TOPSIDE Portuguese Water Dogs
Colors: Black, white, brown and parti-color.
Energy Level: High - obedience training mandatory.
Good with Children: Yes, but with proper supervision.
Performance Abilities: Obedience, agility, water work and herding.
Shedding: Minimal, most dander allergic people tolerant.
Grooming: Extensive, weekly brushing and bi-monthly clipping.
Current Health Concerns: Addison's, Cancer
Health Tests Available: OFA Hips & Elbows, PRA, GM-1, CERF, JDCM
This highly intelligent utilitarian breed is distinguished by two coat types, either curly or wavy;
an impressive head of considerable breadth and well proportioned mass; a ruggedly built, well-
knit body; and a powerful, thickly based tail, carried gallantly or used purposefully as a rudder.
The Portuguese Water Dog provides an indelible impression of strength, spirit, and soundness.
He is a loyal companion and alert guard.
When modern technology replaced the work of the Water dog, the population began to dwindle.
By 1972, only 25 Water dogs existed worldwide. Through the superior efforts of just a handful of
conscientious breeders in both the U.S. and Portugal, the breed was revived and health
problems isolated and eliminated, saving the breed from extinction. Today’s PWD makes a fine
pet besides being beautiful in the show ring. He is smart, lovable, and exuberant, adores people,
and is fiercely loyal to his "crewmates". He thrives as a family member and gets on well with
children and other household pets. He is the family clown and invariably competes for center
stage. As a watch dog, he is protective rather than aggressive, and cautious and sensible with
For fun, the PWD loves to play with stuffed toys. His webbed feet also make him a natural in the
pool. Being greeted by a PWD is unforgettable. They are very intelligent and extremely people
oriented. If a stranger, you are likely to experience a penetrating, nearly human stare. Once
known to him, you can expect a raucous welcome frequently accompanied by the offering of a
favorite toy and a cacophony of extraordinary and distinctively PWD sounds. PWDs are bouncy,
versatile and fuzzy-wuzzy. Yet problems arise when buyers believe this cuddly pup is going to
grow up into a bigger, decorative teddy bear.
These dogs want to work and play, preferably with their owners. Porties love parties and want
to be in the thick of every activity, canine or human. Although they relate well to other dominant
breeds such as Akitas and Doberman’s, PWDs can be jealous of attention paid to other dogs.
Studs often are territorial. If left to their own resources, they’re liable to find entertainment in
undesirable behavior or barking. They’re curious and liable to follow their noses into trouble.
Obedience training is mandatory and helps the owner establish authority and fulfills the dog’s
desire to work.
Like human infants, PWDs investigate things by putting them in their mouths. A sock or wallet
left on the floor is not long for this world. PWDs consider children great companions because
kids are busily into everything and always willing to play. PWDs consider human youngsters
their charges and bustle about herding them together. Children must be under supervision at all
times when interacting with any dog, young or old.
Owners will admit that grooming this dog is demanding. Although billed as non-shedding, it is
only possible after daily brushing and combing. It is said that white coats mat easier than black
or brown and through personal experience, I find that true. This actually only applies to the dogs
whose hair is grown long, so we generally keep our dogs cut short. The PWD prefers to sleep
on cold surfaces than hot. Owners may discover, to their surprise, their Portie in the tub or
happily diving into even the coldest water.