The Portuguese Water Dog has been an indispensable fisherman for centuries. Today it has established itself as a companion. Clever, obedient, clean, strive to please and has a hypoallergenic coat that does not fade, but requires care.
The Portuguese Water Dog is an ancient breed of dog that was on the verge of extinction in the 20th century, but was restored thanks to the work of Portuguese and American breeders. The oldest known mention of the breed dates from 1828. This is an engraving depicting a very similar dog, swimming towards the boat. But it is believed that they appeared much earlier, approximately between the 5th and 7th centuries. The historian Manuel Fernandes in his book "Water Dog" (1938) says that it was known to the ancient Romans, who called it the "lion" because of the characteristic haircut.
The Portuguese water dogs were the main helpers of anglers. They were famous as excellent swimmers and divers, they could catch fish that had just torn off the hook and get gear out of the water, passed notes between boats across the sea and helped keep in touch with the shore, and were responsible for the safety of the vessel and gear. Sometimes the owners rented their dogs on the sea-going vessels in order to get additional income.
The water dog was an indispensable attribute of fishing boats, until the industrial revolution came to Portugal. Over time, the breed, which was distributed throughout the coast, was preserved only in the Algarve, where old fishing traditions were honored. In the 30s, the breed was revived by Backo Bensaude, the owner of the fishing fleet and the founder of the National Club of Portuguese Water Dogs. He gathered breed representatives across the country and developed a breeding program. By the 60s of the 20th century, the number of purebred Portuguese water dogs did not exceed 100 individuals. In 1966, a standard was written. In 1981, a Portuguese water dog (port. Cão de agua português) was recognized by the American Kennel Club and in the same year the Guinness Book of Records called it the rarest breed in the world.
Animal Planet Portuguese Water Dog breed video:
A Portuguese water dog must be agile, flexible and resilient. She is of medium size, balanced, proportional build, with well-developed muscles. Has some external resemblance to Spanish water dogs and French barbets. Height at the withers of males - 54 cm, weight - 16-23 kg; the height of females is 46 cm, weight is 19-27 kg.
The skull is slightly longer than the muzzle, the forehead is wide with a central groove, the back of the head is well defined, and the stop is clear. The muzzle tapers noticeably to the nose. The nose is wide with well-opened nostrils, black or brown, depending on the color. The lips are thick, well pigmented, consistent with the color of the nose. Scissor bite. The eyes are medium sized, set a little obliquely, roundish, dark brown in color. The eyelids are well pigmented. Ears are set above the line of the eyes, thin, in shape resembling a heart, well pressed to the head with the exception of a small area behind the base.
Membranes between the toes help the Portuguese to swim perfectly, and diving is the ability to hold their breath before diving.
The neck is short, high, round, without suspension. Case slightly elongated format. The chest is deep and wide, descends to the elbows. The ribs are long, rounded. The abdomen is well toned, the lower back is wide and muscular. The croup is short, slightly tilted. The tail is thick at the base, tapering to the tip, set slightly below the line of the back, held slightly curved. Legs are strong, straight with good angles, rather dry. Paws are rounded, rather flat. Claws are slightly raised, can be any color. The central pad is very dense, others of moderate thickness.
The coat is very thick and evenly covers the entire body, with the exception of the groin area, where it is thinner and less frequent. The undercoat is missing. According to the type of coat in the breed, two varieties are distinguished:
- Curly - shiny hair, forms compact cylindrical curls, wavy hair on the ears.
- Wavy - the hair falls off in soft waves, does not twist.
The color is black, white and various shades of brown, as well as any combination of black or brown with white. White is not a sign of albinism, provided that the nose, eyelids and lips are black. The skin has a bluish tint.
Nature and behavior
The Portuguese Water Dog is energetic, friendly, curious and attentive. She loves to work and be in the spotlight, she is always happy to bathe and is resistant to fatigue, cannot stand loneliness, is obedient and responsive. Lack of attention for a long time contributes to the development of destructive patterns of behavior.
The Portuguese is very strongly attached to the owner, becoming his unobtrusive shadow. Other family members are treated with care and love. It gets along well with children of any age, but is best suited for families with older children who can become partners in games. The sociability of the Portuguese water dog extends to other animals: dogs, cats, small rodents and birds, but provided that it has been well socialized or raised with them. At a young age, especially with a lack of physical and mental stress, the Portuguese are prone to spoiling things.
It is worth considering that the character of a Portuguese dog has courage and a strong spirit. In general, she is very nice and non-conflict, but she is suspicious of strangers, she is a good watchman and, with suspicious noise or approaching the house, will report barking. Security abilities are less developed and are not manifested in all.
