Portuguese Water Dog | Dog Breed Guide

Portuguese Water Dog | Dog Breed Guide

by Scritch

The Portuguese Water Dog is an incredibly smart dog that is easy to train. This breed is eager to please and is an athletic companion built for water work.

Weight - Female: 35-50 pounds; Male: 42-60 pounds

Height - Female: 17-21 inches; Male: 20-23 inches

Life Expectancy: 11-13 years

Group: Working group

Temperament: adventurous, athletic, and affectionate

Energy Level:

Ease of Training:

Grooming Requirements:

History and Personality

The Portuguese Water Dog descends from dogs that were used for centuries by Portuguese fishermen to capture fish in nets or to retrieve gear that fell into the water. This breed almost disappeared in the beginning of the 20th century when fishing became more modernized. However, there was a wealthy Portuguese dog lover named Vasco Bensuade who stepped up and made it a mission to save the breed. Just a couple of decades later, Portuguese Water Dogs made their way to the United States. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized this breed as the official Portuguese Water Dog, and today this breed ranks 69th in popularity among 155 breeds that are recognized against the AKC.

The Portuguese Water Dog is fun-loving, tireless, and has a great sense of humor. It’s important to stay a step ahead of this dog as they are quite smart. This type of dog is known to do funny things to get your attention and make you laugh. There is not a one-size-fits-all temperament for this breed – they may be laid back, strong-willed, or somewhere in the middle.

This breed is moderately sized with an abundance of curly hair that does not shed. Their coat comes in different colors, some come with or without white. Brown and black are the most common colors, and white is the least common.

Training this dog isn’t usually stressful because of their high intelligence and how well they respond to obedience training. This breed does best with positive reinforcement training methods.

These water dogs have webbed feet to help them excel at swimming. This dog can bark a lot, depending on their individual temperament. However, you can minimize barking by making sure the dog has at least an hour of daily exercise.

Portuguese Water Dogs are meant to live indoors. They thrive in a fenced yard big enough for them to run around. If they have enough exercise, at least 30 minutes of vigorous play or a long walk or jog each day, they can settle for living in an apartment. When this breed is raised with kids, they are more apt to be one of the best family pets. These dogs get along well with other dogs and cats, especially when brought up around them.


This breed has two types of coats: wavy and curly. Both types are a single coat, meaning there is no undercoat. Due to their single coat, it means they shed less than other breeds and are a preferred breed for those with allergies. The Portuguese Water Dog should be brushed two or three times each week to prevent tangles. Trimming their coat at least once per month is beneficial to keep them looking neat. Be sure to brush your dog’s teeth at least twice weekly to maintain good dental hygiene.

Energy Level

Portuguese Water Dogs have an abundance of energy and enthusiasm. These dogs are curious and outgoing. They love to play in the water and are up for exercise challenges. This breed should go for long daily walks or have a big yard to play in to burn off extra energy.

Health Concerns

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Storage Disease

When buying a puppy from a breeder, it’s ideal to ask about the health clearance of the puppy’s parents so you know what to expect. Additionally, keeping up with veterinary appointments is an important part of responsible pet ownership. Insuring your dog can help cover the costs of unexpected veterinary care should a health issue arise.