The Portuguese Water Dog (PWD) originated in Portugal and was bred to chase fish into the fisherman's netting and to collect the torn nets from the water! They used to be a very valuable asset to fishermen, but today there are more modern machines and devices that can do their job, so the breed itself is prized as a loving companion.
This breed has a solid, athletic body and strong muscular legs, giving them their quick strides in water. They have floppy triangular ears and large expressive eyes. The PWD has a long slender tail, a long muzzle, and a thick coat that protects them from extremely cold water!
The PWD is an energetic, affectionate and caring dog that will be a joy to own. They develop very strong bonds with their owners and will need to have a large amount of attention to be truly happy. Generally a cheerful and sweet breed, the PWD loves to play and will make a fantastic family dog because they adore children and will interact well with smaller animals in the household.
The PWD will come in a variety of colors, such as gray, white, black & white, brown, parti-colored, solid black or brown with white spotting. The most commonly seen is the solid black but all colors are accepted for show standards.
This breed has 2 variations of coat texture which are the tightly coiled fur, or the loosely coiled, wave-like fur. They have only one layer of fur to protect them from the elements they work in but this is quite sufficient.
The PWD is a breed of dog not suggested for the first time owner because they require a lot of time and exercise to thrive. Training will be needed at a young age to firmly input the house rules so the dog understands what they can and cannot do. They will also need a large amount of exercise whether that be swimming, running, or just trying different types of trials such as agility.
The PWD will be perfect for an owner that has an active lifestyle and ample time to spend with their companion throughout the day. It is recommended that there be a person home during the day or part of the day just to break up the time the dog spends alone.
This breed will need a moderate amount of grooming to upkeep their coat. Brushing 3-4 times per week and bathing every 1-2 months will be perfect! The PWD is prone to GM 1 storage disease (a breed specific ailment) and hip dysplasia. Generally they are a healthy breed but the parents medical history should be checked before purchasing a puppy to ensure the potential owners are getting a healthy baby.
The PWD will need to have an owner that is experienced in raising and training because they can be stubborn and have a 'my way or the highway' attitude. Gentle yet firm methods will be needed as well as short sessions to ensure they grasp this information. Training that is made to be enjoyable will be much more pleasurable to these dogs which will encourage them to want to learn!
This breed will need at least 1 hour of exercise per day and this can be done at an off-leash park or on a walk. They will burn off much more energy running or swimming because this comes to them naturally. The PWD will do well in an apartment and access to a backyard would be excellent so they have an outdoor area at home to roam around in!