Portuguese Water Dog


A medium sized Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dog Quick Summary
Also Known AsPortie
Height (at withers)17-22in (43-56cm)
Weight35-55lbs (16-25kg)
Hair Colour(s)Black, brown, white
Lifespan11-13 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size4-8
Barking TendencyMedium
Exercise requirementsHigh
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityHigh
Aggression levelsLow
Distress if leftLow

The Portuguese Water Dog is a medium sized fit and hardy looking dog. The body is muscular with a wide and deep chest, a level topline, strong and straight legs, webbed feet and a long high-set tail. The head is broad with a wide muzzle, a broad black nose, high-set hanging ears and round dark eyes. The single coat is thick and water repellant to some degree, and is noramlly wavy or curly. The colouring tend to be black, brown or white, or combinations of these.


Portuguese Water Dogs are lively and animated dogs that can often be quite amusing. With plenty of spirit, they make loyal and affectionate companions and family pets, and are best suited to those that are active as they have great stamina. These dogs have even temperaments and are generally well-mannered, although young dogs are notorious for chewing things. They are intelligent, highly trainable and learn quickly, and so training can be fairly straghtforward. However, they can be quite sensitive and independant too, and so are best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training, as owners will need to be firm and confident. Portuguese Water Dogs get on well with older, more considerate children, and also with other pets, although they will need early socialisation around cats. Their reaction to strangers can vary from reserved but poilte to friendly, and these aware dogs make good watchdogs.

History & Skills

Portuguese Water Dogs originate from Portugal, where they were used by fishermen to steer fish into nets. Their native name, Cao de Agua, translates as Dog of Water. They were often given a lion trim, with the muzzle and rear shaved, to assist in swimming and to keep vital organs warm. They were also used for carrying messages on water between boats, for guarding boats and the daily catch while in port. These days they are popular as companion dogs and therapy and assistance dogs.

Breed Specific Ailments

Portuguese Water Dogs tend to live between 11-13 years. Some of the health concerns noted in this breed include hip dysplasia, PRA and distichiasis.


Portuguese Water Dogs are low shedders and so are generally suitable for those suffering with allergies. Their grooming requirements are not high, and their coat will need brushing once or twice a week, and clipping once a month.

Exercise & Environment

Portuguese Water Dogs tend to live indoors and can be suitable for small homes such as apartments so long as they have access to an outside area for play, such as a a garden or yard. They will need a daily walk and preferably the chance to practive retrieving or playing catch on water occasonally. These dogs make great companions on long walks and for joggers, and they love the water.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

Breed Clubs

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Owners Gallery

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