Portuguese Water Dog Information

Overview

Classified as a working dog, the Portuguese Water Dog is a hard worker and a loyal companion. It has been appreciated for its strength, soundness and spirtit for centuries along the coast of Portugal. This robust breed has a waterproof coat, giving it the ability to swim for hours. Called a Cao de Aqua, or dog of water in Portugal, the dog was bred as a working dog for fisherman on boats. The breed has dove for fish, retrieved broken nets, carried messages back to shore and guarded his master's boats while in foreign ports.

Portuguese Water Dog
Basic Info
NamePortuguese Water Dog
Other NameCão de Água Português, Portie, PWD, Water Dog
OriginPortugal
Size Type Medium Dog Breeds
Breed Group Working Dog Breeds
Life Span12 - 15 years
TemperamentBrave, Intelligent, Impetuous, Obedient, Quarrelsome, Docile
Height17 to 23 inches
Weight35 to 60 lbs
ColorsWhite, Black & White, Brown, Black, Brown & White
Puppy Price$2000 - $3000 USD

Portuguese Water Dog

Physical description

Body Type

Male Water Dogs stand 20-23 inches in height at the withers and females stand 17 to 21 inches. Males weigh 42 to 60 pounds and females weigh 35 to 50 pounds. The breed is slightly longer than tall. The body of the Water Dog is strong-boned, solidly built and muscular.

The head is large and well-proportioned with a broad topskull. Eyes are set well apart, showing an attentive expression. The ears, with leather that is heart-shaped and thin are set well above the line of the eye.

The skull, slightly longer than the muzzle appears domed when viewed head-on. The prominent forehead has a central furrow. The muzzle is narrower at the nose than the base. The nose has well-flared nostrils.

The Water Dog carries its head held high on a straight, short and round neck. The chest is deep and broad and the back is well-muscled. The long ribs are well-sprung to provide for good lung capacity, important to working water dogs. The un-docked tail is thin and tapered.

The inclined shoulders are muscled and upper arms are strong. Straight forelegs are also well-muscled. Powerful hindquarters are well balanced with front quarters. The round feet have webbing between the toes, typical of water dogs.

Color

The Water Dog has a thick coat of strong hair. It covers the body evenly except where the forearm joins the groin area where it is thinner. Some coats are curly and lusterless. Other coats are more wavy than curly with a slight sheen.

Coat color is white, black or tones of brown. The coat may also be a combination of brown, black and white. Water Dogs with white, black or black and white coats have bluish skin.

Coat

The Water Dog has a thick coat of strong hair. It covers the body evenly except where the forearm joins the groin area where it is thinner. Some coats are curly and lusterless. Other coats are more wavy than curly with a slight sheen.

Coat color is white, black or tones of brown. The coat may also be a combination of brown, black and white. Water Dogs with white, black or black and white coats have bluish skin.

Characteristics
Good with Kids
 
Cat Friendly
 
Dog Friendly
 
Trainability
 
Shedding
 
Watchdog
 
Intelligence
 
Grooming
 
Popularity
 
Adaptability
 
Hypoallergenic  Yes

Grooming

Although profuse, the Water Dog's coat is hypoallergenic. Its thickness requires maintenance through regular brushing and an occasional bath. Ears should be cleaned often and checked for signs of infection. Brush teeth often with canine toothpaste.

There two coat clips acceptable to the AKC, the Lion Clip and the Retriever Clip. With the Lion Clip, the middle part, hindquarters and muzzle hair is clipped, with hair at the end of the tail left long. The Retriever Clip gives a more natural look with hair clipped to follow the outline of the body. Hair at the end of the tail is also left long.

History

Water Dog history is rather uncertain. One belief is that the breed began developing in the Central Asiatic steppes as long ago as 700 B.C. The developmental road then travels to the Iberian Peninsula during the 8th century.

Others suggest that a water dog developed in a pre-history period with shellfish eaters in Portugal and Spain. Still another belief is that some dogs of this breed were taken from the Asian steppes by the Goths. These dogs became separate breeds according to the areas the Goths traveled to. Their development has been linked to the Poodle, Newfoundland and other retrievers.

However they developed, the Water Dog became valuable to Portuguese fishing crews. When fishing technology changed early in the 20th century, the breed became needed less and less. Sadly, this technology caused the Water Dog to begin dying out. However, a wealthy fishing magnate in Portugal took on the task of saving the breed. In the 1930s, Dr. Vasco Bensuade gave the breed visibility by reorganizing dog clubs and dog shows for them. Today, they are family dogs and show dogs from coast to coast.

Temperament

The Water Dog is active, athletic, intelligent and easily trained. They are brave and at the same time docile, stubborn and yet obedient. They have outgoing personalities and love to be around people. They want both mental and physical stimulation. Obviously, they need a chance to be active in the water to be their happiest.

This breed makes an excellent family pet. They are gentle with children and cuddly with adults. They are best suited for families with an active, outdoorsy life style. With energy to spare, interactive toys and advanced training will keep the Portuguese Water Dog occupied.


Interesting Portuguese Water Dog Facts

  • The Portuguese Water Dog is considered a fairly rare dog breed.
  • U.S. President Barrack Obama and family have two Water Dogs, Bo and Sunny.
  • The Water Dog sometimes makes a ha ha sound known as "expressive panting."