Portuguese Water Dog
|Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dog
|Cão de água Português
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 8 Section 3 #37
||Group 6 (Utility)
||Group 3 - Working dogs
||Gun Dog Breeds
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
Portuguese Water Dogs are a
dog, bred by the
to be companions at sea. They are similar in size to a
Wheaten Terrier and are usually black but can also brown.
The hair is either worn in a "retriever cut" or a "lion cut." In the lion
cut, the hindquarters, muzzle, and the base of the tail are shaved and the rest
of the body is left full length. This cut originated with the fishing dogs of
Portugal to keep the body warm while allowing movement of the back legs. The end
of the tail is kept long, because in those days, the fishermen sometimes didn't
know how to swim, and the dog could pull them to safety with its tail. The
retriever cut is left 1" (2.5 cm) long evenly over the body (although some
owners prefer the muzzle or the base of the tail shorter). This cut is a more
recent style and originated because breeders wanted to make the breed more
appealing and less unusual looking for buyers.
Most dogs, especially traditional
are entirely black or a dark brown; however, it is common to see white chests
and legs on black and brown coats. "Parti" coats, with white fur and black
spots, are rare but visually striking. The hair is either wavy or curly and is
like human hair (and Poodle hair) in that it keeps growing. The hair must be
trimmed about every two months and, although it is possible to groom at home, it
is usually easier to pay a professional groomer. White hair is finer than black,
and parti coat dogs will require more frequent brushing and grooming to avoid
Portuguese water dogs have two
types, wavy and curly. From the
Portuguese Water Dog Club of America Revised Standard for the Portuguese Water
- Curly coat: "compact, cylindrical curls, somewhat lusterless. The hair
on the ears is sometimes wavy".
- Wavy coat: "Falling gently in waves, not curls, and with a slight
Occasionally, a dog may have what is termed an "improper" coat. This is a
variation that relates to what is believed to be a
recessive gene. It causes the dog to have an
(unlike curly- and wavy-coated PWDs), a flatter coat overall, and may have
curling on the
hocks, and generally appears more
Border Collie-like. Because these dogs do not adhere to the breed standard,
they may not be shown in
but otherwise are completely healthy and have all the excellent traits of PWDs.
Some reports indicate that these coats shed more and are not
hypoallergenic, although more study is needed. For more information on
improper coats, see:
The dogs also have an interesting bluish tinge to their skin that is hard to
notice underneath their black fur. Their paws are slightly webbed, which one can
see by trying to pass one's finger between the dog's toes.
Portuguese Water dogs make excellent companions. They are loving and sweet.
Also, they are very intelligent. Since they are
dogs, they are perfectly content in being at their master's side at all
times. Owners of this breed will attest that their Portie follows them
constantly. This is typical of the breed, as it strives for attention and
prefers to be engaged in activity.
Portuguese Water Dog of the Curly Coat Type
Originating back to the 1500s in Portugal, Portuguese Water Dogs (Porties)
were originally used by
They were used to send messages between boats, to retrieve fish and articles
from the water, and to guard the fishing boats. (They often received a portion
of the catch after a job well done, too!) They helped to bring in nets and to
save fishermen when they fell in the water. They were very popular, and this
might be where they picked up their loyal and dependable characteristics.
Eventually commercial fishing equipment made the dogs unnecessary. They fell out
of favor and almost became extinct. At one point, there were only 25 Portuguese
Water Dogs in the world. Since then, breeders have been carefully bringing back
the breed. There are now thousands of Porties throughout the world.
The Portie is a fairly rare breed; only 15 entrants for Portuguese Water Dogs
were made to
Crufts competition in
their personality and nonshedding qualities have made them more popular in
When there is nothing else to do, Porties like to chew. Heavy-duty chew toys
can help keep a Portie occupied.
Portuguese Water Dog Puppy of the Wavy Coat Type
Portuguese Water Dogs have a multi-octave voice. Although they are not prone
to barking excessively, they usually have a wide range of barks, chortles,
grumbles and sighs. Porties also have an audible "laugh," a loud, irregular,
breathy pant used at play or during greetings.
- Portuguese Water Dog (Pet Love). Paolo Correa. Interpet Publishing, 2001
- The New Complete Portuguese Water Dog. Kathryn Braund. Howell Bk. 1997
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