Portuguese Water Dog Breed Profile

by Luke Blaise

AKC Group: Working Group

The Portuguese Water dog is a fairly rare breed. Originally used by fishermen, it is a great swimmer. Its powerful tail and wavy black coat keeps it safe in the water. A friendly dog that does require regular grooming.


The Portuguese Water dog is known as the dog of water (Cao de Agua) in the native Portugal, this dog was bred to go along with fisherman in their boats. A great diver and swimmer, the breed recovered dove for fish, broken nets, carried communications between boats to shore, and protected the boat for his master in international ports. The breed began vanishing in early twentieth century when technologies made his everyday job somewhat outdated, but Dr. Vasco Bensaude, a rich Portuguese dog fancier and shipping magnate, saved the breed.

Physical Features

The Portuguese Water dog is recognized by 2 coat types, either wavy or curly. A remarkable head of substantial breadth and nicely proportioned mass. It has a well-knit body that is ruggedly built. The tail is strong and thick. The dog has durability, soundness, and spirit. The height at the withers for males varies from 20 to 23 inches. Females vary from 17 to 21 inches.

Weight for males ranges from 42 to 60 pounds, and for females, 35 to 50 pounds. An excessive, heavily grown coat of healthy, strong, covering the entire body it ideal.

The coat can be white, black, and different shades of brown; also mixtures of brown or black with white are acceptable. A white coat doesn't mean albinism provided eyelids, mouth and nose are black. In dogs with black, white, or monochrome coats, skin is arguably bluish.


A pet of spirited temperament, self-willed, and fearless. It has outstanding cleverness and is a loyal friend. It obeys its owner and it is obedient with people who take care of it or with those to whom it really loves.

Common Health Problems

Some Portuguese Water dog lines are susceptible to hip dysplasia and PRA. Vulnerable to GM-1 Storage Disease, a fatal nerve disease. Those dogs utilized for breeding must be tested. It shows when the puppy is around six months old.

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