American Water Spaniel | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

American Water Spaniel

American Water Spaniel | Wisconsin Historical Society

Beacon Ave. and Division St., New London, Waupaca County

Of all the breeds of dog recognized by the American Kennel Club, only five were developed in the United States and one, the American Water Spaniel, originated in Wisconsin. The development of the Water Spaniel as a purebred was due largely to the efforts of Dr. F.J. Pfiefer of New London, Wisconsin, who perfected and stan­dardized the breed and obtained official recognition by the United Kennel Club in 1920 and the American Kennel Club in 1940. The Water Spaniel is characterized by its ability not only to retrieve waterfowl but also to act as a flushing dog in upland hunting. Smaller than other retrievers, the versatile Water Spaniel stands from 15 to 18 inches at the shoulder, weighs 25 to 40 pounds and has a chocolate brown or liver-colored coat with an abundance of tight curls. In 1986, the American Water Spaniel was designated as Wisconsin's official state dog.

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[Source: McBride, Sarah Davis. History Just Ahead (Madison:WHS, 1999).]