You will find few dogs that are more affectionate and loyal than the Portuguese Water Dog. These fantastic dogs are content to swim across the ocean with you, guard your boat, or lay on the floor at your feet. They are also very hard working dogs that are wonderful to know and to own. There is one thing you should be aware of when it comes to the Portuguese Water Dog and that is that they do require a good deal of attention, affection, and care. Other than that they are the perfect companions for many families.
For the most part, the coat of the Portuguese Water Dog is one that defies description. Truth be told, they vary greatly from one dog to the next. They may be either wavy or curly and in some cases will lay fairly flat. Some are black, some are brown, some are white and others are multicolored. The coats are generally composed of a single layer and are hypoallergenic. This fact alone makes these dogs an excellent choice for homes of allergy sufferers. Those that aren’t very fond of a constant need to brush or vacuum will find a special place in their homes and hearts for these dogs that do not, generally, shed.
These dogs are believed to have originated in Portugal. The belief is that they were originally bred for the purpose of working with fishermen and that they were bred to be water dogs—hence the name. It is believed that in ages past these dogs not only caught fish but also herded them. They were also used to send messages from one ship to the next and guarding the boats and the catch when they were brought into port for selling.
While technology eventually replaced these dogs for those that used them as working dogs in the past, there are those that have a deep and abiding love and respect for the breed. For this reason they are still bred today. They are used as working dogs today as companion dogs and are often used for water training purposes as well. They make excellent dogs for families that live on or spend a great deal of time near the water and are generally very happy in these types of situations.
One thing that is immediately notable about the Portuguese Water Dog is its amazing intelligence. These dogs were designed for water work and have innate skills and abilities relating to water that no amount of training could provide in many breeds. There is more to these amazing dogs however than skills in the water. Some of the best things about these dogs have more to do with their personalities than their skills and abilities as amazing as they may be.
These dogs are fun and fun loving, which makes them excellent companions of the young and the young at heart. They are also very loyal, which makes them a member of the family once you bring them home. Their even temper is yet another reason that these are great family pets and they are very protective of their family and their property. They make excellent watchdogs for the family and the belongings of the family.
These dogs need to be exercised in order to minimize the appearance of potential flaws such as excess barking, dominance struggles, and ‘acting out’ in search of attention. One thing to note is that puppies have a tendency to chew on things. Exercising these dogs well and often is one way to significantly minimize the occurrences of this less than attractive trait.
Most owners find that the Portuguese Water Dog is an exceptionally healthy animal. As long as you make the effort to take good care of your Water Dog, including but not limited to exercising, regular preventative vet checkups, and feeding a well-balanced and nutritious diet, you should have a very healthy dog on your hands. Hip dysplasia is one condition that is fairly common in this breed, largely as a result of its size and can lead to complications and moderate to severe lameness later in life. Another illness that is known to affect the Water Dog is known as GM-1 Storage Disease. This is a lethal condition that will damage the nerves and ultimately lead to death. There is no way to determine whether or not a puppy will develop this condition, unfortunately.
It is important to remember that no two Water Dogs are identical. The coats vary greatly from one dog to the next so your grooming methods for these beauties will need to be flexible according to the specific needs of your dog’s coat. Regular brushing will prevent matting and is recommended at least several times per week. Keep the nails trimmed and care for your dog’s teeth regularly in addition to a couple of professional grooming sessions per year and you should be all set unless specific grooming needs come up for your dog.
With the Portuguese Water Dog, exercise is a necessity rather than a luxury. By breed this is a dog that was made to spend long hours working hard. If they do not get the exercise they need they will have a lot of pent up energy that can be put to more destructive uses. Not only that, they are happier when they get the proper amount of exercise and you want your dog to be happy and healthy. Swimming, walking, and running are great exercise choices for these dogs and they need at least an hours worth of exercise each day if possible.
The Portuguese Water Dog is a highly intelligent and trainable creature. The earlier you begin the training process the better but for the most part these are dogs that are eager to please, intelligent, and learn quickly. Positive reinforcement is the best method by far for training these dogs because they are so eager to please. Use praise and rewards freely and you should have a happy and well-trained dog on your hands in no time.