Portuguese Water Dog (Working Group)

Portuguese Water Dog (Working Group)

The Portuguese Water Dog is a gregarious breed, always on the lookout for fun and games. They make an outstanding family pet and behaves excellent around children and other dogs. Portuguese Water Dogs absolutely thrive on human interaction and love, so giving lots of attention is a requirement for anyone who owns one. An active lifestyle is also essential as these canines cannot sit still for very long without needing to play or run outside.

A Brief History Of The Portuguese Water Dog

As its name suggests, the area of origin of the Portuguese Water Dog is Portugal. A hard-working and focused water dog, its ancestry probably has some Poodle in the bloodline (as you can judge from its appearance). In its native land, the breed is known as “Cao de Agua”, which translates into “water dog”. They come in two varieties: long-haired and curly-coated.

We do know that its ancestors were herding dogs that came from the central Asian steppes. It is estimated that the dogs arrived in Portugal from either two possibly routes: In the 5th century from the Visigoths or in the 8th century from the Berbers and Moors.

Once the breed had established itself in Portugal, its usefulness as a water dog became increasingly popular. They served couriers from boats to other boats and to the shoreline. They were excellent retrievers when fisherman needed them to swim after nets or other equipment to bring the items back in. The dogs would also work alongside trawler crews when fishing the Iceland waters.

Unfortunately, with the wonderful inventions of technology many old ways of doing things cease to exist. The same was true for the Portuguese Water Dog. During the early part of the 20th century, new fishing methods were born and less use was needed of the dogs. They had all but become extinct until the work of one man saved the breed. His name was Dr. Vasco Bensuade.

Dr. Bensuade was a rich shipping magnate who was so enthusiastic about the breed that he heavily promoted it in various parts of the world. He reorganized the breed club and the Portuguese Water Dog could be seen in show rings as it made its way to the United States during the 1950s, gaining AKC recognition in 1984.

Upkeep Requirements For The Portuguese Water Dog

These dogs are probably one of the most energetic and lively breeds alive today. They have a seemingly endless amount of energy to swim, run, play, and retrieve. Therefore it should be no surprise that daily exercise is an absolute must for a Portuguese Water Dog to be happy. If kept cooped up inside then the dog can become frustrated and destructive.

They have a moderate tolerance for both hot and cold climates but should live inside with the family as they cannot live life to its fullest without constant human contact. Grooming the Portuguese Water Dog calls for a thorough brushing every other day, with professional clipping about once each month.

Health Concerns

The average life span of the Portuguese Water Dog is between ten and fourteen years. The only major health concern that runs common in the breed is PRA. Minor issues that may come up include hair loss, CHD, GM1 storage disease, Addison’s, distichiasis, and juvenile cardiomyopathy. Veterinarians suggest that the breed get tested for DNA for GM1, eye and hip problems.

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