Portuguese Water Dog

Cao de Agua, Portuguese Fishing Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog must stay close to his own. As long as he can be with his family, he is happy. He needs exercise and swimming. It is better to be able to take him to a lake regularly, and to allow him to move around as he pleases. He loves space, exercise, water and his family. All these conditions together make him the happiest dog.

Height 43 to 57 cm
Weight 18 to 28 kg
Life expectancy 12 to 15 years
Home country Portugal

Quick Overview of the Portuguese Water Dog


  • Docile and playful
  • Friendly, funny at times
  • Active and disciplined
  • Obedient and balanced


  • Massive, well-proportioned silhouette
  • Round, brown or black eyes
  • Black nose
  • Tail does not extend beyond the hock


  • Exceptional health
  • No particular pathology

Temperament of the Portuguese Water Dog

Docile, playful, friendly, active, disciplined, obedient, balanced and well controlled, the Portuguese Water Dog is an excellent companion for hunting waterfowl and for company.

Of exceptional intelligence, this dog is easy to train and live with.

In spite of his liveliness, he can take long naps near his family without any problem. At the slightest gesture from his master, he will be ready to act.

Friendly and good player, he is adorable with children with whom he loves to share all their games.

He is very sociable with all members of the household, both human and animal. He has no problem socializing with other dogs, cats or animals living under his roof.

His vigilance and curiosity make him an excellent guardian. He is always alert and will warn at the slightest danger.

His education is relatively easy because he is intelligent and docile by nature.

chien d'eau portugais personnalité

Breed Appearance

Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dogs is medium-size, with a massive but well proportioned body.

This sturdy dog is solidly built and muscular, yet elegant and harmoniously proportioned. Regular swimming exercises develop his muscles in a remarkable way.


Between 50 and 57 cm (19.69 to 22.44 inches) for the male
Between 43 and 52 cm (16.93 to 20.47 inches) for the female


Between 24 and 28 kg (52.91 to 61.73 pounds) for the male
Between 18 and 22 kg (39.68 to 48.50 pounds) for the female


The most common coat colour is black, with or without white patches.

It can also be white or brown but these two colours are much rarer, especially white.


The coat's hair is very resistant. It can be wavy and long or frizzy and short. He doesn't have an  undercoat.


His head is domed and has a well marked stop. His eyes are round, medium size and may be brown or black.

His ears are leaning against the head and slightly apart from it at the tip. His nose is black. His tail generally does not extend beyond the hock.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 8, section 3 and is #37

Price and monthly budget

Price you can expect to pay for a Portuguese Water Dog puppy: between 800 ‚ā¨ / $ 1 / ¬£1 and 1200 ‚ā¨ / $ 1 / ¬£1
These prices are indicative and may vary from breeder to breeder
Average monthly budget for a Portuguese Water Dog: 100 ‚ā¨ / $ 1 / ¬£1
The monthly budget includes the average expenses for food and hygiene products (grooming, anti-parasite...)

Tips About this breed

This excellent diver with unfailing courage is also an excellent swimmer. He is often used in water rescues.

His audacity and courage have saved the lives of many fishermen to this day. He is defined as a "fire dog" because he is full of ardour for work.

In spite of his ardour and liveliness, he possesses great self-control.

He is an excellent working dog that can be used for multiple functions such as waterfowl hunting, water rescue, guarding and companionship.

He can live in the great outdoors, but doesn't really enjoy city life because he doesn't like to be confined indoors.

His need for exercise is high and he will have to exercise often and extensively to be happy in the city.

Health of the Portuguese Water Dog

He is robust and exceptionally healthy.

He can live a very long life, sometimes even up to 18 years if he benefits from daily exercise. The breed does not suffer from any particular pathology.


Hunting or company dogs require a good brushing at least every two days.

For show specimens, it is best to trim the hindquarters from the last rib to two-thirds of the tail.

In spite of his slightly tangled appearance, hair maintenance is still relatively easy.

History of this breed

Originally from Portugal, this is one of the oldest dog breeds on the planet. For centuries, he flushed out shoals of sardines, carried messages from one boat to another, defied the ocean and retrieved nets after fishing.

He worked for a long time on fishing boats, being part of the crew the same way as Portuguese seamen. To make him more efficient in his work, he was then shaved on his hindquarters and muzzle so that he was more comfortable catching objects and fish, and to make him lighter in the water.

The Portuguese Water Dog is also believed to be the origin of several other breeds. He is said to have contributed, among other things, to the characteristics of the German Pointing Dog, Lagotto Romagnolo, Poodle and French Barbet. Some of his genetics can therefore be found in all of these dog breeds.

He was introduced in Portugal in the 5th century by the Visigoths, and the indigenous race developed thereafter. At the time of fishing, he was used mainly along the country's coastline, but modernisation at the beginning of the 20th century made him lose his role of seaman and he slowly began to disappear.

Officially recognized in 1984 by the American Kennel Club, the breed is now mainly found in the southern part of the country, more precisely in Algarve.

His character and physical qualities deserve to be known, but his numbers are considerably reduced nowadays.

The most famous specimen today is known since April 2009, when the American presidential couple Michelle and Barack Obama opted for a Portuguese Water Dog named "Bo" which became the brand new First domestic Dog of the Obama family, and especially the daughters' pet of the famous American presidential couple.

The Obamas chose this breed because one of their daughters was allergic to dog hair. The Portuguese Water Dog, with his particular coat, was therefore perfectly suited.

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