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AKC Meet the Breeds: Portuguese Water Dog

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

Known for centuries along Portugal's coast and prized for its strength, spirit, and soundness, the Portuguese Water Dog is a loyal worker and companion. Medium-sized and robust, the breed possesses a waterproof coat and the ability to swim all day. Its coat can be curly or wavy and is black, white, or brown, or combinations of black or brown with white.

A Look Back
Referred to as the Cao de Agua (dog of water) in its native Portugal, the Portuguese Water Dog was bred to accompany fisherman on their boats. An exceptional swimmer and diver, the breed retrieved broken nets, dove for fish, carried messages between boats and to shore, and guarded the boat for his master in foreign ports. The Portuguese Water Dog started disappearing in the early 20th century when technology made his daily job somewhat obsolete, but Dr. Vasco Bensuade, a wealthy Portuguese shipping magnate and dog fancier, saved the breed.

Right Breed for You?
An athletic, active breed, the Portuguese Water Dog requires daily vigorous exercise. He is very intelligent and responds well to obedience training. His profuse coat is hypoallergenic but requires regular maintenance. It may be kept in the lion clip (the coat on the hindquarters and muzzle are clipped to the skin) or the retriever clip (the entire coat is clipped to one inch in length and follows the outline of the dog).

  • Working Group; AKC recognized in 1983.
  • Ideal size: 35 to 60 pounds and 17 to 23 tall inches at the shoulder.
  • Fisherman's working companion; family pet.

 

 

AKC Meet the Breeds is a registered trademark of the American Kennel Club, Inc.