One of the most beloved dog species for good reason, the Portuguese Water Dog is a very smart breed that is super eager to please and very easy to train. These thick coated, water loving, Poodle dogs are great companions for all sorts of different adventures. Hailing from Portugal, where they are called Cao de Água Portugues, these personable dogs reach a medium size and have a life expectancy of 10-14 years.
1. Where did they that name?
Although it can be quite a mouthful, the name of the Portuguese Water Dog tells you something about its history. You can shorten it to Portie if you’re in a hurry, but the “Water Dog” is what speaks to the tradition of this type of dogs working on the coast of Portugal. They used to be responsible for herding fish into nets, retrieving lost tackle or broken nets, and acting as trusted couriers, carrying items to from ship to ship or ship to shore.
They were tough enough to brave not only the Atlantic waters off the Portuguese coast, but even the much colder fishing waters off the coast of Iceland. They have slightly webbed feet that helped make them such extraordinary swimmers and for this, along with several other reasons, they are a fairly rare breed.
2. What kind of temperament do they have?
It might sound like all that hard work would have turned the Portuguese Water Dog into a tough and unfriendly breed of canine, but rather it actually helped them to develop very strong loyalty. When shopping for a puppy now, that translates into a very affective and loving temperament.
These dogs love to be by their master’s side and are happiest when acting as company and protector, both indoors and outdoors. Especially when dealing with puppies, it is important to understand that they truly do love attention and will require lots of it. A bored Portuguese Water Dog puppy will become destructive.
3. What are some other distinguishing personality traits?
Once you’ve bonded with a Portuguese Water Dog, you can expect an enthusiastic greeting every time you enter the room. They commonly jump in excitement and will likely treat you to their distinctive bark. In fact, the bark of the PWD has often been called a laugh. It is loud, irregular, and often heard when they are playing or signalling their delight at their master’s return. They generally get along well with other animals and will likely bond more strongly with one member of the family then with others.
4. Will a Portuguese Water Dog protect me?
They certainly exhibit a strong tendency to defend their territory, which makes them reliable guard dogs. It is worth noting that they have retained their water dog instincts, and there for the urge to tug and chew things is still strong.
5. What kind of living environment do they need?
As always, it is more important to consider the behavior and habits of the owner rather than just distinguishing certain environments as appropriate and others at not. Ultimately, a Portuguese Water Dog could do alright in an apartment setting, but they are going to need to be taken out regularly for a solid length of time to receive adequate exercise.
These dogs have a lot of energy and also have high requirements when it comes to human companionship. Their working dog impulse makes them active and energetic, you will not find these dogs lazing around. In order to keep this breed happy, they need plenty of room but they also need someone around to play with them and be at their side.