PWD Breed Characteristics

Origin and Purpose

For centuries, this seafaring breed existed everywhere along the coast of Portugal and is considered a purely Portuguese breed. Owing to modifications in the fishing systems used, the breed has become restricted to the province of Algarve which should be considered its home. It was prized by fishermen for its spirited yet obedient nature and a robust, medium build that allowed for a full day’s work in and out of the water. The Portuguese Water Dog is an athletic swimmer and diver of exceptional ability and stamina. He aided his master at sea by retrieving gear and broken nets, herding schools of fish and carrying messages between boats and to the shore.

General Appearance

The Portuguese Water Dog’s physical appearance is defined by his job. He has an expectant, penetrating and attentive expression, very good eyesight and a fair nose. Slightly longer than tall, he is a medium-sized, athletic swimming dog with webbed feet, short neck, and a wavy or curly coat to protect him from the elements, whether in the water or on land. From his impressive head with piercing gaze through a rugged body to his powerful tail carried up in a ring with its characteristic flowing flag, he presents an indelible impression of strength, spirit and soundness.

The Portuguese Water Dog is a medium-sized dog that weighs between 35 to 60 pounds with a height of around 17 to 23 inches. Typically, males are heavier and larger than females.


Porties have a spirited disposition. They are willful, wicked smart, brave and tireless. As a loyal companion, they do any job with ease and obvious pleasure. They are generally good with other pets, are friendly with people and can be great with kids, especially if exposed at an early age. PWDs love their people and most will want to be near you as much as possible.

Portie puppy standing