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Breed Profile

Portuguese Water Dog

WEIGHT: 35 to 60 lbs
HEIGHT: 17 to 23 inches
COLOR(S): Black, white, brown, or combinations of black or brown with white.
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Portuguese Water Dogs were once working dogs that worked on the coast of Portugal. They herded fish into the nets; retrieved lost tackle or broken nets, and acted as couriers from ship to ship, or ship to shore. They worked not only in the warm Atlantic waters of Portugal but also the cold fishing waters off the coast of Iceland. In Portugal, the breed is called Cão d'Água (pronounced Kown-d'Ahgwa). Cão means dog, while de Água means of water. It is a fairly rare breed that has slightly webbed feet ideal for swimming. Its closest cousin is the Standard Poodle.


Portuguese Water Dogs are very loving, intelligent and independent dogs. They love to be by their master's side, being close to them both indoors and outdoors. They love attention as well as activities of all kinds. When bored, they will become destructive. A PWD will commonly jump as a greeting. Although they get along with other animals, they will usually only really bond with one alpha family member. They may have tugging and chewing tendencies since the water dogs instinct in them is strong. This breed makes an excellent guard dog due to its determination to defend its territory. They have a very loud and distinctive bark that is often called a laugh, because it is loud, irregular, and used during play or during greetings.


Regular brushing and combing of their coat. Weekly cleaning of their ears, especially after swimming. Teeth and nails should be checked periodically.


PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), glycogen storage disease, Addison's disease, cancer, cardiac problems, gastrointestinal disease, renal problems, hip dysplasia and skin allergies.


Portuguese Water Dogs need ample exercise which should consist of free exercise, daily walks or swimming. Owners warn that this breed is very likely to become obese if not exercised properly on a regular basis.


Portuguese Water Dogs like to work and are easy to train, they thrive in obedience training. Have consistent training with the right tone of voice, as they are very sensitive. Learning Rate: High. Obedience - High. Problem-Solving - High.

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