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How To Breed Spanish Water Dogs

Written by Kalgi
Kalgi is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Monday 1 June 2020
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
How To Breed Spanish Water Dogs
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Breeding Spanish Water Dogs is relatively recent and highly popular. They are furry, cute, loyal, very active and warm. Their remarkable appearance is made special due to the woolly coat. It nearly makes them look as if they have dreadlocks all over!

Researching how to breed Spanish Water Dogs can be complicated as they are known by a variety of names. These include Perro Turco, Perro de Agua, Perro de Lanes, the Turkish dog, Andalusian Turk, Perro Rizado, Barbetta, and Laneto. But we will help simplify everything you need to know.

Background of Spanish Water Dog Breeding

Spanish Water Dogs hail from the Northern parts of Spain and Andalucia. Their agility and deceptive fragility are what make them popular as pets nowadays. Here’s a complete lowdown on how to breed Spanish Water Dogs.


The breeding of Spanish Water Dogs was mainly carried out so that they could be used as herders. This variety has a naturally developed leadership instinct that helps them tale up command of the situation. It also aids them to guide a herd towards safety in times of distress. Originally bred in Andalusia, Spain, they are believed to be close cousins of the Portuguese Water Dogs. Therefore they were also called upon to work with fishermen. They were great at retrieving fish and would also be used to accompany hunters on a hunt.

Some stories suggest that Turkish traders brought them to the Iberian Peninsula region while traveling with their livestock into the Mediterranean region. While another theory suggests the development of North Africa drove these species into this region. Their existence dates back to nearly 1110 AD. Which makes them one of the most ancient and sturdy species to survive the changes of time. Highly favored by the French aristocrats to an extent to be brought to Paris. From the pictures of French and Spanish Royalty with Spanish Water Dogs in ‘La Palacio de Granja’, Segovia, it can be seen that they had become an integral part of the royal lifestyle. Even though this breed was over-powered by modernization and they receded more into the inner mountains of Andalucía and Spain after approaching the industrial revolution. Meanwhile, other stronger and fierce-looking breeds like German or Belgian shepherds started replacing them.


In 1975, two individuals – Santiago Montesinos and Antonio Garcia Perez – stumbled upon this breed and fought to bring them back to the fore. To promote and get recognized in their own country – Spain, a Spanish Water Dog Club was established in 1980. It was only 5 years later and after a lot of hard work, that the Spanish Water Dogs got their official status and acceptance by the Spanish Kennel Club in 1985. Later during 1992, two SWDs were brought in England for the first time by the efforts of four friends who had earlier witnessed the potential of this breed in their visit to Valencia. It is their offspring who are now trained and made part of the English lifestyle.

Recently, in 2005 SWDs were recognized by the US in the American Kennel Club (AKC). In April 2011, the Spanish Water Dog Club of America was initiated by the AKC which represents the Spanish Water Dog exclusively. During the same time, the official group of the SWDs was changed from the sporting group to the herding group on ardent request. They are also eligible to compete in the herding group category since 2015. Currently, according to the AKC ranking, Spanish Water Dogs ranks 153 of 195 on the popularity of the breed.

Background of Spanish Water Dog Breeding
Background of Spanish Water Dog Breeding


The initial appearance of the SWDs is rustic and deceptively delicate. But its body structure is such that it can adjust to any environment of land and water. The appearance of the Spanish Water Dogs is in keeping with its environment and tasks it was used for. Granting the nature, there are breed standards set for this breed to identify for the recognition in a kennel club. Any deviation from these is frowned upon resulting in the non-registration of the particular dog. The prescribed height for males is from 17.5-19.75 inches and 15.75-18 inches for females while weighing between 40-49 pounds and 31-40 pounds for a male and a female respectively.

The SWDs have a broad head with a flat of the skull between the ears and less of the back of it. They have a muzzle with wide nostrils and defined lips always curled in a smile. Their strong jaw is set with a set of sharp teeth with the upper row covering the lower line. The most expressive part of their body is their eyes, of medium size and set obliquely, which are many times hidden under the curls giving them a permanent look of being happy. The ears are long in pendant shape falling at the sides of the eyes which they hold in minor front at the peak of their excitement. No dewlap is noticed with the petite neck.


