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Group: Working Group
Purpose of Breed: Retrieving from the sea
Country of Origin: Portugal
Average Size: Dogs 20-22 inches and 42-55 pounds; Bitches 17-20 inches and 35-49 pounds.
Color(s): Black, white or shades of brown; also parti-color (white with dark spots), black or brown with white markings, silver fox, or gray.
Coat Type: The Portuguese Water Dog has a thick coat of curly or wavy hair.
Grooming: This coat continues to grow like human hair does and needs extensive brushing and trimming to keep it clean and free of mats. Portuguese Water Dogs are clipped in two distinct styles-the Lion Clip and the Retriever Clip. They are minimal shedders. This breed requires standard care for eyes, ears, pads and nails.
Exercise Needs: This breed of dog will live happily in an any setting providing it gets the extensive exercise it demands. This breed loves to retrieve, chase balls and go swimming, and makes a great companion for joggers.
Temperament: The Portuguese Water dog is a highly intelligent breed and will sometimes "voice their own opinion" and test the will of their owners. Obedience training should start as young as possible. These dogs are independent thinkers, but very obedient to those who look after them. This breed gets along well with children and other dogs and is very affectionate and loyal. They prefer human contact and do not like to be separated from their families.
Common Ailments: Susceptible to hip dysplasia and PRA. Puppies in some lines can be susceptible to GM-1 Storage Disease, a fatal nerve disease that appears at six months old.
Life Expectancy: Averages 10-14 years.
Trivia: The Portuguese Water Dog was developed for used along Portugal's coast. These dogs were taught to school fish into nets, retrieve various objects and acted as ship to ship or ship to shore couriers.
More Information: Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, Inc.
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Sofia Mae is a 9 and a half year old Lab and Portuguese Water Dog mix. I adopted Sofia Mae from the Sacramento Animal Shelter in June 2001 as a companion for my German Shepherd mix, Colton. She likes to swim, dive, snorkel, and take walks, as well as, chase squirrels, birds, and laser lights. I adopted Sofia Mae at 6 weeks old.
She was hospitalized at 9 weeks in July 2001 with pneumonia (due to complications from kennel cough). After recovering from pneumonia, Sofia Mae was sent up to my folks home in the Yosemite area for safe keeping, while my swimming pool was under construction.
It was during this time she ate poison (left out to kill mice) and started bleeding to death internally. After about 12 hours of concern, my parents rushed Sofia Mae to their vet, where she began treatment. She had less then a 20% chance of survival. Among other things, Sofia Mae received blood transfusions from a beautiful German Shepherd (belonging to one of the lab assistants) and blood was siphoned (by the pints) out of her chest (to keep her from drowning in her own fluids). The wonderful vet took Sofia Mae home with her over that week-end so she could keep a round the clock vigil over her. I was told that if she survived the next 48 hours, she would recover. Sunday morning, I got the call, she had miraculously survived! Even the vet admitted, she really did not expect her to live! She has been dubbed the "miracle dog".
March 2009, I had to put my beloved dog Colton down. Sofia Mae has been my constant companion and joy! She is so full of life and a tenacious will to live. It is infectious to all who know and love her. Sofia Mae is a very unique, sweet, strong, and affectionate dog. A genuine blessing and gift from God!
By Laurine from Elk Grove, CA