Portuguese Water Dog

Other names: Cão de Agua portugues, Portuguese Water Dog

3.1 / 5
8 reviews

The Portuguese Water Dog was originally made for fishermen and waterfowl hunters. Nevertheless, and even if this breed is still unknown outside of Portugal, this dog fits perfectly with family life. A faithful and loyal companion, he is gentle, endearing. His great intelligence is a tremendous asset because he is easy to train. Its maintenance is also very simple.



Photo: Portuguese Water Dog breed on Woopets

Hypoallergenic breed Hypoallergenic breed

Hair type Frieze
Origin Portugal
Template Average
Head shape Round
Weight and size
Sex Weight Cut
Female From 16 kg to 22 kg From 43 cm to 52 cm
Male From 19 kg to 25 kg From 50 cm to 57 cm
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History of the breed

The race of   Portuguese Water Dog   is very old . It would have been developed by crossing various local varieties and the Barbet . The province of Algarve, in the south of present-day Portugal , is considered to be its historical cradle. This is where the Portuguese Water Dog continued to be employed as a fishing aid while this role was gradually withdrawn from it in the other coastal regions of the country, due to the modernization of the fishing activity. He was also used as a liaison dog between boats and the shore, carrying messages in particular.

Originally, it would be the result of a cross between local breeds and a Barbet , hence common character traits with the latter. The Portuguese Water Dog also made a name for himself during the Battle of Trafalgar, working alongside soldiers again in the role of luxury messenger.

Guarding the property of fishermen was also part of his duties. Around the 1960s, it began to be introduced to the United States. More recently, it gained publicity following the adoption of Bo by the family of former President of the United States Barack Obama. The Portuguese Water Dog breed was definitively recognized by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) on February 1, 1955.

Portuguese Water Dog Pictures

Photo of Bounty, Portuguese Water DogPhoto of Rumba, Portuguese Water DogPhoto of Puchi, Portuguese Water Dog

View all Portuguese Water Dog photos from Woopets members

Physical features

His coat: abundant, resistant, unique (without undercoat), long, woolly and dense. There are 2 varieties: one with long and wavy hair, another with shorter and frizzy hair.
Its color: black, brown (white allowed on the muzzle, the pompom, the neck, the chest, the belly, the end of the tail and those of the limbs) or plain white (not albino).
His head: strong, broad and harmoniously proportioned. The rounded skull is a little longer than the muzzle. The occipital protuberance is pronounced. The forehead is quite hollow, the superciliary arches prominent. The stop is well marked, the nose wide, the nostrils well open, the muzzle straight and broad at the base, the lips thick, the jaws strong and articulated in scissors or in pincers.
Its ears: thin, set above the line of the eyes, carried against the head and raised at the back.
His eyes: black or brown in color, medium in size, wide apart and slightly oblique.
His body: The neck is straight, rounded and well muscled. The topline is straight and horizontal, the withers wide and not prominent, the back straight, broad and well muscled, the kidney short and well attached to the croup, which is slightly sloping. The chest is broad and well let down, the ribs long and well sprung, the belly elegantly drawn.
Its tail: moderately high attachment, strong at its attachment and tapering towards its end. Wrapped in a ring when the dog is awake.

Behavior and character

Barks / howls

Behavior with others

Cohabitation with children
Sociable with other animals
Love strangers

the   Portuguese Water Dog   strikes by his great intelligence and his remarkable docility. He shows a great deal of energy during labor. He has a very balanced character which makes him very easy to train . He shows himself to be loyal, faithful, courageous and willful with his master and his adoptive family. His size allows him to have a great power of dissuasion , even if behind his physique hides a dog of unparalleled gentleness and friendliness. Indeed, he is also very sociable and sees no problem with the presence of congeners or other animals.

A first-rate fishing aid , he never hesitates to dive to retrieve escaping fish. The Portuguese Water Dog relies on outstanding swimming qualities, as well as a particularly developed sight and flair, to make himself indispensable. He is also a very good companion dog and can prove to be a good guardian .

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The Portuguese Water Dog is known to be easy to train . Obedient, very attached to his master and enthusiastic at work, he enjoys learning and performs with pleasure. Education based on positive reinforcement can achieve great results with this dog. A dose of firmness should be associated with it, but this should not include any form of brutality.

