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Whether you are a family of 5 or single, The Portuguese Water Dog or otherwise known as a "Portie" or PWD is a great dog for all, especially if you are active and love water activities. Closely related to the Spanish Water Dog or "Cao De Agua" (dog of the water) have a common ancestor with the Standard Poodle.

Breed Description

Originating from the Al Grave Region of Portugal the Portuguese Water Dog is a very intelligent, impetuous, docile, quarrelsome, brave, and obedient dog. They have a low-shedding coat of tight curls and are keen to please with high adaptability overall. PWDs are high-energy dogs with lots of enthusiasm and as their name suggests as well as their webbed feet, they love to play in the water, and their athleticism makes them always ready for exercise and activities. Typically the Portuguese Water Dog will intake roughly 2.5 - 3.5 cups of high-quality dog food daily. Originally bred to be a fisher men's sidekick including herding fish into fishermen's nets, retrieving broken nets, lost tackle, and moving things from boat to boat or even to the shore

The Portuguese Water Dog enjoying a boat ride.

General Information

many Portie water dogs.

Breed Coats

PWDs have a single-layered coat that does not shed, making their presence tolerable for people who suffer from dog allergies. People with dog allergies should still ask their doctor before considering the purchase of any dog.

The majority of Portuguese Water Dogs, are entirely black or black and white, brown, and silver-tipped; it is common to see white chest spots and white paws or legs on black or brown coated dogs. Parti or Irish-marked coats, with irregular white and black spots, are rare but visually striking. Parti dogs are becoming more common in the US. In Portugal, the breed standard does not allow more than 30% white markings. Overall, white is the least common coat color, while black with white markings on the chin or milk chin and the chest is the most common color.

The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America Revised Standard says this for the two coat types:

Black and white Portie.

Grooming Styles

Without regular grooming, the hair on a Portie will keep growing indefinitely. Problems related to this include the hair around the eyes growing so long as to impair vision, and matting of the body causing skin irritations. For these reasons, it is important to get them groomed about every two months as well as brush the coat every other day.

The coat is usually worn in a "retriever cut" or a "lion cut".

The lion cut

In the lion cut, the hindquarters, muzzle, and the base of the tail are shaved, with about 1/3 of the tail hair left long, also known as a flag, the rest of the body is left full length. This traditional cut originated with the fishing dogs of Portugal. The lion cut lessened the initial shock of cold water when jumping from boats, as well as providing warmth to the vitals. The hindquarters were left shaved for easier movement of the legs and the powerful tail.

The retriever cut

The retriever cut is one inch long, evenly over the body. This cut is a more recent style and originated because breeders wanted to make the breed more appealing to buyers. Sometimes owners will clip the hair of their dogs very short, especially in the summer months, in modified retriever cut.


Portuguese Water dogs are loving, independent, and intelligent and are easily trained in obedience and agility skills. They are generally friendly to strangers and enjoy being petted.

They are working dogs, PWDs are generally okay being at their owner's side, awaiting directions, and if they are trained, they are willing and able to follow difficult commands. They learn very quickly and enjoy the training, and have a long memory for the names of objects. These traits mean they excel at various service dog roles such as hearing dogs, and mobility dogs. They also make unusually good therapy dogs.

A Portie usually stays in proximity to its owners, both indoors and outdoors. Although very sociable animals, these dogs typically bond with one primary or alpha family member. This intense bonding arose in the breed because the dogs were selected to work in small fishing boats, unlike other working dogs such as herding dogs that range out to perform tasks. In any case, the modern PWD, whether employed as a working dog or kept as a pet the Portuguese Water Dog loves attention and prefers to be engaged in activity. This is not a breed to be left alone for long periods of time, indoors or out.

The PWD's retrieving instinct is strong, which can give some chewing tendencies. Some PWDs may walk, hop, or dance on their hind legs when greeting or when excited. Some will stand upright at kitchen counters, especially if they smell food above. This is known as "counter surfing" and is a characteristic of the breed.

Because of their intelligence and working drive, they require regular exercise as well as mental challenges. They are gentle and patient—but not couch potatoes, and boredom can cause them to become destructive.

cute portugese water pup.

