s, but the first club of the Irish water spaniel was only founded in 1890. Unfortunately, there are no reliable records regarding which dogs 'father' this breed. It is believed, however, that the poodle, the Portuguese water dog and the Barbet were some of the breeds involved in the creation of the Irish water dog.
Like all water dog breeds, the Irish water spaniel is known for its active and alert character, with a great predisposition to working and training. Its natural versatility allows it to adapt easily to tutors and families with different lifestyles. A fun fact regarding the Irish water dog is that its adorable facial expression gives off the impression that they are always smiling.
8. Frision water dog
The Frisian water dog, better known as Wetterhun, is a medium-sized Dutch dog breeds that stands out for its abundant curly mantle formed by tufts of harsh and dense hairs. However, this woolly-looking fur, with thin or sparse tufts, is considered a serious fault according to the official standard published by the FCI.
Frisian water dogs carry an energetic and stubborn temperament, and required active and dedicated tutors, who have both patience and knowledge when it comes to training this breed. If these water dogs receive the correct socialization, they are able to live well with other animals and/or children.
Despite its exuberant beauty, this Dutch water dog is not well-known outside of its country of origin, where it was originally trained as a hunting dog.
9. Moscow water dog
The Moscow water dog, also known as the Moscow collector, is a large Russian dog breed characterized by its strong physical resemblance to the Newfoundland. While little is known about its history, it is believed that these water dogs developed from selective crossings between Caucasian shepherds, Eastern European shepherds and Newfoundland dogs.
Like the other water dog breeds, the Moscow water dog was originally trained as a bird and aquatic mammals collector. Additionally, they have also performed optimally as rescue dogs in the heavy snow of Russian winters.
At the moment, there are ongoing investigations into whether the Moscow water dog is already extinct or if there are still some isolated dogs of this breed isolated within Russian territory.
10. Cantabrian water dog
To finish our list of the most famous water dog breeds, we have the Cantabrian water dog. This water dog breed originated in the Cantabria region, north of the Iberian Peninsula. Despite not being well-known outside of Spain, this dog breed is an admired breed among the Spanish.
Unlike most water dog breeds, which can show different patterns and colors in their coat, the Cantabria water dog has a completely white coat, formed by thick and waterproof curls. This active and insightful dog, known for its loyalty and protectiveness, can appear somewhat distrustful of strangers. Therefore, they must always be socialized from young in order to be able to interact positively with other animals and people.
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