The Portuguese Water Dog is a happily energetic, athletic, and affectionate dog. They’re a perfect combination of working dog, loving companion, and ace athlete. Here are things to know about this beautiful bred.
1. They Have a Long History of Working With Fishermen
The PWD has an ancient history as a working dog and fisherman’s companion. Living and working on boats alongside the crew, they herded fish into nets, dove to retrieve broken or lost equipment, and could swim from ship to ship or ship to shore as a courier. With their intelligence and the strength and endurance their job demanded, they were important members of the crew.
2. American Interest Blossomed in the 20th Century
Americans began to fall in love with the Portuguese Water Dog in the mid-20th century. In 1958, a couple named the Harringtons were involved in a trade of rare breeds. They welcomed two PWDs from England to New York.
The Millers of Connecticut were the first people to directly import a PWD to America from Portugal. And in 1972, the Millers hosted the first meeting of what would become the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America.
3. The Breed Gained AKC Recognition in 1983
The AKC recognized the PWD in 1983. The following year, the PWD was able to compete as part of the Working Group.
4. They Have Webbed Feet
Along with their webbed feet, Portuguese Water Dogs have waterproof coats. They maneuver easily in the water and could swim all day.
5. PWDs Come in a Variety of Coat Colors
Portuguese Water Dogs come in a range of coat colors, including black, brown, white, brown and white, and black and white. The texture of the coat can vary, too, either curly or wavy. PWDs are a good option for allergy sufferers because they don’t shed. Regardless of color and coat, they are ruggedly built, muscular dogs.
6. Their Coats Are Often Clipped in One of Two Styles
In addition to varying in coat and color, they may vary in their style of haircut. many owners prefer what’s known as a lion cut. According to PWD’s official AKC breed standard, the “lion clip” involves growing out the hair, then clipping the dog’s middle, hindquarters, and muzzle, leaving the hair on the end of their tail long.
The “retriever clip” involves trimming or clipping the entire coat to follow the outline of the dog’s body, resulting in a short coat no more than one inch in length. Again, the hair on the end of their tail is left long.
7. They Excel at Dog Sports
8. They’ve Gained Fame Since Becoming First Dogs
Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his family welcomed the breed into their home in 2009. Bo became First Dog in Obama’s first term in the White House. In 2013, during his second term, the Obamas added another PWD, Sunny, to their home.