What is the temperament of a Portuguese water dog? Surprising Answer

Bred For:

Length: Medium Characteristics: Curly Colors: White, black, brown, solid or with white Overall Grooming Needs: High

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Working UKC Classification: Gun Dog Prevalence: So-so

Portuguese Water Dogs are medium-sized dogs weighing from 35 to 60 pounds.

Males are 20 to 23 inches at the shoulder; females are smaller at 17 to 21 inches tall. The body is well-muscled and built for work. The head is longer than the muzzle and the ears are dropped. Water dogs generally mature at 1 to 2 years of age, although they reach their full size around 6 to 8 months.

The Portuguese Water dog has two varieties of coat. One is compact curls, and the other is wavy with a slight sheen. These dogs have no undercoat and do not shed. They are clipped in either a “lion clip” (face and hindquarters shaved) or a “retriever clip” (hair cut evenly to about one inch). The coat color is black, white or various shades of brown. Combinations of black or brown and white are also seen. Dogs with black, white, or black and white hair have bluish skin.

The Portuguese Water Dog requires frequent grooming to prevent mating and tangling. Brushing and combing every day is highly advised, and they require frequent baths and clippings. This is a high maintenance dog.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Portuguese Water Dog

To find a Portuguese water dog, check your local shelters and rescue groups. Similar breeds can also make a great addition to your family, and many are in shelters waiting for their forever homes.

If youre planning to adopt a puppy, ensure your breeder provides any relevant medical tests for the litters parents and allows you to see the conditions in which their dogs are kept. These dogs can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 from a breeder, though prices may vary depending on pedigree and availability.

To start your search, check out these resources for the national breed club, rescues, and the AKC:

Portuguese Water Dog Pros And Cons | Should You REALLY Get A PORTUGUESE WATER DOG?

Portuguese water dogs came into the public eye when US Senator Ted Kennedy gifted one to the Obama family while President Barack Obama was in office. While they were originally bred to help fishermen, they are now a family favorite dog due to their easygoing and lovable personalities and their desire to please.Â

Other names for this breed include Cão de Água (which means water dog in Portuguese), Algavarian water dog, or Portuguese fishing dog.

Physical characteristics. The Portuguese water dog size varies between males and females. Males weigh between 42 and 60 pounds, and females weigh between 35 and 50 pounds. Male dogs of this breed measure up to 23 inches tall, while females can be up to 21 inches tall.

Portuguese water dogs have either curly or wavy coats. Their coats can be solid black, brown, or white, or black or brown with white patches. They typically have black or dark brown eyes. Their noses are black if the dog is black, and brown if the dog is brown. Unlike some other water-loving dogs, Portuguese water dogs do not have an undercoat.

Portuguese water dog personality. These dogs are well known for their friendly personalities. They love kids and other dogs and typically enjoy receiving and giving affection. They are very open to change and new environments. As long as they are with their favorite people, they will be very engaged and focused on pleasing their owners no matter the environment.

Portuguese water dog temperament can be a little shy at first, but they will warm up to strangers after a while. They are somewhat vigilant and will likely let you know when someone is approaching your home.Â

This breed is exceptionally willing to please, making them easy to train. As a working breed, they also have a lot of energy. They were bred to spend their days swimming and helping fishermen, so they require a lot of exercise.Â

Very smart dogs, they also need some mental stimulation. If they get bored, they might get into mischief.

Portuguese water dog coat care. Portuguese water dogs have long and thick coats to help them deal with water conditions. They need to be brushed weekly to avoid tangles. They will also require a bath once in a while to keep them from smelling too bad.Â

In terms of other grooming needs, like all dogs, you should trim your dog’s nails regularly to prevent feet and leg issues later on in life. Brush your dog’s teeth with a dog-friendly toothpaste every day to prevent gum disease.

Exercising your Portuguese water dog. Make sure you give your Portuguese water dog vigorous exercise every day in the form of walks, runs, agility training, or swimming. They also love dock diving, obedience training, and anything active that they can do with their owner.

Vet visits. If you plan to breed your Portuguese water dog, you should take your dog in for an annual eye exam to rule out genetic eye diseases that are common in the breed. Breeding dogs also require a hip x-ray on or after their second birthday to rule out hip dysplasia and genetic testing to make sure there are no other genetic conditions that could get passed down to puppies.Â

Otherwise, Portuguese water dog care is typical. You should bring your dog to the vet for their normal annual check-up once they are older than one year old.

Some of these vaccinations require multiple shots or boosters every 1 to 3 years as your dog ages. There are also optional vaccinations that your vet might recommend based on your dog’s lifestyle. For example, if your dog spends a lot of time in the woods, your vet may recommend the Lyme disease vaccine. Talk to your vet to find out which vaccinations would be best for your dog.

You should also take measures to protect your dog against fleas and ticks, like using a flea collar or prevention medication. Medication to prevent heartworm is now recommended throughout the United States. You should also give your dog heartworm medication year-round to prevent this parasitic infection.