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1972 sixteen dedicated owners and friends of the Portuguese Water Dog gathered in New Canaan, CT, to form the what now exists as the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America. There are currently over 1,000 members of this national club.

June 3, 1981 The Portuguese Water Dog was admitted to the Miscellaneous class of the American Kennel Club (AKC) . Three months later, the breed had its first Obedience champion, Spindrift Kedge.

August 1, 1983 The Portuguese Water Dog was accepted for registration in AKC stud books. Also became eligible to compete in the show rings as a member of the Working Group, effective January 1, 1984. At that time, 182 dogs were registered.

"Charlie Brown" The first PWD to win a Best in Show, Ch. Charlie de Alvalade on June 30, 1984. He was a brown curly whelped on May 16, 1978 and imported to the United States from Portugal by Deyanne and Herbert Miller, Jr. He also was the first American Champion. With popularity and responsible breeding growing in the United States, registered dogs totalled 601 in 1990, 649 in 1991, 803 in 1992, 826 in 1993, 792 in 1994, and 919 in 1995.


it seems that there are just about as many theories on the origin of the Portuguese Water Dog there are many theories about the Water Dog's history, there is no doubt that he has an ancient ancestry. While no one knows exactly how or when most breeds began. Canine historians have claimed that the Portuguese Water Dog may be one of the world's original breeds.

first written description of the Portuguese Water Dog is dated to 1297, and concerns a monk's report of a dying sailor who had been brought out of the sea by a dog which had a "black coat of rough hair, cut to the first rib and with a tuft on the tip of his tail". Due to the historical clip still in use, many writings describe the breed as a "Lion Dog". It is said that the current day Poodle, Kerry Blue Terrier, and Irish Water Spaniel are possibly ancestors of the "water dog".

In bygone times, this breed existed everywhere along the coast of Portugal. This well-balanced working dog was prized by the fishermen as a companion and guard dog. He lived on the working boats where he was taught to herd fish into nets, to retrieve lost tackle or broken nets, and to act as a courier from ship to ship, or ship to shore.

Tasks required the dogs to be excellent swimmers and seafarers. Dogs were capable of diving underwater to retrieve fishing gear and to prevent the escape of fish from the nets. Constant swimming and working with the fishermen accounts for the remarkable muscular development of their hindquarters. As noted in the breed standard, this dog of exceptional intelligence and loyal companionship willingly served a master well.



The Portuguese Water Dog in Portugal, the breed is called Cão de Água (pronounced Kow-the-Ah-gwa; literally "water dog"). In its native land, the dog is also known as the Algarvian Water Dog ("Cão de Água Algarvio"), or Portuguese Fishing Dog (Cão Pescador Português). Cão de Água de Pêlo Ondulado is the name given the wavy-haired variety, and Cão de Água de Pêlo Encaracolado is the name for the curly-coated variety. in Portugal, is a strong, robust, medium sized dog:



Males stand 20” – 23” (ideal is 22) weigh 42 to 60 lbs.

Bitches stand 17 21 (ideal is 19) weigh 35 to 50 lbs.

This seafaring breed was prized by fishermen for a spirited, yet obedient nature, and a robust, medium build that allowed for a full day's work in and out of the water. The Portuguese Water Dog is a swimmer and diver of exceptional ability and stamina, who aided his master at sea by retrieving broken nets, herding schools of fish, and carrying messages between boats and to shore. He is a loyal companion and alert guard. This highly intelligent utilitarian breed is distinguished by two coat types, either curly or wavy; an impressive head of considerable breadth and well proportioned mass; a ruggedly built, well-knit body; and a powerful, thickly based tail, carried gallantly or used purposefully as a rudder. The Portuguese Water Dog provides an indelible impression of strength, spirit, and soundness.


1. capable of or adapted for many different uses, skills, etc
2. variable or changeable

The Portuguese Water Dog is a true versatile breed. They are one of the few breeds that are in different groups under different Kennel clubs. You will be able to find them doing a number of jobs such as Hunting, Water work, Therapy, Service, Rally, Obedience, Search and Rescue just to name a few jobs. If you are willing to donate the time to training, the Portuguese Water Dog is more then happy to learn and work.

This lively, robust dog does seem appealing due to its non shedding curly or wavy coat. They may not be suitable for all homes as they can be a challenge while training. This breed take very little serious and always working to put their own spin on life. He is the family comedian and invariably competes for center attention. A Portuguese water Dog will demand love and trust and will prove himself trustworthy. He needs a daily dose of exercise outdoors, or you will find that he provide his own exercise indoors. He works willingly for positive reinforcements; were harsh punishment will always prove to be counterproductive. For these reasons he makes a poor kennel dog or in any situation where he/she may become bored destruction is sure to follow.
As a stranger, you are likely to experience a penetrating, nearly human stare. Once known to him expect a warm welcome every time. The Portuguese Water Dog is smart, lovable and affectionate, needing a lot of attention. You will need to Channel the stamina, intelligence and exuberance of this dynamic breed if you can do this it will be highly rewarding although a challenge for any dog fancier


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Tami Rook | 503-679-6915 | Milwaukie, Oregon | email: tami@dagua-pwd.com