Portuguese Water Dog


Basic Information

Breed Group
25 - 35 Pounds
14 - 16 Inches


The Portuguese Water Dog is a distinctive looking dog that as their name suggests, loves being in and around water. They have webbed feet which means they are extremely strong swimmers. They also boast having non-shedding coats with their hindquarters and tails being clipped short which adds to their unusual and charming looks. Although a relative newcomer to the UK, the Portuguese Water Dog is still a very popular choice in Portugal, more especially with fishermen although they are renowned for being good companions and family pets too.

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It's thought the Portuguese Water Dog was first introduced to Portugal by Moor traders and that they share an ancestry with other water dogs found in Europe at that time in history. They became a firm favourite with Portuguese fishermen, thanks the breeds’ love of water and the fact they could retrieve lost nets. They were also prized as hunting and guarding dogs on land which led to these charming dogs being high in demand.

However, it was only in the 11th century that the Portuguese Water Dog was first written about by monks who described how a dog had saved drowning man from a ship wreck. The actual origins of the breed remain a bit of a mystery, but it is thought they are descendants of the same type of working and herding dog as the Poodle, Puli as well as the Kerry Blue Terrier. There are those who believe the breed’s ancestors hailed from far flung Asian countries of the world too.

By the late 1800's, King Carlos I became an enthusiast of the breed and through him, the popularity of the PWD soared. By the 1930's a wealthy Portuguese Shipping Heir, one Vasco Bensaude, purchased examples of these proud dogs from local fishermen and started his own breeding programme. Most Portuguese Water Dogs can trace their ancestry back to one of his dogs called "Leao".

Today, the Portuguese Water Dog remains a bit of an unknown here in the UK, but the breed is recognised by The Kennel Club. With this said, anyone wishing to share a home with one of these extraordinary, water loving dogs would need to register their interest with a breeder and be put on a waiting list because so few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year.

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