Labs vs. Other Dog Breeds

Labrador vs. American Water Spaniel

Jane Davis

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Welcome to the world of two exceptional dog breeds: the lovable Labrador Retriever and the spirited American Water Spaniel.

Both breeds boast unique characteristics that make them ideal companions for different lifestyles and preferences.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever, America’s favorite dog breed, exudes friendliness, outgoing nature, and high spirits. With a medium-to-large build, Labs stand between 21.5 to 24.5 inches at the shoulder and weigh 55 to 80 pounds, showcasing a sturdy and well-balanced physique.

Their dense, hard coat comes in three delightful colors: yellow, black, and chocolate. With wide heads, kind eyes, and a tapering “otter tail,” Labs continuously signal their eagerness to interact with their human family.

read.. Labrador FAQs answered

They are famously friendly and social, making them fantastic housemates who bond effortlessly with the whole family, including other pets and neighbors.

Despite their easygoing nature, Labs are enthusiastic athletes who require regular exercises like swimming and fetch games to keep their minds and bodies fit.

American Water Spaniel

Hailing from the lake country of the upper Midwest, the American Water Spaniel is an upbeat and outdoorsy athlete who revels in hunting and swimming.

Known for their charm and eagerness, they can be aloof with strangers and display some stubbornness.

With a height of 15-18 inches and weighing between 30 to 45 pounds for males and 25-40 pounds for females, these muscular midsize gundogs possess a luscious brown coat that is either tightly curled or wavy.

Bred to work in the Great Lakes region’s icy waters and marshy banks, they are well-equipped for the job with dense and waterproof coats, webbed toes, and thickly padded feet.

Their intelligence and versatility make them suitable for various dog sports, blending the working traits of spaniels and retrievers.

Keeping them active alongside their beloved humans is the key to their happiness, as an underemployed American Water Spaniel can become barky and destructive.

Comparison Table

Below is a comparison table highlighting the key characteristics of Labradors and American Water Spaniels:

CharacteristicLabrador RetrieverAmerican Water Spaniel
Size and WeightMedium-to-Large<br>(21.5-24.5 inches)<br>55-80 poundsMedium<br>(15-18 inches)<br>30-45 pounds (males)<br>25-40 pounds (females)
CoatDense, Hard<br>(Yellow, Black, Chocolate)Luscious Brown<br>(Tightly Curled or Wavy)
TemperamentFriendly, Outgoing, High-spirited, AffectionateHappy, Eager, Charming, Aloof with Strangers, Stubborn
Work EthicEager to Please, Quick Learners, Excel in CooperationHunting and Retrieving Instincts, Excellent Gundogs
IntelligenceIntelligent, Quick Learners, Excel in Various TasksIntelligent, Versatile, Suited for Dog Sports
Family FriendlinessExtremely Family-friendly, Bond Well with Children and PetsLoyal, Charming, Good Companions for Active Families
Protective InstinctNot Aggressive, May Alert to StrangersMay Exhibit Some Protective Behaviors, Focus on Hunting
Exercise NeedsEnthusiastic Athletes, Require Regular ExerciseActive Dogs, Require Regular Activity and Mental Stimulation
Suitable forFamilies, Active Individuals, Various Roles (Assistance, SAR)Active Families, Hunting Enthusiasts, Water and Field Activities

Work Ethic and Intelligence:

Both breeds are intelligent and capable workers, but they approach tasks with different motivations. Labradors, eager to please and quick learners, excel in various roles like assistance dogs, search and rescue, and therapy work.

Their work ethic is centered around their love for their human companions, and they thrive in activities that involve bonding and cooperation.

On the other hand, American Water Spaniels, with their hunting heritage, possess an inherent drive to work in the field and water.

Their intelligence is geared towards hunting and retrieving, making them adept gundogs. Engaging them in tasks that tap into their instincts will satisfy their work ethic and keep them content.

Verdict: It’s a tie. Both breeds are intelligent and excel in different types of work, with Labs thriving in cooperation activities, while American Water Spaniels excel in hunting and retrieving tasks.

Family Friendliness and Loyalty:

Labradors are renowned for their friendly and affectionate nature, making them fantastic family pets. They bond with all family members, including children and other pets, and are known for their gentle and patient demeanor. Similarly, American Water Spaniels are loyal and charming, making them great family dogs as well. However, they might be a bit aloof with strangers, but their devotion to their own family members is unwavering.

Verdict: Labradors might have a slight edge in family friendliness due to their unmatched social and patient nature, but American Water Spaniels are also loyal and make wonderful companions for active families.

Courage and Protective Instinct:

Labradors, with their friendly disposition, are not typically known for being protective guard dogs. They may alert their owners to the presence of strangers but are generally not aggressive.

In contrast, American Water Spaniels may exhibit some protective behaviors towards their family, but their primary focus is hunting and retrieving.

Verdict: It’s a tie. Neither breed is specifically bred for guarding, but American Water Spaniels might display slightly more protective instincts.


In conclusion, Labradors and American Water Spaniels are fantastic dog breeds with distinct strengths and qualities.

The Labrador Retriever is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a lovable, friendly, and patient family companion with a love for exercise and activities.

On the other hand, the American Water Spaniel might be the perfect fit if you’re an outdoorsy individual or family interested in hunting and water activities.

Ultimately, your lifestyle, preferences, and activity level should guide your decision. Whether you choose a Labrador or an American Water Spaniel, you’ll gain a loyal and intelligent canine companion that will enrich your life in many ways. Take time to consider which breed’s strengths align best with your expectations and daily routine to find your perfect match.


Jane Davis

Hi, my name is Jane Davis, and I love dogs. I own a labrador retriever named Max. When I was growing up, we always had dogs at our house. They provide us with such unconditional love and companionship, and I can't imagine my life without one by my side.

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