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The Portuguese Water Dog is medium sized,
well muscled and has either a wavy or curly
coat. There are also two different clips,
a retriever clip which is when the entire
coat is trimmed to no more than an inch
long. The lion clip is when the hair is
trimmed very short on the muzzle and just
below the mid-section to the hindquarters.
This type of clip is said to help aid the
dog while swimming.
The Portuguese Water Dog is an ancient breed
that originated in Portugal, possibly as
far back as 700 B.C. At one time, they were
found all over the Portugal coast, but later
due to changes in fishing methods, they
were located primarily in the Algarve region.
Possible ancestors include the Kerry Blue
Terrier, current day Poodle and the Irish
The Portuguese Water Dog is excellent fisherman's
companion. These working dogs are trained
to retrieve fish and tackle, guard, dive
and act as a courier between ships. They
have great stamina and are known to work
very long days - never tiring and always
happy to complete a task for his master.
The first Portuguese Water Dog was brought
to the United States by Deyanne and Herbert
Miller in 1968. The Portuguese Water Club
was founded in Connecticut in 1972 and the
breed was officially recognized by the American
Kennel Club in the Working Group in 1983.
The height for a Portuguese Water Dog (measured
at the shoulder) is between 17 to 23 inches
(43 - 58 cm).
The ideal weight for a Portuguese Water
Dog is between 35 to 60 pounds (16 - 27
The Portuguese Water Dog has a very thick
coat. There are two types: wavy and curly.
The wavy type is longer, has a slight wave
(no curls) and has a bit of a sheen. The
curly type is lackluster and dense with
tight cylindrical curls. The coat is abundant
all over the Portuguese Water Dog's body
except for underarms and groin where it
is thinner. The Portuguese Water Dog is
a single coated breed and sheds very little.
Grooming is involved. The coat will continue
to grow, so it must be trimmed about every
two months. There are two clips: retriever
cut and the lion cut. In addition, to maintain
the coat, it's important to brush the coat
at least every other day which also helps
to prevent matting.
The color of the Portuguese Water Dog's
coat can be "black, white, and various
tones of brown; also combinations of black
or brown with white." AKC Standard.
The Portuguese Water Dog is loyal, active
and extremely intelligent. He is best suited
for an owner who is very firm, consistent
and patient. The Portuguese Water Dog is
generally very obedient, but if he feels
he can outsmart his master and take charge,
he will. This breed does very well with
children and is happiest when he is with
his family. The Portuguese Water Dog makes
a good watchdog, he is fun and he is humorous.
He is very smart and does very well in obedience
training and agility skills. The Portuguese
Water Dog must be socialized starting at
a very early age and it's recommended to
continue throughout his life. This is an
athletic and active breed that needs daily
exercise which is essential for his physical
and mental well being. These exercises are
all considered ideal: walking, jogging,
swimming, free play and playing fetch.
The Portuguese Water Dog is prone
to Canine Hip Dysplasia, Juvenile Dilated
Cardiomyopathy, Storage Disease (GM-1) and
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). The average
life span of a Portuguese Water Dog is between
12 - 14 years.
• In its native country Portugal,
the Portuguese Water Dog is known as Cao
de Agua which means dog of water.
• The Portuguese Water Dog has been
described in many writings as a Lion Dog
AKC: Working Group
ANKC: Utility - Group 6
CKC: Working - Group 3
FCI: Group 8 Section 3 Waterdogs
UKC: Gun Dogs