The Portuguese Water Dog: A Complete Guide

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If you are looking for a dog that is probably a better swimmer and a diver than yourself and is an excellent companion for you and your adventure-loving family, the Portuguese Water Dog might be your best choice.

This is a breed that was once used to herd the fish into the net (yes, these dogs are capable of that) because they have webbed feet that make swimming for them, a piece of cake.

But, today, they are popular family companions for those who have an active and adventure-loving lifestyle.

The main traits of this breed haven’t changed from their beginning. They are still extremely intelligent, family devoted, and love the water.

What’s more, the Portuguese Water Dog was also the First Dog while Obama was the President of the USA.

A Portuguese Water Dog sitting in a canoe
Portuguese Water Dog needs plenty of exercise.

However, finding a high-quality puppy that carries all the best traits of the breed can be complicated.

This is a popular breed and many “breeders” are trying to get a piece of the action.

This only means that you can stumble upon low-quality pups with more problems than good traits.

So, to make sure you find that perfect puppy with whom you will have many years of fun and love, we have made this Portuguese Water Dog guide.

In this article, you will get much more familiar with the breed and you will learn how to distinguish bad breeders from good.

The guide will also help you in making sure this breed is the right match for you and that you aren’t making a mistake if you welcome this dog into your home.

To start the things off, let’s take a look at the important facts you need to know before you buy a puppy.

The Portuguese Water Dog Puppies – Before You Buy…

Before you get to the part of buying a puppy, there are certain things you should be aware of.

For example, you have to make sure that the price of the puppy doesn’t go over your budget.

Also, you need to know how to find a reputable breeder so that you are sure the puppy you are buying is high-quality.

And finally, you need to know if you are ready to live with a Portuguese Water dog puppy.

What price are the Portuguese Water Dog puppies?

When it comes to the price range of a Portuguese Water Dog puppy, for a pup that comes from a reputable breeder, with all the necessary paperwork, and in great health shape, you can expect to cash out from $2500 to $2800.

Of course, the higher the quality, the higher the price. Therefore, if you want a puppy that will grow up to be a dog show champion and excellent for breeding, you have to be ready to pay the higher price.

On the other hand, if you want him to just be a family pet, the price will be at the lower end of the range.

How to find reputable Portuguese Water Dog breeders?

A Portuguese Water Dog with a magazine in its mouth
Portuguese Water Dog loves to jump at his family members when happy.

When it comes to finding a reputable breeder and making sure you walk away with a high-quality puppy that matches your personality and lifestyle, here is what you shouldn’t and should do:

You shouldn’t buy a puppy:

  • From a breeder that doesn’t know much about the breed and doesn’t have advice on how to properly take care of the puppy.
  • From a breeder that doesn’t have a complete medical history of the litter, proof of all the age-appropriate shots, and medical history and health test clearances for the parents of the litter.
  • From pet shops as they get their puppies from puppy mills where the conditions are horrible and all the pups are in bad health shape and with hidden genetic health issues.
  • From a breeder that doesn’t seem interested in your lifestyle and finding a puppy that matches your needs.
  • From a breeder that seems like he is only interested in taking the money and not finding a perfect home for the puppy.

You should buy a puppy:

  • From a breeder that is obviously in love with the breed and is focused on making it better and healthier.
  • From a breeder that knows everything about the breed, gives you useful advice and even helps you in choosing the perfect puppy based on your personal needs.
  • From a breeder that offers you an insight into the pup’s medical history, as well as having the proof of the parent’s health test clearances of the conditions that are associated with the breed.
  • From a breeder that offers to stay in touch and help you with the advice for each stage of your pup’s development.

As you can see, when you know what to pay attention to, choosing a puppy that matches your needs perfectly, doesn’t have to be hard, right?

3 Little-known facts about the Portuguese Water Dog puppies

In this part of the guide, you will get more familiar with some little-known facts about the Portuguese Water Dog pups, and get a much better idea if you can handle living with one or not.

  • They are not very fond of strangers

The Portuguese Water Dog pups get attached to their human families very fast. And, until they are properly socialized, they can be suspicious of the people and animals they don’t know.

Therefore, to make sure your dog is not growing up to be a “hater”, you need to start the socialization from the moment you welcome him to your home.

  • They are considered hypoallergenic, but…

The Portuguese Water Dog puppies don’t shed much and should be hypoallergenic, But, they do spread a certain amount of dander.

So, to make sure you aren’t allergic to this breed, before buying a puppy, arrange a few visits to the breeder and spend some time with them.

  • They need to be close to the family

These dogs, especially pups, love humans. And, they don’t like being left alone for a long period of time or they will suffer from separation anxiety.

Physical Traits of the Portuguese Water Dog

A black Portuguese Water Dog wearing a straw hat
Portuguese Water Dog needs often brushing and hairstyling.

Now, let’s check out some physical traits of this breed. Let’s see how big they are, and how long can you expect your dog to be a loving family member.

How big is a full-grown Portuguese Water Dog?

When it comes to their height, the male Portuguese Water Dogs can have a height range of some 20 to 24 inches, while weighing from 45 to 60 pounds.

