Portuguese Water Dog

Named for its great love of water, the Portuguese Water Dog is a medium sized dog of robust build. The head is large, with a noticeably wide top skull, well defined stop, and high set, heart shaped ears. Eyes are nearly round, medium sized and wide set. The muzzle tapers slightly toward the nose and houses powerfully developed teeth that meet in a level or scissors bite. The body is strong all around, with a level topline and deep chest. The long, tapering tail is carried in a high ring when the dog is at attention. Feet are round and flat with webbed toes. The single coat is thick and profuse, either curly or wavy. Coloration is black, white, brown, or black or brown with white.

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Fast Facts

Working
10 - 14 years
Portugal
Dark Ages
42 - 60 lb
35 - 50 lb
20 - 23"
17 - 21"
Portugese Water Dog, Portugeese Water Dog or Portugeese Waterdog.
Cao de Agua

Portuguese Water Dog Photos

Portuguese Water Dog Temperament

The Portuguese Water Dog is a highly intelligent and biddable friend, always striving to serve his master....

This is a highly playful and fun loving breed, and enjoys all manner of games, especially with children. The Portuguese Water Dog is friendly, sociable and confident with other dogs and strangers, and displays heart warming kindness to smaller pets. Many PWD owners are surprised at the quick and lasting friendships these dogs forge with the family cat. Portuguese Water Dogs thrive on an active environment and their family’s constant approval and satisfaction.

Caring For a Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog needs at least forty five minutes a day of vigorous exercise, or it can become a destructive “chew monster....

” Long walks, jogs, or games in the park will keep this dog happy, and any opportunity to show off its swimming prowess will make it ecstatic. The Portuguese Water Dog does not do well when separated from its people even for a short time, and should always be allowed to sleep inside with the family. Coat care is extensive, and involves daily combing as well as monthly scissoring or clipping. The Portuguese Water Dog’s primary health concern is progressive retinal atrophy; other health concerns of note include GM1 storage disease, Addison’s, cardiomyopathy, distichiasis and hair loss.

Portuguese Water Dog History

A Brief History of the Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog traces its origins back to the Dark Ages, and is believed to share the same Central Asian forebears as the Poodle....

How the dog reached Portugal is not precisely known, though most experts believe it arrived either with the Visigoths during the 5th century or the Moors during the 8th century. In Portugal, the dogs were used to guard fishing boats, carry messages from one ship to another, and even to herd fish into the nets! This makes the Portuguese Water Dog the only breed recognized by the American Kennel Club that can count fish herding as one of its primary occupations. In some instances, the PWD was also put to work as a traditional herder of sheep. With the advent of modern fishing equipment during the late 19th century, Portuguese Water Dogs found that their skills were no longer needed on the Atlantic trawlers. The dogs disappeared rapidly, and by the early 20th century many believed the breed had gone extinct; in fact, experts today believe that at one point there were fewer than 25 Portuguese Water Dogs left in the world. The breed was saved by a Portuguese shipping magnate named Dr. Vasco Bensuade. Bensuade initiated an extensive breeding program with all the PWDs he could find, and also established a breed standard and club. The breed was introduced to the United States in 1958 and the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America was formed in 1972; at the time, it was the rarest breed in America. The AKC admitted the Portuguese Water Dog Club into the Working Group in 1984. From its near extinction less than 100 years ago, the Portuguese Water Dog has made a full recovery, and is enjoying a rapid growth in popularity today. In Portugal, the Portuguese Water Dog is still used to rescue imperiled swimmers from the water. Senator Ted Kennedy owns a PWD named Splash.