American Water Spaniel

American Water SpanielAmerican Water Spaniel

Like the Murray River Retriever of Australia, the American Water Spaniel was also a product of the Irish Water Spaniel which, by 1864 which had become an established pure breed in Britain and their unique external features accepted when they were listed in the First English Stud Book. Consequently,  it is interesting to take a look at the American Water Spaniel which developed from a similar gene pool but quite separately from Murray River Retriever of Australia.

History of the American Water Spaniel

When the Irish people immigrated to USA to escape starvation caused primarily by the potato famine in Ireland, many migrated to USA as well as well as Australia. Hence the development of the American Water Spaniel also began 1850's where, like in Australia there was also a Gold Rush. However, in USA this all-round hunting dog was used to retrieve game in the Fox River Valley region of East-Central Wisconsin. The rivers and large lakes were a waterfowl hunter's paradise! Consequently, they were developed with a slightly different purpose than the Murray of Australia where they they lived on paddle steamers. However, in USA these sturdy little dogs had to fit into small boats as well as work in marsh cover and shake off the cold.

American Water SpanielAmerican Water Spaniel

First Registered as a pure breed by the UKC (United Kennel Club) in 1924, they were granted pure breed status by AKC in 1990. The American Water Spaniel differs from the Murray River Retriever of Australia in the following 4 ways:

  1. It is smaller than the Murray, being 15-18 in high whereas the Murray is 18-21ins
  2. It can be liver, brown or chocolate whereas the Murray can only be liver coloured
  3. Its wavy coat differs from the Murray's which is less wavy, tending more to curls
  4. Its feet, although still webbed, are smaller more compact than the moderately large, spreading feet of the Murray.