The Cantabrian Water Dog or Perro de Agua Cantábrico is a breed of dog developed in the coast of Cantabria, northern Spain, as an assistant to fishermen. The breed was classified and recognized by the Breeds Committee of the Spanish Ministry of Environment on 22 March 2011.
The Cantabrian Water Dog is an ancestral population in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, whose origins seem to be common to Barbet. The breed is socially, culturally and historically rooted in the towns and villages of the whole coast of Cantabria and eastern Asturias. The work of this breed has been traditionally related to fishing work: collecting fishes that fell into the water, watching the ships when they were moored in port, taking the rope between ships and to the dock, or acting like a lifeguard.
The population of Cantabrian Water Dog shows a clear morphological and genetic differentiation that allows discrimination from other dog populations in the same group with close geographic distribution. Genetic studies place it as close to the Spanish Water Dog as to the Barbet or Caniche.
These animals are lighter and shorter than those of the Spanish breed, where they were previously included. Thus, 75% of males and 38% of females would be excluded from the breed standard for height at the withers, while using the criterion of weight, 91% of males and 80% females would be excluded.