As the name suggests, this cuddly, shaggy, and ever friendly canine owes its roots to water. The Portuguese Water Dog was once used extensively on fishing trips to retrieve lost gear and also for herding fish into the nets. Like the German Shepherd, this too, was the shepherd of fish.
Today, he makes an excellent family companion. Former beleaguered and tax and spend President Barrack Obama had a dog named Bo (mainly to satisfy animal rights folks; he was never seen playing with the dog or loving it), the US’s First Dog, was also of this breed. Sure enough, all Portuguese Water dogs retain their love for the water, a trait inherited from their ancestors and who actually have webbed feet.
Used mostly by Portuguese fishermen to fish for cod and to carry messages from vessel to vessel, in Portuguese, it’s called the Cao de Agua or dog of the water. They’re also nicknamed Porties and thrive in a joyful manner with proper training in obedience, agility, therapy work, rally, water work, and tracking.
No matter what, your Portie needs his daily exercise, without this he or she can become frustrated, ill-tempered, and destructive (no one wants to raise a dog that does get to move around right?; if you do not have time to take care of the dog then perhaps you should consider having one in the first place right?). Swimming is of course, the natural choice, but he also makes a great walking and/or jogging buddy. Also, he is known to be hypoallergenic but does shed mildly and generates dander to a degree.
However, if you train him, there’s very little he can’t do. He’s also flexible when it comes to adaptability, be it in an apartment or the outdoors and tends to be quiet when at home. Loyal, affectionate, hardworking and fun-loving – the Portuguese Water Dog is always a treasured friend.
Because of their high energy levels, Portuguese Water Dogs need at least half an hour of daily vigorous exercise, particularly swimming as it comes to them naturally.
They are also highly intelligent and love to learn new things. However, they tend to get bored easily, so make the training a fun and challenging exercise. They are fond of children and are protective towards them and they also get along well with other family pets, especially if raised together. They are initially reserved towards strangers, but make excellent family dogs because of their natural love for people.
The Portuguese Water Dog tends to mature more slowly than other breeds. However, it’s his tirelessness and sense of humor that endears him to his owners. While he’s smart, he also enjoys playing the clown to attract attention. Temperaments vary from strong-willed to completely laid back, but most fall somewhere in the middle. Early socialization is a must as it ensures that your puppy grows into be a well behaved and well-rounded dog.
Porties are essentially people lovers and are best kept indoors with a fenced yard for playing safely. Keep him occupied so that he doesn’t turn destructive from boredom. Train him through positive reinforcement techniques like praise and edible rewards and he’ll learn quickly.
Endless repetition will only result in boredom. As you train him, you also stimulate his mind and that can make him a fantastic therapy dog as well. Since he loves to chew, give him plenty of chewable toys, while also rotating them so that he doesn’t get bored. A daily brush should keep his coat free from matting and glossy.
The daily diet recommended is 2.5 – 3.5 cups of a high-protein, quality dog food twice daily. Measuring his food rather than feeding him all the time. This could lead to obesity and no one wants a dog that resembles Rasputia in Norbit!