A rustic breed of the Iberian Peninsula, the Spanish Water Dog is a sturdy, medium sized, well proportioned, athletic dog that is suited to perform a variety of tasks including herding, hunting, and assisting fishermen. He is a loyal, vigilant, and intelligent working dog with strong herding instincts. His working ability is attributed to an intense desire to please. In profile, the Spanish Water Dog is slightly longer than tall. He has a distinctive curly coat, which is adapted to the variation of humidity and drought of his homeland.
Head is in balance with the body.
Expression is alert and attentive.
Eyes are slightly oblique, very expressive and have a shade of brown from hazel to dark chestnut, with the color harmonizing with the coat.
Ears are set at medium height at eye level. They are drooping and triangular in shape with slightly rounded tips. The tips should not reach past the inside corner of the eye.
Neck is in proportion to the length of the body; strong and slightly arched, blending smoothly into the shoulders.
Topline is straight.
Body is robust. The body is slightly longer than tall in an approximate ratio of nine to eight measured from the point of shoulder to the point of buttocks. The length of the back comes from the length of the ribcage, not from that of the loin. Chest is broad and well let down, reaching at least the elbows. Ratio of depth of chest to height at withers is 50 percent of the height. Ribs are well sprung. Tuck-up is slight. Back is straight and powerful. Loin is short. Croup is slightly sloping.
Shoulders are well-muscled and well-laid back and approximately the same length as the upper arm. The upper arm and scapula form approximately a 90-degree angle. Elbows are close to the chest and turn neither in nor out. Legs are straight, and strong with moderate bone. Pasterns are strong and flexible. Front dewclaws may be removed. Feet are round and compact. Toes are tight and well arched
The hindquarters give an impression of strength and energetic impulsion. Angulation is in balance with the front. Upper thigh is well muscled. Stifle is well bent. Second thigh is well developed. Hock joint is well let down. Rear pastern is short and perpendicular to the ground. Dewclaws if present are to be removed. Feet are as the front.
The hair is a single coat, always curly and of a wooly texture. It is never brushed or combed and is shown either in natural curls or in rustic cords with tapered tips. The ends of the cords usually show a curl. The entire body, including the head, should be well covered with hair. In full coat, the hair will cover the eyes. Clipped subjects are allowed, the clipping always complete and even, never to become an “aesthetic” grooming. Minimal hygienic trimming is allowed but should not be noticeable on presentation. For shows, the recommended extended length of the coat is between 1 inch and 5 inches to demonstrate the quality of the curl or cord. Any brushing, aesthetic trimming, or sculpting of the coat that alters natural appearance is to be severely penalized. Traditionally, the Spanish Water Dog was sheared one time per year (with the sheep), the same length all over. Disqualification – Smooth or wavy coat.