About the Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dogs have been known for centuries along Portugal’s coast and prized for their strength, spirit
and soundness, as they are a loyal worker and companion. Medium-sized and robust, the breed possesses a water
resistant, non-shedding coat and the ability to swim all day. The coat can be curly or wavy and is black, white, or
brown, or combinations of black or brown with white.

Referred to as the Cao de Agua (dog of water) in its native Portugal, the Portuguese Water Dog was bred to
accompany fisherman on their boats. An exceptional swimmer and diver, the breed retrieved broken nets, dove for
fish, carried messages between boats and to shore, and guarded the boat in foreign ports. The breed started
disappearing in the early 20th century when technology made their daily job somewhat obsolete, but a small group
of dedicated dog fanciers, saved this amazing breed from extinction. They formed groups such as the Portuguese
Water Dog Club of America who continues their work to preserve and protect this remarkable breed today.
Querida Portuguese Water Dogs, LLC
Portuguese Water Dog puppies are cute, however, there is a true working dog in there and they are not the dog for
everyone. They are intelligent and  willfull. At times, too smart for their own good! They also do not shed, however,
they do need regular grooming. If some of these traits interest you, please contact me as well as the Portuguese
Water Dog Club of America to learn more about this breed.
               American Kennel Club Portuguese Water Dog Breed Standard
General Appearance
Known for centuries along Portugal's coast, 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.

Size, Proportion, Substance
Size--Height at the withers--Males, 20 to 23 inches. The ideal is 22 inches. Females, 17 to 21 inches. The ideal is 19 inches.
Weight--For males, 42 to 60 pounds; for females, 35 to 50 pounds. Proportion--Off square; slightly longer than tall when measured
from prosternum to rearmost point of the buttocks, and from withers to ground. Substance--Strong, substantial bone; well
developed, neither refined nor coarse, and a solidly built, muscular body.

An essential characteristic; distinctively large, well proportioned and with exceptional breadth of topskull. Expression--Steady,
penetrating, and attentive. Eyes-- Medium in size; set well apart, and a bit obliquely. Roundish and neither prominent nor sunken.
Black or various tones of brown in color. Darker eyes are preferred. Eye rims fully pigmented with black edges in black, black and
white, or white dogs; brown edges in brown dogs. Haws are dark and not apparent. Ears--Set well above the line of the eye. Leather
is heart shaped and thin. Except for a small opening at the back, ears are held nicely against the head. Tips should not reach below
the lower jaw.

Skull--In profile, it is slightly longer than the muzzle, its curvature more accentuated at the back than in the front. When viewed
head-on, the top of the skull is very broad and appears domed, with a slight depression in the middle. The forehead is prominent,
and has a central furrow, extending two-thirds of the distance from stop to occiput. The occiput is well defined. Stop--Well defined.
Muzzle--Substantial; wider at the base than at the nose. Jaws--Strong and neither over nor undershot. Nose--Broad, well flared
nostrils. Fully pigmented; black in dogs with black, black and white, or white coats; various tones of brown in dogs with brown coats.
Lips-- Thick, especially in front; no flew. Lips and mucous membranes of the roof of the mouth, under tongue, and gums are quite
black, or well ticked with black in dogs with black, black and white, or white coats; various tones of brown in dogs with brown coats.
Bite--Scissors or level. Teeth--Not visible when the mouth is closed. Canines strongly developed.

Neck, Topline, Body
Neck--Straight, short, round, and held high. Strongly muscled. No dewlap. Topline--Level and firm. Body--Chest is broad and deep,
reaching down to the elbow. Ribs are long and well-sprung to provide optimum lung capacity. Abdomen well held up in a graceful
line. Back is broad and well muscled. Loin is short and meets the croup smoothly. Croup is well formed and only slightly inclined with
hip bones hardly apparent. Tail--Not docked; thick at the base and tapering; set on slightly below the line of the back; should not
reach below the hock. When the dog is attentive the tail is held in a ring, the front of which should not reach forward of the loin. The
tail is of great help when swimming and diving.