The body of the SWDs is slightly longer than the height. The neck is short and well set in the shoulders which have aligned, strong forelegs. They possess a deep chest with greater lung capacity to carry out the arduous tasks of running and climbing. The leveled back leads to the hind legs with balanced thighs. Their paw-pads are tight and round and have nails which generally matches the color of the coat. Their walk comprises pride and purpose displaying the athletic figure. The tail of the SWD is of a medium-sized and is conventionally docked. Although docking is legally banned across Europe.


The coat of the SWDs is their special features. They are fur in curls and corded form of the double coat with wire texture. Clip their coat twice a year to keep the length of the hair in check and avoid any discomfort during the performance of any task like brambles and thorns or branches getting stuck in it. You can allow them to grow out and form long coils. Unlike other fur breeds, SWDs do not shed the hair rendering them apt to be an in-house dog.

bathe SWD twice a week or only when they are dirty. Use a special shampoo for dogs and do not rub their coat. Air-dry this coat and untangle any mats in the fur gently with your fingers. This attention reduces the grooming efforts related to them. The set size of the curls for a show or exhibition should be from 1-5 inches. With clipping done for health purposes and not aesthetic beauty. Judges will punish straight or curly hair.


The Spanish Water Dogs are usually black, white, beige, or chestnut. Sometimes they have bi-coloring in specific combinations with white. Moreover, there are cases of dogs with tricolor variations. This variation is a genetic defect in the breed. Therefore, you should not allow dogs with these variations to mate or perform in shows.

Coat of the Spanish Water Dog
Coat of the Spanish Water Dog


The SWDs are dogs with keen senses and intelligence. Also, they are very loyal and possess a strong affinity for children. Their adaptive nature makes them suitable for any home setting even an apartment living. They show closeness to the familiar members while showing some level of hostility towards strangers or suspicious people. They are not the barking kind and are very playful by nature. A properly raised dog shows a balanced behavior towards any changes and tasks. Their dedication to their owner is worth praising as well.

Spanish Water Dogs Vs Portuguese Water Dogs

Both kinds are Water Dogs, as the name suggests. Appearance-wise, they are similar due to the curls of the coat. While the Portuguese water dogs are permissible to have wavy hair, those in the SWDs are unacceptable as per the breed standards. Apart from this, their temperaments go on the same line of both being equally loyal, intelligent, and obedient with high levels of energy for a family inclusion.

Both the breeds are hypoallergenic and suit best for a companion to those with allergies. SWDs were bred specifically for herding purposes, on the other hand, the Portuguese Water Dog was raised for seafaring purposes, to bring in nets, deliver messages, dive, and catch. SWDs are grouped in the herding category of the AKC in 2015 wherein the Portuguese Water Dog are grouped into the hound class category SINCE 1983.

Health Concerns When Breeding Spanish Water Dogs

The health of Spanish Water Dogs is dependent on their upbringing in the early years of life, their provided environment, and the activities. The SWDs do not usually suffer from specific breed ailments, although its relative infrequency makes it difficult to confirm this. As a responsible owner of A Spanish Water Dog, one can get in touch with a reliable breeder, and check their parental history alongside complete paperwork.

Another important way to keep the health of these dogs in check is to keep their obesity levels under standard controls with the required activities for the breed. Here are some of the more frequent diseases found in the SWD.

Hip Dysplasia

In orthopedic terms “dysplasia” means abnormal growth. Dysplasia in hip or elbow is a deformation due to the anomalous structural development of the bones in the hip or elbow joints. It may happen due to Hereditary or surrounding environmental factors of the dog during growing months. This is a very common occurrence with dogs and is noticeable within the first 4 months from birth.

The visible symptoms could be a changed manner of walking, intolerance to exercises, stiffness, and pain. There are obvious wear and tear of the joints and muscles around while the prolonged suffering may result in various arthritis and degenerative joint diseases. You can identify hip dysplasia in the SWDs through the gradations marked for the presence of its severity. These grades are as follows:

  • A: There’s an absence of dysplasia Or No Dysplasia
  • B: Joints are nearly normal
  • C: Mild symptoms of dysplasia Or Still allowed
  • D: Moderate symptoms of dysplasia Or Existence of Dysplasia
  • E: Severe symptoms of dysplasia Or Severe dysplasia

