Portuguese Water Dog: Everything You Need To Know {Infographic}

Portuguese Water Dog: if you’ve been reading our blog posts closely, we bet a name will ring some bells. Alright, let’s not test your memory anymore. If you recall reading our blog post Dog Facts: 151 Interesting Facts about Dogs you must also be able to recall Newfoundland; well, just like Newfoundland Portuguese Water Dog is also known as an amazing swimmer. It is more a sailorman and less a dog. It swims better than most of the human beings and it was bred to help the fishermen catch fish and save the drowning people. Ah! A trip down the memory lane it was!

Water Dog 6

Jolly good to know that you are now able to recall this dog. Well, Portuguese Water Dog is one amazing breed of dogs. This dog was once bred for many amazing purposes and God knows how many human beings he saved and how many battles he helped its owners win. Well, today is the time to learn all the things that you need to know about Golden Portuguese Water Dog.

What was the Portuguese Water Dog breed for?

The basic purpose behind breeding Portuguese Water Dog was to give the human beings a helping hand while sailing in the open waters. Such chores included but were not limited to retrieving lost gear, saving the drowning men, help the fisherman fishing and take message from one to another ship.

How Portuguese Water Dog is associated with ex-President Obama?

The Portuguese Water Dog has been the official mascot of the Obama administration in the White House. This is why this Bo: the First Family’s Portuguese Water Dog was considered the “First Dog of the United States” and this is one of the reasons for Americans to love this dog.

Bo Dog

Where the Portuguese Water Dog originated in?

Portuguese Water Dog originated in the Algarve locality of Portugal. However, the amazing qualities of this dog made it popular along the Portuguese coast and very soon fishermen and Spanish navy started to adore this dog because of its abilities.

Portuguese Water Dog rescue and swimming skills made is very famous among all types of people who ever had anything to do with waters. Those who wanted to use this dog to retrieve lost things, those who wanted to find out treasures hidden in waters, those who wanted to train Portuguese Water Dog puppies to lure the fish into their nets or those who wanted to use this dog as a messenger among naval or merchant vessels soon developed an obsession for it.

The breed spread along the coast and soon the people and sailors of Ice Land started to love it for its quick and smart way of helping the cod fishermen catch the cod fish. In its country of origin: Portugal, this dog is known as Cao de Agua which means Water Dog.

However, while Portugal is the country of its origin, there was a time when the same country had no place for the dog and the breed was about to face extinction. During the early 20th century turmoil, the Portuguese Water Dog was facing the threat of extinction, when a dog lover Dr. Vasco decided to save the breed at any cost. He and his fellows set breeding program and kennels for these dogs and eventually saved the breed.

When it comes to finding the Portuguese Water Dog’s footprints in Americas, it can be traced back to 1950s when Portuguese breeders and American fans of this dog made it possible to bring this amazing canine to USA. American Kennel Club waited until 1980s to finally recognize this breed.


Portuguese Water Dog Infographic

What are the personality traits of Portuguese Water Dog?

As per AKC, Portuguese Water Dog is “an animal of spirited disposition, self-willed, brave, and very resistant to fatigue.”  The dog exhibits the traits like emotional stability, sensitivity, strong will and athletic energy and mobility.

However, these few lines cannot simply explain an amazing dog like Portuguese Water Dog. If you weren’t looking for some Portuguese Water Dog for sale, you will start doing it after reading the amazing skills and capacity that this dog possesses. First of all, although this dog shows resistance to fatigue, it is still very athletic in its manners and emotionally a very stable dog. The dog is known for being adequately active and sensible, and yet it proves to be a lively, friendly and athletic dog.

This dog loves water sports and activities, because it is a natural swimmer. Now why this dog is a very good swimmer, because along with Newfoundland, this dog is among those very few dog breeds that have webbed feet. The duck like feet make it very easy for this dog to swim fast and do all the amazing swimmer thing that he is known for. You might want to read our blog pot Dog Breed Selector: What Kind Of Dog Should I Get? to check some other very cool dog breeds.

Coming back to the Portuguese Water Dog we have to acknowledge that only a few dog breeds are as athletic and playful as this dog. If you are the kind of person who want to play a lot with their dog and have SOME athletic exertion, this dog is definitely for you.

Another very important point is the mental agility and activity. This dog is one of those few breeds which can be fearlessly declared an amazing mix of mind and body. These dogs will have you go through maximum exertion as well as mind games. This is definitely not an “act first and think later” breed; get it, this dog has been fetching lost items, saving drowning humans and delivering messages from one to another ship for centuries. This dog is a smart, clever and mindful companion.

dog water bo

When it comes to socializing, these dogs prove to be best new member of any family. Not only they mix up with the members of family pretty soon, but they are also known to be very polite and friendly with visitors and strangers. However, their sociability should not make you think that they would give any stranger a hall pass; they are known for being steadfast and for holding their ground no matter what.

