Portuguese Water Dog Breed Information - All About Dogs

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog


The Portuguese Water Dog (Portie) is a working dog that has long been used by Portuguese fishermen to drive fish into nets and retrieve gear from the water. Because this breed was developed specifically for use in water, Portuguese Water Dogs retain their love for swimming. The Portie almost went extinct in the 20th century, but Vasco Bensuade managed to save the breed. The Portuguese Water Dog was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1983.

Height: 17-22 inches  Weight: 35-55 pounds  Lifespan: 11-13 years


The Portuguese Water Dog is intelligent, faithful and very vigilant, which makes him a good guard. This breed enjoys being in the spotlight and therefore cannot live in a kennel or cage. Otherwise, it will become frustrated. Portuguese W. Dogs jealously defend their territory and family, so they need early socialization to prevent aggressive behavior. Comparable Breeds: The Newfoundland and Poodle.


The Portuguese Water Dog loves playing games with the family. Even though this breed gets along well with children, it has problems in communicating with other dog breeds. However, if socialized properly, the Portie can learn to live in peace with other breeds. Portuguese W. Dogs are not recommended for inexperienced dog breeders or people who lead passive lifestyle.

Coat / Care

Portuguese Water Dogs are very low shedders and are often considered hypoallergenic. Nonetheless, this breed needs thorough care. This breed’s coat is thick, very long, wavy or curly, and it is covered with a special waterproof grease. Therefore, make sure not to bathe your dog, as it is better to shake off the dirt with a brush. 

Since the Portuguese Water Dog’s coat tend to tangle, it is very important to regularly comb your dog. These dogs come in a variety of colors, including white, black, various shades of brown, or a combination of colors (black with white or brown with white).

Health Problems

Portuguese Water Dogs are generally healthy, however, they have a tendency to certain health issues, such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Hip Dysplasia, Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Storage Disease (GM1). The Portuguese Water Dog has a life expectancy of 11 to 13 years.

Weight / Height

The male Portuguese Water Dog breed’s height is around 20 – 23 inches and weighs around 42 and 60 pounds. Female Portuguese W. Dogs can reach a size from 17 – 21 inches and weighs between 35 and 50 pounds.


Although the Portuguese Water Dog shows great interest in learning, this dog gets bored easily and can sometimes be overly stubborn. Since training can be a challenge, the coach must be strict, but fair. Portuguese W. Dogs are very successful in several dog sports.


The Portuguese Water Dog can be very active both indoors and outdoors. Nevertheless, this dog breed thrives best in a large, well-fenced yard. Portuguese W. Dogs require intense exercise on the everyday basis. These dogs love running and therefore are perfect partners for jogging.

Photo Credit: Bev Sykes/Flickr

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