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About the PWD

Portuguese Water Dogs make excellent companions. They are loving, independent, intelligent and are easily trained in obedience and agility.  



The existence of the Portuguese Water Dog along the Algarve on the coast of Portugal can be traced back to very remote times. Evidence exists which indicates that in pre-Christian times, the "water dog" was held to be nearly sacred, and severe penalties came to those who killed a "water dog". There are many theories surrounding the dog, but none dispute that this remarkable dog has an ancient ancestry. The first written description of the Portuguese Water Dog is dated to 1297, and concerns a monk's report of a dying sailor who had been brought out of the sea by a dog which had a "black coat of rough hair, cut to the first rib and with a tuft on the tip of his tail". Due to the historical clip still in use, many writings describe the breed as a "Lion Dog". It is said that the current day Poodle, Kerry Blue Terrier, and Irish Water Spaniel are possibly ancestors of the "water dog".


In 1968 Deyanne and Herbert Miller imported the first PWD to the United States.  In 1972, sixteen PWD owners and friends worked to form the Portuguese Water Dog Club of American.  The PWD was admitted to the American Kennel Club's Miscellaneous call in 1981 and joined the AKC Working Group in 1984.


Breed Standard (portions)

Summary Statement: The PWD is spirited yet obedient, robust, and of unexaggerated functional conformation, substantially boned and muscled, and able to do a full day's work in and out of the water.


General Appearance:  Known for centuries along Portugal's coast, this seafaring breed was prized by fishermen for a spirited, yet obedient nature, and a robust, medium build that allowed for a full day's work in and out of the water. The Portuguese Water Dog is a swimmer and diver of exceptional ability and stamina, who aided his master at sea by retrieving broken nets, herding schools of fish, and carrying messages between boats and to shore. He is a loyal companion and alert guard. This highly intelligent utilitarian breed is distinguished by two coat types, either curly or wavy; an impressive head of considerable breadth and well proportioned mass; a ruggedly built, well-knit body; and a powerful, thickly based tail, carried gallantly or used purposefully as a rudder. The Portuguese Water Dog provides an indelible impression of strength, spirit, and soundness.


Temperament:  An animal of spirited disposition, self-willed, brave, and very resistant to fatigue.  A dog of exceptional intelligence and a loyal companion, it obeys its master with facility and apparent pleasure.  It is obedient with those who look after it or with those for whom it works.



  • Do they shed?

    • They do not shed much, but all mammals shed a little.


  • Are they hypoallergenic?

    • They are considered hypoallergenic because they are single coated.  There  is no such thing as a non-allergenic dog.


  • Are they good with children?

    • PWDs get along great with children, but they could play harder than you want and they play with their mouths.


  • Can they stay by themselves all day?

    • PWDs are people orientated and long to be with their family.  They do not do well in a kennel environment.


  • How big do they get?

    • Males are typically between 20-23 inches tall and weigh between 42-60 pounds.

    • Females are typically between 17-21 inches tall and weigh between 35-50 pounds.



Think You Want a PWD?

PWD puppies are cute, but it is not the right dog for everyone.  The breed has a range of health, temperament and energy levels.  If you want a dog that...


  • Requires regular grooming

  • Demands attention and exercise

  • Challenges your will

  • Needs training and human contact

  • Thinks independently

  • Voices its opinion

  • Greets friends and family with enthusiasm


...then the Portuguese Water Dog may be right for you!



(All information taken from

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