Portuguese Water Dog Breed Profile Information

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Description: The Portuguese Water Dog is a well-muscled dog of medium size. This breed is sturdily built with heavy bones. The dog will be 20 to 22 inches at the withers and weigh between 42 and 58 pounds. The bitch is 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder and weighs 35 to 49 pounds. The Portuguese Water Dog can exhibit two different kinds of coat - curly or wavy. The waterproof hair is fairly long and found in black, white, brown, or a combination of these basic colors. The Portuguese Water Dog will live for about 10 to 14 years. It is also called the Portie, the Cao de agua, and Cao de agua Portugues.

History: The Portuguese Water Dog originated in Portugal, where local dogs were probably bred with the Poodle. This dog was an invaluable aid to the Portuguese fishermen, as it loves to swim and dive. It was useful in bringing back lost nets, guarding the boat, and taking messages between boats while out at sea. The lion trim that the dog still displays was considered to help the dog navigate in the water, the thick hair in front protecting the dog from cold and the clipped hindquarters facilitating movement through the water. Once fishing became commercialized, the Portuguese Dog nearly died out, but was rescued from oblivion by the efforts of a Portuguese businessman.

Temperament: The Portuguese Water Dog makes an excellent companion. This dog is friendly and playful and will behave beautifully with children. The Water Dog will generally not be aggressive to other family pets, as it was not developed as a hunting dog. It is easy to train and has found work not only as a family friend, but as a therapy dog.

Health Issues: Although the Portuguese Water Dog can be afflicted with two very serious genetic diseases, a juvenile heart problem and a disease of the nerves, testing of the breeding stock has almost completely eliminated these fatal ailments. Hip dysplasia can also occur and the dog can also develop progressive retinal atrophy as well. All that being said, the Portuguese Dog is a generally healthy breed.

Grooming: As the coat of the Portuguese Water Dog is fairly long, it should be brushed out at least every other day. In the lion cut, the hair is kept long on the front of the dog and this must be tended to consistently. Some people choose to give their Portuguese Water Dog a shorter cut, like a puppy cut, for ease of care. If the dog has been in the water, make sure that the ears are dry to help prevent infections.

Living Conditions: This dog is perfectly capable of living in an apartment as long as the owner will give it sufficient exercise. As this is primarily a companion dog, it does notbelong outside in a kennel, but does best when interacting with its human family. Incorporating water sports whileplaying with the Portuguese Dog will delight the dog, as its basic instincts were founded in water work. They love to swim and are easy to train for retrieval of objects in the water.

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