Portuguese Water Dogs are fun, friendly, active dogs — but they are not the dog for everyone. They are smart (you have to stay a step ahead of them) enthusiastic (not good for anyone who isn’t stable on their feet) require attention ( when I got my first one the breeder asked if I liked to go to the bathroom by myself . She said I never would again.)

Before you continue your quest for a puppy please make sure this is really the right time to add a new family member, and that a PWD is the right dog for you.


Portuguese Water Dogs are not the dog for everyone.
A lot of what you may have read online on some of the general dog breed sites just isn’t true. I think those sites hire copywriters who read other sites and just pick out the good parts or what they think people want to hear.
They are Not Hypoallergenic.
Unless you live in a bubble nothing is. It’s true that many people have less of an allergic reaction to PWDs than other dogs, but there are people who do have a reaction. If you are allergic to grasses or pollen they may bring it on their coats.
Training is critical for these dogs.
They need to go at least to a puppy class and at least one other obedience class. The best behaved, happiest dogs I know are the ones that continue to go to classes or compete, or have some other “job.”
They are NOT a good dog for every family.
Most reputable breeders will generally not place a puppy in a home with a child under 5 or so. Of course, there are exceptions, but these are strong, active dogs that can easily knock a small child over.
They are very mouthy.
As adults, it means they want to carry a toy or something around with them, as puppies, they are likely to confuse you and your clothes for a toy. Fortunately, they outgrow that phase but most owners will tell you of the times their puppy has accidentally drawn blood or ripped a favorite shirt.
This is a working breed.
They were bred to work on the fishing boats in Portugal which means that in addition to retrieving objects part of their job was to protect the boats. Some have more guarding instincts than others.
I just want a pet. Do I have to have a show dog to get a PWD?
No. Some breeders are looking for owners who do want to have a dog that they are willing to show, but there are MANY breeders who are looking for people who will give a puppy a good home as a companion. If you do not want to show your dog, DO NOT sign a show contract. It’s not fair to you, or to the breeder to start a relationship that isn’t based on honesty.

Having an intact dog (a dog that is not spayed or neutered) is a big responsibility, and a dog must be intact to be shown. A bitch (female dog) will start coming into season for between 5 months and a year. They will generally be in season twice a year for a month at a time. During that time they are attractive to male dogs and must be kept inside or on a leash at all times. You have to be careful around other dogs, and you may find that your home becomes a magnet if you have loose or stray dogs in your neighborhood.

Male Dogs can’t get pregnant, but they can be run by their hormones. The sweetest, most obedient dog will have a personality change around a bitch in season. Another issue for the owners of intact dogs is that other intact male dogs will react to them. Even if your dog isn’t “doing anything” his presence may seem threatening to another intact dog and cause a reaction.

I strongly recommend that intact dogs not be taken to dog parks or other off-leash areas where they may run into other intact male dogs.

They are very smart which means it's like having a toddler forever.
You can’t leave them alone for hours and expect them to amuse themselves without damaging your yard or items in your home.
If you haven't spent time with a PWD that's the next thing you should do.
A good way to find out more about these dogs or connect with someone who lives near you is by joining the facebook group pwd-l – portuguese water dog list  This group has almost 4,000 members and has been around in some form for about 20 years. There are other PWD groups to join and you can look at the PWDCA site and see if there is a Regional Club near you. They may have a FB group or a website where you can find local PWD events.

When Lola went home her family thought she’d be a great companion and go for long walks. She does that AND she’s become an agility star.

Ruben is Ruby’s littermate, and a Champion. Now he spends time doing water work.

Luna lives on Whidbey Island WA where she has her own boat.