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Your Pet, Our Passion.

Portuguese Water Dog

A rectangular, medium-sized, muscular dog, the Portuguese Water Dog comes in two coat types: one with quite long, wavy hair, and the other with shorter, harsh hair with tighter curls. Show dogs are clipped (on the muzzle, hindquarters and part of the tail).

12 – 15 years
16 – 25kg
43 – 57cm
Black, white, brown, black and white, and brown and white
Kennel Club Group
The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys more than two hours of walking a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Generally friendly with other dogs
  • Gets along with other pets with training
  • Great family dog
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left occasionally with training
Generally healthy breed

The Portugese Water Dog can suffer from: 
- Hip dysplasia 
- Progressive retinal atrophy which is an inherited disorder where part of the eye degenerates and wastes away which can result in blindness.
- Gangliosidosis which is a disease that can lead to damage of the brain and spinal cord. 
- Juvenile dilated cardiomyopathy¹ which is a condition that develops in young dogs where the heart muscle becomes progressively weak and cannot beat properly.

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
None but there are several recommended schemes that the Kennel Club recommends which can be found here.

¹M. M. Sleeper et al, 'Dilated cardiomyopathy in juvenile Portuguese water dogs', 2002, Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine


Possibly as a by-product of a history of sitting quietly in boats before leaping into action, the Portuguese Water Dog, while extremely active, is surprisingly self-controlled and very trainable. They are friendly, happy dogs who bond closely to their families and who enjoy being a part of everything - but without training and enough exercise and stimulation they can become bored and unruly. Water is, unsurprisingly, a magnet for them!

Did You Know?

  • The last canine residents of the White House were Portuguese Water Dogs. Bo was given to President Obama as a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy, and during his time in Washington he was known as the ‘first dog’. The Obamas were so enchanted by Bo that they got Sunny, another Portuguese Water Dog, as a playmate for him.
  • Portuguese Water Dogs have webbed feet which makes them amazing swimmers.
  • Despite being very fluffy, they have no undercoat which means they don’t really shed.
  • The first account of a Portuguese Water Dog was in 1297 when a monk reported a dying sailor who had been rescued from the sea with a dog with a ‘black coat of rough hair, cut to the first rib and with a tuft on the tip of his tail’.
  • It’s thought that their bloodline influenced other breeds such as the Irish Water Spaniel and the Kerry Blue Terrier.
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