Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog is a large, water- loving dog with distinctive webbed feet and a non-shedding coat that is often clipped tightly on the hind quarters and tail. It's a proficient swimmer and was a popular choice of dog for working fishermen and sailors in its native home of Portugal.

Portuguese Water Dog breed group

The Portuguese Water Dog belongs to the Working group.

Size of the Portuguese Water Dog


Country of origin

The Portuguese Water Dog originates from Portugal, and the breed can be traced back to the 11th century.

The Portuguese Water Dog was a fisherman and sailor’s dog, working confidently and efficiently in the water, pulling in nets and even rescuing people in trouble in the sea. Today, it is often seen working as a therapy or assistance dog.

Portuguese Water Dog introduction and overview

The Portuguese Water Dog is a large, athletic and exuberant dog with a love of water. It’s a keen and competent swimmer, and enjoys being around water. The coat acts as a protective barrier against the elements. It’s a highly intelligent dog and enjoys new challenges such as agility and flyball. Sadly, the PWD is a rarely seen dog breed in the UK.

The Portuguese Water Dog is also referred to as the PWD, Portie or Water Dog.


A healthy Portuguese Water Dog can expect to live between 10 – 15 years, which is high for a dog of this size.

Size and weight of the Portuguese Water Dog

Height bitch 43-52cms

Height dog 50-57cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 16-22kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 19-25kgs

Exercise requirements of the Portuguese Water Dog

High. The Portuguese Water Dog is a highly athletic breed that requires a minimum of an hour of exercise every day. This is a very intelligent dog that also needs plenty of mental stimulation to prevent behaviour problems such as separation anxiety.

Portuguese Water Dog temperament, socialisation with children, other dogs and other pets

Portuguese Water Dogs are friendly, affectionate dogs and tend to thrive on family life. They are generally good with children, however prospective  owners should be aware that this dog does tend to mouth objects, so children should always be supervised around the breed. Care should also be taken around other smaller  family pets. The Portugues Water Dog  is highly intelligent and needs plenty of mental stimulation.  Early socialisation and training should be introduced from an early age, as this dog can be a little on the stubborn side!

Is the Portuguese Water Dog a good dog for a first time dog owner?

Yes. The breed is easy to train and a quick and enthusiastic learner. The Portuguese Water Dog also requires a good deal of exercise, so ideally suited to an active owner. However, finding a puppy may prove difficult as only 236  dogs were registered with the Kennel Club in the whole year of 2016. Register your interest with assured Kennel Club breeders so they can notify you of future new litters.

Portuguese Water Dog coat length and colours

The single, thick, water resistant coat can either be medium in length with loose curls or short and harsh with tight curls. The Portuguese Water Dog is available in just a handful of colours and markings including:

  • Black
  • Black & White
  • Brown
  • Brown & White
  • White

Grooming requirements of the Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog is often clipped tight on the hind quarters and tail, leaving a plume of fur on the tip, often called the lion clip. To maintain the popular lion clip, owners will need to use a professional groomer several times a year. A daily brush over with a soft slicker brush will keep the coat matt and tangle free.

Ears should be checked regularly for any signs of soreness or infection, especially important for frequent swimmers, and cleaned with a medicated dog ear cleaner.


Yes. The Portuguese Water Dog does not shed fur so may be a suitable choice of dog for allergy sufferers.

Health issues in the Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog is generally hardy and  a fairly healthy dog, but the following health issues have been noted in the breed, so consult your breeder:

  • Cataracts
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Approximate Portuguese Water Dog pedigree puppy price

Puppies are rarely available and no current information is available on the price of pedigree puppies, however litters, when available tend to be produce around 4-8 puppies.

Estimating how much a Portuguese Water Dog would need to be fed each day

A bitch weighing 20kgs requires 285gms of complete dry food per day. A dog weighing 25gs requires 330gms of complete dry food per day. The weekly cost of feeding a bitch is around £7.00 and the weekly cost of feeding a dog is around £8.00

Our estimates are based on feeding a slightly above average quality complete food bought from a popular supermarket on the high street.

This is an estimate only, and doesn’t allow for higher activity levels of working dogs who may need above average amount of food due to higher activity levels.

Other necessary costs and regular expenses to consider when owning any dog

Remember to budget for other necessary routine costs and procedures for your dog that are not covered by general pet insurance:

  • Worming preparations
  • Flea treatments
  • Annual vaccination boosters
  • Dental treatments
  • Neutering and spaying

Many veterinary practices now operate monthly budget schemes to allow you to spread the cost over the year.