The females, on the other hand, are smaller and lighter, and their height range goes from 18 to 22 inches, while the weight range goes from 35 to 50 pounds.

What is the life expectancy of the Portuguese Water Dog?

As for the Portuguese Water Dog life expectancy, if taken care of properly, with enough exercise, and regular vet checkups, you can expect from 12 to 15 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dogs can be described as calm, robust, rugged, and very intelligent.

Also, they are well known for being loyal, affectionate, hard-working, adventurous, and great with other pets and kids.

Speaking of their intelligence, they are so smart that you shouldn’t be surprised if sometimes he outsmarts you and take advantage of the moments when you lack control.

But, you need to know that they are sensitive and react to the tone of your voice, so the training shouldn’t be harsh and you shouldn’t raise your voice.

However, once you succeed in training, you will discover how obedient and loyal this dog is, and how his excellent sense of smell and hearing make him a great watchdog as well.

They also have a keen sense of smell and make excellent watchdogs.

And, you should keep in mind that these dogs simply have the strength and stamina more than you so they can easily outplay you when it comes to training.

They have the energy for ten people and they don’t burn it easily and they can make you more tired at the end of the day than they are.

So, make sure you provide your dog with plenty of long walks, combined with running, training, and if possible swimming sessions if you want him to be calm once you get back home.

Also, they need good mental stimulation since they are extremely intelligent, and we recommend playing vigorous games of fetch, involving him in advanced obedience, agility, and dog sports.

Keep in mind that this is one active breed and if you are not much of a sportsman or an outdoorsman, this is not the right breed for you.

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to this breed is that they will be calm and observant when there are strangers around his family and wait to see how things play out.

The moment they even just sense something wrong is about to go down, they will turn into fearless protectors of the family and even give their lives to protect the ones they love.

But, to get to the point where your dog behaves like that, calm and on guard, you need to invest plenty of time in the training and socialization.

Furthermore, these dogs are well known for their tendency to chew everything in their path, so make sure you have a full box of dog toys if you want to keep your shoes and furniture safe.

All in all, this can be a wonderful family dog and a loving companion that will be ready to follow you to the end of the world.

But, you have to be ready to invest a lot of your time in training and socialization and have a positive and loving attitude along the way.

If you succeed in that, you will have a loyal companion and tons of happy memories of fun times you had together.

Portuguese Water Dog Diet

When it comes to your Portuguese Water Dog’s diet, it should be based on meat.

By meat, we mean lamb, beef, turkey, chicken, venison, bison, and fish if you want him to develop properly and maintain his health.

Also, to make sure your dog gets enough vitamins and minerals, you should likewise include some vegetables, and from time to time, a boiled egg.

When it comes to a daily amount of food, you should consult the breeder and the vet, and follow the schedule they give you.

How much Exercise does a Portuguese Water Dog need?

As we stated above, the Portuguese Water dogs are an active breed and they need regular, vigorous exercise.

Plan to have a half an hour walk, plus another half an hour of vigorous exercise in a form of running, playing fetch, and preferably swimming.

And, since they get easily bored due to their high intelligence level, make sure you mix the exercises regularly.

The Portuguese Water Dog Health and Conditions

Generally, the Portuguese Water Dogs are considered a healthy breed. But, that doesn’t mean that they can’t suffer from certain illnesses and health conditions.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that your dog will have these conditions, but it is smart to be aware of them and monitor your dog’s health by taking him to regular vet checkups.

The health problems a Portuguese Water Dog can suffer from include:

  • GM1
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy

And these are the tests the parents of your dog should have the clearances for so that the chances of your dog suffering from them are minimal.

My final thoughts on the Portuguese Water DogA Portuguese Water Dog looking away

So, we have reached the end of our Portuguese Water Dog guide.

How do you feel about this breed after getting to know it much better?

Are you still up for owning a Portuguese Water Dog? Still not sure?

Let’s summarize the most important traits of this breed so that you are sure you are making the right choice in the end.

If you like a dog that is:

  • Agile, athletic, rugged, medium-sized
  • Doesn’t shed much
  • Needs serious exercise and is a great companion for an active lifestyle
  • Is great with kids and other pets
  • Loves the water and is an excellent swimmer

This breed might be a perfect choice for you.

On the other hand, if you are not fine with having a dog that:

  • Needs plenty of exercises and is generally very active
  • Loves to jump on his family members when happy
  • Becomes destructive if left alone, bored, and doesn’t get enough exercise during the day
  • Needs often brushing and hairstyling
  • Has the tendency to carry and chew things that are in his way

You might consider choosing another breed that is less active and with a calmer temperament.

If your final choice did land on this breed, be sure that with proper training and socialization, you will have a wonderful companion that is always up for jogging and will be right by your side when you go swimming.

Also, you will gain a watchful nanny for the kids, and a great watchdog to let you know if someone unwanted is closer than he should be.

Thanks for reading our guide and feel free to share it on social media if you found it interesting to read and think that more people should realize how great this breed is.

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