Are Spanish Water Dogs Hypoallergenic?

Yes! The Spanish Water Dog is a low-maintenance, hypoallergenic breed that hardly sheds or drools.

The Hypoallergenic Spanish Water Dog

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If you are considering a dog that is intelligent, active, and easy to train, then a Spanish Water Dog is the perfect choice for you! This versatile ball of fur would be the ideal companion for someone with an active lifestyle. 

They come from Spain, where they were used as herders, retrievers, protectors, and all-around working dogs. Sometimes referred to as an ‘SWD,’ the Spanish Water Dog is friendly, adaptable, and loves to be around people

SWDs are incredibly low maintenance when it comes to grooming. As they are a non-shedding breed with a low drooling tendency, they’re also hypoallergenic. If you are allergic to dogs, the Spanish Water Dog might be the breed for you!


The origin of Spanish Water Dogs is debatable. One theory says that they accompanied Turkish traders on boats to Spain and are therefore sometimes called Turkish dogs. Another theory says that they were brought from North Africa by the Moors!

For a quick summary of the Spanish Water Dog skip to our Spanish Water Dog breed summary further down the page.

Spanish Water Dog Quick Facts

Hypoallergenic Dog:
Low shedding
Breed Group:
12 – 14 years
Energy Level:
Family Dog:
Not young kids


About the Breed

The Spanish Water Dog’s Physical Characteristics and Coat

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A rustic breed, Spanish Water Dogs are sturdy and athletic. Their attentiveness and muscular build make them perfect for herding and retrieving. These medium-sized dogs are slightly longer than they are tall. 

The height of a male Spanish Water Dog is anywhere between 17 and 20 inches (44 to 50 cm). By comparison, a female would stand around 16 to 18 inches (40 to 45 cm). The weight may range from 40 to 48 pounds (18 to 22 kilograms) in males and 34 to 40 pounds (16 to 18 kilograms) in females. 

They have droopy ears and oblique eyes that are very expressive and human-like. Their eye color is usually some shade of brown, complementing their coat, whereas the nose is pigmented in the darkest color of their coat.

The coat of the Spanish Water Dog is one of a kind. It is naturally curly with a woollen texture that doesn’t need brushing. If allowed to grow, it forms chords. The chords, if left as they are, form dreadlocks. The coat not only provides them with protection and insulation but it’s also water repellent. However, the best part of a Spanish Water Dog’s coat is that it sheds minimally! These dogs do not produce a lot of dander, which makes them a hypoallergenic dog breed.

Spanish Water Dogs can be found in a range of colors, including black, white, brown, and shades of beige. SWDs can also be bi-colored, where the secondary color is usually white. 

Spanish Water Dog Temperament

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Spanish Water Dogs are versatile. They are high energy dogs that are also diligent, loyal, and approachable. If you are an athletic person or have a big family, an SWD would make an excellent companion or family dog – given the right training. That being said, some SWDs have a tendency to nip, and might not be suitable for children under the age of 7. 

They love being outdoors and enjoy playing, so your SWD would love to accompany you on a hike or “assist” you in fishing! It will act as the protector and guardian of the family. Spanish Water Dogs make excellent watchdogs, due to their cautious nature. 

Within the family, Spanish Water Dogs tend to choose one member as their soul person – it is mostly the person who feeds them! They are a devoted and dedicated pet to have. Even though they are described as ‘Velcro Dog,’ the SWD can also be reasonably independent  when it comes to the way that they think. That means they can sometimes be stubborn in training.

This breed is highly intelligent and has a strong work ethic. They always need something to do! If they have been idle for too long, you might get to see some unusual projects they take upon themselves to keep busy. They’re also known to have a good sense of humour. I once heard of a Spanish Water Dog who took upon himself to take off the socks of his owner, every time she fell asleep! 


AKC officially recognised the Spanish Water Dogs in 2015!

Characteristics of a Spanish Water Dog

Are you considering getting a Spanish Water Dog? Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Spanish Water Dogs are incredibly energetic and need constant activity, so they pair well with a young, active person.
  • They can be distrustful of a stranger in their house. So, in case you hire a dog walker or dog sitter, make sure you familiarize your SWD with them in your presence. Their suspiciousness is a part of their guarding instinct — a trait they inherited from their ancestors.
  • They are intelligent and independent dogs. You should have some ex
  • With such a versatile personality, no two Spanish Water Dogs are alike. It’s a good idea to talk to the breeder about what you are looking for in a dog. Dog parents with nice personalities are likely to have well-behaved puppies!
  • They have a high prey drive and can be nippy. So, it is not a good idea to have your SWD around small animals and kids, unless they have been socialized with them since puppyhood. 
  • SWDs can be expensive to purchase, yet they are devoted and loyal.

