Frequently Asked Questions

Many people email or call Antonio García with a series of questions about the Spanish Water Dog that are repeated frequently. That’s why we’ve opened this section to answer them. Antonio García will attempt to personally answer each of them.

At what age can I first groom my puppy?

I always respond that from 3 to 4 months onward is fine, regardless of the time of year if the puppy lives indoors. It’s best to avoid grooming in winter if the puppy sleeps outdoors in the garden, terrace, patio, or in the countryside. Always consider that humidity is worse for a dog than dry cold.

When can I bathe my puppy for the first time?

You can bathe your puppy starting at 7 weeks of age, whenever you want, but make sure to dry it thoroughly. The puppy should not remain damp.

How often can I bathe my puppy?

There’s no rule saying you must bathe them weekly, monthly, or systematically. I often hear friends with water dogs say, “Today’s the day to bathe the dog.” Why? I ask. Perhaps the dog doesn’t want to be bathed so often, diminishing its natural smell with shampoo and perfumes. It’s clear that a dog living indoors, with access to every room, should be clean and without “strange” odors for us. I believe a monthly bath is sufficient for any outdoor dog, and a biweekly one for indoor dogs. This doesn’t mean that if a dog has been outside rolling in unpleasant substances like feces or decaying meat, it shouldn’t be bathed promptly. Dogs do this instinctively, picking up odors that are unpleasant to humans. There’s a logical ethological explanation for this, but it’s not relevant to discuss here. Our dogs go in and out of pools as they please; some even play at night fetching floating objects in pools, drying themselves outdoors and not smelling bad. This isn’t to say that when I have to take one of them to a therapy session (school, hospital, nursing home, etc.), we don’t thoroughly bathe and dry them and try to make them look as presentable as possible. Some male Spanish Water Dogs have a strong urine odor and wet or fill the hair around the penis when urinating; I recommend keeping this area hair-free, that is, shaved. This prevents urine from accumulating there and taking a long time to dry. In summary, a dog’s penis should be very short-shaved to avoid it smelling like dog urine in enclosed spaces. In both males and females, the anal area should also be hair-free to prevent bits of feces from sticking, especially when the stool is somewhat soft. If a dog gets covered in feces and comes inside, it will smell just like if we stepped in dog feces on the street and tracked it in on our shoe.

What should I do to prevent my female dog from staining the house when she’s in heat?

It’s very easy—use a small sanitary pad and specific panties. Spanish Water Dogs stain very little and only during the first few days of heat; they easily get used to wearing the pad and panties for 8 to 10 days.

Can I comb or brush my Spanish Water Dog?

No, the breed standard prohibits it. To prevent their woolly coat from matting or forming knots, use your index and thumb to open the cords as they start to form, from the outside in. If you spend about 10 minutes a day doing this, your dog will have a beautifully corded coat. To be continued…