Shoulders are well inclined and very strongly muscled. Upper arms are strong. Forelegs are strong and straight with long, well
muscled forearms. Carpus is heavy-boned, wider in front than at the side. Pasterns are long and strong. Dewclaws may be
removed. Feet are round and rather flat. Toes neither knuckled up nor too long. Webbing between the toes is of soft skin, well
covered with hair, and reaches the toe tips. Central pad is very thick, others normal. Nails held up slightly off the ground. Black,
brown, white, and striped nails are allowed.

Powerful; well balanced with the front assembly. Legs, viewed from the rear, are parallel to each other, straight and very strongly
muscled in upper and lower thighs. Buttocks are well developed. Tendons and hocks are strong. Metatarsus long, no dewclaws.
Feet similar in all respects to forefeet.

A profuse, thickly planted coat of strong, healthy hair, covering the whole body evenly, except where the forearm meets the brisket
and in the groin area, where it is thinner. No undercoat, mane or ruff. There are two varieties of coat:

Curly--Compact, cylindrical curls, somewhat lusterless. The hair on the ears is sometimes wavy.

Wavy--Falling gently in waves, not curls, and with a slight sheen.

No preference will be given to coat type, either curly or wavy.

Two clips are acceptable:

Lion Clip--As soon as the coat grows long, the middle part and hindquarters, as well as the muzzle, are clipped. The hair at the end
of the tail is left at full length.

Retriever Clip--In order to give a natural appearance and a smooth unbroken line, the entire coat is scissored or clipped to follow
the outline of the dog, leaving a short blanket of coat no longer than one inch in length. The hair at the end of the tail is left at full

No discrimination will be made against the correct presentation of a dog in either Lion Clip or Retriever Clip.

Black, white, and various tones of brown; also combinations of black or brown with white. A white coat does not imply albinism
provided nose, mouth, and eyelids are black. In animals with black, white, or black and white coats, the skin is decidedly bluish.

Short, lively steps when walking. The trot is a forward striding, well balanced movement.

An animal of spirited disposition, self-willed, brave, and very resistant to fatigue. A dog of exceptional intelligence and a loyal
companion, it obeys its master with facility and apparent pleasure. It is obedient with those who look after it or with those for whom it

Summary Statement
The Portuguese Water Dog is spirited yet obedient, robust, and of unexaggerated, functional conformation; sure, substantially
boned and muscled, and able to do a full day's work in and out of the water.

Any deviation from the described ideal is a fault. However, those inherent characteristics that are imperative for the maintenance of
proper type, and therefore cannot be overlooked, are listed as Major Faults.

Major Faults
1. Temperament--Shy, vicious, or unsound behavior.
2. Head--Unimpressive; small in overall size; narrow in topskull; snipey in muzzle.
3. Substance--Light or refined in bone; lacking in muscle.
4. Coat--Sparse; naturally short, close-lying hair, partially or over all; wispy or wiry in texture; brittle; double-coated.
5. Tail--Other than as described. Extremely low set. Heavy or droopy in action.
6. Pigment--Any deviation from described pigmentation; other than black or various tones of brown eye color; pink or partial
pigmentation in nose, lips, eyes, or eye rims.
7. Bite--Overshot or undershot.

Approved January 15, 1991
Effective February 27, 1991

If you want a dog that:
requires regular and extensive grooming,
demands attention and exercise,
challenges your will,
thrives on training and human contact,
thinks independently,
voices its opinion,
greets friends and family with unbridled enthusiasm,
....then the Portuguese Water Dog may be right for you.  

If you want at dog that:
requires minimal grooming,
needs little or no attention or exercise,
naps endlessly in front of the fireplace,
requires little mental stimulation,
presents little or no challenge,
blends into the woodwork,
is content to be left alone,
....then the Portuguese Water Dog is NOT right for you.  
Leao - The dog upon which the Official
Standard of the Portuguese Water Dog
was based.