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Portuguese Water Dog vs Goldendoodle: Key Differences (With Pictures)

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

Portuguese Water Dog vs Goldendoodle

Portuguese Water Dog vs Goldendoodle: Key Differences (With Pictures)

Portuguese Water Dogs and Goldendoodles are two dog breeds that may look similar at first glance. They both have curly hair and are affectionate companions. However, these dogs have differing needs, which makes them suitable pets for different kinds of people. In general, Portuguese Water Dogs are good fits for experienced dog owners that are able to provide enough mental and physical exercise opportunities. Goldendoodles tend to be more laidback, making them a popular choice among first-time dog owners.

While every dog has its own unique personality and temperament, it’s still helpful to know the general expectations and temperaments for dog breeds. Being well-informed about dog breeds can help with finding the right dog for your home. Here’s what you need to know about the Portuguese Water Dog and the Goldendoodle to help you determine which one’s right for you.


Visual Differences

Portuguese Water Dog vs Goldendoodle - Visual Differences
Image Credit: Left – Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock | Right – Quionie Gaban, Pexels

At a Glance

Portuguese Water Dog
  • Average height (adult): 17–23 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 35–60 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–14 years
  • Exercise: 1.5+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: High
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent, gets bored easily
  • Average height (adult): 8–25 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 15–100 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–15 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: High
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent, eager to please


Portuguese Water Dog Overview

brown and white portuguese water dog puppy
Image Credit: Melchor Gama, Pexels


Portuguese Water Dogs are medium-sized working dogs that were originally bred to help fishermen by helping them catch fish and retrieve items from the water. To this day, Portuguese Water Dogs are hard workers that have a lot of energy and stamina. They’re very loyal to their families and become very attached. They shouldn’t be left home alone for too long, and they can develop separation anxiety if they’re frequently left at home by themselves.

Portuguese Water Dogs are usually patient with children, but they’re incredibly playful, so they may be a little too overwhelming for young children. While they’re not known to be aggressive, they’re often wary of strangers, and it may take them some time to warm up to new people.


Portuguese Water Dogs are active working dogs that require a lot of exercise. Daily walks won’t be sufficient for these dogs. They have a strong drive and will enjoy running around in the yard and swimming regularly. Many Portuguese Water Dogs become excellent competitors in dog sports, including agility courses and water docking.

It’s extremely important to meet a Portuguese Water Dog’s exercise needs because they can quickly become bored and start to engage in destructive behaviors.

Portuguese Water dog playing ball in park
Image Credit: blrz, Shutterstock


These dogs are intelligent, but they have a lot of energy and tend to get bored easily. So, it can be a little challenging to begin training. It’s helpful to keep training sessions short and have sessions during parts of the day when they’re calmer. Once you establish a strong foundation in obedience training, you’ll find your Portuguese Water Dog to be a quick learner with an eagerness to learn.

Health & Care

Portuguese Water Dogs shed very little compared to other dog breeds, but it’s important to brush them at least two to three times a week to prevent tangling and matting. You can get their hair cut shorter to help reduce the amount of time you spend on brushing.

These dogs are generally healthy and usually live long and happy lives. They may run into some bone and joint issues, like hip dysplasia, as they age. Portuguese Water Dogs are also more susceptible to storage disease, which is a lack of enzymes required on the surface of the brain and neural cells.

portuguese water dog getting a bath
Image Credit: Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock

Suitable For:

Portuguese Water Dogs often make wonderful companions for people with active lifestyles and who love being outdoors. They’re the perfect camping companion and will enjoy hiking and swimming with their owners. They can be good family dogs, but you must pay extra attention to socializing them with children and ensure that their high energy doesn’t accidentally cause injury.


Goldendoodle Overview

closeup of a goldendoodle puppy laying in the grass
Image Credit: Rick C Lanier, Shutterstock


Goldendoodles have sweet personalities and are known as affectionate and social dogs. They love being a part of the action and don’t do well being left home alone for long hours. Properly socialized Goldendoodles aren’t known to be shy towards humans or other dogs. They’re usually gentle with children and can learn to live with other pets in the home.

Goldendoodles come in a wide range of sizes. Mini Goldendoodles can be as small as 15 pounds, while Standard Goldendoodles can weigh over 100 pounds. Smaller Goldendoodles can get by with living in an apartment as long as they get their exercise needs met. Larger Goldendoodles do best in single-family homes or in rural areas where there’s plenty of space for them to move and run around.


Goldendoodles require at least an hour of exercise a day. They’ll enjoy going on walks and often benefit from running around freely in a fully fenced yard. As a social breed, Goldendoodles are often popular at dog parks and enjoy playing with other dogs.

Goldendoodles are confident and enjoy spending time with their families. They often become fun companions for outdoor adventures, and many will enjoy hiking and swimming. They tend to have a lot of stamina and love being helpful, so many enjoy having jobs as service dogs or volunteering as therapy dogs.

Goldendoodle playing with a ball at a park
Image Credit: Samuel Haché, Pexels


The Goldendoodle is often more well-suited for first-time dog owners because of their eagerness to please. These dogs are intelligent and typically learn obedience training relatively quickly. Their intelligence and intuition help them to stay focused and learn new commands and tricks. However, as with most puppies, Goldendoodle puppies are often most successful when training sessions are short and frequent. Since Goldendoodles are so attentive to people, they’re very sensitive and don’t respond well to punishment and harshness.

Health & Care

One of the most challenging this about caring for a Goldendoodle is its grooming needs. These dogs must be brushed daily to prevent their fine, curly hairs from tangling and matting. You can reduce the amount of time you spend on grooming by keeping its coat at a shorter length.

Goldendoodles are generally healthy, but you may notice them develop bone and joint issues as they age. Some health issues commonly found in Goldendoodles include luxating patella, hip dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy. Larger Goldendoodles may also be more susceptible to gastric torsion.

Goldendoodle Puppy getting sink bath
Image Credit: Asbacon, Shutterstock

Suitable For:

Goldendoodles are excellent family dogs and must be in homes where someone is usually with them. They’re companion dogs at heart and love being around people. They’re fairly adaptable and can be both active athletes and cuddle buddies. They’re often a better fit for first-time dog owners because they’re affectionate and easy to train.


Which Breed Is Right for You?

Both Portuguese Water Dogs and Goldendoodles are excellent companion dogs that are incredibly loving and loyal to their families. They both don’t do well being home alone for too long and are prone to developing separation anxiety.

Goldendoodles are often the better choice for first-time dog owners because they’re easy to train, adaptable, and aren’t as high-energy as Portuguese Water Dogs. Portuguese Water Dogs often require more exercise and mental stimulation, so they’re a better fit for experienced dog owners that have a good grasp on dog behavior and enrichment activities.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: Top – Jennay Hitesman, Shutterstock | Bottom – Cavan-Images, Shutterstock

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