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Lija Spanish Water Dogs

About Lija Kennels


LIJA has always been in the forefront as an advocate of Rare Breeds. We have been actively showing and our experience in dogs dates back to 1985, SWD since 2001. All of our dogs have been owner-handled in the ring and all of our dogs/pups are raised in a home environment. We have the premier Spanish Water Dog Kennel in the Northeast. This has taken years to achieve, from hand-selection of Importing, to health testing as well as showing our dogs. Our dogs, as well as their prodigy, have been proven in the show ring as well as well as has working attributes.

We know the internet can be a powerful tool. There is much to be said about breed clubs, breeders and politics which we will not dwell upon. The following links will assist you in providing information regarding puppy socialization. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviors cites puppies should/can be socialized before their full vaccinations starting as early as 7-8 weeks of age. This allows the first vaccinations/wormings and your breeder STARTS the socialization process at home. From our home to yours, knowing the health, history, standard and quality is the best tool we can offer you.
puppy socialization.pdf

Mission Statement:

We have a limited breeding program because quality is our goal. ALL our dogs are health-tested for hip dysplasia before being used for breeding. They are tested either through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or though Penn-hip. Most of our SWD are tested through Penn-hip, as we feel this would give us a better picture of the percentiles and averages of the hips that excel. We also test through Optigen for PRA-prcd, a genetic disorder that can lead to blindness. Please refer to the OptiGen website for information regarding this condition, If you wish to read the current data regarding tests results, please go to

CERF is a snap-shot in time. A prime example would be a female that was CERFED yearly while she was in our breeding program and received her certification yearly. When PRA testing through Optigen was developed, she tested AFFECTED and was retired from breeding. She is the producer of Haslo, she was bred to Rancho in the United States who was a Spanish Import. Now, you can watch the progression in genetics: Haslo was tested as a PRA Carrier, who then produced Kandee (he was bred to our Jazzy). Kandee is PRA-Normal. Kandee is the producer of RAZOR who is PRA Normal. Razor recently produced his first litter and was bred to Honey who is PRA Normal - they had a litter who consisted of 5 pups - all PRA clear! You do not throw the baby out with the bathwater - in breeding better dogs, the objective is to move forward to eradicate health problems in the breed!

CHG (Congenital Hypothyroid with Goiter): All SWD should be tested for this. If you are told by a breeder that it only affects particular lines, you are receiving false information. This is a recent discovery in the US thanks to the efforts of Linda Cook, the Spanish Water Dog Club of America (which we were founding directors of) and Dr. Fyfe, MI State University. Remember - we did not invent the wheel - this did not originate from the dogs in the US who were all imported at one time. CHG Normal should be bred to Normal or Carrier - in which case no offspring will be affected!


We register the SWD with the: Federacion Canofila de Puerto Rico (FCI) in North America of the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) (English translation, World Canine Organization). The FCI is an international Kennel Club based in Thuin, Belgium.

The AKC and now the UKC are now the only registry in the world who has changed the group classification of the SWD to Herding. Our "boys" are registered with the AKC and the UK - so stud service to qualified females is available. If necessary, once you obtain your puppy from us you can register through the domestic registration. We understand the need for performance dogs and to have to register domestically however we stand with Spain, England with the rest of the world that they are FCI Group 8 which is equivilant to Gundog/Sporting in the United States. Our friends in England reports that at the Gundog Shows, the SWD have the highest entry!

So I have heard: the reasoning for the change was because the "herding ability" is listed first in a series of multi-tasks and abilities the SWD is capable of. We believe that the SWD should remain unchanged and consistent throughout the world. We are considering registering only with the FCPR inconsistency - you can however with the FCPR paperwork provided, register any pup/dog from us with the AKC or UKC for reasons of your own as well as for showing purposes/ or for events i.e. obedience, agility....

The Federation Cynologique Internationale includes 84 members and contract partners, one per country, that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI makes sure that the pedigrees and judges are mutually recognized by all the FCI members. By registering our dogs with the FCPR, we are able to maintain a strong connection with the Spanish origins of the breed.

Who We Are:

We are proud members of the Asociacion Espanola Del Perro De Agua Espanol (A.E.P.A.E.), the Spanish Club. We are one of the few breeders who adheres to breeding to the original/current breed standards and follow the classification of the Spanish Water Dog as set forth by Spain, the originating country of the Spanish Water Dog.

Expressed thanks to: Antonio Garcia Perez, Ubrique Kennels, "Father of the Breed", President of the A.E.P.A.E. for his continued assistance and for the excellent quality of Spanish Water Dogs provided to us to begin our foundation for LIJA Kennel. Thank you Antonio for sending us your best - Chuka, Solana, Miel who are all a part of US History...

Nigel Eggington, Valentisimo Kennel, UK - for his kindness, friendship, faith and love of the Spanish Water Dog. For "bridging the gap between the ponds", and for his SOL, our Rumor who has added to the gene pool and whose character will be passed from generation to generation.

Highview SWD: One of the only kennels in the United States that we will refer puppy people to, Highview follows the FCI standards and have several SWD bred by LIJA. They are the only other US breeder other than LIJA SWD now endorsed by the Spanish Club.

We are the home of:

  • American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) Master Champion: LIJA's Bonita De Casa Hidalgo
  • ARBA Champion/Multiple Best In Show: Divisa De La Voz De Su Amo
  • ARBA Master Champion Unkashikic De Ubrique, CGC, Therapy Dog
  • ARBA Multiple Best In Show: Lija's Honey Bea
  • ARBA CH/KC USA CH/Multiple Best In Show Corazon De LIJA
  • Multiple Best in Shows/ARBA Senior Master Champion/KCUSA Champion, UCI Champion Valentisimo's Tuvocuca, CACIB
  • ARBA CH/BISS LIJA's Rey De Corazon
  • Multiple Best In Show/Kennel Club USA Master Champion /UCI International Champion LIJA's The Kandy Man, UCI-CACIB, CACH
  • "LIJA's Pan y Miel" is deplicted as the poster child for the SWD
  • LIJA's Beso de Sol
  • LIJA's Abracadabra

Proud Owners: Linda Kardonis, Dale Huelin, John Dustin Kardonis (age 17 yrs - the heart of LIJA and expert handler!)


American Rare Breed Association-ARBA judges each dog against the standard and then against each other. This is a show venue which is most respected in the United States. The Judges are either AKC Judges or FCI Judges. Dogs can be DQ (disqualified from the ring if they do not meet the breed standard). Best In Shows or Reserve Best In Shows are coveted. If you are serious about showing, this is a venue you should follow:

American Rare Breed Association offers: Championships, Master Championships and Senior Championships. The Master Championship is based on ratings from 4 different Judges on character, structure and movement.

Kennel Club USA is a new venue offered where each Judge must provide a written critique on the dog and has additinal levels of Championships. The dogs are also judged against each other. Every BIS is coveted as it is the Best of the Best of Show in any show venue:


We at LIJA do try to follow each puppy that leaves us. Only a handful will go to show-breeding homes. The appearance of our names or our kennel name does not automatically constitute an endorsement of that breeder.

About Lija Spanish Water Dogs
About Lija Spanish Water Dogs
Spanish Water Dogs Photo Gallery
Spanish Water Dog FCI Standard
Spanish Water Dog History
Working Trials
Contact Lija Spanish Water Dogs
Contact Lija Spanish Water Dogs