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             The Portuguese Water Dog

       Yes, Portuguese Water dogs are a wonderful breed, but not a
    breed for everyone!  They are high spirited (although there are
    degrees of energy levels within the breed), independent and
    demanding.  They need a year of care, attention and training to
    make them civilized and gentle - as do most dogs.  Consider it
    like having a new baby.

     Their coat demands attention and grooming. You can learn to do
    it yourself or have them professionally groomed every 4 to 6
    weeks.  That is the price you pay for a non-shedding dog - the coat
    grows continuously and they need to be brushed a couple of
    times a week - without fail!

     If you cherish and care for your PWD it will reward you with life
    affirming love and devotion - but you will need to have a good
    sense of humour and to be very flexible.  This is a breed that is
    very intelligent but not always very obedient.  As fishing dogs they
    were expected to work independently, making decisions and
    going ahead with their own work.  This ability was highly prized by
    the Portuguese fishermen.  They are still “hardwired” to make
    executive decisions and they often take direction only as the spirit
    moves them.  If you understand and admire this trait you will find
    their behaviour amusing rather than infuriating.  Frequently they
    will not come when you call - at least until they are good and
    ready!  This is just one of the reasons why they  must ALWAYS be
    on leash when they are not in a safe or enclosed area.  They will
    frequently dash off to visit or explore and, as they have absolutely
    no instinctive street skills,  they will be hit by a car.  Trust me - it
    will happen!  

     They are sweet, loving and funny.  They will make you laugh
    everyday and tear your hair at least once a week.  They are
    incredibly adaptable and will go anywhere and do anything as
    long as you are there too.

     This breed has two negative characteristics. The first is that they
    hate to be alone.  They MUST have human companionship and
    will not tolerate being left alone out in the yard, tied up, ignored or
    left by themselves every day.  They are not a breed for a working
    family.  Certainly, you have to have a life, and they can be left alone
    for a number of hours while you live it, but not all day every day!  
    The second is, as I mentioned before, they have no street smarts
    and must be carefully protected.

     They need some exercise every day but will adapt to what you are
    able to give them.  I have some pups who go for a 5 mile run with
    their owners every day and others that take a 20 minute walk
    abound the block.  Certainly, more is better, but they will do
    whatever you ask.

     Like all dogs, they must not be left alone with small children and
    must be carefully trained to have gentle mouths.  They should be
    crate trained and never allowed to dominate any human member
    of the family.  

     A Portuguese Water Dog demands a major commitment in time,
    energy and understanding.  You will be hugely repaid for your
    patience and love.
About the Portuguese Water Dog
photo by Jerry Schulman
photo by Jerry Schulman