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EL PERRO DE AGUA ESPAÑOL / THE SPANISH WATER DOG

The Spanish Water dog is an example of multifunctionality. Its dedication to work in the company of man is in its roots. Distinctively they have been working dogs and still today, there are examples at the foot of the mountains and in the open countryside working as sheep dogs, in salt or mud flats working as retrievers, on the coast lines of Andalucia and Cantabria on fishing boats, helping the fishermen, with men who generation after generation have been accompanied by this dog.

Thanks to the arduous work and the dedication and fondness of the breeders, united in a constant work to encourage and protect the breed of the Spanish water dog, in a relatively small length of time, it has been converted into the Star Canine Breed of native Spain.

1. ORIGINS AND EVOLUTION:

Probably we will search to find, before the earliest water dog of all, how many existed. With respect to the theories of how they originated, no-one consolidated exact dates of their summaries and representations, and therefore, only by conjectures which must be validated or ratified by the archeological discoveries of written documents can we confirm their existence.

In the case of the Spanish Water dog, we can find hypothesis of all types, that it is a direct descendent of a supposed antiquated water dog from the Iberian Peninsula, to claims that it stems from the Barbet (French Water Dog) the chief of origin of all European water dogs.

The main hypothesis we use to maintain and distinguish the origin of this dog is of historical value and amounts to when the Bereberes or Arabs of North Africa arrived on the coasts of the South Peninsular and it is supposed that they brought a dog to Europe know in canine history as the Great Water Dog which seems to be of direct ancestry of Caniche.

George Leclerc, Earl of Bufón, naturist and french writer of 18th century, in his work "Natural History", mentioned that the water dog has possible African origins, referring to a historical dog used by the North African tribes to hunt in aquatic zones. He described the dog as having curly hair, of medium size and strong build: illustrating this description through a print where we can see a dog which strongly resembles our dog, in a rustic scene. This author also confirms that the little Barbet which later could be from Caniche, derived from the cross of "Espagneut" and we therefore consider that the original existence of the water dog originated in Spain, possibly from Caniche.

Another person who also confirms its origin is the great Frenchwoman and president of the French Caniche Club and author of a respected book. Whilst carrying out investigations necessary for her work, she encountered conclusive data that they were taken to Andalucia and said " the water dogs' origin is from the invasion of the Arabs to the Iberian Peninsula."
  

A curious theory is the naming of the dog as "Turk", and others which, defend the existence of references since 10th century and refer to the possibility that they arrived with the muslim domination of the Iberian Peninsula. Also, they consider the possibility that they were introduced between the end of the 18th and beginning of 19th century when Turkish people crossed by boat to transport Spanish merino sheep to Australia, demonstrating that this dog was greatly used in managing livestock.

The existence of this class of dog which lived in the Iberian Peninusula, and which despite the invasion of foreign breeds of dogs, is still considered a pure breed and has continued, as if by magic, as a stable population. The reason it exists, has not become extinct and has maintained its purity is due to its incredible capacity to work. Therefore, the Spanish Water Dog is a breed chosen for its functionality, intelligence and as a secondary point, the most prevalent distinctive quality, its' coat. The thoughts about the selected water dogs isn't to promote an international image of the dog, but to obtain dogs which go to work for the best possible results.

Until now, the genetic characteristics of the Spanish Water Dog, almost without change, has been thanks to its versatility. The Spanish Water Dog has traditionally and with great efficiency workedshepherding with as many goats as sheep

in Andalucia and parts of Extremadura, as a retriever in hunting in all the mudflats/saltmarshes in the peninsula, principally in the South and as an auxiliary for the fishermen emphasising in its work two important factors; one in the North, with coastal associations in Cantabro~astur and the Basque Country, and the other in Andalucian associations, traditionally accompanying the fishermen of both areas assisting in the labours of fishing.

  
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