Portuguese Water Dog
(aka: Cão de Água Português [Nicknames: Portie, PWD])
Portuguese Water Dog Description
The Portuguese Water Dog is a medium sized dog with a sturdy, robust build. He has a beautiful curly or wavy coat, which can be clipped and shaped for show dogs. The coat comes in various colors, including black, brown, and white. The Portuguese Water Dog has an intelligent expression, and ears that hang down to the side of his face. He also has distinctive webbed feet. The height of the Portuguese Water Dog is around 17-21 inches for females and 19-23 inches for males. These dogs weigh in at around 34-50 pounds for females and 53-60 pounds for males.
Obedient and agile, yet lively and spirited, the Portuguese Water Dog is an intelligent dog that loves to work and play. This water loving dog is courageous and has plenty of stamina and enthusiasm for everything that he does. These dogs love to be in the thick of the action, whether it is work or play, and are not suited to those with little time for their pets. The Portuguese Water Dog needs plenty of exercise, as he is a very active and physically demanding dog. He also needs a lot of mental stimulation, and will not take kindly to being ignored or neglected. Loyal and loving, the Portuguese Water Dog will bark to raise an alarm, making him an effective protector - the good news is that he doesn't tend to bark unnecessarily. Destructive behavior can stem from boredom with the Portuguese Water Dog, and these dogs also love to chew, so keep plenty of appropriate toys to hand.
The Portuguese Water Dog is a friendly and confident dog, but can be willful, obstinate, and challenging, which makes him best suited to a confident owner with experience of dog ownership. He tends to get along well with children, who he will treat as friends, and with proper socialization also gets along with pets, although he can sometimes be jealous or territorial. He is usually polite - even friendly - with strangers when properly socialized. The Portuguese Water Dog is a good choice of family pet for active families with plenty of time to devote to a pet, but not the right choice for those with little time or energy.
You will need to dedicate a lot of time to grooming the Portuguese Water Dog, and he will need to be brushed twice weekly. You should also check his ears are clean and dry, particularly after he has been in water, in order to reduce the chance of infection. You may also want to consider clipping and scissoring for your Portuguese Water Dog. This breed is a minimal shedder when properly groomed, and is ideal for those that suffer from allergies.
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.
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!
This is a generally healthy breed. You should look out for some connected health issues, such as allergies, PRA, HD, and GM-1. The parents of the Portuguese Water Dog should have CERF and OFA certificates and you should also ask about clearance for glycogen storage disease (GM-1).