Parenting and training
The Portuguese water dog is very smart, it is easy to train, but it is important that the training is a follower and is based on positive reinforcement. Occupation alternate with the game, so as not to annoy and not bore the energetic baby.
The desire to please the owner and the ability to train allow you to participate in a variety of obedience sports with a Portuguese water dog, such as agility or obedience.
The Portuguese water dog is absolutely unpretentious in terms of maintenance. She can live in an aviary, in a large private house or in a small apartment. Everywhere she will be happy provided she has close contact with her family and good physical activity. In everyday life, quiet and unobtrusive, neat and tidy. In addition, her hair practically does not shed, has no specific smell and is suitable for allergy sufferers.
The Portuguese Water Dog is a hypoallergenic breed. She has no undercoat, and molt is poorly expressed. Owners who are allergic to dog fluff note that living with a Portuguese does not cause them any problems. Before you start a puppy, you need to make sure that there is no individual reaction, talking closely with adult representatives of the breed and babies.
In the family of ex-President Obama lives a dog of the breed Portuguese Waterpark (the first photo in the gallery). The puppy was named Bo. They chose a pet taking into account that the daughter Malia is suffering from allergies.
Portuguese water dog needs a very good physical and mental stress, which allows you to stay in good shape. This should be a daily long walk with different pace of load. Be sure to give the opportunity to swim in plenty at least once a week, with the exception of the cold season.
The hair of a Portuguese water dog grows slowly and evenly throughout the body, seasonal molting is not pronounced, therefore it should be regularly combed with a natural bristle brush, removing overripe hairs from the cover. Ears are cleaned about once a week. The accumulated sulfur is removed from the ear canal and the hair is plucked. After swimming, ears are recommended to dry. Bathing is shown once every 7-10 days. Use shampoos and conditioners, which make the coat even more silky and pleasant to the touch. Weekly brushing helps prevent extremely unpleasant dental diseases.
The Portuguese Water Dog has an easily recognizable profile after the typical Lion haircut. It is believed that it was originally developed by fishermen in order to free the dog’s legs for swimming, but at the same time keep the vital organs warm.
Many owners shear their Portuguese dogs to facilitate grooming and just for a change. Haircuts can be anything for pets. At exhibitions, dogs are shown only in the haircut Leo or Working.
- Lion - wool on the middle and back of the body, as well as on the face, is completely cut. At the tip of the tail remains the natural length. On the head, neck, front of the body remains long, but trimmed, emphasizing a harmonious physique.
- Working - bangs so that the dog sees without interference. Throughout the body, the hair is trimmed to the same length, about 2.5-3 cm. It should show natural beauty and at the same time emphasize the athletic physique of the dog. The hair at the tip of the tail is left a natural length.
To maintain good health and well-being, it is important that the Portuguese Water Dog is provided with good nutrition. It can be high-quality feed or home-made food. In any case, the diet should correspond to the age of the dog, its physiological needs and physical activity.
Some Portuguese people tend to gain weight. It is important for owners of such dogs to monitor the calorie content of portions and the number of treats during training.
Health and Life Expectancy
The Portuguese have good health, stamina and good immunity. They are deprived of a number of hereditary diseases that are common in other breeds, but have a predisposition to ear infections, dental diseases and gastrointestinal problems, with improper care and maintenance. The breeding club recommends taking dogs for breeding tests for hereditary ophthalmic diseases and hip dysplasia.
To maintain the health of the Portuguese dog, it is important to timely treat it from parasites and to be vaccinated against major infectious diseases. Life expectancy is usually 11-13 years.
Selection of a Portuguese Water Dog Puppy
The main number of dogs today is concentrated in Portugal and the United States. In Europe and the CIS countries, units of kennels are engaged in their breeding, but if you want to find a free puppy it is quite possible. The only evidence of pedigree should be documents about the origin of the puppies and the pedigrees of the parents. Take children to a new home is recommended no earlier than 8 weeks of age treated from parasites and vaccinated. It is also important to pay attention to the nature and appearance of the kids, it must be healthy and meet the standard.
The price of a Portuguese water dog puppy in kennels ranges from 50,000-85,000 rubles. The cost is influenced by the quality of the producers, the prospects and gender of the puppy, the geography and status of the breeder, and some other factors.
The gallery contains photos of puppies and adult dogs of the Portuguese Portuguese Water Dog breed. On them you can see how the representatives of the breed look in the classic exhibition haircuts “lion” and “working”.