Still, if you want to know about considerably weaker side of their personality, it is their not being able to be good guardian dogs. They are no doubt very good watchdogs, but you cannot much expect from such a pretty canine to be an aggressive attacker and guardian. Yet, we believe, based on general observation and personal experience, that with some good training, they can prove to be good guardian dogs as well. We would advise you to have a look at our blog post How to train a dog: Basic dog trainingto learn how to turn a cute pet into a trained dog.

What is the Portuguese Water Dog price?

The Portuguese Water Dog’s price is more or less around $2500. The reason for such a high price is the very wide range of expensive health tests that these dogs have to undergo before ever they are sold.

However, these expenses and hindrances do not prevent dog lovers from buying or adopting this lovely dog. Still, if you are willing to buy or adopt this or any other dog, we advise you to be prepared for a new member of family. Better read our ultimate guide on dog adoption: Dogs for Adoption: Facts You Should Know Before Adoption and go through the wax on and wax off of dog adoption or inclusion.

After adopting a Portuguese Water Dog, is there anything that I specially need to take care of?

Portuguese Water Dog is a retriever. This is why this dog tends to pick up in mouth and chew on anything, edible or not, in his path. An owner must make sure that their dog does not chew, eat or swallow anything that can be injurious for health.

Also, another important aspect is your dog’s social life with other pets at home. Portuguese Water Dog can amicably live with any pets if he is raised with them. However, if you bring this dog to a home full of pets he is not familiar with or if on a fateful day he gets to know that he would have to share love, attention and territory with a new pet, it can be a problem. Possessive dog, we must say!

How do I know if Portuguese Water Dog is best breed for me?

If you are a person who loves extensive exercises, a lot of playfulness, strong-willed dog, and you can tolerate your dog making a mess every now and then (if bored) and carrying and chewing objects which are not always edible, then you should definitely go for PWD.

Thing is, this dog is a complete package just like any other dog. It is packed and loaded with traits that you’d love and a few of those that you won’t. So deal with it. Unless you keep him (and yourself) busy in this activity or that, it will definitely prove to be a problem. It will mess with things and turn order into disorder.

Also, you have to keep any eye on it because it has this problem of picking this or that thing in mouth. Get it! It is a retriever dog! It is in his DNA! It has been saving people, retrieving lost items and taking messages from one ship to another, and it did it all with help of its mouth. So the best way is to use a dog mouth cover to prevent this dog from picking everything in its mouth and trying to eat it.

Do crossbred Portuguese Water Dogs make adorable pets?

Most of the people cannot differentiate among purebred, mixed breed or crossbred dogs. Portuguese Water Dog breeders suggest that crossbred Portuguese Water Dogs can make good pets based on how their owners raise them. Just like human kids, dogs also need good training to be good members of family.

Do I have to live somewhere near water to have a Portuguese Water Dog?

PWDs are dogs of water. They have webbed feet to help them swim better than other dogs. However, in order to have on PWD in your house, one does not necessarily have to live near water.

Is the Portuguese Water Dog a rare breed? What to do with their health problems?

Portuguese Water Dog was a rare breed in USA back in 50s, but after AKC’s recognition these dogs become rife. They have health issues and this is why they are expensive; they are provided for breeding after proper and expensive medical tests.

As far as health issue is concerned, it can be tackled by some home-ready tips. For example, if you feed your dog a mix diet of healthy fruits e.g. watermelons, apples and bananas etc., they would definitely remain healthy because of all the nutrients found in those foods.

In order to check what nutrients and vitamins your Portuguese Water Dog may enjoy in case it is fed those fruits, we advise you to check our blog posts Can dogs eat watermelons?”, Can dogs eat apples?” and Can dogs eat bananas?”.

What is the size of adult Portuguese Water Dog?

Portuguese Water Dog belongs to the medium sized category of dogs. The adult male dog’s size is roughly 20 to 23 inches, while adult female dog’s size varies from 17 to 21 inches.


Overall, Portuguese Water Dog is a fun and friendly dog. The biggest quality is its webbed feet and skill of swimming. If you are someone who loves water sports more than common people, you should definitely and seriously consider having a Portuguese Water Dog, because it will spice up the fun and entertainment on water.

Another good thing about this dog is its cute and furry body. Its eyes are covered with its long hair and so is the rest of the body. Just like there exist cat persons and dog persons, and just like there exist big dog lovers or small dog lovers, there are people who love furry dogs. If you are in the club, Portuguese Water Dog is the pet that you will adore for the rest of life.