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Portuguese Water Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Facts, & Traits

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Facts, & Traits

Quick Facts

  • Weight: 35 – 55 pounds
  • Height: 17 – 22.5 inches

The Look of a Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dogs are sturdy, strong medium-sized dogs covered in thick coats that can be either curly or wavy. They come in brown, black, white, or various combinations of the three. They have large heads with rounded skulls, dark eyes, boxy muzzles, and thin ears that hang somewhat close to the head. Their muscular necks lead down to long backs and thick, tapered tails that are carried in a high curl. Overall, the Portuguese Water Dog looks gallant yet robust.


  • Active
  • Alert
  • Loves the water
  • Relaxed
  • Intelligent
  • Eager to please

Ideal Human Companion

  • Active singles
  • Experienced dog handlers
  • Families
  • Fishermen
Portuguese Water Dog at a dog show
Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock

What They Are Like to Live With

Portuguese Water Dogs are energetic workers and calm playmates. For hundreds of years, Portuguese fishermen watched these dogs work exhausting days, only to come home and play affectionately with children. Around the home, you’ll find them goofy, loving and calm. They show an intense loyalty to family members, making superb watchdogs.

Things You Should Know

Portuguese Water Dogs can live as long as 14 years. Generally healthy, some can develop hip dysplasia and eye problems such as cataracts. In spite of their thick, wavy coats, Portuguese Water Dogs are fairly easy to groom, needing only regular brushing and clipping. They shed very little.

Portuguese Water Dog History

Portuguese Water Dogs originated along the coast of Portugal. Used by fishermen to haul nets, carry tackle, and transport messages between ships, Portuguese Water Dogs were robust and dependable enough to be considered part of a ship’s crew. While no one knows for certain where they came from, some say they descend from ancient Asian herding dogs that were brought to Portugal by traders hundreds of years ago.

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