Exercise & Training

Encouraging Good Behaviour in Your Spanish Water Dog

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As an intelligent breed, your Spanish Water Dog will respond effectively to training. The energetic SWDs love problem solving and thrive on positive reinforcement. But keep in mind, intelligence comes with sensitivity! Your SWD will not react well to tough training. It may lead to loss of fervour for the task at hand. When trained the right way, they are incredibly docile and would do anything to please you. 

Spanish Water Dogs tend to be independent and have a somewhat rebellious nature toward lenient authority. Therefore, training them can be an overwhelming experience for novice owners. They are well-suited for an experienced dog trainer. Under the right guidance, an SWD needs minimal instructions to learn new tricks and commands. 

Given their herding, guarding, and hunting instinct, this breed has a high prey-drive. This makes consistent recall an essential part of Spanish Water Dog training. “Recall” is what dog trainers call it when a dog comes to you when you call them. 

The Spanish Water Dog’s protective nature makes them cautious of strangers, and they may show standoffish behaviour to unknown people! Extensive socializing from a young age is crucial to their upbringing.

Exercise Needs for the Spanish Water Dog

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Spanish Water Dogs need loads of exercise — physically, as well as mentally. 

Getting a good run once a day would be ideal for them. They love to be in open spaces: exploring, running, playing catch, and retrieving. If you have a dog park nearby, your SWD would love to socialize with other dogs. They also love water and will jump in as soon as an opportunity presents itself! 

If you are an experienced dog owner with an active lifestyle, this breed would be an excellent match for you! Your Spanish Water Dog could be a great companion for hiking, swimming, or running

Task-driven activities are great for their mental and physical stimulation. These could include agility training, flyball, or tracking. 



Unlike the name suggests, the Spanish Water Dog is not actually a water dog. This non-shedding, hypoallergenic ancient breed has been used for herding and protection purposes for centuries.

Grooming and Care

Maintaining Your Spanish Water Dog’s Coat

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The most important point you need to understand about a Spanish Water Dog’s grooming is never to brush their coat if you’re keeping them in a show cut! The coat should be of equal length everywhere.

This non-shedding, hypoallergenic breed needs minimal grooming. The length of the coat can be kept according to the owner’s preference, so if you would prefer something with less maintenance, try keeping your SWD in a “puppy cut” instead. Ask your groomer for more advice about different hairstyles for your pooch. 

You can clip or shave your Spanish Water Dog once or twice a year. If allowed to grow for months, their coat forms chords. Some attention is required to maintain the chords, though. Separating them by hand lessens the risk of matting. 

Regular bathing is not necessary when it comes to SWDs! It could remove the essential waterproofing oils from their fur if you bathe them too often. You can wash them with lukewarm water and use a pet-safe shampoo if they get dirty. 

Teeth, Ears, and Nail Care for the Spanish Water Dog

When it comes to basic care, you must brush your dog’s teeth frequently, with a pet toothpaste approved by your vet. This will help prevent gum disease, tartar, and bad breath.

Spanish Water Dogs have droopy ears which could lead to moisture build-up in their ear canal. This can make them prone to fungal and bacterial infections. Cleaning their ears regularly is vital to ensure the health of your precious SWD. Remember only to use cotton balls for cleaning ears, as their eardrums could end up getting damaged if you use Q-Tips. 

Ideally, you should trim their nails every two weeks. Dogs have blood vessels in their toenails, called “quicks,” so be very careful when trimming, to make sure you don’t cut them. 

Spanish Water Dog Health Issues and Care

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An overall healthy breed, Spanish Water Dogs are prone to some common health problems and genetic diseases. When buying your SWD, make sure the breeder provides you with proper information about associated health problems, or a health guarantee. 

A good breeder, who has had his dogs screened for health conditions common to the SWD, is your best bet for getting a healthy pup! 

