The breed was made the state dog of Wisconsin in 1985. The American Water Spaniel remains a rare breed. During 1998 only 233 puppies were registered with the AKC, with an estimated 3,000 dogs in existence mostly around the Midwestern United States, in particular in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. In 2010, the breed was ranked 143rd most popular breed in the United States, out of 167 breeds. This is a decrease since 2000, when the breed was ranked 125th. The dogs are not classified specifically as either retrievers or as spaniels and so may not compete in AKC field trials, but may compete in AKC hunt tests (spaniel and retriever tests) and retriever hunting tests sponsored by the AWSC, the breed club in the United States. The American Water Spaniel Field Association was set up in 1993 by breed enthusiasts supporting AKC Spaniel classification and looking to provide field training opportunities to owners of the breed. In a vote held of members of the AWSC in 1999, they chose to keep the breed unclassified.
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