The Portuguese Water Dog is a large breed, longer than it is tall with a well-balanced and robust overall appearance. It is characteristically a very energetic and intelligent breed and one of the few dog breeds with enormous swimming and diving abilities. It features a large but well-proportioned head with a muzzle that tapers vaguely to a broad nose with wide open nostrils. The colour of the nose depends on the colour of the coat (black nose in black, black and white, and white dogs, liver nose in brown, brown and white, and brown dogs.) It has round, widely set eyes that are either black or dark brown in colour, complimented by dark eye rims. The heart shaped ears are set above eye level, hanging close to the head. The upper teeth closely overlap the lower teeth and set squarely to the jaws (scissor bite). A short but strong-muscled neck carries the broad head proudly. The body sports a wide and deep chest, short back and tucked-up belly. The Portuguese Water Dog also features straight, well-muscled forelegs and hindlegs with round, flat, and webbed feet cushioned by very thick pads. It has a thick tail that tapers which is customarily clipped leaving a plume at the tip. It has a profuse single coat that comes in two distinct types: wavy (long with slight sheen) and curly (short, harsh and dense). The coat is normally clipped in either “lion clip” (muzzle and middle torso to the tail are clipped) or “retriever clip” (entire coat is trimmed to show the shape of the dog.) The coat comes in a variety of colours including solid black, pure white, various shades of brown, black and white, and brown and white.
All dog breeds have different levels of intellect. Some dog breeds; working dogs in particular, are very independent thinkers and have been evolved to be very intelligent. Typically, a highly intelligent dog does well in obedience training and other activities. A highly intelligent dog can be very demanding and do require lots of physical and mental stimulation. If you’re looking for a relatively laid-back dog, that doesn’t require lots of mental and physical stimulation, then you must fully understand the level of intelligence of your dog breed of choice.
Before committing to a certain dog breed, you must fully understand their intellect levels and their specific levels of energy. To keep your dog well-balanced and happy, their needs must be met and maintained.
All dog breeds have different needs when it comes to the level of exercise they require. For the high energy dogs; which are your typical working dogs, they have a lot of energy and require lots of daily exercise along with plenty of mental stimulation. A highly energetic dog breed would suit an individual or family that is equally as active and loves the outdoors. There are also breeds that have relatively low exercise needs, such as toy dog breeds. Although they require daily exercise and mental stimulation, they’re just as happy chilling at home with their loved ones. This type of dog breed would suit an individual or family that prefers the peace and quiet and relaxation.
Before deciding on your chosen dog breed, Mypetzilla recommends that you research the exercise needs and whether you’re well equipped before committing to buying or adopting a particular dog breed.
There are several dog breeds that are known and potentially predisposed to developing health related conditions. Sensible breeding can help prevent the onset of health related conditions and this should always be taken into condition when researching your dog breed of choice. Before committing to a dog, you should speak to the breeder about any health related conditions that may affect the dog you’re looking to buy or adopt. You can also request to see any test results from genetic testing.
There are many dog breeds that tolerate children really well and are not affected by the constant noise and need for play-time. However, there are some dog breeds that don’t do very well with children and can become frustrated and snappy. That being said, all children should be shown how to handle and care for a dog in their home and should always be supervised when playing. As much as a dog can become annoyed and snappy with a younger child, the child can also become less tolerant and misbehaved towards the dog.
Mypetzilla recommends that you always supervise play-time between your children and dog. Children need to respect the boundaries and feeding time for the dog and likewise for the child. We also strongly advise that play-time doesn’t get out of control and too rough which can cause injury to both child and dog.
There are lots of dog breeds that are well suited to living in an apartment. It’s worthwhile noting that you need to check that you’re allowed dogs in your building before committing to bringing one home. If you do decide to own a dog and are living in an apartment, then you must make sure that they have plenty of room to roam around and frequent walks outside to prevent them from becoming bored and depressed.
Mypetzilla recommends that you check as to whether you’re allowed dogs in your apartment building and to fully ensure your apartment is dog proof before committing fully to bringing a dog home.
All dog breeds shed to some extent, some more than others. With this, all potential dog owners should be aware of this, as it will be a matter of putting up with some hair or lots of hair being left around the house. Depending on the dog breed, there are certain times during the year where some dog breeds shed the most and this is typically around spring and autumn. However, there are some dog breeds that shed all year round.
If you’re very house-proud, they you may want to choose a dog breed that sheds very little. Mypetzilla strongly recommends that you fully research your dog breed of choice and their shedding levels before committing.
All dog breeds require different levels of grooming. Some dog breeds are easier to maintain than others and only require a weekly brush to help keep their coat in good condition. There are some dog breeds that require regular trips to the grooming parlour and this can come at a huge cost. Either way, all dog breeds require their coat and nails to be maintained and cared for.
Mypetzilla strongly advices that potential owners research the grooming needs and associated costs with their desired dog breed before fully committing.
Barking is a necessity for your dog to communicate. However, it can also be a nuisance to yourself and fellow neighbours if it’s not kept under control. If you live in an apartment, then you’re better off choosing a dog breed that doesn’t bark as much. If you live further out and far from civilisation, then it’s worthwhile looking into a dog breed that does bark and will bark to alert you of any other company on your property.
Mypetzilla advices that you research the behaviours of your dog breed of choice and whether this would work for you and your family. It’s worth noting that dogs can be trained to bark less and this will take a lot of effort and training from the owner.