The only advice to give is to take it early , especially to socialize in contact with strangers, of whom he might be a little wary in the future. Thus, do not hesitate to walk it in public places so that it can soak up this environment.

Living conditions

Suitable for apartment living
Good for new masters
Love it hot
Love the cold

The ideal living environment for a   Portuguese Water Dog   would be a house with a large fenced garden and located near the sea , so that he could indulge in his favorite activity of swimming. Otherwise, he can adapt to the city if he is regularly walked and if he can benefit from regular outings in nature. The Portuguese Water Dog does not feel good only in the company of his master. If he lives in a house with a garden, there is no point in leaving him outside alone. He will be bored and prone to depression.


Ease of gaining weight

the   Portuguese Water Dog   is a strong and resistant dog. However, there are predispositions to certain diseases in this breed: cardiomyopathy, follicular dysplasia, hip dysplasia, Addison’s disease (endocrine disease). As he ages, he can also develop cataracts and gradually lose his sight. At the beginning of its life, the Portuguese Water Dog is susceptible to Gangliosidosis type GM1 , which is a neurological disease that causes balance disorders.

Hypoallergenic breed


Litter size

Between 5 and 7 puppies

To protect you from these risks and insure your companion in the event of health problems, Woopets recommends a Portuguese Water Dog dog insurance .

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Life expectancy

Minimum: 10 years

Maximum: 14 years

The life expectancy of a Portuguese Water Dog is, on average, between 10 years and 14 years.

Calculate the human age of your Portuguese Water Dog!

To choose… 1 year 2 years 3 years Four years 5 years 6 years 7 years 8 years 9 years 10 years 11 years old 12 years 13 years 14 years old 15 years old 16 years old 17 years 18 years old 19 years old 20 years 21 years old

Maintenance and hygiene

Ease of maintenance
Cost of maintenance
Hair loss
Drool level
Ease of grooming

the   Portuguese Water Dog is an easy dog to maintain . He does not shed his hair , which makes his care easier and makes him the ideal dog for allergy sufferers . Its need for maintenance is reduced, but not non-existent. It should be done regularly.


It is recommended to brush the dog once a week . Optionally, it can be mowed once a year. This dog’s ears should be monitored and cleaned regularly. Indeed, because of his love for water, he could be prone to recurrent ear infections.

Price and budget

Purchase price

800 €
1200 €

The purchase price of a Portuguese Water Dog is between 800 € and 1200 €.

Annual maintenance cost

€ 1,200
€ 1,250

The annual maintenance cost of a Portuguese Water Dog is between € 1,200 and € 1,250.

No name is currently proposed. Use our tool to find the name of your Portuguese Water Dog!


The diet of the Portuguese Water Dog can consist of human food as well as junk food . Thus, if high quality croquettes are a plausible alternative, this canine can be satisfied with human food to meet its high daily energy expenditure: raw meat, fresh vegetables, rice and pasta are excellent foods.

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Physical activity

Energy level
Potential to play

the   Portuguese Water Dog   is a very active dog , which must be able to benefit from frequent outings and exercises. The latter can be enjoyed in different dog sports such as agility or rescue exercises because of his very good flair. It must be able to be spent daily for a fairly long time.


Master character <span class="btnTooltip qTip2" title="- Calm: the master must be gentle and know how to show patience.
– Active: the owner must be energetic and dynamic to live in harmony with his dog.
– Hyperactive: the owner must be stimulating and very restless to suit the temperament of his dog.”>

We talk on the forum

Tap water / Spring water?

Message from Lucie puich

My dog does not like water: how to overcome his fear?

Message from Charles Monteur

My dog drinks the water from the bucket when I mop is it …

Message from Edouard moir

What to do if your dog falls into the water?

Message from Christian Bret

My dog is playing with his water

Message from Tennessie Lelong

Do you have a question about the Portuguese Water Dog?
Do not hesitate to ask Woopets visitors for advice on the forum!

FCI Information



FCI Group

Group 8: Retrieving game dogs – Game-raising dogs – Water dogs

Recognized by FCI

Since 1955


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