Things You Need To Know
Before You Adopt a Portuguese Water Dog Puppy

The Portuguese Water Dog is exceptionally intelligent, spirited, and a loyal and devoted companion. He is, however, not the dog for everyone. As with all breeds, before you consider bringing any dog into your life, there are many things you should know. Once you bring a dog into your home, he becomes a family member and deserves to be treated as such. This is a lifetime commitment and you must be prepared to care for him for his entire life. Here are just a few things that you must consider:

  • While every breed is different and each individual dog is unique, generally a particular breed shares certain traits. The Portuguese Water Dog is from the Sporting Group of dogs and has great stamina and high energy. This is an excellent breed choice for the active person/family who is looking for a dog to participate in all types of dog sports and activities. The PWD is often seen competing in agility, water work trials, and obedience to name a few.
  • While loyal, devoted and affectionate, the Portuguese Water Dog is still a true working dog with a great amount of stamina, high energy, and an independent nature. Daily exercise is a must for this breed and he is happiest when given a job to do.
  • Though not aggressive and very friendly, the Portuguese Water Dog is protective of his home and family and makes a good watch dog.
  • As the name implies, the Portuguese Water Dog is a water dog. He excels at swimming and loves the water! Where swimming is not possible, the PWD will adapt, however, he does enjoy going for a swim or just playing in the water.
  • The Portuguese Water Dog is people oriented and thrives on being made part of a family. This is not a breed that does well in a kennel environment or left alone for long periods of time. If you're away from home for long hours and cannot devote the necessary time needed to spend with your dog, then perhaps you should reconsider the idea of getting a dog at this time in your life.
  • The Portuguese Water Dog generally gets along well with children and other pets.
  • The Portuguese Water Dog has a non-shedding coat with no undercoat, thus making him a good possibility for those suffering from allergies.
  • The Portuguese Water Dog requires regular grooming for both the curly and wavy varieties. The coat must be combed/thoroughly brushed on a weekly basis as a minimum in order to prevent matting. In addition, because the coat is hair and not fur, it continues to grow and must be clipped regularly. This is not considered to be a low grooming maintenance breed.
  • The Portuguese Water Dog is quite long lived with an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. Like many of the Retriever breeds, the PWD is slow to mature and can remain very active well into his senior years.
  • The Portuguese Water Dog requires early socialization and obedience training. This is a very intelligent breed who learns quickly, however, he is also easily bored. Training must be consistent and kept interesting in order to keep his attention. Like most breeds, if neglected through a lack of attention or training, the Portuguese Water Dog will become bored and lonely and can be destructive. If you cannot devote the time required to ensure that proper training and socialization is completed over an extended period of time, then this may not be the right breed for you.
  • Being a Retriever, the Portuguese Water Dog can be "mouthy". He will enjoy carrying things around. However, in order to prevent nipping or otherwise destructive "mouthiness", it is important to teach him while young what is acceptable and what is not.

If you are not familiar with the Portuguese Water Dog breed, research is a must — with the Internet today, there is an abundance of information available at your fingertips. The Portuguese Water Dog is not an overly common breed but nor is it a rare breed and there are several good websites devoted to the breed. Keep in mind, however, that every breed has its negative aspects. Whether it is health problems, temperament or behavioural issues, too large, too small, too loud, too quiet. They are all different and you need to be sure that your choice of a Portuguese Water Dog is the right one, before you make the purchase.

Additional Reading:

Finding a Breeder:

Once you've made your decision that this is indeed the breed for you, the next step is to find a responsible and reputable Breeder. This is not a task that should be taken lightly and again, research is necessary. The Portuguese Water Dog is not a rare breed and there are several breeders available. Visit as many as possible and don't be afraid to ask questions. A Breeder should always be more than willing to provide you with all the answers to your questions and then some. The Breeder should be open and honest about health and temperament testing, and provide you with certificates as requested. In return, you should expect to be questioned (or rather, grilled) as well — A responsible Breeder is always very particular about who he/she sells his/her dogs to. If you visit a Breeder and you feel that you have revealed very little about yourself and yet the Breeder is ready and willing to sell you a pup with virtually no questions asked — Walk away! This is not a responsible Breeder. Whether you are looking for a family companion; a show dog; a dog to be trained in therapy or search and rescue; a dog to have fun with in competitions such as obedience, agility or water trials; the most important aspects are the dog's physical and mental health.

