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Portuguese Water Dog - SaveARescue.org

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog

  • Breed Group : WORKING
  • Origin : PORTUGAL
  • Average Height : 17" - 23"
  • Average Weight : 35 - 62 lbs.
  • Life Span : 10 - 14 years

Photo Courtesy of : Georgia Poodle Rescue

  • Size

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  • Energy

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  • Intelligence

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  • Ease of Training

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  • Hypo-Allergenic

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  • Shedding

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  • Good with Kids

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  • Good with Other Pets

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  • Guard Dog

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Portuguese Water Dog Rescue Organizations

  • It is thought that the Portuguese Water Dog was bred by the Portuguese over 500 years ago. They were bred to be working dogs. Their goal was to help with fishing, which is why they do love to be in the water.

    Long ago, these dogs were able to herd and even catch fish. They were also able to move messages from one ship to the next, something that proved to be very important.

    They were great at guarding the ships as well as the catch when the fishermen would bring the boat into port to sell the fish. What's more, because their swimming abilities were so good, they were used to fetch even in the water when things went astray.

    The need for this dog was brought to a close when technology took over his job. Yet, there are many people that love them and have continued to breed them because of it. In the 1930's the breed was nearly extinct until Vasco Bensaude decided to take care in getting them from around the world and then bred them.

    Today, they are used heavily throughout the world as companion dogs, but they are still ideal for water training and water needs.
  • • Loyal, lively, water-loving dog.
    • Hypo-Allergenic ~ perfect for allergy sufferers.
    • Animated, amusing, spirited and fun to be around. Entertaining.
    • Affectionate with their family.
    • Great stamina.
    • Excellent with children.
    • Get along well with other dogs and pets.
    • Even and pleasant tempered.
    • Brave, keenly aware, highly intelligent and trainable.
    • Keen to work and quick to learn and understand verbal and non-verbal commands.
    • Very sensitive to tone of voice.
    • Can out-think their owners. Willing and eager to please.
    • Faithful, obedient.
    • Great watchdog.
    • Great sense of smell.
    • Love dog sports, like agility, flyball, obedience.

    • Can become prone to hip dysplasia.

    • OK in apartments but need sufficient, daily exercise.
    • Not an outdoor dog ~ needs to be part of the family, living indoors.
    • Prefers to be mentally & physically stimulated ~ give them a job to do.
    • Great swimmers, love to romp.
    • Make excellent jogging companions.
    • High energy, prefer high energy owners.
    • Shed little or no hair.
    • Hair grows more slowly than poodles, and does not require as frequent scissoring or clipping as poodles.
    • Medium size, muscular.

    Because these dogs were bred to help with the farming of fish, they love water and that is one thing that you will want to take advantage of. They are also very loyal, dependable and often very smart dogs. You will find that they are fun dogs to be near and often are willing to play with you and children of a variety of ages. In most cases, you can pair them with other dogs and small animals especially if they grow up together.

    There are many good characteristics about the Portuguese Water Dog. They are very smart dogs and because of this training them is something you can easily do. They also have a very even temper, not often acting out of the normal. You will find that they are pleasant, easy to get along with pets. But, because they are so smart you may have to watch them closer so as not to be tricked by them.

    Because the Portuguese Water Dog is so affectionate and loving to its owner, you are likely to have a dog that is well behaved. You will want to work with them and give them your attention to get the best from them. They do make great watchdogs enjoying protecting you, their master as well as their families and property.

    You will be able to use them for their good sense of smell and their ability to track fairly well. Some dogs do display a high level of dominance in the home and this can lead to problems with barking, but enough activity and exercise (both mental and physical will minimize this in most of the dogs.)

    Be sure to watch those puppies, though. Puppy Portuguese Water Dogs have a high level of energy which is shown often in chewed up items that they find.


    The coat on the Portuguese Water Dog can change from one dog to the next and your grooming methods will need to be around this fact. You will want to keep his coat well brushed, often brushing several times per week is necessary. If you do not keep his coat brushed out, it will matt and that means pulling on the skin which is painful and can cause your dog to become aggressive.

    As far as their coat goes, do take the time to have a professional do his clipping. In most cases, those dogs that have a wavy to curly coat will need to have a fairly close trim to help keep from matting up. On those that are tighter curled, a working retriever clip will usually be had. The tail is the only area that is close clipped.

    Do realize that this is not a shedding dog which makes it grow slowly but without the mess. You will want to trim his nails and care for his teeth as these can be health problems if you do not. As far as bathing goes, this will be determined by how much your dog enjoys getting dirty! Professional baths are generally enough for the Portuguese Water Dog.


    When selecting the Portuguese Water Dog for your home, realize that this is a dog that will require your attention. While they are not too large or too noisy they do need to be exercised if they are to remain happy and healthy dogs. You will find that they are active and they do like to play. You will also likely find out quickly that they have a never ending amount of energy! That stamina is a factor of their breed's working class and is something to be proud of.

    You will want to provide at least an hour's worth of play and walking time with you. The Portuguese Water Dog is a great dog to take into a pool with you or to the beach where he can get wet. They love to swim and this is excellent exercise for these dogs. You can take them swimming with you or simply walk them along the beach. A favorite treat for many is to retrieve a ball or stick from the water that their master has thrown.

    For those that are looking for a dog to take with them on long walks and jogs, the Portuguese Water Dog will make an excellent friend. They will thoroughly enjoy this time with you.


    The Portuguese Water Dog is a great dog for those that are looking to train their pets. That is due to their sheer intelligence and their need to please their masters. You will enjoy all that this dog can do but you will want to start training them early as that is the most common way for them to learn to their fullest extent. These dogs like to work and to them, pleasing you is their goal.

    They are good at learning and often fast at it. You will need to realize that a positive training method works the best for them. One key element in training them has to do with your training style. They truly enjoy obeying you which means that you can use your voice to control their movements and their understanding of your mood. A key is to use this to help to train them.

    In addition, realize that they are smart, but they are still going to need time to play and relax as well. Play with them after you have trained them. But, do not waiver. You will need to be consistent in the training of this dog if you want him to understand what you want them to and not to take advantage of you!
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