Portuguese Water Dog

Dog Breed Profile

Portuguese Water Dog

• High energy level
• High exercise needs
• Very playful
• Very affectionate
Friendly towards other dogs
• Very friendly around other pets
Friendly around strangers
• Fairly easy to train
• Great watchdogs
• Moderately protective
• High grooming requirements
• Medium tolerance to heat
• Medium tolerance to cold

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This fun-loving dog breed has an adventurous spirit and gets along perfectly with children, pets and other dogs. The Portuguese Water Dog needs a lot of exercise and makes a perfect companion to an active person or family that enjoys spending time outdoors, and he’s a great swimming partner too. He is affectionate and responds well to direction, and is easily trainable to be highly obedient.

The Portuguese Water Dogs’ coat can be either wavy or even curly, and is often groomed in a lion clip or retriever clip. His expression clearly shows his spirited demeanor and he is attentive and sensitive to his owner’s wishes.

  • Cannot be expected to live outdoors as he needs to be close to his family
  • Health conditions that need to be tested for are his eyes and hips
  • Grooming needs include combing every other day and monthly clipping
  • The Portuguese Water Dog is a very affectionate and friendly, playful animal that is fairly easy to train
  • Has a great relationship with family members, young and old, moderately protective and makes a great watchdog
  • The average size of a male is 42 to 60lbs and 20 to 23 inches tall
  • The average size of a female is 35 to 50lbs and 17 to 21 inches tall

Care & Health:

Be prepared to provide your Portuguese Water Dog with daily vigorous exercise to burn off all that energy he is blessed with. He’s happiest if he can live indoors but have lots of time in the yard during the day.

Comb his coat every other day and be prepared to have him clipped once a month.

Major Health Concerns:


Minor Health Concerns:

– glycogen storage disease, distichiasis

Test for:

– hips and eyes

Life Span:

– 10 to 14 years

Breed History:

Bred to be a part of a fisherman’s boat crew, the Portuguese Water Dog is adept at pulling nets, diving for fish, acting as messengers and also for being a great guard dog for his master. It’s thought his lineage comes from poodles and herding dogs from Asia, but once in Portugal he became his own breed and a highly valued one at that for fisherman.

Once traditional fishing methods were replaced by modernization their jobs became somewhat obsolete, however a wealthy shipping magnate saw the breed as worth saving, and helped to create a standard for the dog. Although they lost their English population by the 1950s, they made their way to the US and in 1984 the AKC recognized the breed. Today the Portuguese Water Dog have a healthy following and are a popular family pet.

  • Family history is gundog, water dog
  • Originally from Portugal
  • First bred in the Middle Ages
  • Original purpose was fishing aid
  • Today they are used for water rescue
  • Also known as cao de agua