The Spanish Water Dog is an intelligent and versatile working dog with strong herding, hunting and guardian instincts. He is an exceptional companion, attentive and animated, showing strength and stamina combined with unusual agility. He is versatile and easily trained, performing his assigned tasks with competence and dignity. He is reserved with strangers but should not exhibit shyness. Although an authoritative worker, viciousness toward people or animals is intolerable.
This ancient breed has been known by many different names such as Perro de Agua, Perro Turco and Perro de Lanas. There are several proposed theories of its origin, the most popular being that the breed was introduced by the Turks who used them as sheepdogs. It is widely accepted that the wooly-coated water dogs, that have been documented as existing on the Iberian Peninsula in 1110 AD, were in fact the ancestors of the modern breed. The breed has been used to help fisherman with retrieving their tackle and nets, and farmers as a gundog, sheepdog and retriever. In the mid 1970s, Antonio Perez and Santiago Rubio travelled around Spain collecting dogs that could be used to establish and develop a breed standard. This breed is still used in southern Spain for herding sheep and goats. They are also used by the Spanish Government as search and rescue dogs and for bomb and drug detection. In 1985, the breed was accepted by la Real Sociedad Central de Fomento de las Razas Caninas en España (RSCE). The Spanish Water Dog has been assigned the Sporting Group designation by the American Kennel Club and is a Foundation Stock Service breed.