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Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog breed profile is sponsored by visit PetWear to custom design your Portu's next designer dog collar, leash or more and then let PetWear hand make it and then ship for free!

The Portuguese Water Dog literally made a splash into the canine world of the US in the mid to late 80s.  Many people fell in love with the lively medium sized dog and many others feared that the fate of this breed would be similar to the experience of other breeds.  Popularity would bring for a breeding binge by irresponsible and ignorant people that would serve to populate society with dogs that suffered from serious health and temperament issues effectively destroying the reputation of the breed before it could be established.  By contrast, the early founders of the PWD in the US deserve commendations, with strict attention to where their puppies went and ongoing attention, the PWD did not suffer such a fate.  Once the attention turned to other new fad breeds, the serious PWD fanciers were left to focus on their dogs...and they've done well. Demonstrating remarkable skill in virtually every area of dogsport, the PWD is a serious contender and a joy to watch and train.  Additionally, the breed's parent club(s) have always been on the forefront in seeking out information for the health issues that afflict their breed, seeking options for testing and treatment and being as straightforward as possible with the public and other breeders (a true unknown in the overall canine world).  Definitely a group of fanciers that the rest of the pure breed dog world could take some lessons from... and besides that, for the family that is prepared for the demands (and fun that come with it) in living with a PWD, they are just great dogs.

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General Information
Group(s): WorkingWater Height: 17-22.5 inches
Weight: 35-55 pounds Longevity: teens
Colors: solid black, white or brown, various shades of brown, brown and white, or black and white Coat type: Two types of coat, one is a bit shorter and heavily curled, the other more profuse in length and wavy, neither with undercoat.
Recognized Registries: FCI, TKC, AKC, ANKC, CKC, NCA, UKC and others
Overall Appearance: Rectangular, compact and well muscled medium sized dog with alert expression, small flop ear and distinctive coat.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: high
General Nature: somewhat independent but devoted to their family, very intelligent, strong drive
  with Children: Generally excellent with children they know given proper socialization, well behaved children and supervision
  with other pets: Generally good but can vary tremendously based on socialization
  with dogs: Generally good but some variability
Socialization requirements: Rather high as it is for all independent, intelligent breeds
Ideal home characteristics: One that appreciates and provides outlet for the high energy and work ethic. Very easy to see this as a medium sized dog and overlook the incredible need for mental and physical stimulation.
Temperament Notes: Pleasant, friendly, exceptional stamina
Training requirement: Rather high. While the breed can be pleasant to be around with socialization and basic manners, the drive to be doing something combined with their intelligece makes this far from a long term solution.
Trainer notes: Many dogs are born with a work ethic and require some ongoing job or project.  Many of those dogs excel in a particular endeavor and become specialists.  Few are as adept at the versatility expressed commonly in the PWD.  Easy to train, quick to master new skills, it's not unusual to find the dedicated PWS family working their dog in multiple endeavors from water work to flyball to obedience to agility and more.  To say this is a requirement would be overstating the facts but if you are unwilling to consider pursuing such things at all with your dog then the PWD is probably not the breed for you.  As proof, one of the dogs that searched the rubble of the WTC after Sept 11 was a PWD named Dutch.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: Unknown, breed is old but unrecorded
Country of Origin: Portugal
Original Function: Fisherman's assistance
History: Developed as an aid to Portugal's fisherman. The dog lived on the boats with the men and would act as couriers between boats or to shore as well as herding fish into the nets and retrieving lost equipment in the water.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: too large, incorrect coat
Health Notes: hip dysplasia, eye problems, heart problems, storage disease, addison's disease, alopecia
Health Testing: OFA, CERF, DNA testing (currently no testing available for addison's, though it can be controlled by treatment) or the alopecia issues
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!
  • How long have you had Portuguese Water Dogs?
  • Why do you have Portuguese Water Dogs (show, performance, hunting, etc.)?
  • What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of a Portuguese Water Dog?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What criteria do you set for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you send your pups to their homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Portuguese Water Dog?
  • How would you describe the ideal Portuguese Water Dog home?
  • Are your puppies whelped in your home?
  • What advice would you offer someone in raising and training a Portuguese Water Dog?
  • How do you assist or help Portuguese Water Dogs in need of rescue?
  • Web Sites: - Portuguese Water Dog Club of America Rescue

    Other Resources
    Breed standard: - Standard as per The Kennel Club (UK) for the Portuguese Water Dog

    Breeder Ethics: - Portuguese Water Dog Club of Americ Code of Ethics

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