The history of the Perro de Agua Español

There are several versions of the history of the Spanish Waterdog. This is just one story. If there are any uncertainties or faults, please mail other stories of the history to perro@spaansewaterhond.info.

About the 10e and 11e century AD Turkish sailors set sail to the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea en had trade with the countries in this area. These traders used dogs as help on the ships and for guarding. These dogs are probably the ancestors of the modern Spanish Waterdog and the related dogbreeds like the French Barbet, the Portuguese Waterdog, the Lagotto Romagnolo from Italy and perhaps the Wetterhoun from the Netherlands. In Spain the Perro de Agua Español was and is used as help for the fishermen, shepherd for goats, sheep and pigs and as gundog for mostly waterfowl. The breed is used as working dog for hundreds of years and has changed little in these years. This without official registration of the breed. The most dogs live in Andalusia in southern Spain.

For working purposes the Spanish Waterdog is often cut at the back. Like poodles and Portugese Waterdogs nowadays.
Underneath two paintings with dogs that possibly are Spanish Waterdogs. It is uncertain if these are spanish Waterdogs. Most likely, the first painting is, because it's from a Spanish painter. The poodle on the painting of Rembrandt looks  a lot like a Spanish Waterdog.

"La fuente de Eibar" (The Spring of Eibar) of Zuloaga (1888)

Self-portrait in oriental attire with poodle of Rembrandt van Rijn (1631-1633)

In 1975 two pioneers, Antonio Garcia Perez and Santiago de Montesinos, start to take stock of the Perro de Agua Español with shepherds and hunters from the mountains of the Malaga and Cadiz region and with fishermen from Andalusia. After this, they start to search for the dogs with the best 'PDAE signs’. In corporation with the committee of Spanish breeds, in 1980 the Spanish Waterdog club in Spain was founded. Mr. Santiago de Montesinos was chairman. From 1980 to May 1985 Spanish Waterdogs were exhibited on dogshows in Spain and announced to the Spanish Dog fancying world. In 1985 it was allowed for a Spanish Waterdog to join the international dogshow of Madrid. After this, 40 Spanish Waterdogs from the region of Malaga and Cadiz and 5 from Santander, were led to these men to show the dogs on Spanish dogshows. This finally resulted into the recognition of the Perro de Agua Español breed by the FCI. The PDAE was settled in group 8, section 3, number 336 (S. Alonso, 2001).


More pictures of Spanish Waterdogs at work