Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog picture


The Portuguese Water Dog also known in its country of origin as the Cao de Agua (dog of the water) is an ancient breed with some interesting theories as to its ancestry. Some say that they were the herding dogs of the Berbers and as their descendants the Moors arrived in Portugal in the 8th Century they brought with them their dogs.

Another theory is that some of the dogs left the Asian Steppes with the Goths who arrived in Iberia where they were seen to be dogs of extreme intelligence and strength of character and so were bred exclusively and trained to work with the fisherman along the Algarve. Certainly in recent history the dogs were found all along the fishing coast of Portugal where they were a very important part of the crew and with their immense swimming and diving skills they were taught to retrieve tackle and nets and act as couriers between boats.


The Portuguese Water Dog has the robustness and high spirits of the fisherman’s dog of old and his need of crewmates leads him to be a social and sociable animal he is a true working dog loves to swim and is very active. He is intelligent robust eager to please but also can be very demanding and self willed and needs to have careful training at an early age to make a well behaved family member. These dogs are full of life and want to live life to the fullest so is ideal for active families. He is not keen to sit at home by the fire and snooze all day and if left alone for long periods of time he will find his own entertainment and become disruptive.

The dogs have no malice in them and are happy to get along with other dogs and children but they are very lively and sometimes a little too boisterous for young children and toddlers.

The activity level and intelligence of the breed make them ideal candidates for the agility ring and several have competed in this country with some success.


All breeding stock should have been screened for Hip Dysplasia and the Optigen Test for PRA.

Other conditions known to affect the breed but with no Genetic Testing available yet are Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Addisons disease.