A curly haired, white dog with grey patches on the ears, face and tail stands where the sea meets the shore, a tennis ball at his feet.

Spanish Water Dog

The Spanish Water Dog has been around for a long while but, in the UK, is still one of the lesser known breeds. Numbers are slowly rising and there are around 40 of these cute puppies on BorrowMyDoggy. They are a medium sized, hypoallergenic dog breed with really loveable characters - a bit like a smaller version of the increasingly popular Goldendoodle, the Standard Poodle or a non-shedding Labrador.

  • If you’re an owner looking for dog sitters for your pup, why not share some fun facts about the breed with your borrowers?
  • Borrowers - could you provide some dog daycare and cuddles for a local Spanish Water Dog?

Read on for lots of cute photos and facts about the breed with help from our lovely community. Woof!

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Narla’s owner, Kevin, says: “Narla is an extremely loyal energetic happy dog.”

What is a Spanish Water Dog?

Sometimes referred to as the ‘SWD’, this breed is a true working dog with a good sense of smell and strong herding and guarding instincts. They are a medium sized dog, usually standing at 40 - 50 cm at the withers and weighing between 14 - 22kg. They usually live for between 12 - 14 years. Their wooly, curly coats can be a variety of colours - including brown, beige, black, white or bi-coloured (with white) - but tri-coloured dogs are not accepted by the breed standard.

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Clara - a BorrowMyDoggy member

The Spanish Water Dog shares a common ancestor with the Portuguese Water Dog. Their strong adaptations to the environment of coastal Spain are quite clear. The breed copes well in both hot and cold conditions and, as the name implies, these pups love being in water. Their unique coat grows in cords and should not be brushed - this will help maintain its waterproof quality and avoid matting.

Fun fact

This breed’s history is the subject of some debate - some people believe they arrived in Spain on Turkish sheep boats!

How much exercise do they need?

The UK Kennel Club recommend up to an hour of exercise a day but most SWDs will appreciate as much playtime and interaction as they’re given. They are certainly not a lazy dog. They have a strong work ethic and so, with the right training, excel in a number of doggy activities, including agility, fly ball and obedience.

Bobby’s owner, Helen, says:

“Bobby is a friendly, affectionate dog who loves tummy tickles and ear ruffles. He likes going for walks and a good game of chase. He loves shoes, slippers and socks! He brings a smile to all who meet him.”

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Bobby, flying along on his walk

What about temperament?

This breed is a true working dog, with a strong sense of smell, sound and sight. Their strong herding instinct can translate to a rather amusing tendency to try to control, or herd people and things. They are very intelligent, so will learn things quickly and usually enjoy training.

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Doggy member, Oscar

Oscar is just one year old but is registered as a therapy dog:

“Oscar is a Spanish Water Dog, he’s nearly one year old so is into everything. He loves to chew so beware of shoes being eaten. He is also a therapy dog as he has such a chilled nature. He has his moments though and loves to play, especially tug or chasing a ball.”

They love the outdoors and are very adaptable - they’ll be happy snoozing indoors or running around fields. They form strong bonds with their family and sometimes seem to pick out their favourite person! The breed standard requires SWDs to be faithful, obedient, good tempered and affable.

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Doggy member, Bobby, with a fresh haircut, post-run on the beach

They have a strong guarding instinct and so can be rather vocal - training will be important to avoid too much barking. SWDs can also be wary of strangers and like to take their time getting to know new people, so socialisation from a young age is important.

This doggy member sounds like she’s nailed socialising:

“She loves everyone and just wants to say hello to the postman, delivery man, friends, friends kids, dogs as well and generally will approach most dogs to say hello ... She has a lovely wee personality and loves to go for walks, loves cuddles and being a puppy loves to play with her cuddly toys (especially if they squeak), balls and tug toys - loves balls / anything being thrown for her... She loves being around people and dogs” - Indie, owned by Debbie

The clue is in the name really, but these dogs love water and are very good swimmers! Give them an opportunity to swim and most will dive straight in.

A good example of SWD temperament, is Pickle:

Pickle loves a good run and company! The one thing she doesn’t like is being on her own. It takes her a while to get to know new people but she is excellent with other dogs and children.
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Pickle, standing proud

Are they easy to train?

They are a highly intelligent breed who thrive on positive reinforcement. They are eager to please their owners which - with the right training method - makes them easy to train. It is common for them to lose interest if you are harsh on them. As they are prone to herding and have a relatively high prey drive, recall needs to be a focus during training.

Owner, Debbie, is doing well with her eight month old Spanish Water Dog, Indie:

I've been training her, and that’s still ongoing...Her recall training is pretty good as well as sit, stay and paw…
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Doggy member, Indie, with her favourite toy

Why not take a look at this Waggy Tales Testimonial from the BorrowMyDoggy community, featuring a Standard Poodle and a Grand Basset Griffon Vandéen?

The Standard Poodle shares a few of the SWD’s key traits - hypoallergenic coat, high working drive and intelligence. Is your SWD similar?

Thanks to the Spanish Water dogs (and owners) from the BorrowMyDoggy community for sharing their fabulous photos and quotes.

  • Owners - why not get in touch with borrowers from the community who would love to help you out with dog care and spread the love of your dog?
  • Borrowers - if you’re looking to learn more about any dog breeds, why not reach out to local owners in the community who want to share the love of their dog?

As more owners and borrowers join the community and start messaging, more woofs, walks and waggy tails can be spread to share the love of dogs.

Why not join the BorrowMyDoggy community today?

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