Portuguese Water Dog

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The Portuguese Water Dog Description

The Portuguese Water Dog is a lively, fun-loving dog who is gaining popularity because of his nonshedding coat. The dog is adaptable to any living situation--city or country--as long as he gets enough exercise. He is loaded with energy and doesn't tire easily. He is highly trainable, and water, of course, is his favourite place to play.

Did you know?

The Portuguese Water Dog once existed all along Portugal's coast, where it was taught to herd fish into the nets, to retrieve lost tackle or broken nets, and to act as a courier from ship to ship, or ship to shore. Portuguese Water Dogs rode in bobbing trawlers as they worked their way from the warm Atlantic waters of Portugal to the frigid fishing waters off the coast of Iceland where the fleets caught saltwater codfish to bring home.
In Portugal the breed is called Cao de Agua (pronounced Kown-d'Ahgwa). Cao means dog, de Agua means of water. In his native land, the dog is also known as the Portuguese Fishing Dog. Cao de Agua de Pelo Ondulado is the name given the long-haired variety, and Cao de Agua de Pelo Encaradolado is the name for the curly-coat variety.

So you want to own a Portuguese Water Dog?

The Portuguese Water Dog is an intelligent, rugged, and robust dog who loves to work outdoors.
The Portuguese Water Dog needs people, he thrives as a member of the family and will prove himself to be trustworthy. He is an energetic dog who loves to be the centre of attention.

Indicative Breed Standard


General Appearance

Robust, well balanced, rectangular in outline, very strongly muscled on shoulders. Hard, penetrating and attentive expression.


Very intelligent and tremendously energetic ‘fisherman’s dog’ with great swimming and diving traits.


Pleasant disposition, self-willed but very obedient to owner. Brave and tireless.

Head and Skull

Large, well proportioned, skull slightly longer than muzzle, well defined occiput. Muzzle tapers slightly. Forehead has central furrow for two-thirds of length of head, frontal bones prominent. Nose wide, nostrils well open. Black in black, black and white, and white dogs, liver in brown, brown and white, and brown tones.


Medium, round, set well apart. Black or dark brown with dark eye rims.


Heart shaped, dropped, thin, set well above eye level, held close to head, except at back. Tips not below neck line.


Scissor bite, jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws,
strongly developed canines.


Short, straight, strongly muscled. Carried high, no mane or dewlap.


Straight, strong boned and well muscled. Shoulders muscular and well laid. Pasterns long and upright.


Chest wide and deep, reaching to elbow. Ribs long, well sprung. Withers wide, not prominent. Back short, good tuck-up, croup only slightly inclined.


Straight and very strongly muscled, well angulated, buttocks long and well curved, strong hock, metatarsals long, no dewclaws.


Round, rather flat, toes not too long or too knuckled up. Membrane reaching to tip of toes, covered with hair. Central pads very thick.


Medium set, thick at base and tapering, length not below hock, carried in a ring, clipped, leaving plume at end.


Walking, lively short steps. A light trot and energetic gallop.


Profuse, covering whole body except under forelegs and thigh. Two distinct types, both without undercoats. (a) Hair fairly long, loosely waved with slight sheen, hair on head erect, ears well feathered. (b) Hair short, fairly harsh and dense, compact curls, lacking lustre, head hair similar to body, hair on ears somewhat wavy.


Black, white, various shades of brown, black and white, brown and white. Skin bluish under black, white, and black and white dogs. Entire hindquarters clipped from the last rib, tail clipped two-thirds, one-third left long.


Height: dogs: 50-57 cms (191/2-221/2 ins); bitches: 43-52 cms (17-201/2 ins). Weight: dogs: 19-25 kgs (42-55 lbs); bitches: 16-22 kgs (35-48 lbs).

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