In the field, the AWS is less exuberant than the English Springer Spaniel, but is as skilled in retrieval as Labrador or Golden Retriever. It is versatile regardless of the type of terrain, and in the water it is not the fastest swimmer but has a high level of endurance. The breed is also good at agility and flyball, with the first of the breed receiving a flyball championship title in 1993.
Members of the breed enjoy being the center of attention, and can be quite vocal at times. It is a one family dog, and will often bond with one particular individual. For many years the breed was "pack bred", where they were allowed to live in a group. Since these times, breeders have been working to breed even tempered dogs that are suitable for both hunting and family life.
The AWS has a mind of its own at times and reaches peak performance with the owner who is dedicated to teaching the dog just what is expected of it. The breed takes well to training, and especially excels at training that offers some variety rather than routine training drills. However, members of the breed can attempt to take an alpha dog position, and may also have issues with food possessiveness. They can be stubborn, and mentally are slow to mature from puppyhood. Some lines of the breed still retain dominant and aggressive temperaments; other than these lines, the AWS gets on well with children and enjoys playing with them. Even though they were originally bred to hunt, due to their size, they are suitable for apartment living as long as they receive enough exercise.
Read more about this topic: American Water Spaniel
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