Portuguese Water Dog
The Portugese Water Dog was a favorite amongst portugese fishermen who used them to “herd” fish into the waiting nets. They would be carried onboard vessels and they could also help pull broken nets onboard. They come from the Algarve region of Portugal and as a result are sometimes referred to as the Algaverian Water Dog. The breed was mainly used in their home country of Portugal, though some were in places like Newfoundland, Canada to help catch cod. With the modernisation of technology, the breed was no longer needed by fishermen and as a result their number dropped drastically. In the 1930’s a breeding program was started and now they the PWD is a popular pet in both Portugal and abroad, especially in the USA. It is thought that the dog is closely related to the poodle, as it has a non-shedding coat.
This breed makes for an affectionate and loyal companion. They have a need to be around people, though they tend to stay closer to one person in particular, their main trainer. They will get along well with respectful children and even other pets and dogs, if socialised properly from a young age. They are amusing dogs who will like to be around you. They won’t constantly be under your feet like some other breeds though, just knowing that you're nearby will be enough for them. Whilst they can be reserved with strangers at first, once they get to know them they will soon become friendly towards them and will enjoy being petted.
Portugese Water Dogs are a smart breed that enjoys learning. They do so quickly and seem to have a desire to learn new tricks. Due to the fact that they are a working breed, their minds are very active and they will need constant stimulation to prevent boredom and possible destructive behaviour. Playing games with them, giving them toys and agility or obedience trials will all help with this. They will be easy to train as long as training is approached with love and affection, they do not react well to harsh words or punishment. They can be vocal, but don’t only bark and often emit an array of other sounds such as whining or howling. This breed is often used as hearing dogs for the deaf, mobility dogs and in assisting epileptics during a seizure due to the fact that they are so in tune with their owner.
This is an active dog that will need a lot of daily exercise. A long walk and preferably a swim will help tire them out. They have a lot of stamina and will happily walk for hours on end. Some owners will struggle to keep up with their exercise needs. They have a natural instinct to retrieve, especially from water, so games like fetch can help tire them out. They don’t tend to wander too far from their wonders and recall, once trained, is excellent.
Their coats will require brushing every other day to keep it looking good. The hair doesn’t fall out, but sticks to the hair around it which will cause matting that is not looked after. They will also need regular clipping. Many owners opt to go for the classic cut, where the coat is clipped from the middle of the back to the tail, leaving longer fur around the head and chest.
Portugese Water Dogs are a kind, loving and energetic breed. They are very smart dogs who enjoy training and exercise. If you give them plenty of both you’ll have a happy and obedient dog on your hands. As their name suggests they have a natural love for water and will enjoy any activity which includes it. They are social dogs that will usually get along well with anyone they meet, though early socialisation will always be helpful.
Health problems that may affect Portugese Water Dogs include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), heart disease, Addison's disease (hormonal disease of adrenal gland), progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: degeneration of the retina which can lead to blindness), cancer, allergies, epilepsy and lysosomal storage disease.
- Status: Rare
- Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 years
- Weight: 40 - 60 lbs
- Height: 17 - 22"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Medium - Hypoallergenic
- Grooming Requirements: Everyday
- Town or Country: Either
- Minimum Home Size: Large House
- Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
- Breed Type: Working Dog
- Size: Large
- Energy Level: High
- Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour