It is believed that the Spanish water dog came from northern Africa with the Moors during their occupation of the Iberian Peninsula in 710 - 1036. Another theory is that wooly-coated dogs came with tribes invading Europe from the East after the fall of Rome, and still another theory stating that this dog came with Turkish merchants across the Mediterranean Sea all the way to the Iberian Peninsula.
These dogs were so highly-intelligent that they were used by farmers to guard and to herd their flocks of sheep, by fishermen to bring the boats into shore, and to help them with their nets.
People did not really start noticing this breed until 1983, even though official recognition did not come until 1985, that is when the Spanish Water dog became well-known in other parts of the world, not only in Spain. It became a permanently recognized breed in 1999.
The average height and weight for males of this breed is 17 to 20 inches (44 to 50 cm) and 18 to 22 kg (40 to 49 lbs). For females, the height and weight is 16 to 18 inches (40 to 45 cm) and 14 to 18 kg (31 to 40 lbs). This is a medium-sized breed that is slightly longer than it is taller. Its nose, eye-rims, and pads of the paws are the same as the darkest color on the coat. The eye color should be hazel, chestnut, or dark-brown in color, depending on the coat color of the dog.
The coat of the dog is curly and has the texture of wool. It should never be brushed, trimmed, or clipped. It should be checked for matting, and the cords must be separated or trimmed accordingly. Otherwise, it should be sheared once a year. This dog can have a coat color of either black, beige, brown, or white. It can also be bi-colored or parti-colored. A tri-colored coat is prohibited.
This dog is hard-working, loving, loyal, and very intelligent. Due to its inbred herding nature, it is a very good guard dog. However, like many other breeds, it is not immediately open to strangers. If the dog should be well-adjusted socially, it needs to be socialized with people from an early age. This also helps it to adjust with small children.
This dog has a very strong nature. If the owner does not establish that he/she is the boss, the dog will become headstrong do its own thing, becoming selectively deaf. This is not a suitable breed for first-time dog owners, because it needs constant mental and physical stimulation.
The lifespan of this breed is about 12 to 14 years. It faces health issues such as hip dysplasia, cataract, hypothyroidism, allergies, progressive retinal atrophy, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and Addison's disease among others.
The Spanish water dog is a good family dog and will also guard the house just as well. It is very active and fun to be around. It makes for a very good house pet. However, when buying a puppy, select a reputed breeder who cares for the animal, and who can provide vaccination certificates of the pup as well as its parents. The personality of the puppy must also be considered. Those that are too shy or very hyperactive may turn out to be aggressive later in life.