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Do Portuguese Water Dogs Shed a Lot? Care & Grooming Tips

Written by: Brooke Bundy

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

portrait of a white and black Portuguese Water Dog wearing a collar

Do Portuguese Water Dogs Shed a Lot? Care & Grooming Tips

With wavy or tight curls, the Portuguese Water Dog has low-shedding hair like their cousin the Poodle. While every dog sheds some, you certainly won’t find tufts rolling down your hallway like you might from a double-coated breed like the Siberian Husky. Instead of spending your time investing in lint brushes and rakes, you’ll need to brush a Portuguese Water Dog several times a week with a slicker brush to clear their coat from mats. Since they don’t really shed, they’ll also need a haircut every month or two. The good news is that Portuguese Water Dogs are actually considered one of the most hypoallergenic breeds due to their low-shedding coat, so they’re a great fit for someone with minor dog allergies.

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About the Portuguese Water Dog’s Coat

Per the breed standard by the American Kennel Club, Portuguese Water Dogs have a single coat that doesn’t shed. They’re usually solid-colored in white, brown, or black, but some markings are allowed. Since they have a single layer of fur, they shed only minimally, similar to how humans lose a little of their hair each day.

So, what do you do with all of that hair? First off, a slicker brush is an essential tool in order to reach all the way down to their skin. Surface-level brushing causes mats, so you’ll need to apply gentle pressure to make sure you’re all the way down. Your Portuguese Water Dog will need brushing at least three times a week.

close up of a black portuguese water dog
Image Credit: Zadranka, Shutterstock

Are Portuguese Water Dogs Hypoallergenic?

It’s important to realize that no dog is 100% hypoallergenic. When humans experience an allergic reaction to dogs, their body is actually responding to a protein found in their dander and saliva. The reason why hypoallergenic dogs are generally low shedding is that there’s simply less dander floating around the house, which is what triggers a lot of allergies. Some hypoallergenic breeds, like the Portuguese Water Dog, are also suspected to produce less of the allergen than other breeds, such as the Basset Hound.

Thus, someone who’s severely allergic to dogs probably won’t find sufficient relief even if they choose a hypoallergenic breed. Someone who only experiences mild symptoms, however, might be okay with a breed like the Portuguese Water Dog. Their likelihood of success is greater especially when combined with other methods of dealing with the problem, such as vacuuming frequently and taking allergy medication.

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The 3 Most Popular Portuguese Water Dog Haircuts

Thinking about adopting a PWD, or looking for a better way to style their locks? Here are three haircuts that are a perfect match for their hair type:

1. Retriever Clip

Most people choose a Retriever Clip for their Portuguese Water Dog. This style looks similar to the Puppy Cut in that it’s the same length all the way around. However, the hair on the head is left a little longer to create a fluffy domed appearance. The fur on the paws is slightly longer and rounded. Finally, the fur on the tail is also a little longer. Depending on whether they have a curly or wavy coat, this results in a plume or a cute ball at the end. 

black and white Portuguese Water dog
Image By: Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock

2. Lion Clip

If you’re wanting to make a statement, the Lion Clip is another popular choice. This style leaves the fur on the long front while shaving the back end. A little bit of fur is left on the tail, which completes the look.

Portuguese Water Dog in beautiful green park
Image By: Eve Photography, Shutterstock

3. Summer Cut

If your dog likes to make waves, trimming down their wavy hair can be a good idea to prevent matting. Some pet parents love the Summer Cut because it’s a low maintenance choice. For this look, the fur is trimmed almost down to the skin. Regular brushing is still essential to prevent matting as their fur grows back.

portuguese water dog puppy sitting outdoors
Image By: Lisa Mounteer, Shutterstock


With hair instead of fur, the Portuguese Water Dog sheds only minimally. While you won’t deal with pesky fur tumbleweeds, you will need to invest in a slicker brush and make an appointment with a local groomer every month or so for a trim. The Portuguese Water Dog is considered a hypoallergenic breed that’s a perfect match for someone mildly allergic to dogs, or for homes with children. Their protective yet gentle demeanor also suits them well for a family home, or with an active individual who loves to spend their free time outside. These dogs are usually trimmed in one of three types of styles. Their activity level, coupled with your lifestyle and preferences, should help you decide on the ‘do that’s best for you and your pup.

Featured Image Credit: Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock

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