The exterior of the Perro de Agua Español




Proportion and sizes

The tail

In Spain, the country of origin of the PAE, the tail is commonly docked. Some of the  reasons for docking are:

The dogs wet the boat during the fishing

The dogs tail get caught in thorn bushes when the dog is hurding or is retrieving the (shot) wild

Pigs, bite the tail off (Perros sometimes work with pigs too)

The dog looks better and is prettier without his tail

In the Netherlands and in some other countries, it is forbidden by law to dock the tail of dogs. In the Netherlands dogs are hardly held for working purposes. So it is not necessary anymore to dock the tail for this reason. Docking for aesthetical reasons (making the dog prettier) is not ethically accepted anymore in Dutch society and therefor this is forbidden by law. The only exception is made for dogs that still do their original work and for that reason need to be docked.

To get back to the Perro de Agua Español. In the Netherlands puppies aren’t docked. It was unknown what the tail of the Spanish Waterdog looks like (how long, how thick and in what position), the tails of the puppies differ very much. The most tails are positioned in a small curl upwards. And many dogs carry their tail like a wip. Furthermore, some perros carry their tail like a pigtail, in a strong curl with a twist.

docked tail

curly tail    

pig tail

whip tail


When importing a puppy from a coutry were docking is still allowed, it is wise to discuss with the breeder if the dog has to be docked or not.  Be noticed; a dog with a docked tail is not allowed to enter dog shows or exhibitions and official contests in some countries like Germany and Finland!

In the Netherlands docked dogs are allowed when there is no ban on docking in the country of origin.

Within the breed, it occurs that dogs are born with a natural short tail. This is a genetic disorder. The opinion of experts differ if this disorder is a failure or not. the dogs doesn't seem to bother. Natural born short tails can be very short, just an centimetre, or can be almost complete in length. The natural born short tail can be recognised often by the point of the tail. the natural short tail ends in a point, just like a normal long tail. Also when the tail is just a few centimetres. A docked tail always ends flat. A natural born short tail must always be accompanied by a declaration of a vet that the puppy was borned with a short tail. This will also be mentioned on the pedigree.

The colour

There are several varieties in colour of the coat within the breed of the Perro de Agua Español. Underneath, the different colours and spotted variety are described.

Black: the colour black speaks for itself. When a dog is completely black, almost in all cases the Spanish Waterdogs have some white spots on the chest or white toes. Completely black dogs are rare. The black coat can give a rust-coloured gloss over the black colour. The black colour is dominant over brown. 

Drago del Masseltet


Brown: The colour brown is an apart case within the breed of the Spanish Waterdog. Dogs that are of brown colour can change from brown colours their whole life. There are dogs that were almost completely black (dark brown) when they were born. After the first time shaving them, the colour changed into grey. When the coat grows longer, the dogs colour changed back to darker brown. Underneath there are pictures of dogs that changed brown colours. The first three photos are from Yerba del Pipa Casita. The photos under these are from Leipie Fehaér Masco. (Boef). There are beige-coloured dogs too. In Spain, these dogs have got a different colour called 'Canello'. In the Netherlands the colour can be compared with a Golden Retriever colour. The last pictures underneath are from two beige-coloured dogs. The first one, Bemilena de JMacelia, is spotted too; she has a white collar. The second dog, Cruz Fehaér Masco is completely beige-coloured.

Yerba del Pipa Casita

Leipie Fehaér Masco

Bemilena de JMacelia

Cruz Fehaér Masco

Together with the completely coloured dogs, there are three kinds of spotted colour within the breed. These spotted coloured dogs can be spotted with black-and-white, brown-and-white and beige-and-white. The spotted coloured varieties are based on the S-locus or S-gene. These genes have got influence on the pigmentation, or the white parts of the coat.

  1. The S-gene is responsible for a completely coloured coat. There are no white spots except some spots on the chest and on the toes.

  2. The most dominant recessive gene after S is the si, the i stands for Irish spotting. This gene makes some parts of the coat white coloured: the upper parts of the nose (from the nose to the eyes), cheeks, front-head, feet, end part of the tail, neck, throat, chest and belly. This gene often gives a sort of pattern of a white collar, blaze, end of tail and socks. Underneath is one expample picture given.

  3. The gene lower in rank than the si gene, is the sp gene, the p stands for Piebald spotting. This gene is responsible for a spotted colour that can vary from merely white to almost no white spots. The spotted colour can be compared with the spots on regular Dutch cows. Underneath are two examples given.

    Salsa de la Tarde Gris

    Azko de Jelova

  4. The last gene and lowest in rank, sw , gives an extremely spotted colour. The dogs are completely white and have coloured eyes and nose (no albinos). This spotted colour is often compared with a covering sheet over the dogs. Sometimes there are some holes in the sheet, where the original colour is showed. These holes mostly appear near the ear, eye or at a part of the start of the tail. The picture below is an example of this spotted colour.


Chica Fehaér Masco

used source:: Elementaire kynologische kennis, van R. van der Molen).

There are some 'unwanted' colours or varieties too. Black-and-tan, albino, three coloured dogs (black, brown and white) and completely covered with spots, like a Dalmatian dog.

The coat

The coat of the Spanish Waterdog is curly and grows into cords. When they grow longer they felt. Often swimming results into the easy growing of the coat into cords. For information on taking care of the coat, look at care. Below photos of the coat in curls and cords.

curly coat        cords / felts

The proportions and sizes

According to the breeding standard, the proportion ratio of length / height, for an ideal Spanish Waterdog, has to be 9 / 8. Most dogs in the Netherlands are a bit longer.

The height of an adult male dog has to be between 41 and 50 centimetres. The weight of an adult male dog is between 16 and 20 kilograms. A bit heavier males often occur.

The height of an adult bitch has to be between 38 and 45 centimetres. The weight of an adult bitch is between 12 and 16 kilograms. A bit heavier bitches often occur also.

The tail, if not docked, is from adult dogs about 30 centimetres long, medium high placed.