Spanish Water Dog Health Problems

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Addison’s disease lethargy
Lack of appetite
Weight loss
Increased thirsturination frequency increased. 
Oral Medication and injections prescribed by the vet. This disease cannot be avoided.
Affected dogs should not be bred.
Hip dysplasia Reduced activity 

Limited range of motion Looseness in the joint 

Limping from the hind end

Slender stance

Weight maintenance

Joint Injections 

Physical Therapy

Maintaining a healthy weight
Congenital Hypothyroidism
Mental dullness
weight gain
Oral medication for life.

hormone treatment

Regular check to maintain a healthy weight
Glaucoma The eyeball may diminish back into the head

Increased eye blinking
eye redness
Cloudy eyes
Dilated pupil
loss of vision

Vet prescribed medication Do not use tight collars

Provide good nutrition

If possible, provide supplemental antioxidants.

 Take your dog for regular eye exams

Progressive retinal atrophy
Night blindness.

May lead to complete blindness.
unable to see clearly in bright light.

Dilated pupils.
abnormal pupil response to light.

None The puppy should not be bred.

Parents should be screened for PRA

Otitis Externa Head shaking (when given an ear rub)

Inflamed ear (underside)

Repeated scratching of ears

Unpleasant ear smell

Apparent pain

Waxy discharge

Tiredness and irritability

Topical ear medication Check the dog’s ear regularly.

Note any temperature changes, a sudden increase in moisture, skin color change, and other changes,

Neuroaxonal Dystrophy High stepping gait Incontinence 

Poor coordination tremors Uncontrolled defecation 

Stumbling Head Deficiency of vitamin E (causes cell damage) Secondary pneumonia

No cure Hereditary disease.

The puppy’s parents should be screened for

Neuroaxonal Dystrophy 

Allergies Itchy red or scabbed skin
Itchy, runny eyesSneezingIncreased scrabbling at the back of tail (Often due to fleas)Excessive licking
Food allergies may lead to excessive Chewing on feet
Bloated Pads
anti-allergy Medications

In case of severe reaction (difficulty in breathing, swollen tongue, or falling asleep while standing) contact the vet immediately!
The vet will give them a cortisone shot.

Feed your dog with High-quality food. Canidae is a good option.

Wipe Down the paws and tummy after playing outside.

Use an anti-itch dog shampoo.



Overall, Spanish Water Dogs make fantastic companions. They are affectionate, devoted, diligent, and extremely faithful. SWDs love to be around people but can be wary of strangers. However, they need to socialize from an early age! 

Your SWD will make an excellent retriever, herder, watchdog, and working dog. Highly intelligent and active, they require an ample amount of mental and physical stimulation. Training SWDs is easy with positive reinforcement.

They are, fundamentally, non-shedding dogs that salivate very little and have a minimal amount of dander

If trained well, loved properly, and nurtured, the woolly Spanish Water Dog will be the best buddy you could ever have! 

Spanish Water Dog FAQ

Do Spanish Water Dogs Shed?

No. The Spanish Water Dog is a non-shedding, hypoallergenic dog that rarely drools and produces little dander.

Do Spanish Water Dogs Bark a Lot?

Not really. Spanish Water Dogs bark occasionally. It usually depends on how they are feeling and what they are trying to convey. They could bark to alert you for your protection, out of fear or boredom, to get your attention, or to greet you. 

Are Spanish Water Dogs Good for Allergy Sufferers?

Yes! Spanish Water Dogs are hypoallergenic. They do well with people who suffer from dog allergies. 

Is the Spanish Water Dog Good With Children?

No. Spanish Water Dogs are not the most kid-friendly breed because they can have a strong herding instinct that can cause them to nip at small children

Is the Spanish Water Dog Intelligent?

Yes! The Spanish Water Dog is highly intelligent. These dogs are also extremely active and easy to train. 

Is the Spanish Water Dog Good to Keep in an Apartment?

Yes! As long as they are meeting their daily exercise requirement, Spanish Water Dogs can adapt to all kinds of circumstances and environments. Indoors, they can be pretty laid back, once their mental and physical needs are met.

How big is the Spanish Water Dog?

Spanish Water Dogs are medium-sized dogs. They are slightly longer than they are tall. Their height can range from 16 to 20 inches and their weight range is anywhere between 35 and 45 lbs. 

Is the Spanish Water Dog Easy to Train?

Yes! The Spanish Water Dog is intelligent and easy to train. They need minimal instructions to learn new tricks and commands. They respond well to positive reinforcement, however, correction-based training is not recommended for this breed.

How Much Does a Spanish Water Dog Cost?

They’re expensive! The Spanish Water Dog averages $1,600 – $2,400 per puppy.

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