Portuguese Water Dog

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35-50 lbs
17-21"
Portugal
Portie, PWD, Cao de Agua, Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dogs were originally bred around 700 B.C. and were used to help fishermen with several tasks in the water. Therefore, they are still known to love swimming and other water sports up to this day! They are lovely, family friendly dogs that get along well with other pets and children. They are known for their signature curly or wavy coat and webbed paws that help them do their job in the water. They are active and intelligent dogs that show talent for many canine sports, like tracking, agility, obedience and learning tricks. However, their high intelligence levels can be a blessing and a curse, as they can sometimes try to outsmart the owners. But with proper training and socialization, these dogs can be well behaved and adapt to any environment.

Purpose
fishing aid
Date of Origin
700 BC
Ancestry
poodle

Portuguese Water Dog Health

Sketch of Portuguese Water Dog
Average Size
Male Portuguese Water Dog size stats
Height: 20-23 inches Weight: 42-60 lbs
Female Portuguese Water Dog size stats
Height: 17-21 inches Weight: 35-50 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Addison's Disease
  • Follicular Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Blood Test
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Portuguese Water Dog Breed History

Portuguese Water Dog, the name says it all. These wonderful dogs originate from Portugal, where they were bred to help fishermen who would work between the Atlantic coast of Portugal and fishing grounds in Newfoundland. Their job would be to deliver messages between boats, driving the fish into the nets and retrieving lost items that have fallen into the water. They have various names, including Portuguese Fishing Dog and, commonly in their homeland, Cao de Agua, which translates into dog of the water. This breed is thought to be a descendant of the well known Poodle, which is another popular dog breed that was also bred as a water retriever, but was instead created in Germany. Although the Portuguese Water Dogs were very skilled at their job, these dogs came close to becoming extinct in the early 20th century, as the fishing industry was becoming more modernised and began to replace the dogs with machinery. It was thanks to Vasco Bensaude, who was a lover of the breed, that the Portuguese Water Dog is still around today. Other fans of the breed began writing breed standards and formed a club that was exclusive to the breed, and eventually these dogs began to make their appearance in dog shows. Skip forward several decades, and the Portuguese Water Dog is seen in England and the United States. It was in 1983 that the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club, but the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America was founded earlier in 1972.

Portuguese Water Dog Breed Appearance

These dogs have single coats, which means that they do not have an undercoat. This can be either wavy or curly, and can be black, silver fox, gray, white, a variety of brown shades or a combination of black and white or brown and white in color. Many owners of these dogs will get them clipped in a lion cut or a retriever clip. They are medium sized dogs that have muscular bodies, with straight and level toplines. The head, which will be slightly bigger in length than the muzzle, is broad and domed shaped with a well defined stop. The noses will be broad and black, with teeth that meet in a level scissors bite. These dogs have medium sized dark, round eyes, with heart shaped ears that are high set and hang down. The Portuguese Water Dogs have tails that are thicker at the base and will taper out. They have straight legs with feet that are webbed, which helps them with swimming.

Appearance of Portuguese Water Dog
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Portuguese Water Dog eyes
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
black Portuguese Water Dog nose
Black
brown Portuguese Water Dog nose
Brown
Coat Color Possibilities
black Portuguese Water Dog coat
Black
white Portuguese Water Dog coat
White
brown Portuguese Water Dog coat
Brown
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Portuguese Water Dog curly coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Portuguese Water Dog Breed Maintenance

This breed will do best in homes with large and fenced in back yards that will allow them to play safely. However, they can adapt well to any home, including apartment life, as long as they do get enough exercise. This can be jogging, a long walk, going for a swim, playing fetch or any other forms of activity that will take between 30 minutes to an hour each day. It is important for your Portuguese Water Dog to get enough activity time, as they can become destructive if their energy does not get used. They do like to chew, and should have access to several chew toys, otherwise they could decide on their own what can be chewed on. They should be fed twice a day, and should get a daily amount of 2.5 to 3.5 cups. Your pet should be combed or brushed two to three times every week to prevent tangles, and the fur should be trimmed monthly. If your dog goes swimming often, they will need to be rinsed off with fresh water in order to remove any damaging chemicals. It is also important to properly dry off the ears after bathing and swimming, as damp ears can develop infections. Your dog’s teeth should be brushed two or three times in a week, but every day is best. Nail trimmings should be done once or twice a month.

