Breed of the Month–Portuguese Water Dog

1April 2014

Portuguese Water Dog
Color:  Black, brown tones, white, combination black or brown with white.
Height:  Males:  19.5-23 inches/  Females:  16.5-21 inches
Weight:  Males:  42-60 lbs/  Females:  35-50 lbs
Life Span:  11-14 years
Breed Health Concerns:  Addison’s disease, hip dysplasia, follicular dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and glycogen storage disease.
Coat:  Two varieties (both single coat):  Gentle waves, OR curly with compact, cylindrical curls.  Both coats have a slight sheen.
Country of Origin:  Portugal
Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.
Known to be an indispensable partner to the fisherman of coastal Portugal, the Portuguese Water Dog may have assisted in this way as far back as 700 BCE.  The PWD’s job was to herd fish into the nets of his fisherman, carry messages and equipment between boats, and retrieve objects from the water.  The PWD’s size and strength make him hearty enough to navigate through rough water.  Combined with his dense, waterproof coat, the Portuguese Water Dog is unstoppable in the water.
The breed came to the U.S. via England in 1958.  A family from Connecticut fell for the dog and imported a puppy directly from Portugal.  The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America (PWDCA) was formed in 1972 and by the early 1980s, the breed was flourishing in the United States.
The PWD is great with children, lively, and sensible.  A working dog, the PWD will not stop until the job is done.  He enjoys swimming, retrieving and herding.  The PWD is level-headed yet fun loving, and is very devoted to his family.
The Portuguese Water Dog is an extremely athletic dog and requires regular, vigorous exercise.  As his name may indicate, his favorite activity involves the water.  Being a working dog, the PWD should be involved in doing regular household chores.  He loves to play.
Although practically non shedding, the coat of the PWD needs regular maintenance.  The coat of the Portuguese Water Dog should be combed, trimmed, and brushed regularly.  The coat should be clipped every 6-8 weeks.
The Portuguese Water Dog is a high-energy dog and training should begin as soon as possible.  The PWD eagerly takes to positive reinforcement training and enjoys having a job to do.  It is important to give the PWD guidance and direction, but with positive training, he can learn almost anything.

I was lucky enough to train with a Portuguese Water Dog named Tele.  Tele had some issues with golf carts, so we worked on several different training activities on the leash, most of which involved golf carts of course.  Below are a few of the pictures I caught during our training.