Country of Origin: Portugal
  • Activity Level: high
  • Grooming Level: moderate
  • Trainability: high
  • Adaptability: high
  • Kid/Pet Friendly: often
  • Average Size: Medium
  • Average Lifespan: 10-14 years
  • Prey Drive: moderate
  • Watchdog: aware
  • Registered?: aca, akc
5 out of 5
Average based on 16 Reviews

Portuguese Water Dog Breed Profile

Overview
Temperament
Adaptability
Health
Owner Experience
Grooming
Activity Level
Size
Life Span
Did You Know?

The curly-coated Portuguese Water Dog is a working breed that is about as fun-loving and lively as any dog breeds out there! The Portuguese Water Dog was originally used by Portuguese Fisherman to retrieve equipment that was lost overboard and was even known to “herd” fish into the nets, making them very valuable fishing companions.

The fact that Portuguese Water Dogs love to be in the water can surely be attributed to their history as a “fisherman’s Friend”, and having webbed feet never hurts when you like to swim, of course! As a matter of fact, this dog is so well known to be a water lover, that the Portuguese call them “Cao de Agua”, which means Dog of Water.

The Portuguese Water Dog has a friendly and playful disposition. They are good with children and strangers as long as they are properly socialized early in life. They do fairly well with other dogs, and they will be generally friendly with other family pets.

This is a very adaptable dog breed. They are not particularly sensitive to hot or cold climates, but be careful of extreme temps like with all breeds. They will do well in an apartment setting as long as they are properly exercised and have enough attention. The Portuguese Water Dog will not enjoy long periods of alone time, as they are happiest while spending time and engaging with their family.

The Portuguese Water Dog is a very healthy breed generally. The major health concerns are Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Storage Disease which are both genetically passed on to puppies by the parents and can be avoided with proper genetic testing.

Because of their high intelligence level, the Portuguese Water Dog is a good choice for an owner with any experience level. They pick up simple commands very quickly, and are easily housebroken the majority of the time. Even for an owner who is looking to use this dog breed for agility or other advanced uses like a service dog, these dogs will meet practically any challenge.

The Portuguese Water Dog is a low-shedding breed, but that does not mean they don’t require proper grooming. There are 2 different grooming cut styles well known for the PWD, the Lion Cut and the Retriever cut. The Lion cut consists of the hindquarters, muzzle, and the base of the tail are shaved, with the rest of the coat full length. The Retriever Cut is simply having the coat cut down to 1″ over the dog’s entire body.

The Portuguese Water Dog has a high energy level; they should be exercised for at least an hour a day. A fenced-in yard is a nice option with this dog breed, as is an active family lifestyle.

The Portuguese Water Dog is a medium-sized canine, weighing 35 to 60 pounds and standing 17 to 23 inches at the shoulder.

10 to 14 years

The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, chose the Portuguese Water Dog as his presidential family pet. President Obama currently owns two Portuguese Water Dogs, Bo and Sunny, and was said to have chosen this breed because they are a low-shedding, hypoallergenic dog breed.