Brushes for Portuguese Water Dog
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Portuguese Water Dog requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Portuguese Water Dog Temperament

The Portuguese Water Dog is a kind and loving breed that loves to play and clown around to get your attention. They are very intelligent, and are in fact smart enough to out think you, so owners will need to be careful. The overall temperaments of these dogs will vary among individuals. They are intelligent and will learn new tricks and training quickly. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train them, and avoid repeating the same exercise endlessly. This breed is known to do well in agility, obedience, working in the water or tracking. They can also be good therapy dogs, and are talented at learning and performing tricks as well. Portuguese Water Dogs behave well around children, with the only potential issue being that their high energy levels can be intimidating. These dogs also do well around other pets, like dogs and cats, especially if brought up together.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Portuguese Water Dog Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00

Portuguese Water Dog Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Portuguese Water Dog at six months
Male Portuguese Water Dog size stats at six months
Height: 12 inches Weight: 17 lbs
Female Portuguese Water Dog size stats at six months
Height: 10 inches Weight: 12 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Portuguese Water Dog at 12 months
Male Portuguese Water Dog size stats at 12 months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 30 lbs
Female Portuguese Water Dog size stats at 12 months
Height: 14 inches Weight: 22 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Portuguese Water Dog at 18 months
Male Portuguese Water Dog size stats at 18 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 47 lbs
Female Portuguese Water Dog size stats at 18 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 37 lbs

Top Portuguese Water Dog Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Portuguese Water Dog breeders of 2018.
Top Portuguese Water Dog breeder Portuguese Water Dogs of Success
Portuguese Water Dogs of Success
Beatrice, Nebraska
Top Portuguese Water Dog breeder Windward Portuguese Water Dogs
Windward Portuguese Water Dogs
Galloway, Ohio
Top Portuguese Water Dog breeder Stowaway Portuguese Water Dogs
Stowaway Portuguese Water Dogs
Gadsden, Alabama
Top Portuguese Water Dog breeder Aguas De Seda​ Portuguese Water Dogs
Aguas De Seda​ Portuguese Water Dogs
Naples, Florida
Top Portuguese Water Dog breeder Calypso Portuguese Water Dogs
Calypso Portuguese Water Dogs
Palm City, Florida
Top Portuguese Water Dog breeder Rustyco Portuguese Water Dogs
Rustyco Portuguese Water Dogs
Stockton, California
Top Portuguese Water Dog breeder Odysea Portuguese Water Dogs
Odysea Portuguese Water Dogs
Arvada, Colorado
Top Portuguese Water Dog breeder DoMarco Portuguese Water Dogs
DoMarco Portuguese Water Dogs
Bloomington, Indiana
Top Portuguese Water Dog breeder Sonrisa Portuguese Water Dogs
Sonrisa Portuguese Water Dogs
Castleton On Hudson, New York
Top Portuguese Water Dog breeder C-Lion Portuguese Water Dogs
C-Lion Portuguese Water Dogs
Bedford, Massachusetts

