Portuguese Water Dog

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Portuguese Water Dog


Intelligent, enthusiastic, and energetic, the Portuguese Water Dog was bred to be a fisherman’s assistant. The Portuguese Water Dog has a wavy coat and robust build, with stout legs. They are eager and athletic companions built for water work, also do well as a family pet and to get along with other animals. 

Other Names Cao De Agua, Cao De Agua Portugues, Portie
Color Black, Brown, White
Height Males: 19-23 inches. Females: 16-21 inches.
Weight Males: 42-50 pounds. Females: 35-50 pounds.
Life Span 11-13 years
Personality Affectionate, Adventurous, Athletic
Exercise Energetic
Popularity #49
Groom Needs Daily
Kids Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly Yes with supervision
Watch Dog
Family Dog
Litter Size 4-8

Portuguese Water Dog Pictures

Portuguese Water Dog Video


The Portuguese Water Dog is a breed with origins from the Portuguese region of the Algarve. Some of its common nicknames are Portie, PWD, and Water Dog. Algarvian Water Dog or Portuguese Fishing Dog are some of the names by which the dog is known in Portugal. The first name, Algarvian Water Dog, is given to the breed with wavy hair while the second name, Portuguese Fishing Dog, is given to the breed with a curly coat. The Standard Poodle is thought by many to be the closest relatives to the Portuguese water dog and they share similar features such as curly coats, webbed toes for swimming, and, also, intelligence.

Portuguese water dogs are characterized by a single-layered coat that does not shed. Most coat colors are entirely black, black and white, brown, or silver. White spots on the chest as well as paws or legs on the black- and brown-coated dogs is a common sight. There are also coats known as “Irish marked” or “Parti” which have irregular white and black spots and are rare but striking in appearance. There are two coat types that are associated with Portuguese Water Dogs; the curly coat and the wavy coat. The curly coat is made up of compact, cylindrical curls though the hair on the ears is sometimes wavy while the wavy coat is made up of hairs that fall in waves and not curls.

A male Portuguese water dog stands 20-23 inches at the shoulder and has a weight of 42-60 pounds. A female Portuguese water dog stands 17-21 inches at the shoulder and has a weight of 35-50 pounds. There are a variety of temperaments you can find in a Portuguese water dog. While some are laid back, some are strong-willed and some are just in-between.

Its lifespan is 10-14 years. This dog is classified as a working dog by the AKC and is known to be an independent and affectionate dog that can be easily trained in skills such as obedience and agility. They enjoy being petted and are friendly, even to strangers.

Living with Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog’s dense, profuse coat requires regular and extensive grooming. Brushing weekly and bathing as necessary could help keep the Portie’s coat in top condition. Pet owners can take your dog to visit a professional groomer every six to eight weeks, and regular brushing several times a week with a pin or slicker brush is necessary to keep him neat.

Dental hygiene is also important. Regular tooth brushing with a soft toothbrush and doggie toothpaste keep the teeth and gums healthy. The daily brush is better. Usually, trim their nails every week or two to prevent painful splitting, cracking, or breaking a nail. 

As a dog who spends a lot of time in the water, it is important to give a thorough shower after swimming to remove substances that can cause the coat or skin problems.

As an athletic, active breed, the Portuguese Water Dog needs enough exercise every day to keep him healthy. At least an hour exercise every day is recommended, without enough exercise, the dog may toward destructive purpose. Also, participating in canine sports is a good way to exercise your dog’s mind and body, such as obedience, tracking, agility, rally, dock diving, and other activities that can be enjoyed by dog and owner. The water work is the most special of all training and exercise selections for the Portuguese Water Dog. Proper exercise can make your Portuguese Water Dog much happier.

The Portuguese Water Dog needs the same source of nutrients as the native environment of this breed, and a proper balance of protein, carbohydrates, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. 

It is recommended to feed your dog with two and a half to three and a half cups of high-quality dog food. The amount of food for Portuguese Water Dog s should depend on their weight and activity levels, and some dogs are easy to get overweight, so you need to watch their calorie consumption and weight level all the time. There should be clean fresh water at all times. 

Treats may be an important aid in training, but excessive intake can lead to obesity. Also, owners need to distinguish which human food is safe for dogs and which are not. If you have any problems with your dog’s weight or diet, just consult from your veterinarian.

The Portuguese Water Dog may be prone to the following conditions: eye diseases, hip dysplasia, juvenile dilated cardiomyopathy, GM1 storage disease, Addison’s disease…

Major concerns: PRA

Minor concerns: distichiasis, Addison’s, GM1 storage disease, CHD, hair loss (follicular dysplasia), juvenile cardiomyopathy

Occasionally seen: seizures, irritable bowel syndrome

Suggested tests:

GM-1 DNA Test

Hip Evaluation


PRA Optigen DNA Test

Total Annual Cost: $2889

Cost is estimated for the first year and may vary depending on many factors, such as dog food, health care, leash, collar, licensing, possible fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, dog-walking, grooming, treats, toys, flea, tick, and heart-worm meds, microchips, etc.

As Portuguese Water Dog is very smart, they can respond well to obedience training, teaching him a Portie basic manners as early as possible is important, such as not jumping up and walking politely on lead, and discouraging mouthiness in play. 

Portuguese Water Dog requires attention and human contact, and welcomes friends and family with unbridled enthusiasm. Also, positive training methods and daily mental and physical exercise are important to them. 

Besides, the owner can burn the dog’s extra energy with advanced tricks and obedience training. They like learning and spending time with people, it can help tire out this energetic breed by going into mastering new tricks. As their loving water nature, dock diving and other water sports will put a Portie in his element. 


The Portuguese Water Dog breed was one which was almost extinct until a Portuguese ship magnate, Vasco Bensaude, began searching for fishermen’s dogs so as to re-establish the breed. The magnate’s kennel was named Algarbiorum and Leao, his most famous dog is a likely ancestor to many Portuguese water dogs presently because he was bred to many females.

The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, Inc. (PWDCA) was formed in 1972 by Deyanne Miller, the person most responsible for the rise of the breed in the United States.

Helpful Information


Breed Club Link: https://www.pwdca.org/

Breed Club Rescue: PWDCA Rescue, Inc.

Breed Club Rescue Link: http://www.pwdcarescue.org/