Spotlight on Portuguese Water Dog
Weight – 40-60lbs (male); 35-50lbs (female)
Height – 20"-23" (male); 17"-21" (female)
Coat – Curly and Wavy types
Color – Black, Black & White, Brown, Silver Tipped, White (most rare)
Closely related to the Standard Poodle, the Portuguese Water Dog is a water dog that is highly intelligent with a usually curly coat and webbed toes for swimming. More robustly built than their Poodle cousins, PWDs can come in a variety of colors and have a single layer coat that doesn't shed, leading to them being favored by those with dog allergies. Their hair must be groomed regularly, with the favored cuts being the Retriever style and Lion style of trimming the hair. Like humans, some PWDs can go grey later in life, a process sometimes referred to as "blueing."
Portuguese Water Dogs make excellent companions. They are loving, independent, and intelligent, leading to them being easily trained both in obedience and other skills. They are friendly, and are known to hop or dance when greeting people, a trait that some owners try to train away, but others find endearing and tolerate. They are known for "counter surfing," a habit of standing upright at counters and tables, especially when food is present. PWDs do require extensive attention and exercise and can become destructive if they become bored, so it is recommended that they have a ready supply of treats, toys, and chews like bully sticks.
Like all purebred dogs, PWDs are vulnerable to certain genetic defects. Some defects can include: hip dysplasia, cataracts, PRA, distichiasis, GM1 Storage Disease, and Juvenile Dilated Cardio-Myopathy. Careful checking of the breeding of the PWD's parents can help to reduce the presence of these defects in the dog, and given the limited gene pool of the breed (due to the lack of prevalence of the breed), most of these defects are recessive in the breed.
Famous Portuguese Water Dogs and PWD Owners
Senator Ted Kennedy – Sunny and Splash
President Barack Obama – announced that his family has chosen to adopt a PWD, in part because of their hypoallergenic nature and his daughter Malia's allergy to dogs.