With event, Wisconsin’s state dog returns to breed’s place of origin
The American Water Spaniel Club (AWSC) returns to the breed’s home state of Wisconsin Aug. 2-6 for its National Specialty event that will take place this year in Clintonville.
Historical accounts credit waterfowlers in the Fox River area of Wisconsin for creating the American water spaniel breed in the 19th century during the market hunting era. Canine historians believe dog breeders at that time mixed the English water spaniel, Irish water spaniel, curly-coated retriever, curs, the poodle, and another one or two field spaniel breeds to come up with the American water spaniel.
Wisconsin legislators approved the breed as the state dog in 1985.
The event will open with the AWSC National Specialty Show Olen Park in Clintonville on Thursday, Aug. 3 at 9 a.m. The show includes demonstrations and competitions in obedience, rally, sweepstakes, junior showmanship, and conformation. In the rally phase, the little dogs are asked to perform specified commands and tasks at 10 to 20 stations.
Hunt tests will be conducted Aug. 4-5. The dogs will be judged against a set standard in settings that mirror hunting situations. The dogs will participate in field hunting, land retrieving, and water retrieving events. The hunt tests will take place at the Wolf River Game Farm, W6796 State Highway 156 in Shiocton.
The AWSC National Specialty will wrap up on Aug. 6 with a “roustabout,” also at the Wolf River Game Farm. A roustabout is a competitive upland hunt involving a single dog and two hunters. The dogs must find and flush three planted gamebirds; the hunters carry three shells each. The team has 15 minutes to bag all three birds and will be scored based upon flushes, retrieves, remaining shells, and leftover time.
The event is open to the public.
“Consider taking some time to meet the state of Wisconsin’s official dog and watch them in action,” said Tim Otto, an event planner.
Contact Otto at (715) 902-0582 for more information.