About Portuguese Water Dogs
The Portuguese Water Dog became officially recognized by the CKC - Working Group- in January 1993. At that time there were about 60 PWDs in Canada. We have been members of The Portuguese Water Dog Club of Canada since it’s inception in November of 1993 and members of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America since 1990. Be sure and visit the PWDCC web-site. Here you will find some historical background on the breed, the breed standard, health issues, grooming requirements. It will also provide you with some guidelines on what you should ask your breeder. He or she should be your first and most important resource. We believe that it is as important to pick your breeder as it is to pick your dog.
Characteristics of the Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dog is a medium sized dog, with superior intelligence and a willingness to please. He is active and needs basic obedience training as a puppy, as well as daily doses of outdoor exercise. He learns quickly and works willingly for positive reinforcement; harsh punishment is counter-productive. Left alone and ignored for long periods of time, he will be miserable and bored. With his family and properly trained, he is a delight. A complex canine, the PWD wants love and trust and will usually prove himself trustworthy in return. He needs people, bonds easily and is loyal to his "crew-mates". He thrives as a family member and gets on well with children and other pets. He is the family comedian and invariably competes for center stage. In his role as watchman, the Portuguese Water Dog is alert and protective rather than aggressive and he is cautious and sensible with strangers.
Being greeted by the PWD is unforgettable. As a stranger, you are likely to experience a penetrating, nearly human stare as he sizes you up and decides whether you are permitted in his family’s domain. Once known to him, expect a raucous welcome with an offering of a favorite toy in his mouth. This exuberant greeting is often accompanied by a cacophony of extraordinary sounds. Just as his retriever qualities make him "mouthy" rather than destructive, the robustness and high spirits of this fisherman’s dog must be understood as natural exuberance. This energy and enthusiasm must be channelled by regular mental stimulation and physical exercise throughout their life. This will in turn produce a joyful and loving family companion.
As breeders, we are interested in producing healthy, happy and sound dogs. Soundness is defined as the physical and mental construction of the dog – enabling the dog to carry out those duties for which it was originally designed. A sound dog therefore is one that is not only physically capable of work, but possessing the willingness to do it. We are concerned with structure, size, pedigree and disposition - the latter is important for continuance of desirable good temperament. We endeavor to produce dogs that "conform" as closely as possible to the breed standard as set out by the National Breed Club and approved by the Canadian Kennel Club. Please visit pwdcc.org to learn more about health concerns within this breed.
Many people are attracted to this breed because they have heard that it does not shed. True, it does not shed, however it is a hairy dog. Whether curly or wavy coated, regular grooming of this breed is essential. Since the coat does not shed, it must be brushed and combed on a regular basis to remove dead hair and prevent matting. Regular hair cuts are necessary as the coat continues to grow, just as your hair does. You may learn to care for your dog’s coat yourself or have it done by a professional. Either way, it is an important aspect of life with a PWD.
The PWD is NOT a non-allergenic dog. The PWD is considered to be a hypo-allergenic breed. In my experience, approx. 10% of people that have allergies and visit my dogs will react in some way, to some extent to the exposure. That is why if allergies are an issue for you or someone in the family, you should spend several hours in the breeders’ home to test your allergic response to them.