Portuguese Water Dog

Obama's dog breed > Family friendly dog who is a super swimmer

Portuguese Water Dog


The Portuguese water dog is a working dog breed that originated in Portugal, where it was named Cao de agua, which means water dog. This dog was bred to help with fishing. The Portuguese water dog would fish in nets, retrieve lost nets and also act as a courier for boats working off the coast of Portugal.

This dog breed would have been lost to the modern world, were it not for a wealthy ship owner, Vasco Bensaude. This is because the traditional methods of catching were discarded, thus rendering the Portuguese Water Dog unemployed. Bensaude collected many of these dogs in a breeding program that kept this breed alive.

A famous Portuguese water dog is Bo, owned by former US President Barrack Obama's family.

Physical characteristics

The muscular body is robust and well developed with stout legs. The Portuguese Water Dog's eyes can be black or a shade of brown.

This dog breed is characterized by a curly or wavy coat, but it does not shed, making it ideal for people with dog allergies. The single layer of fur comes in black, brown, combinations of black and white or brown and white.

Another unique feature of this dog breed is its webbed toes. This is why the dog is a perfect swimmer.

Portuguese Water Dogs can weigh between 18 and 27 kg and measure 51 to 58 cm in height as males. Females typically weigh between 15 and 22 kg and can reach heights of 43 to 53 cm. An average Portuguese Water Dog lives for ten years.


The Portuguese Water Dog is a fun loving family dog. This breed makes an excellent companion because of this affectionate nature. This dog is independent and highly intelligent. He makes an ideal show dog because he is very trainable.

This dog breed is very friendly. He is accepting of strangers, other dogs and pets too. He is a sensitive dog and responds well to commands. He is close to his owner and is comfortable with any kind of home, apartment or house.

It is believed to be because the dog was bred to live in small fishing boats, close to the owner and work. Because of this, it is not a dog breed that can be left alone for long periods of time. The Portuguese Water Dog enjoys attention and prefers to be active within sight of its owner.

This dog breed loves water. His natural instincts also make him enjoy games that involve having to retrieve things. This can make the dog more prone to chewing tendencies. 

Care and treatment of fur

Daily exercise is required. A long walk is preferable or take your Portuguese Water Dog with you for a run. He enjoys intensive physical and mental exercise.

Trimming your Portuguese Water Dog's coat is necessary. If left unkempt, the fur will grow and become an annoyance. It can cover the eyes and interfere with his vision. It can become very dull and irritate the dog's skin.

For these reasons, the Portuguese Water Dog is a breed that requires a lot of maintenance when it comes to grooming. Make sure to brush the coat regularly and have it trimmed approximately every 2 months. You can do this yourself, or have a professional dog salon do it. 

The Portuguese Water Dog needs a bath every two to every three days or when absolutely necessary.

Nail trimming and clipping is necessary to ensure he doesn't injure himself with ingrown nails, or get caught in furniture or upholstery.

Dental hygiene is very important for the Portuguese Water Dog. Brush his teeth regularly to keep his breath fresh and to prevent tartar build-up. This should start as early as he is comfortable with the process.

Clean the ears regularly with good quality ear cleaners or cotton swabs, as it, like many other dog breeds with drooping ears, is prone to ear infections. If you notice any redness or irritation, take him to the vet immediately.

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