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In the beginning, they were vermin hunters, specializing in water animals.  They distinguished themselves by being retrievers as well. Crosses with a hound allowed even more scenting abilities and solidified their water based skills. They have even been called Waterside Terriers. Despite declining in popularity it still operates as a family dog and police dog, at times.

With all of its physical abilities, this dog can be exercised in a variety of ways so that it does not become nervous.  With exercise, it can be dominant, even aggressive with other dogs if challenged. Despite being eager to please most of the time, it can get a little stubborn in some situations.