Description: The Portuguese water dog is a muscular dog of medium size. This breed has a sturdy build with heavy bones. The dog will be 20 to 22 inches at the withers and weigh between 42 and 58 pounds. The bitch is 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder and weighs 35 to 49 pounds. The Portuguese Water Dog can exhibit two different types of coat: curly or wavy. The waterproof hair is quite long and comes in black, white, brown, or a combination of these basic colors. The Portuguese water dog will live between 10 and 14 years. It is also called Portie, Cao de agua, and Cao de agua Portuguese.
History: The Portuguese water dog originated in Portugal, where local dogs were probably bred with the poodle. This dog was an invaluable help to the Portuguese fishermen, as he loves to swim and dive. It was useful for bringing back lost nets, protecting the ship, and receiving messages between ships while at sea. The lion trim that the dog still displays was considered to help the dog navigate the water, the thick hair at the front protects the dog from the cold, and the clipped hindquarters facilitate movement through the water. Once the fishing was commercialized, the Portuguese Hound almost became extinct, but was rescued from oblivion by the efforts of a Portuguese businessman.
Temperament: The Portuguese Water Dog makes an excellent companion. This dog is friendly and playful and will behave wonderfully around children. The water dog will generally not be aggressive towards other family pets, as it was not developed as a hunting dog. He is easy to train and has found work not only as a friend of the family, but as a therapy dog.
Health issues: Although the Portuguese water dog can suffer from two very serious genetic diseases, a juvenile heart problem and a nerve disease, testing of breeding cattle has almost completely eliminated these fatal ailments. Hip dysplasia can also occur and the dog can also develop progressive retinal atrophy. All that said, the Portuguese dog is a generally healthy breed.
Grooming: As the Portuguese water dog’s coat is quite long, it should be brushed at least every other day. In the lion cut, the hair is kept long in the front of the dog and this must be taken care of constantly. Some people choose to give their Portuguese Water Dog a shorter cut, like a puppy cut, for easier grooming. If the dog has been in the water, make sure the ears are dry to help prevent infection.
Living conditions: this dog is perfectly capable of living in an apartment as long as the owner gives it enough exercise. As it is primarily a companion dog, it does not belong in a kennel, but does best when interacting with its human family. Incorporating water sports while playing with the Portuguese Hound will delight the dog, as his basic instincts were founded on water work. They love to swim and are easy to train to retrieve items from the water.