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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Portuguese Water Dog


Portuguese Water Dog Facts

  • Group
  • Working
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 17" - 23"
  • Weight
  • 35-60 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • A Quick Learner
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Difficult
  • Colors
    • White
    • Black
    • Brown
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Hunting heritage
    • Ok outdoors
    • Rescue heritage
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

cao de agua, Portguese fishing dog, cao de agua de pelo ondulado(long-haired), Cao de agua de pelo encaradolado (curly coated)


The Portuguese water dog originated in Portugal.

Date Of Origin

This breed developed in the Middle ages. It is believed that their ancestors arrived in Portugal in the 400's.


Portuguese water dogs have played an important part in the Portuguese fishing industry for centuries. The dogs were used to herd fish, retrieve lines, and deliver messages from boat to boat. With the decline of fishing in the beginning of the twentieth century, the breed came close to extinction but was saved by a wealthy fancier. It is now a popular companion throughout the world.


This is a sturdy, medium-size dog. It has a strong, broad head, the skull slightly longer than the muzzle. The eyes and broad nose are brown or black and the drop ears are heart shaped. The feet are webbed and covered with hair and the tail is medium length. The single coat may be wavy or curly and is kept in a lion or working clip. The coat may be black, white, brown, or a combination of these colors.


The Portuguese water dog is biddable and intelligent. It is devoted to family and has great endurance. It is spirited and courageous. It loves the water and is an excellent swimmer.


For centuries, members of this breed have lived on the boats of Portuguese fisherman. They are ably swimmers and can be taught to catch and bring back in there mouth fish that escape from the net. They are also useful at catching ropes and other objects thrown from boats toward the shore. They are also used as guard and companion dogs. Because they spend so much time in the water, they often become prematurely deaf.

Health Concerns

Addison?s disease, cancer, cardiac problems, eye problems, gastrointestinal disease, hip dysplasia, skin allergies, renal disease.

Additional Information

This dog requires consistent, professional grooming. before purchasing a Portuguese water dog, be sure you are ready for the financial responsibility that this brings.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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