- Up to 1 hour per day
- Size of home
- Large house
- Every day
- Coat length
- Over 10 years
- Vulnerable native breed
- Town or country
- Size of garden
- Small/ medium garden
The water dogs of the Mediterranean countries probably provided the foundation of the breed as the Moors of North Africa, trading with Portugal, may well have brought dogs of this type to the Algarve region. Here is another versatile dog, perhaps the only one to be described as a herder of fish! Amongst his roles he was used for driving shoals of fish into the nets. He was also used as a messenger dog between boats at sea, as a retriever of lost nets. He is said to have acted also as a foghorn when his resonant bark would alert other boats to the whereabouts of his boat in thick fog and thus help avoid collisions.
Modern technology in fishing vessels threatened the breed's existence and in the 1950s and 1960s the population fell drastically. However, as one of the national breeds of Portugal, the PWD was regenerated as a family companion, a role that he fulfils happily.
The traditional clip of the Portuguese Water Dog, the lion trim, with a mane of hair over the forequarters and clipped hindquarters, is said to aid his propulsion through water.
Images for this breed
The Working breed group
Over the centuries these dogs were selectively bred to become guards and search and rescue dogs. Arguably, the working group consists of some of the most heroic canines in the world, aiding humans in many walks of life, including the Boxer, Great Dane and St. Bernard. This group consists of the real specialists in their field who excel in their line of work.
Breed standard colours
Breed standard colour means that the colour is accepted within the breed standard and is a traditional and well-known colour in this breed.
Breed standard colours in this breed include:
- Black & White
- Brown & White
'Other' means you consider your puppy to be a colour not currently known within the breed and one that does not appear on either the breed standard or non-breed standard list. In this instance you would be directed through our registrations process to contact a breed club and/or council to support you on identifying and correctly listing the new colour.
Non-breed standard colours
Non-breed standard colour means that the colour is not accepted within the breed standard and whilst some dogs within the breed may be this colour it is advised to only select a dog that fits within the breed standards for all points.
Colour is only one consideration when picking a breed or individual dog, health and temperament should always be a priority over colour.
Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.
More about health
Priority health schemes and tests
The Kennel Club's Assured Breeders must use the following (or equivalent) schemes, tests and advice. All other breeders are strongly advised to also use these.
- DNA test – prcd-PRA - part of The Kennel Club DNA Testing Services* (see below). Find a list of tested dogs
- Hip dysplasia screening scheme (BVA/KC)
- Elbow dysplasia screening scheme (BVA/KC)
Important health schemes and tests
We strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following (or equivalent) schemes, tests and advice.
Other health schemes and tests available
- DNA test – GM1 - part of The Kennel Club DNA Testing Services* (see below). Find a list of tested dogs
- DNA test - EOPRA - Find a list of tested dogs
*The Kennel Club’s DNA Testing Services - simple to use and easy to organise all-in-one DNA tests
The DNA tests listed above marked with an asterisk (*) are included in our DNA Testing Services. This includes:
- prcd-PRA (Progressive retinal atrophy)
- GM1 (Gangliosidosis)
Kennel Club Assured breeders and Kennel Club Accredited Instructors receive a 10% discount.
Find out more about our DNA Testing Services.
Find out about a particular dog's results
Please visit our Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's Breed Register.
You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.
Have any questions about health in your breed?
If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact your breed health co-ordinator.
Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.
To contact your breed health co-ordinator please email
Currently no points of concern specific to this breed have been identified for special attention by judges, other than those covered routinely by The Kennel Club breed standard.
There are a number of The Kennel Club rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, find out about our general and breed specific breeding restrictions below.
More about breeding
There are not currently any additional breed specific restrictions in place for this breed.
Need to find out more about a breed?
Use our Find a Club service where you can locate breed clubs that can offer support and advice.
Use our Find a Puppy service
The Kennel Club's Find a Puppy service provides contact details for breeders who have puppies available. Let's help you find your new best friend.
Get the best lifetime pet insurance
At Kennel Club Pet Insurance, we want you to focus on getting the best possible treatment for your dog without worrying about the cost.