A responsible and ethical Breeder's main goal is to produce only the highest quality dogs that will better the gene pool. The responsible Breeder studies the pedigrees for quality, health, longevity, and temperament, sometimes travelling great distances to find the best male to match the female. The responsible Breeder views health testing of their breeding stock as the norm in their breeding program and will provide you with copies of certifications. Most responsible Breeders are involved in some aspect of competition, whether it is the show ring for Conformation titles or competitive sports such as Obedience or Water trials. While this may not be something you are interested in pursuing with your new dog, it is still an important point in that it helps prove the Breeders real interest in the betterment of the breed itself. Ask for references from previous puppy buyers as well as information on any clubs that the Breeder may be a member of. Verify these references and check that the Breeder is in good standing with the club(s).

The importance of finding a reputable breeder cannot be stressed enough. It doesn't matter if you simply want a great companion dog and have no intentions of showing, competing or otherwise working with your dog — you still need to find a healthy and mentally sound puppy. The only place to find this is through a responsible breeder.

For more information on finding a responsible breeder, see:

Keeping in mind that you should never, ever buy a puppy from a pet store, and that many responsible breeders do not advertise their puppies in newspapers, the best places to go to find a Breeder include the following:

  • The Portuguese Water Dog Breeders section of this website — Breeders listed with links to their websites where you can learn more about them, if and when puppies are available, the pedigrees of the parents are usually available, and some sites have indepth breed information available as well. Please note, in order to be listed on the Canada's Guide to Dogs website, certain criteria must be met; however, we cannot recommend, endorse or support any one of these Breeder listings.
  • Portuguese Water Dog Breed Clubs — Several clubs are listed here with links to websites. The clubs are a good place to go to get member Breeder listings. Please note, a Breeder's membership in any club does not guarantee responsible and ethical breeding.

In Canada, in order for any of the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) recognized breeds to be legally sold as "purebred" dogs, they must either already be registered with the CKC or they must be eligible to be registered with the CKC within six months of the date of sale. This is the law. In addition, Breeders in Canada are fully responsible for registering the puppy at their expense. Avoid any Breeder who offers you a puppy at a cheaper price without papers.

Further Information and Suggested Reading:

Health Issues:

Like all breeds, the Portuguese Water Dog is susceptible to certain inherited/genetic health conditions.
See Portuguese Water Dog Health for further details.

The Standards:

The Portuguese Water Dog Breed Standards are listed on the main breed page. These are the ideals for the breed and describe the Poruguese Water Dog's appearance and temperament.

Consider an Adult Dog

Have you considered an adult Portuguese Water Dog? In many cases, the responsible Breeder has a waiting list for puppies and, if you can't wait for the next litter, consider adopting a homeless PWD from a rescue organization or shelter. Many of these dogs end up homeless through no fault of their own and all legitimate rescue organizations ensure that the dogs are spayed/neutered, up to date on vaccinations, and they will work with you to ensure that the dog meets with your requirements — the last thing they want is to see the dog come back to them.

Another consideration is that occasionally Breeders may have young adults available. There are several reasons why a Breeder may have a dog available: (1) A buyer may have returned a dog for some reason — In most cases, responsible Breeders will take their dogs back rather than have them go to a shelter. (2) The Breeder may have decided to keep and show the dog for a while. (3) The Breeder may have initially kept the puppy for breeding purposes but has since changed their mind. There could be a number of reasons why a Breeder could have on hand an adult or young adult dog available.

There are many advantages to adopting a dog that is beyond the puppy stage — housetrained, crate trained, obedience trained, socialized, to name a few.

Please note, the information provided here is intended as a guideline to help you in your search for a physically and mentally sound Portuguese Water Dog. Before you buy — Do your research, learn about the breed, and be certain that this is the dog for you. Once you are absolutely positive about it, take the time and effort to find a good Breeder. Remember that this dog will become a member of your family and he should never be treated as anything less.