If you're a parent you can easily recall the worry you felt when bringing home your new baby. You wanted to make sure everything was perfect, but more importantly, safe. Your puppy will be that same feeling! Your new puppy will bring so much excitement and joy when coming home for the first time. But with anything new, there are worries. All the "what if's" or "can they have's" can cause stress. We just want the best for them after all.  We want our pets to live like Kings and Queens! We want them to have the comfiest bed, the most fun toys, and the healthiest of foods. We love to spoil our furry friends with treats and scraps from the table. But, did you know... not all human foods are safe for your pets?

Many people have heard that when it comes to human food chocolate is a big NO. But, did you know that so are coffee and caffeine? Some foods that we think are great and are fine for us, could be life-threatening for your doggo. This blog will give you the knowledge you need to calm the questions of the "what if's" and "can they have" on the human food list. 

1. Avoid the 3 C's - Chocolate, Caffeine & Coffee

As we said before, chocolate is never a good idea, but neither is caffeine and coffee. These are often referred to as the "Three C's of Toxic Pet Food". They contain a component in the cocoa seed called methylxanthines- try saying that five times fast! If ingested this can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, seizures, and even death. While you may not be able to live without your midnight chocolate snack or your morning cup of joe.. your fido certainly can. Be sure to keep these foods out of reach of your friend.

2. Alchohol

A bit of a no-brainer here... While some may find it amusing to give dogs alcohol, it is no laughing matter. Much like in humans, alcohol can cause some serious issues. This includes vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, tremors, coma, and in some cases, death. This includes alcoholic beverages and food that may contain alcohol. 

3. Avacado

Avocados may be a superfood for humans but it's super bad food for dogs! They contain persin which is not only poisonous to dogs but also, to birds and rodents. Persin can cause breathing difficulties, and fluid build-up in the lungs, and often results in death.

4. Grapes

Grapes are considered choking hazards for young children and also for your dogs. To add to that, they can cause kidney failure in canines. There's always that one grape that falls to the floor while cleaning them and if your dog is there, they will more than likely beat you to it. If they ingest and begin vomiting, get them to a vet immediately. Even one single grape or raisin can be deadly!

5. Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are another that even in a small portion can cause big problems. Even just one can cause tremors, vomiting, elevated heart rate, and paralysis in the hind legs. Do not wait for these symptoms to occur, if you saw your doggo ingest a macadamia nut get them to the emergency vet ASAP!

6. Yeast Dough

If you're a bread maker or enjoy baking, you know that yeast is the rising agent. Yeast dough will continue to rise in the intestines if ingested causing them to rupture. Fully cooked yeast products should not cause alarm, but still, be aware because the dough is a big "no-go".

7. Pitted Fruit

Not only are the pits in fruits a choking hazard, but pits of peaches, plums, and apples contain cyanide! Obviously, that is dangerous. Before giving your friend some fruit, be sure to slice your fruit and discard the pits properly.

8. Salt

Too much salt isn't good for humans, so it's natural, that it won't be any better for your pet. Salt can cause a life-threatening disease called sodium ion poisoning. Be sure to be cautious of how much salt is in the human food you may sneak under the table and always keep it out of reach from your pets!

9. Dairy Puppies

Before ordering a Puppuccino (whipped cream in an espresso-sized cup) know that dairy products can cause a severe upset stomach. Animals are only equipped to handle dairy from their own species. So, milk, cheese, and ice cream are not the best idea. There are many specialty-made dairy products for your pet to enjoy!

10. Animal Bones

Christmas is the time of giving. What's a better gift for a dog than a bone? While there are safe options, it is important to note there are some very serious dangers in certain types of bones. You should avoid bones that splinter easily, such as cooked bones. So, any raw bone would be fine then? Not necessarily. You should also avoid pork bones, rib bones, or any bone smaller than your dog's mouth that they can swallow. If there are splinters or broken pieces they can cause mouth lacerations and internal lacerations as well as, choking, broken teeth, vomiting and diarrhea, severe constipation, and intestinal blockages. Be sure to use caution when throwing your dog a bone! 

Ready to find your friend for life?

At Gold Star Pups, we like to educate our new owners so that they will feel confident and have their minds at ease when bringing home their new fur friend. We are always open to questions and will gladly help you gain knowledge! If you haven't selected your pet and are just doing research that's AWESOME! We commend you! If you feel you're ready to add your new furry member, click the button below!

There are many dangers in a home that may not seem obvious to humans. It's important to educate yourself to be able to provide a safe environment for your pet. If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate event where your dog may have ingested these items contact your vet or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center's 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. You can find an additional list of toxics if you click the button below.

Additional Toxins

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