Dogs with grade D and E may not be used for breeding as they are likely to pass on HD through defective genetics. Elbow dysplasia is also likely to occur in these dogs which vets will measure with numbers – 0 being the absence of dysplasia. In order to prevent HD, avoid a young dog overexerting themselves. Healthy food and weight control will help in keeping a check on their obesity. Which in turn reduces the wear and tear of the bones. You can easily treat these kinds of dysplasia with proper treatment and surgeries. Only if you notice the symptoms early, however.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

PRA is a gradual degeneration of the retina eventually leading to permanent blindness. This is a genetic disorder and SWDs are likely to suffer from it too. Regular annual eye check-ups with qualified ophthalmologists are highly recommended. If your dog begins to display reluctance in climbing stairs or walking to unfamiliar places, get them to a vet. Another alarming symptom is the need to scratch or run their eyes constantly and becoming unusually clumsy. If you observe any of these symptoms in your Spanish Water Dog take them to a vet as soon as possible.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

In the human and animal bodies both, the pancreas is the organ that creates enzymes that help digest food – all carbs, proteins, and fats. Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency or EPI is the inability of the pancreas to produce a sufficient quantity of pancreatic enzymes. This results in a horde of health issues for the dog’s body. Owing to the poor digestion of the food, there is malabsorption of nutrients – resulting in extreme weight loss and major nutrient deficiencies. You may notice an increase in appetite in your dog with no weight gain whatsoever and this is an obvious sign.

Spanish Water Dogs are part of the deep-chested breeds.
Spanish Water Dogs are part of the deep-chested breeds.

Congenital Hypothyroidism with Goiter (CHG)

CHG is the abnormal balance of thyroid fluid in the dogs affecting their development and metabolism negatively. This is again a hereditary based anomaly which if left untreated can turn fatal for the dogs, especially for Spanish Water Dog puppies.


The overproduction of certain enzymes in the body affection the overall functions of the adrenal glands. This renders the dog open to infection and other fatal diseases by breaking their immune systems. Hair loss, exertion, increase in appetite, etc. are some of the common symptoms. the challenging part of this disease is that it is hard to detect and the treatment also has numerous side-effects. Transsphenoidal Hypophysectomy is one of the most recent treatments.


If you notice your Spanish Water Dog squinting or apprehensive of walking all of a sudden, check his/her eyes. Cataracts usually show up as bluish-gray developments on the dog’s retina and may be visible to the naked eye. Other symptoms might include clumsiness or fear of climbing stairs, entering unfamiliar territories, etc. While a mild cataract isn’t quite a problem for your dog – neglecting the cataract may result in a serious one. A cataract is an opacity that causes your dog to start getting blurry vision. This could spread and lead to blindness if not treated on time. Spanish Water Dogs are prone to having cataract issues.

How To Breed Spanish Water Dogs

Deceptively delicate, agile, fiercely loyal and adorable to look at – these are just some of the many qualities that make a Spanish Water Dog perfect. It is a breed that is ideal for households with large gardens or kids. This is because these dogs have a very high energy level and need a vent to expel all this energy. Breeding Spanish Water Dogs is not only a great business proposition, but it is also an amazing dog to have.

Choosing the Bitch and the Stud

Breeding Spanish Water Dog bitches with sires found externally in other reputed kennels is a great way to keep the lineage fresh and avoid inbreeding issues. It is crucial that both the dogs are healthy and the crossing is done under proper supervision. Breeding outside of your own kennel will result in a more genetic variety of superior quality in the breeding females and the new litter.

Most Spanish Water Dog breeders prefer a dog that has proved its ability to transmit his qualities to the offspring. Other than a dog that is beautiful looking and well-bred but is not known to have passed any of his qualities to his offspring. A well-raised Spanish Water Dogs duo, bred in a proper environment and atmosphere, ensures the good quality and character of the new litter. You must do clear background checks so that the future quality of puppies is far more advanced than its forebearers.


A clear checklist to follow before deciding on a sire/dame to mate your dog with is:

  1. The health of the dog should be great. Check the bloodwork and previous medical reports of the dog before moving further. If they are too old, you may request the latest report also.
  2. Check for genetic diseases in its forebearers – you can find these details out from your kennel club or get the owner of the dog to give you a detailed report on the forebearers of his/her dog.
  3. Always ensure that the dog you are mating your pooch with has his/her temper under control. Look for a sweet dog with all the positive qualities of a Spanish Water Dog – loyalty, dedication, and enthusiasm.
  4. Always check for registrations of the dog in question, with your local kennel club. A non-registered dog is no good.

