Official Standard


FCI Standard No 336

Translation: Mrs. Tricia Haro, member of Real Sociedad Canina de España.
Origen: Spain

Official recognition of the breed by the Real Sociedad Canina de España and the Ministery of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, April 1983.

First Initial Register (RRC) May 1985.

Publication of the original standard 03.09.1999.

Publication of the actually valid standard, 10.12.2019

Utilization: Herding, hunting and fishing.

FCI Classification. Group 8 retrievers, flushing and water dogs.

Section 3: Water dogs, with working tests since February 2015.BREVE RESUMEN

Brief History

It has been known on the peninsula since 1110 and belongs to the same trunk as the Portuguese Water Dog and the ancient “Barbet.” After the Spanish Civil War, in 1940, the numbers were in decline with the most numerous being in Andalusia, being used for herding and fishing. They had been known for centuries as “perros de agua,” “perro de aguas,” “turco,” “laneto,” and “churro”; a smaller number could also be found on the Cantabrian Cornice. Its physiognomy and distinctive conformation of their coat adapts well to the changes in temperature of the extreme cold of the high Sierras of Cádiz and Málaga and the north of Spain in winter and the puddles and drought in the marshes in the summer, the same as its functionality as a herding dog, aquatic hunter and aide to fishermen.

General appearance

A rustic dog, slightly longer than tall, well-muscled and athletic due to its constant activity. In profile rectilinear. With a well-developed sense of sight, smell and hearing.

Important proportions

  • Length of body / height 9 / 8
  • Depth of chest / height 4 / 8
  • Length muzzle / length skull 2 / 3

Temperament and behaviour

Faithful, obedient, brave, hardworking and gay. Has a great learning capability and extraordinary understanding and adapts to most situations. Should not show insecurity, fear, or aggressiveness.


Strong and held elegantly.


Skull: Occiput not prominent, somewhat longer than broad. The planes of the skull and muzzle are parallel, with a slight stop.

FACIAL REGION: nose straight.

Nose: Should have well defined and well opened nostrils. The pigmentation should be the same or darker than the darkest tone of the coat. Examples of lighter coats can have black or brown pigmentation. The nose should be completely pigmented.

Lips: Well defined and completely pigmented.

Teeth: Well formed, white and canines well developed. Complete scissor bite with full dentition. In adults of more than 4 years a pincer bite with wear of the fleur de lit due to work is allowed.

Eyes: Slightly oblique. Very expressive. Hazel or dark brown in colour according to the coat. Haws not visible and eye lids completely pigmented.

Ears: v shaped and dropped. Not too long should reach canines if they were measured.


Slightly short, muscular and with no dewlap. Well set into shoulders.


Robust, strong and slightly longer than tall as mentioned before. Bitches maybe slightly longer.

Top line: level.

Withers: not very pronounced.

Back: straight and strong.

Croup: slightly inclined.

Chest: Deep without passing the elbow, well sprung ribs providing heart and lung room. The measurement of the rib cage slightly more than the height at the withers.

Underline: Belly slightly drawn up.


Medium set. The tail of the Spanish Water Dog is long surpassing the hock and well covered in hair. There are examples of the breed that are natural bobs or with only a few vertebras, a short tail bent at the end or with half a tail. The desirable tail carriage is scimitar like although all are admitted except curled over the loin

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: strong, straight parallel legs between the feet and elbow.

  • Shoulders: Muscular and oblique.
  • Upperarm: Strong.
  • Elbows: Set close to body and parallel.
  • Forearm: Straight and strong.
  • Pastern: Straight. Short with slight inclination seen laterally.
  • Forefeet: Round tight feet, toenails may vary in colour. Pads strong.


Hindquarters: Strong showing the same internal distance between the feet and hocks, showing parallelism with the front. Perfectly upright with moderate angulation, thighs well-muscled to give the body drive whilst running and jumping with elegance.

  • Upper thigh: Long and muscled.
  • Lower thigh: Well developed.
  • Hocks: Straight and well let down.
  • Rear pastern: Short and perpendicular to the ground
  • Feet: The same characteristics as the forefeet.

Gait Movement

The preferred gait is the trot. firm, agile with powerful drive covering ground without elevation.

The amble is not desirable.


Flexible, fine and not loose. Can be pigmented in chestnut, black or without pigment according to the coat colour the same as the mucouses.


It should be the same length on all visible parts of the body as it grows at the same rate.

Hair: Always curled of a consistently woolly texture. Curled when short and can form cords
when long. Dogs that are clipped are allowed as long as it is completely uniform over the whole body, i.e. the coat must be the same length all over. No aesthetic clip allowed. The maximum length recommended for shows is 12 cm. (15 cm extending the curls.) The minimum is 1,5 cm to appreciate the quality of the curl. Puppies are always born with a wavy or curly coat.


  • Solid colours: Black, brown or white in various shades.
  • Particolour: Black and White, Brown and White in various shades. There can be
    groups of smaller patches near the larger patches which should not be apparent
    when the hair is long.

Tricolours (black, white and tan or brown, white and tan), black and tan and brown
and tan are not allowed. In Andalusia they are called “oritos”.

Size and weight

Height at the withers:

  • Male: 45 to 50 cm.
  • Female: 41 to 46 cm.

In both sexes you may pass the maximum by 2 cm as long as the general proportions are correct.

  • Weight: Male: 18 to 22 kilos.
  • Female: 14 to 18 kilos.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault, and the seriousness should be in proportion to the deviation from the standard.

Serious faults

  • Top line obviously hollow – saddle back.
  • The vertical position incorrect.
  • Forefeet or hindfeet turned in or out.
  • Elbows outside the body.
  • Narrow chest.
  • Faults in dentition.
  • Hanging belly or too drawn up.
  • Not showing alertness after stimulus from the judge.

Disqualifying faults

  • Overshot or undershot.
  • Dew claws on hind legs.
  • Straight or wavy coat. Hair groomed to cover up anatomical defects.
  • Albinism.
  • Spotted coat (as a Dalmatian or German Short Haired Pointer), black and tan, hazel, brown and tan (as in Dobermann).
  • Dogs with unbalanced character, shy or fearful, frightened, unsure or aggressive.

Any dog showing clear signs of physical or behavioural abnormality should be disqualified

N.B. Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

The grooming for the SWD should be symmetrical for the whole body and should be uniformly clipped on the whole body. No aesthetic clippings brushing or combing. The curls or knots of wool can be opened with the index fingers and thumb of each hand pulling from outside to inside to aide cording.