By Terri Estes

As their name suggests, the Portuguese Water Dog is an exceptional swimmer.  This breed originated in Portugal and was bred to help fishermen retrieve their nets and to deliver messages between boats.  The Portuguese Water Dog is an ancient breed, and its ancestry can be traced back several centuries. It is a medium sized dog, usually 18 to 23 inches high at the shoulder and usually weighs between 36 to 55 lbs. Females are generally slightly on the smaller side. They have webbed feet, a muscular build, and their dense, curly coat is water resistant and provides insulation and buoyancy while in the water.  It can handle rough seas and choppy waters with ease and are among the best swimmers of the canine world.  Their natural swimming ability and love for the water make this breed ideal companions for water loving people.

While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, Portuguese Water Dogs are considered a non-shedding hypoallergenic breed. They are intelligent, friendly and have an outgoing nature.  These qualities have contributed to their increasing popularity over the last decade.  Black is the most common color for this breed, but they also come in white, brown and black and white.  The water repellent coat needs regular coat brushing, at least three times a week, to prevent matting. Regular trimming is necessary to maintain the desired length and coat appearance.  Some owners like to keep the coat shorter for easier maintenance while others opt for the longer, more traditional look.

This breed is an excellent family pet. They are friendly, affectionate, playful and good with children. They can be protective of their family, so good socialization is important for this breed. Another factor to consider is their need for daily exercise.  At least 30 minutes of physical exercise daily is important to keep these energetic pups on their best behavior.  Providing regular exercise not only helps your Portuguese Water Dog stay fit, but also helps prevent boredom and reduces destructive behavior.  Remember, a tired dog is a good dog!

So, if you are looking for a swimming partner, or a running or hiking partner (they have tons of stamina!), or just a fun family dog, the Portuguese Water Dog may be the breed for you!


Fun Animal Fact:

99% of a giant panda’s diet consists of bamboo. They consume up to 25 lbs. of bamboo a day!

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