Litter Size

On average, Spanish Water Dogs commonly give birth to a litter of four to six adorable puppies. Always keep a check on the mother’s health after she has given birth. Ensure that the litter is being nursed on time and the mother is being given the required amount of nutrition nursing the babies. Take your vet in confidence and perform health follow-ups on a regular basis.

Birthing Issues

Birthing issues are common amongst Spanish Water Dogs – especially dystocia. It is a birthing difficulty that the mother faces, and is rampant in smaller and medium-sized breeds. The puppies get caught in the pelvic canal because it is too small – thus resulting in an abnormal or difficult birth. The causes of this are many, they can be genetic or nutrition-related. You must also keep a check on the mother’s diet and be in the loop of any medication she has been taking during the pregnancy or after birth. Check on whether she has any food restrictions or displays any sort of resistance to certain medications.


Breeding SWDs can be economically beneficial due to their rising demands in the market due to their sturdiness, looks, and adaptability. When bred correctly, they can participate in numerous shows, exhibitions, and contest which earns fame and recognition along with the lasting reputation. If the bred dogs belong to a bloodline of champions then it affects their quality as well as the puppy pricing in the market. They are a breed of virtue and patience, SWDs can also be used in therapy sessions and as companions for kids and the olds.

As they are hypoallergenic, they are best for those with any kind of allergies to the dogs. Due to its adventurous nature, they form the greatest partner for those who prefer hiking, trekking, trailing and other activities. Their adjustable strength allows them to be imported or exported to any place and into any family. Hence, addressing the people with these requirements may easily help the breeder to sell this breed.

Spanish Water Dog Breeding – FAQs

Here are some questions a lot of Spanish Water Dog breeders have been asking, along with a clear answer.

appearance of spanish water dogs
Looks and appearance of Spanish Water Dogs

How Long Do Spanish Water Dogs Live?

The average life span of a healthy Spanish Water Dog ranges from 12 to 14 years. It is again largely dependent on the environment provided to the dog to grown and lead along with life.

How To Breed A Balanced Dog?

A balanced Spanish Water Dog will have the correct mental and physical poise. It can be seen through their adaptive style in the new environments, response to the training, reactions to the changes and physical resistance. A balanced SWD can be ensured with the proper environment from birth, healthy food, careful and happy upbringing until its adoption.

How Much Does A Spanish Water Dog Cost?

For getting a new Spanish Water Dog puppy, you have to get yourself registered at the kennel and wait for your turn. The average pricing of the SWD ranges from $800 – $900 for the registered dogs at the kennels and $800 – $850 for non-registered dogs. The monthly insurance of the pet may vary according to the place of residence and country.

How Much Exercise Do Spanish Water Dogs Need

This is a herding and hounding breed. They possess a high level of energy and this means you need to provide this. Spanish Water Dogs get bored very easily so must be kept mentally stimulated. They require a minimum of an hour of vigorous activity per day.

Other than this, you must keep them busy through other activities like playing, swimming and running. In the case of an SWD puppy, the actions must be limited to prevent the pressure and overuse of their joints, spines, and hips as they are still developing.

Do Spanish Water Dogs Suffer From Separation Anxiety

Spanish Water Dogs are very social dogs and do not usually suffer from separation anxiety. They love their owners. However, they were made to be in control of the herd and therefore have formed a deep individualistic persona of authority. This with their balanced temperament allows them with the intelligence to understand the parts of being alone. They are characteristically independent too. Hence, they do not suffer from separation anxiety making them an apt member for a busy family.

Spanish Water Dogs are a brilliant breed with a wonderful history. If you are considering breeding them, you should now feel more confident doing so. Enjoy adding to their rich history and producing a healthy and happy litter.

One comment on “How To Breed Spanish Water Dogs”

  1. Jmes

    IM looking for to bread my Spanish water dog
    He is pleasant gentile

    Hes only 2 years old I’m
    ‘need aon another l all I ask is that I find him a companion brother long long friend Ali ask is Thaf he.needskivd BD cinnfirt gen u 8 buy brvfgd cc.i. You can help my I’ll. Be greatykky gaooy



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