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The Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog is a dog of medium size, robust with a good temperament who is very attached to it’s owners making him an excellent companion. Even though it’s origin in the warm dry climate of South Portugal (the Algarve region), the breed is well adapted to the great temperature variations and seasons of North America.

This is a breed that enjoys spending time with his master or masters. The Water Dog’s desire is “to be part of” the family life and everything that is going on at that moment – the conversation and finally the action. Where the action is, is where you will find them. That desire “to be part of” probably comes from the time they worked on the fishing boats where they were considered an integral part of the fishing crew and not simply an animal. History tells us the Portuguese fisherman had great respect for their dogs who were essential for their work on the sea. Furthermore, the dog earned an equal share of the profit made during that work day. Some retired fishermen would find an additional source of revenue by renting their dogs to other fishing crews. The want “to be part of” not only has good aspects but also some challenges such as separation anxiety. That is why it is very important to teach them early. They are really intelligent, love to work and have more energy than the majority of other breeds. This means they require daily exercise and discipline. Even if they want to spend the evening watching television with you, they will let you know when it is time to go outside! To quote a friend’s expression “There is no off button on the Portuguese Water Dog.” Its greatest desire is to want to please its master and is ingenious in finding ways to expend great energy and exuberance.

As a medium sized, sharp minded dog he makes a wonderful performing working dog. A particularity of the breed its wiliness to obey and work with someone who is not necessarily its owner as well as other members of the family who will take the time to work with him. As you can see from the different pictures on that page, it is a very versatile dog with an athletic disposition. The mix between its temperament and its physical aptitude makes him a fine swimmer. Contrary to the popular believe though, the water dog does not know how to swim naturally so time must be taken to teach him how to do so and preferably at a young age. Some of our dogs who were not exposed to water at a young age simply refused to swim.

Since he does not loose his coat, it is important to give him a good brush on a regular basis. His coat will continue to grow therefore he must be shaved down at least four times a year meaning once per season. If you keep him short the brushing will be much easier and pleasant. While grooming your dog it is important to use products that were made expressly for dogs and not humans. When washed it is important to immediately dry the dog because if you let him dry without the help of a dryer the coat knots.

This was only a brief overview of the Portuguese Water Dog. You can find additional information and diverse pictures throughout this site hopefully it will give you a better idea of this special breed.

For more information you can also read the following article: “Swimming Through Time”

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