1) Ancient history
It is disputed, how these curly dogs arrived in Portugal. Some theories suggest, that they were developed from the same ancient genetic pool and that they have originated on the central Asiatic steppes around 700 BC. What we know for sure is, that they were developed into the dogs we know today in Algarve, Portugal.
The breeds name is very descriptive, they are from portugal and they were developed to work in water. They were most often used to herd fish into nets and retrieving broken nets and tackle that fell overboard. It is also believed, that they were used by Spanish army in the 1500s and that they helped Spanish army sailors by carrying messages between ships.
If you will leave the Portuguese water dogs coat untended, the coat would grow forewer, causing problems with matting, which can cause skin iritations. That is why regular brushing and trimming is needed. Actually, there are two popular cut styles – the lion cut and the working cut, also called as a retriever cut. In the lion cut, the hindquarters, muzzle, and the base of the tail are shaved. This is traditional cut and the shaved hindquaters allow easier movement of the back legs. The working cut is actually not that old, it is more recent style and originated because breeders wanted to make the breed more appealing to buyers. So yes, the lion cut is the traditional working cut and the so called retriever cut is actually the fashionable one.
4) Born to swim
Portuguese Water dogs are just made for swimming. They have webbed toes and flat paws that work like flippers. Their strong tail is like a rudder and it makes it easier for them to navigate when swimming. And we can not forget about the waterproof thick coat, which enables them to swim even in cold waters.
These dogs were bred to work hard, so its no wonder, that they need quite a lot of daily exercise. They are also very intelligent so you should keep their mind busy as well. They just need some kind of a job to be healthy and happy. Portuguese water dogs are amazing jogging partners and you should let them swim from time to time. You can also try some dog sport with them, like agility, tracking or obedience trials.
US senator Ted Kennedy was a big lover of this breed and his two dogs accompanied him everywhere. His dogs were named Sunny and Splash and the Sunnys older brother is probably the most famous Portugues water dog of all time. His name is Bo and he was living in a White House during the Obama presidency. Later, Bo was joined by Sunny, also a Portuguese Water dog.
7) Family companions
Today, most of the Portuguese water dogs are not serving their original purpose. Most often they are living the spoiled life of family companions. And even though, they can be little bit reserverd and alert towards strangers, they are always very friendly, affectionate and loyal to their owners and family.
This is medium sized, well muscled dog breed with average height between 43-57 cm which is 17-22 inch and weight between 15-27 kg, which is 33-60 pounds. Females are naturally little bit smaller then males.
Okay, the truth is, that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, but Portuguese Water dogs are close to it. They have similar coat as Poodles and they do not shed. They are often time consider as hypoallergenic dogs and indeed, they don’t irritate those with allergies to pet dander to the same extent as other dogs.
The Portuguese Water dog has good lifespan between 12-15 years. Sadly, just like all other dog breeds, they do suffer from some health issues, most commonly from hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, distichiasis, Follicular Dysplasia and Addison's Disease.