Portuguese Water Dog Owner Experiences

4 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Sniffing
My walk with the Portuguese water dog was very enjoyable, and in what could have been a stressful situation! Ella lives right off of Central Park west, which is where the NYC Marathon route finishes, and we had two walks scheduled on the same day! She was a real champ with the abundance of people, and security officers, and emergency responders running around! She really kept her cool, and we had a wonderful walk together! Her breed was immediately recognized by some tourists visiting the city from Portugal! She brightened the faces of all of the uniformed personnel we passed! Ella in particular did have some sort of issue with elevators, she barked the whole way down, and the whole way up! She was an absolute pleasure to walk with, would love to walk with another Portuguese water dog again soon!
7 months ago
1 Year
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
jump
Tug-of-war
Walking
I love love love this breed. I walk Max one day and was told he was 10 months old. I was excited to walk a puppy because they are the most energetic. Well the picture I saw on Max's profile he seemed fairly small and I did not think anything of it just because he was 10 moths old. Boy was I wrong. As soon as I opened the front door I was greeted by this HUGE puppy. I was in shock because this is not what I had in mind but I was so happy at the fact that he was so tall also. Max was sooo sweet and loving. As soon as I tried putting on his leash he began playing tug of war with the leash. I knew he just wanted to play so we did for a while before our walk. I was a bit nervous about walking Max just because of his size but surprisingly he was very good. He had absolutely no triggers and did not pull me once. I loved walking max because he was so playful and loving but a very well behaved dog.
7 months ago
1 Year
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
jump
Tug-of-war
Walking
I love love love this breed. I walk Max one day and was told he was 10 months old. I was excited to walk a puppy because they are the most energetic. Well the picture I saw on Max's profile he seemed fairly small and I did not think anything of it just because he was 10 moths old. Boy was I wrong. As soon as I opened the front door I was greeted by this HUGE puppy. I was in shock because this is not what I had in mind but I was so happy at the fact that he was so tall also. Max was sooo sweet and loving. As soon as I tried putting on his leash he began playing tug of war with the leash. I knew he just wanted to play so we did for a while before our walk. I was a bit nervous about walking Max just because of his size but surprisingly he was very good. He had absolutely no triggers and did not pull me once. I loved walking max because he was so playful and loving but a very well behaved dog.
7 months ago
3 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
What an amazing breed of dog. I walked two of them together. These were former "show" dogs. I was warned that they were not very good on a leash. Coming into their house with the owner home they were friendly and kind. When I came in without the owner home they were very hesitant at letting me in. A few words of kindness and patience they were okay with me. They eagerly allowed me to put on their harness and leash. On the walk they were great. There was not really any pulling. They walked the same direction together most of the time. They enjoyed stopping and sniffing at things on our day time walk. On the night time walk they were very good at listening to me and staying close together so as to avoid being hit by a car or coming upon another pup. I like that they didn't shed.
7 months ago
2 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Sniffing
Jogging
Explore the city
The Portuguese Water Dog that I walked was named Von. He was a puppy and almost two years old. As soon as I walked into his home he was very excited and super friendly. He wanted to play immidiately and it took a little bit of time till I could his harness on. He was just super playful. Once I got his harness on we walked around the Downtown San Francisco area where he explored a ton. He walked up to almost every person and was exited to smell new things. He was super easy going and relaxed and did not care about where we walked. He was a brisk walker and lots of energy to get out. He was a super fun walk because we was just so relaxed and adorable and recieved lots of compliments.
7 months ago
6 Months
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
drinking water
Sniffing
As a puppy, this breed is energetic and affectionate. At first, he HATED to walk and would just freeze on the sidewalk. It took 15 minutes for him to get into a walking rhythm. Now, a couple months later, he has learned how to behave on leash (mostly :-)) He is still a little bit spazzy on the leash, but overall is compliant and follows commands. The owner uses a training collar which seems to help a lot. He does get a bit mouthy when excited and will try to nip you or the leash if another dog passes. Other dogs passing do typically excite him. He was able to sit calmly and allow another dog to sniff him on our last walk. I don't know that I've ever heard him bark. He can be sweet and affectionate when greeting you, although due to his size and strength, it can feel like a bit much. He drinks a lot when we come back from the 30 minute walk.
7 months ago
3 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Therapy Training
Nose work
Fetch
Swim
Frisbee
Run
My PWD clients are the sweetest set of sisters ever. They bark every time I arrive but it’s Hayley out of excitement. They run over for love and snuggles before we head out on our walk. They love to walk. They love to run. They will fetch if the mood strikes them. They like to sniff and explore mostly. They’re very friendly to everyone we pass.
7 months ago
5 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Running
petting
Walking
The Portuguese Water Dog that I have walked in the city was very well tempered and such a sweet, loving dog. My family has a Portuguese Water Dog at home that is very high energy and loves going on runs. They always have a lot of energy but are such loving and friendly dogs. They love to be on walks and keep a very quick pace, sometimes pulling but only because they are happy to be out and about. They love interacting with other dogs and people.
7 months ago
5 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Therapy Training
The Portuguese Water Dog I walk occasionally has a job - he is a therapy dog for children! He is a very intelligent guy, and is generally awesome to hang out with. He is athletic and walks very nicely - it's clear that he has spent a lot of time in training. I love his personality, and it's always a treat to get to walk him.
7 months ago
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