Cão de Agua Português

Portuguese water dog is generally seen as a working breed. His original purpose was to work in the water and help with fishing. He could be bred by those who are allergic to dog hair, because he doesn´t have an  undercoat and almost doesn't moult. It's surprising that a breed so playful and friendly is not more extended. Porties are undemanding, flexible and easygoing. Even the care of Porties is not demanding. If you're looking for a rare breed, the Portuguese Water Dog is for you! If you're looking for someone else with allergies, who breeds Porties, ask former President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. His family has two Porties named Bo and Sunny. 

Basic information:

Country of origin: Portugal 

Body characteristics: 

Weight: 16 - 25 kg 

Height: 43 - 57 cm 

Color: Pure black, pure brown, may have white signs or pure white 

Classification and standard of breed:

FCI group: Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs 

FCI Section: Water dogs


Portuguese water dogs are friendly, highly intelligent and hardworking. The breed is very suitable for families with children, which it loves. Through their fiery nature, they can be unprecedentedly gentle. In addition, they are fully easygoing with other animals you may have in your house. They are obedient and loyal, but can be sly and their education requires consistency and a firm hand. Portuguese water dogs have excellent sight and smell. They love the water and with great joy they fetch their toys. They are versatile dogs suitable for sports (skillfulness) and professional cynology (defense, tracking, hunting, rescue training). Thanks to their loving relationship with people they are used in canistherapy. 


A medium dog, strong and muscular with intelligent and lovely face. Males measure 50 to 57 cm, optimum height is 54 cm and the bitch 43 to 52 cm, optimum height is 46 cm. They weigh 19 to 25 kg and the bitch weighs 16 to 22 kg. The whole body surface is covered with a resistant coat, and therefore doesn´t moult. Portuguese water dogs are suitable for some allergic person. Two variants of coat- curly coat and wavy coat are bred together. Porties are cut on the muzzle and on the back part of their body to "the lion clip". The color combinations are black, black and white, brown, brown and white, or white. Porties' are a healthy breed, living around 12 to 14 years.

FCI classification

The Portuguese water dog belongs to FCI group VIII. - Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs, section 3 - Water dogs, without a working test. The official abbreviation in the Czech Republic is PVP. Originally they were the fishermen's assistants, today they are more used as companion, watchman and for fetch.

History of the Breed of Portuguese water dogs 

History of this breed is very long and uncertain. People think that they were present on the Portuguese coast in the time before Christ. The first valid references are really supported around 11 century AD. They were not the hunter´s or aristocrat´s dog, but always indispensable assistants to fishermen and guardian of their families. Their recovery was quite wide, but it could be summed up in five points:

- guardian of the ship fore, reporting the danger in the fog

- the carrier of messages from ship to ship, or to the coast, even at a great distance

- chasing the school of fish into the nets

- hauling the torn fish nets from the sea

- guardian of the fisherman´s family, which they defended a lot in the case of danger

The Portuguese water dog was very valuable and is still one of the most common Portuguese breeds. In addition to the tasks above, they saved drowning people. With the onset of modern navigation and communications technology this breed lost their need and similar as many other breeds, started to disappear from the ships and from the coast. Luckily, several old fishing families, remained true to tradition and held several individuals that bred out of respect for the past and for their own pleasure. Vasco Bensuedese is considered the founder of modern breeding. He defined the standard of the breed and several typical subjects to maintain the original character traits, his kennel " ALGARBIORUM " bred 116 puppies. Other farmers followed him, not only in Portugal but also in England. In the United States of America, the first Portuguese water dog was born in 1960. A crisis occurred in 1972, when only 25 Portuguese water dogs were registered in the world. Fortunately, because of  the Portugal water dog's nature and their original appearance they gained more and more popularity (mainly in the US). Today their popularity in Europe increases and in America there is a rich breeding ground.

Basic care

The Portuguese water dog is a working breed, mainly at a young age they are full of energy and they need  to apply it somehow. It is perfect for them to practice in sports training and competitions (e. g. agility or flyball), but you can entertain them with a ball and long walks too.

If you let your Portie have long hair, for example a "lion clip", which is required for exhibitions, they will need regular cleaning and brushing. In America they prefer the "working retriever clip" in which hair is reduced to 2 cm long, this cut is less demanding. It is necessary to pull the fur out of the ear canal.