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Portuguese Water Dog Breed Profile

Portuguese Water Dog
In a technique passed down by the Romans, Portuguese Water Dogs were taught to herd fish into the fishermen’s waiting nets in the high waves off the Iberian coast. If a fish escaped the nets this dog would dive under water to seize the fish and then swim with it in his mouth back to the boat.

Other Names:
Cao de agua, Cao de agua Portugues, The Fisherman’s Dog

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Origin: Portugal

Breed Purpose: To herd fish into nets. To carry messages between boats. To rescue sailors from the sea.

Kennel Club Dog Group: Working

Height: Bitch 43-52cm., Dog 50-57cm.

Weight: Bitch 16-22kg., Dog 19-25kg.

Lifespan: 10-14 years

Exercise Needs: The Portuguese Water Dog is a highly active dog that has an instinctive need to swim. The best form of exercise for this dog is to swim and retrieve in the sea. They have a deep rooted passion for the sea but will also swim in any river or lake. This dog is said to have the soul of the Retriever and loves to play at fetching balls or frisbees. They also have an excellent sense of smell so enjoy tracking exercises.

Feeding Needs: The Portuguese Water Dog is an easy dog to feed and thrives on a natural, home prepared diet. Fish can be used instead of meat and you can include plenty of rice and vegetables. Quantities depend on how much exercise the dog has. Seek breeder’s or veterinary advice before giving supplements.

Common Ailments: The Portuguese Water Dog is extremely healthy with no common health issues. Check the thick coat regularly for parasites.

Physical Description: The overall appearance of this dog is one of a muscular dog with a distinctive profuse coat. The head is large and well proportioned with the skull being slightly longer than the broad muzzle. The forehead has a central furrow two thirds of the length of the head. The eyes are dark brown and are set wide apart. The ears are thin and are set above the eye line. The neck is short and muscular going down to a broad, muscular body with a deep chest that reaches the elbows and well sprung ribs. The front legs are straight and strong and the hind legs are muscular and well angulated. This dog has webbed feet and a thick tail that tapers towards the end. The coat is abundant and thickly covers the body. There are two types of coat. One is long and wavy, the other is shorter with compact curls. Often the dog’s coat is clipped and shaved in various styles.

Portuguese Water Dog K9 Obedience Dog Breed Summary:

This dog’s capacity for understanding is amazing! The owner should take advantage of this to teach the dog tricks and advanced dog obedience. They can be trained to a high standard and not only does this strengthen the body between the owner and the dog but also stimulates the dog’s mind.

Portuguese Water Dogs love to play with children. If they are all swimming in the sea together the dog will instinctively try to tow them back to shore. This dog may bark to warn of an intruder but they are generally not to be used as guarding dogs, they are often good alert dogs but beyond that, they just want to play!

In general, Portuguese Water Dogs do not do well in apartments or in towns as they are working dogs and need open fields and lakes around them in order to remain in tip-top condition. This dog will be a superb companion for any active family that spends a lot of time in the countryside or by the sea.

Side Note to answer a common question...

Portuguese Water Dogs Do They Smell?

No more or less than any other dog. The answer lies in the diet. The Portugese Water Dog is a dog with a very thick coat, and this makes people wonder if they smell. However the coat is hardly ever the cause of dog smell or odour. Instead it is actually the diet which is responsible for this most of the time. If you feed your Portuguese a Natual Diet of any kind (but 100% natural) then the answer is NO the Portuguese Water Dog does NOT smell.

If however you feed commercial food (which are bad for your dog in many ways, and contain many carcinogens) then your dog will smell. The smell is a bi-product of the dietary process, and it is from excreta which leaves the body via the skin.

Unnatural and heavily mass produced commercial dog foods very often cause that 'doggie smell' which we all know so well! I have a house with 5 or 6 dogs regularly in and out around the clock. Yet you will not even notice that i have dogs from any household odours in my home, unless you have a very very sensitive nose or are allergic to fur. My friend however has just two dogs, and feeds commercial foods, and her house absolutely stinks of that stale dog smell, which is like a damp coat left in the shed for a year or two and then baked in the sun! :-) Hope that helps answer that question, which many people have asked us recently.
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