Dog Breeds Portuguese Water Dog or the Cao d’Aqua Portugues

Portuguese Water Dog or the Cao d’Aqua Portugues

Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog or the Cao d’Aqua Portugues is a very obedient breed of dog that likes to interact with relatives and other animals. They are very easy to train, even a child can teach the Portuguese Water Dog the simplest tricks.

Like most Portuguese purebred dogs, the Portuguese Water Dog is a fairly rare breed not commonly found outside of Portugal. You can compare these dogs with a poodle, with a curly coat and very intelligent. In addition, they are loving, gentle, and patient, but require regular vigorous exercise and mental challenges.

The Portuguese Water Dog is a real working dog that is very patient with children. Take long walks with the Portuguese Water Dog and let him play and romp on a leash. They really enjoy swimming and fetching sticks or a ball out of the water. When they get enough exercise, they are calm indoors.

Portuguese Water Dog or the Cao d’Aqua Portugues

The Portuguese Water Dog or the Cao d’Aqua Portugues belongs to the group of retrievers, pushing dogs and water dogs.

Country of origin: Portugal

Current and original tasks: Fishermen’s assistance. The Cão de Agua Português. The Portuguese Water Dog is a dog that was formerly used on the Portuguese coast aboard fishing boats.

Life expectancy: The life expectancy of the Portuguese Water Dogs is between 10 and 14 years

History of the Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog was a breed on the brink of extinction when, during the 1930s, Vasco Bensaude, a wealthy Portuguese shipping magnate, began looking for fishing dogs for use in a breeding program to restore this breed to the breed. Bensaude was assisted by two Portuguese vets, Dr. Francisco Pinto Soares and Dr. Manuel Fernandes Marques.

Outwardly Portuguese water dog


height Males between 50 and 57 centimeters.
Bitches between 43 and 52 centimeters.


Males weigh between 19 and 25 kilos.
Bitches weigh between 16 and 22 pounds.


The skull of the Portuguese Water Dog is slightly longer than the muzzle. The stop and eyebrows are clearly visible. The ears are thin and set at the level of the eye line. They are worn close to the skull. The eyes are round. Portuguese Water Dogs have a scissor bite.


The back is firm and short. The chest is wide and reaches to the elbows. The tail does not extend beyond the jumps. If the dog is attentive, it is worn in a ring above the back. The legs are straight with round, flat feet.


There are two variants. The first has a long, wavy coat. The second variant has frizzy hair. The coat is strongly curled and very thick.


Black and brown, with or without white markings.

Behavior and character of the Portuguese Water Dog

They are cheerful, cheerful and very intelligent dogs. They enjoy working for their owner. In general, Portuguese Water Dogs are obedient and have a very good sense of smell. These small dog breeds are quite hard on themselves.

Temperament: Exceptionally intelligent. These dogs perfectly understand and obey their owner. They are a little boisterous and headstrong, but brave, level-headed and resistant to fatigue. Those who pay close attention will also notice the serious, penetrating and attentive expression, as well as their remarkable visual and fragrance capabilities.

Portuguese Water Dog Breed

Working Dog: As an excellent and resistant swimmer and diver, it is the fisherman’s inseparable companion for whom he performs a multitude of duties, both fishing and guarding and protecting his boat and property. While fishing, they will happily jump into the sea to retrieve escaped fish. These Portuguese Water Dog can dive if necessary if a net breaks or a cable comes loose. These dogs are good swimmers and are sometimes used to connect two fishing boats with a cable. They are even used as a connection between boats and the coast at great distances.


The Portuguese water dog gets along very well. They can also live together with other pets, provided they are well socialized. They are patient with children and they get on very well. Visits are announced, but it will stop there. The Portuguese Water Dog is distinguished not only by his mental capabilities but also by obedience. It is easy to train, even a child can teach them the simplest commands. The Portuguese Water Dog always tries to please the owner.

Intercourse and movement

Take long walks with the Portuguese Water Dog and let him play and romp on a leash. They really enjoy swimming and fetching sticks or a ball out of the water. When they get enough exercise, they are calm indoors. These dogs love all kinds of games, fetch, frisbee, etc. They love any activity, but of course, swimming is the most successful sport for them. So in the summer, it is advisable to stay with a pet at a pond.

Education and training of the Portuguese Water Dog

This breed is very intelligent and likes to work for its owner. This makes it easy to educate. They are sensitive to the intonation of your voice. Always stay consistent and alternate workouts with play. Portuguese Water Dogs are working dogs and are generally satisfied on the side of their owner, they are capable of following complex assignments.

They learn very quickly and enjoy their training. These dogs have a strong memory and can, therefore, perform various tasks in succession. These properties and their non-shedding coats make these dogs perfect for use as an assistance dog. These dogs are also used as assistance dogs for persons at risk of unexpected seizures.


Pay special attention to the ears. Check the earcups regularly, but do not use cotton wool when cleaning the ears. It is better to use a soft cloth. Daily brushing of the teeth is necessary, this prevents plaque and bad breath.

Coat care

The Portuguese Water Dog should be washed every month. Afterwards, dry the coat with a hairdryer. These dogs practically do not shed, but require regular combing and brushing. Some owners cut these dogs in the shape of a lion, but the classic way of trimming is just like that of a retriever.

The retriever cut is about an inch long, evenly across the body, although some owners prefer to cut the muzzle or base of the tail a little shorter. This cut is a more recent style and was created because breeders wanted to make the breed more attractive to buyers. In the summer months, the coat can be set very short.

Unkempt dogs will have problems with tangles and mats that can cause skin irritation. For these reasons, the Portuguese Water Dog should be trimmed about every two months and brushed the coat every other day.

Well-known Portuguese water dogs

The Portuguese Water Dog became more widely known as a family dog ​​of the President of the United States Barack Obama. The president had two, Bo and Sunny. The Obama family chose Sunny for the breed’s relatively hypoallergenic nature, while Bo was donated by Senator Ted Kennedy.

Diseases in the Portuguese water dog

Like poodles, Portuguese water dogs are vulnerable to hip dysplasia, a congenital and developmental disorder with the hip joints. However, the risk of developing hip dysplasia can be greatly reduced by thoroughly checking the pedigrees and the health of both the father and mother of the dog.

Cataracts eye disease – Cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy are two eye diseases found in Portuguese water dogs. Progressive retinal atrophy, which causes “night blindness”, can lead to complete blindness. This is a simple recessive gene.

Ingrown eyelashes (distichiasis) are very exceptional in the Portuguese water dog. This can usually be treated surgically if needed.

Puppy portuguese water dog

Are you looking for a Portuguese Water Dog puppy, in some cases, it is even possible to adopt an Portuguese Water Dog through an animal shelter or animal shelter? Check with a few nearby dog ​​clubs or dog schools. Maybe you can find a reassigner through those members.

Portuguese Water Dog puppies are more difficult to find in Belgium and the Netherlands. Buy only from recognized breeders. You can find this via our breeder page.



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