A Guide to the Portuguese Water Dog, A People Pleaser Why This Breed Makes Such a Wonderful Companion

Portuguese Water Dogs photo
Medium Breed Hip Dysplasia Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) Portuguese Water Dog

Is the Portuguese Water Dog Right For You?

  • 1 Portuguese Water Dogs are athletic and impressive dogs that were bred to be able to spend the whole day swimming.
  • 2 As such the Portuguese Water Dog requires a lot of exercise, and enjoys swimming.
  • 3 They make great companions for people with active lifestyles.
  • 4 Portuguese Water Dogs are a good bet for agility training since they excel at activities.


Native of Portugal, the Portuguese Water Dog was used by fishermen for hundreds of years, helping them catch fish, pull in nets, and retrieve anything that fell off the boat. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the duties of the Portuguese Water Dog were rapidly being outsourced to machinery, leading to their decline in numbers. They were registered by the AKC in 1983.

Quick Facts

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    10 to 15 years

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    Hair Length


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    Male Height

    20 to 22 inches

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    Male Weight

    40 to 55 pounds

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    Female Height

    17 to 20 inches

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    Female Weight

    35 to 50 pounds

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    Litter Size

    4 to 8 puppies


The Portuguese Water Dog is an exceptionally friendly, animated, and entertaining creature. Bred for the teamwork environment of a fishing boat, they enjoy following direction and getting attention. They make for a great family dog, behaving well around other pets and children. They are also incredibly smart, and it's best to start training them early..


A beautiful dog, you will first notice the Portuguese Water Dog's coat which is an amazing black on most dogs. You can find these dogs in white and brown as well, but those coats are much harder to locate. Some are multi-colored dogs. Those are generally white and will have darker spots over their body.

Health Concerns

A Portuguese water dog has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. This breed is commonly prone to:


The Portuguese Water Dog has an elongated, muscular body with a long, tapering tail and webbed feet to aid in swimming. Their muzzle is slightly shorter than the rest of their head, and their ears are shaped like hearts that droop down alongside their head. They have a single layer coat that can be either wavy or curly.

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