Breed Information - Portuguese Water Dog

Breed Description: The Portuguese Water Dog is a strong, medium-sized dog of great stamina and endurance. It has a large head, deep chest and webbed feet for swimming. The entire body is covered in a single profuse coat of strong hair that is either wavy or curly and continues to grow in a manner that human hair does. Obedient, friendly and affectionate, the Portuguese Water Dog makes a good watch dog and a loving family pet.

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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