Portuguese Water Dogs are a working breed. This isn’t just a category, it means they were bred to work. Every day.
Though most of us are not ever going to ask our dogs to pull in a fishing line, or courier a message to another boat, owning a working breed means we can, and should, ask them to perform other tasks. This can be as simple as practicing ongoing tasks like basic manners, or as demanding as formal obedience, water work or agility. Either way, with a PWD you’ve got a dog who can and will delight in working together with you to accomplish fun things.
Like all purebred dogs PWDs have traits and characteristics that are specifically bred into them. There are both positive and negative traits depending on how they are viewed. For example, PWDs are considered to be a ‘mouthy’ breed. This trait was selected for when breeding so that the dogs would naturally want to pick things up off the ground or out of the water and bring them to their owner. Sounds reasonable right? Right. Just remember that every positive can be flipped and this trait can also mean your adorable dog will be constantly looking for socks and other less desirable things to put in her mouth (and possibly even try to eat).
The Portuguese Water Dog is an athletic, robust, medium sized dog with enough stamina and endurance to do a full day’s work. They are full of personality and are very loyal affectionate members of a family. A PWD has a unique sense of humour, and will compete for the centre of the stage. If not given boundaries and a job to do they will potentially ‘make clowns of their owners’. They tend to be alert and protective as they have a historical role as a watchdog, but not a guard dog. They have a working background by nature and can be tough and independent at times.
The Portuguese Water dog has a non-shedding coat that continues to grow as human hair does. Coat types can be curly or wavy and colours can vary between black or brown, with or without markings or white with our without markings. Regardless of the colour or type of coat, regular grooming is required of this breed to prevent matting and tangling.
The life expectancy of the average PWD is 12 to 15 years. They tend to mature slowly and remain active well into their senior years. They require daily doses of exercise and constant training to challenge their minds.
The Portuguese Water Dog is not a breed for everyone or everyone’s lifestyle. The challenge of channeling stamina, intelligence and humorous exuberance of this dog can be a very rewarding experience but also frustrating at times. The commitment of time, effort and care for a PWD is significant and should be considered when deciding whether or not to add a Portuguese Water Dog to your family.