Some researchers believe that this dog is the genetic base for a number of hunting breeds, including spaniels and the Portuguese water dog. Highly intelligent, agile and easy to train, the Spanish water dog is a medium-sized canine that's well equipped for flushing and retrieving water fowl and game. Its dense wool, however, makes the breed better suited for water activities than hunting in the brush, where it's much more likely to get tangled [source: Dog Breed Info Center].
Spanish water dogs have been employed as sheep and goat herders in Spain's Andalucía region for centuries. One of many theories of the breed's origin is that Turkish merchants brought the dog to southern Spain to herd livestock as they moved throughout the Mediterranean. Spanish water dogs are also used for search and rescue missions, as well as bomb and narcotics detection. In recent years, they've become popular show dogs [source: Spanish Water Dog Club].