Majority dog breeds form very close relationships with their owners and as a result can become very stressed when left alone for a period of time. If a dog is suffering with separation anxiety then they’re very likely to become destructive around the home as a way of dealing with their anxieties. Dog breeds that do form strong bonds with their owners are better accustomed to a household where one member of the family remains home, whilst the others are out, this is to help avoid further anxieties and destructive behaviours.
Mypetzilla recommends that all potential owners research their dog breed of choice on their bonding abilities and how well-adjusted they are to being left alone at home. It’s also worth noting that you should never leave your dog for longer than 4 hours alone at home.
There are certain dogs breeds that have very high intellect and therefore easier to train than other dog breeds. There is also a downside to this; as fast as they learn the new trick or command, they can easily pick up bad habits just as quick. Other dog breeds that don’t rank as high on the intellect scale require patience and plenty of reward treats from their owners during training.
Before committing to a certain dog breed, Mypetzilla advices you to fully research your dog breed of choice and their level of training needs.
All dog breeds have different energy levels. The working dog breed has one of the highest energy levels in comparison to the low-energy dog’s breeds such as the Toy dog breed group. To keep a dog truly happy, healthy and well-balanced, their energy levels must be met.
High-energy dog breeds need lots of exercise and mental stimulation. High energy dog breeds would suit an active family or person. Dog breeds that are considered as low-energy, love to spend the majority of their time relaxing and sleeping in their favourite, comfy spot. A low-energy dog breed would suit an individual that equally loves the quiet life and relaxing lifestyle. Of course, low-energy dogs still need their daily walks and mental stimulation, just not as much as a high-energy dog breed.
Mypetzilla recommends that potential owner research fully on the type of dog breed that would suit their existing lifestyle and to also take into consideration the dog breeds energy levels and exercise requirements.
Before you decide on what dog breed would be suitable for you and your family, you must consider whether they’re a friendly dog breed and if you already have other pets within the household. For homes that already have dogs and other domestic pets, then it’s wise to choose a dog breed that has a friendly personality and temperament.
There are some dog breeds that mix well with other dog breeds and there are others that don’t suit one another and this could potentially cause issues later on down the line.
Another important point to consider is whether the dog breed of choice is friendly towards people and children.
Mypetzilla recommends to research fully on the right dog breed for your family and to also consider their temperament and characteristics.
The breed dates back to as early as the 1500s and has its origins in the province of Algarve in Portugal brought there by early settlers. There are some speculations that the Poodle played a role in the development of this breed, given the fact that both breeds share similar characteristics. The Portuguese Water Dog (known as “cao de agua” in Portuguese) was originally developed to be a “water dog” that aided the fishermen in various tasks. It was involved in retrieving broken nets, sending messages between boats, retrieving bits and pieces that fell overboard, and guarding the boats when docked. It was even known for herding fish into the net as well as rescuing fishermen in the water. With the advent of new technologies and modern fishing practices, the need for the dog’s services diminished and so almost did the dog. In fact during the 1970s, there were as little as 25 of these breeds left worldwide! Luckily, a rich shipping tycoon by the name of Vasco Bensaude showed great enthusiasm in the breed. Through his efforts, a breeding program was started and a breed standard was created for the Portuguese Water Dog. Although still considered a rare specimen, the popularity of the breed continues to grow and is gradually becoming a common family pet in many homes in mainland Europe, United States and the United Kingdom.
The Portuguese Water Dog is an excellent household companion. It is intelligent, loving, and very obedient. It is fairly sensitive to the tone of the human voice and is highly trainable. It has a playful attitude which makes it excellent with children, though it will not typically obey a child as it will treat a kid its equal. It has a pleasant and stable temperament and is generally good with other dogs and household animals, especially those it grew up with, but it may get jealous of other pets. Its instinctive working character is manifested by the dog’s attitude of being at close proximity to its master all the time, usually following its master indoors and outdoors. The Portuguese Water Dog loves to be engaged in activity and may have a tendency to be destructive if it becomes bored. It also has a pleasant disposition, courageous, tireless, and always determined to defend its territory which makes it an excellent guard dog. Although it is not prone to excessive barking, it has a very loud, distinctive bark and a loud, irregular, breathy pant that sounds like an audible “laugh” when the dog is playing or greeting someone.
Training the Portuguese Water Dog is not difficult. It is a fast learner; quick to understand instructions and quite sensitive to the tone of voice. It is an intelligent breed and training calls for a consistent, planned and constructive approach. To keep boredom from setting in, alternate training and play. This breed is a notorious chewer and will chew on almost anything that it can lay its teeth on. Keep it busy with heavy-duty chew toys. This working breed has a tireless energy and will most certainly enjoy nice long walks, a session of play in an open and safe environment, or a chance to swim and retrieve. It is suitable for an apartment living provided that proper exercise is given. It can also tolerate living in an outdoor environment with temperate climates. However, it will do best in a home with a fenced yard or with an outdoor-oriented family.
The coat requires regular brushing and combing (preferably every other day) to avoid matting, as well as monthly clipping but show dogs need more extensive grooming. If a dog is taken for a swim, make sure to check and clean the ears afterwards. Since the Portuguese Water Dog is a “fisherman’s friend,” it is well-adapted to a diet of salt-water fish and other marine edibles.
The Portuguese Water Dog is a hardy and robust breed with a lifespan of 10 to 14 years. As with most canine breeds, the Portuguese Water Dog is also susceptible to certain hereditary medical predispositions. Like Poodles, this breed is vulnerable to hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts.