Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How big is a SWD?
A: This is a medium sized breed. The males are 17.32 to 19.69 inches tall and between 40-49 pounds. The females are 15.75 to 18.11 inches tall and between 31-40 pounds.
Q: Are they hypoallergenic?
A: The SWD coat is wooly and it cords. They do not have fur, they have hair. While the dogs do not "shed" and have very low dander, there is no guarantee they will not cause an allergic reaction. Visiting with a breeder and spending time with the dogs would be a good way to determine if they are a good fit for you.
Q: Is this breed good with children?
A: This is an energetic breed which can have a herding tendency. They require proper socialization as a pup and basic obedience training. While in general they are good with children, very young children should not be left alone with the dog. All children, as well as the dog, should be supervised. In general, the SWD is a good family pet for an active family. Basic obedience training along with proper socialization is a must. This handout from the Dumb Friends League has many useful tips regarding teaching your puppy and child acceptable limits of behavior: Kids and Dogs
Q: How do I care for the coat?
A: The coat requires minimal care. The dog needs to be bathed at regular intervals but they are never brushed as brushing destroys the texture of the cords and increases matting. The coat will form cords naturally and these need to be finger raked to prevent matting. They are sheared once or twice a year and the coat is taken down evenly over the entire body. However, if you prefer to keep the coat short and not cord, you may shear the dog more frequently. There is no aesthetic shaping or clipping, as this is a rustic working dog.
Q: I have heard this breed is reserved and not overly friendly.
A: This breed, as with any highly intelligent dog, needs time to process and think. They need to be introduced to new situations and people from a young age under controlled and calm conditions. As puppies, they do not do well in a chaotic environment or one lacking a routine or schedule. This breed is well suited for therapy work and companion dog work. We breed our dogs for temperament and an outgoing disposition. CHARACTER is of the most importance at Highview. Some of our dogs are currently in therapy dog homes.
Q: Are there any health issues?
A: While the breed as a whole is healthy, there have been documented cases of EPI, additionally hip dysplasia and the genetic disease called prcd-PRA, and CHG can occur in this breed. With the proper health testing, the risk for hip dysplasia can be minimized and the genetic disease of prcd-PRA and CHG can be eliminated. The cause of and a treatment for EPI is currently being researched.
Auto-immune hypothyroidism also occurs in this breed. It is manageable with medication and will not impact the life expectancy of the dog.
Q: How long does this breed live?
A: The SWD's average life span is 10 to 14 years.
Q: How much exercise does this breed need?
A: This is an energetic breed which needs a way to expel energy. They love a brisk walk and will enjoy a place to run. They are great at retrieving and can become ball crazy. They love to have a job and are just as willing to "help" you around the house as well as protect your yard from the stray bird or squirrel.
Q: When was this breed recognized?
A: As of January, 2015 the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Spanish Water Dog in the herding group. The Spanish Water Dog was officially recognized by the Real Sociedad Canina de Espana in 1985 and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1999. Due to the versatility of the breed and its strong retrieving drive the FCI classified the breed as a retriever/flushing dog - water dog, where they best felt it reflected the dog's attributes.