Spanish Waterdog (Perro de Agua Español) – Dog Breed.
Ancestors of the Spanish Water Dog have inhabited the Iberian Peninsula since at least 1110 AD. In reports from this period was described a woolly-coated Water Dog, which is regarded to be a forebear of the whole group of water dogs. It’s debatable as to how this dog initially arrived to this region. One theory proposes that it was imported there by Turkish traders who travelled throughout the Mediterranean with their cattle. There is also a suggestion that forefathers of the breed originated from African continent.
In its native Spain the Spanish Water Dog was charged primarily with herding task. In the XVIII century a large firm called «La Mesta» was engaged in driving a livestock from south to north of Spain and back again in order to find for it rich pastures. Dogs invariably accompanied grazing animals and were responsible both for guarding and herding a livestock. This long route was also known as «Trashumancia». However, this route gradually ceased to exist during Napoleon’s occupation. French noblemen were fascinated by the Spanish Water Dog and brought several specimens to Paris. In the following century it enjoyed the favour of Spanish and French Royalty and was oftentimes depicted alongside with the members of royal families.
The industrial revolution brought major changes to vast territories of Spain although some parts of it remained unaffected. Thus the Spanish Water Dog was still of a great use in the southern areas of this country (particularly in Cadiz and in the mountains of Malaga in Andalucia) thanks to its capability to work in the highlands. In the ports of Seville, Algecieras and Malaga it was also tasked to tow boats ashore. Later, when technology made this work unnecessary, the dog was re-trained to work as a fisherman’s assistant in the northern areas of the country. Some dogs also specialised in hunting waterfowl and upland game.
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