Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese water dog is a dog that has felt at home in all kinds of waters for many years. Their ability to swim is amazing to watch in the water. Their webbed feet are the main reason for their awesome swimming ability. This breed will go swimming with its family for hours at a time. So make sure to find a stick or bring a ball to throw in the water for them to retrieve.

This breed of dog is a wonderful dog to have as part of your family. They love other dogs and kids. You might want to make sure they get to know the cats in your home before leaving them alone with the kitty. Otherwise, this is a great dog to have when it comes to having a family dog. This breed will love to go outside and run around with the kids and other dogs to play and burn off some energy.

This is not a breed of dog to have to keep them outside in cold weather. They can be outside dogs, but they prefer to be inside with their family especially when it is cold outside. They enjoy being active indoors or outdoors and while they are puppies, they are sure to chew everything in sight. They tend to be very active chewers while they are in puppyhood and nothing is left unchewed if you allow it.

You may notice with this breed that they resemble a little bit of the standard poodle in them. That might be where the curly hair may come from, however, their body shape and other characteristics are completely different.


The Portuguese Water Dog is a dog that can come in two different fur coats. Their coat can be wavy, flat, and shiny or it can be open curls, thick, and some may even have a tight curl. The Portuguese Water Dog is not double coated and is also non-shedding and hypoallergenic. Their coat comes in different colors such as white, black, brown, white with dark spots, black, or a brown color with some white markings. This breed has also been known to come in colors of gray or a silver fox color.

Their ears are shaped in a heart shape that hangs down the side of their face, but not many of them have ears that hang any lower than their jaw. Their eyes and nose are a dark color. Their tail is long and it is thick towards the top then tapers out to a point. Their tail has hair that is long and feathery. They have very long and straight legs that can be very strong. Their feet are webbed which is what makes the Portuguese Water Dog a great swimmer.

The Portuguese Water Dog can have a height of 20 to 22 inches for the males and can range between 17 to 20 inches for the females. Their weight can range between 42 to 55 pounds for the males and range between 35 to 49 pounds for the females. The females are always a tad smaller in height and weight.



Well from their name, being a water dog you can imagine that they love the water and are very active. This breed is a sensible and loyal dog for anyone to have. They love to play with children and are also pretty well with other dogs and pets you may have in the home. This water dog is trainable, smart, and loves to learn things quickly. This dog is smart and loves attention. They can be the highlight of things when it comes to getting attention, which can make for a good laugh. They tend to bark, which can make them a good watch dog for the house. They will be sure to let you know when someone is around.

This breed can live in the apartment as long as it is exercised enough so a small yard will do. They can live outside, but prefer to be living inside as part of the family.


The Portuguese Water Dog needs to be brushed or combed on a regular schedule to keep the hair from matting up. If you have a wavy coated breed then they are normally clipped close around the nose and the hind quarters. The curly coated breed has a retriever clipped style, but it is all up to you how you clip them. Bathe them when needed.

Exercising for this breed is a wonderful idea. They need exercise for their body and their mind. They love swimming, so that is a great way for them to play. This breed also makes a wonderful partner for jogging and long walks.


The Portuguese water dog comes to us from Portugal and of course, this is how they received their name. This breed was used by fishermen to help them out in the waters. These dogs would go out into the water to retrieve fish, guard ship boats, help fishermen when they fell in, herd fish into nets, retrieve articles from the water, and send messages back and fourth between fishing boats for the fishermen to communicate. This breed was the most sought after breed for fishermen. Now with so many devices around to help fishermen, not many of them use these dogs anymore except for in certain parts of the world.

With new inventions for fishing, many quit using the Portuguese Water Dog and they were close to extinction. This was in the 1970’s. There were only 25 of the Portuguese Water Dogs left around the world. Then slowly they started being bred again, but they had to be careful with breeding due to the fact of inbreeding the dogs. Now there are way over ten thousand of this breed in the United States alone. There are also some of these breed in Finland where they are still being used for fishing.

This is the main reason people think that their so loyal and dependent because of their history working with fishermen and the close nit ties the fisherman had with his dog. The Portuguese Water Dog finally made it in the American Kennel Club in the early 1980’s and is still a popular water dog. To this day, the dog is still known for his ability in the waters, but now they are becoming a wonderful companion for people to enjoy in their homes. These dogs have been wonderful workers in their history and some still are.

Was this post helpful?