The American Water Spaniel Field Association

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AWSFA History

The American Water Spaniel Field Association was first formed in 1993. Beginning with a membership base in Michigan, the "Association," as it has come to be known, quickly picked up members throughout the United States. Today's members are still found principally in the Great Lakes region but can also be found in other states and even in Europe. The group took the name of "Field Association" to represent the principal interests of its early members which continues to permeate through the membership and activities of the organization.

At the core of the AWSFA is a high level of interest in field training, hunting, and field-testing the AWS. Today we are an organization that also supports obedience trials, dog shows, agility trials, health issues, better breeding, and other activities. In short, if you have an AWS or are interested in the AWS then the Association has something for you.

Breed History

The American Water Spaniel was developed as a hunting dog in the mid to late 1800ís. Like many breeds the true history of the AWS is shrouded in mystery and legend. Today most people accept the idea that the breed's development occurred along the Wolf and Fox River valleys of Wisconsin. It is likely that there were three principal breeds utilized to produce the AWS - the English Water Spaniel, Curly Coated Retriever, and Irish Water Spaniel.

In the market hunting days of our nation's history, hunters needed a dog that could function on land as well as in the marsh and that could easily fit into a canoe or skiff without taking up much room. The AWS fit the bill and most breed historians will tell you that Midwest market hunters made wide use of this dog. The AWS was not formally recognized as a purebred dog until the United Kennel Club did so in 1920, followed by the Field Dog Stud Book in 1938, and finally by the American Kennel Club in 1940.

Having reached its peak of popularity probably some time in the 1920ís and 1930ís the AWS has become the "Forgotten American" at many times in its history. Still, with the tenacity of spirit that exemplifies this little brown dog, the breed's enthusiasts have managed to maintain a reasonable population that is not likely to disappear from the scene any time soon.

American Water Spaniel Field Association, Inc.

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