Portuguese Water Dog

GENERAL APPEARANCE : Dog of medium proportions, bracoid type, with straight to slightly convex contours. Harmonious, balanced shape; robust and well muscled. Remarkable muscular development due to the constant practice of swimming.

Personality:  Intelligent, cheerful and haughty.

Energy Level : Moderately active.

Good with children:  Yes.


Good with other dogs:  With supervision.


Grooming:  Seasonal.


Life Expectancy : 13-16  years old.

Bark level:  Bark when necessary.


In remote times, the Cão d'Água existed along the entire Portuguese coast. Today, due to the continuous changes in the fishing systems used, the breed is mainly found in the province of Algarve, a region that is currently considered its place of origin. Its presence on the Portuguese coasts must date back to very distant times, and the Portuguese Water Dog must be considered as a breed of the country.

Country of Origin: Portugal.

BEHAVIOR AND TEMPERAMENT:  A dog of exceptional intelligence, it easily understands and happily obeys all the orders of its owner. Hot-tempered dog, willful and haughty, sober and resistant to fatigue. He has a hard expression and a penetrating, attentive gaze. It has great visual power and appreciable olfactory sensitivity. An expert and resistant swimmer and diver, he is the inseparable companion of the fisherman, to whom he provides numerous services, not only fishing, but also guarding and defending his boat and property. During the work of fishing, it voluntarily throws itself into the sea to retrieve the fish that escaped, diving if necessary, and proceeding in the same way if a net breaks or a cable comes loose. It is also used as a linking agent between boats and land and vice versa, even over long distances.

HEAD:  Well proportioned, strong and wide. Parallel skull-snout axes.


Skull: Seen in profile, its length is slightly longer than that of the muzzle (4:3). Its curvature is more accentuated posteriorly and the occipital crest is pronounced. Viewed from the front, the parietals are domed in shape, with a slight central depression; the forehead is slightly hollowed, the frontal sulcus extends to two thirds of the parietal bones and the superciliary arches are prominent


Stop: Well defined and situated a little behind the inner corners of the eyes.




Nose: Broad, with well-opened and pigmented nostrils. Black in black and white coats and their combinations. In browns, the color follows the shade of the coat. It should never be flesh-colored.


Muzzle: Straight, wider at the base than at the tip.


Lips: Thick, especially in front. Commissure not apparent. Buccal mucosa (roof of mouth, under tongue and gums) markedly pigmented black in black-coated dogs and intensely brown in brown dogs.


Jaws and  Teeth: Strong jaws, healthy teeth, not visible when mouth is closed. Strong and developed canines. Scissor or pincer bite.


Eyes: Medium size; noticeable and with a rounded shape; well apart and slightly oblique. The color of the iris is black or brown and the eyelids are thin and edged with black; brown in brown dogs. Conjunctiva not apparent.


Ears: Set on above the eye line, set against the head, slightly raised back and heart-shaped. Fine texture, with its ends never going beyond the throat.


NECK: Straight, short, rounded, muscular, well set and carried high; connecting to the trunk in harmonious transition. No collar, no dewlap.




Topline: Straight, level.


Withers: Broad and not prominent.


Back: Straight, short, broad and well muscled.


Loin: Short and well joined to the croup.  


Croup: Well proportioned, slightly sloping, with symmetrical and not very apparent bone ends;


Chest: Broad and deep. Its lower edge must touch the plane of the elbow. The ribs are long and regularly oblique, providing great breathing capacity.


Bottom line and belly: Reduced volume and elegant.


TAIL: Whole, set on medium, thick at the root and tapering to the tip. Average insertion. Its length must not exceed the hock. When the dog is attentive, it curls up in a ring, not crossing the midline of the loin. The tail is of great use when swimming and diving.



FOREQUARTERS: Strong and straight. vertical. Slightly inclined pasterns are permissible.


Shoulders: Well sloping in profile and transversally. Strong muscle development.


Arms: Strong and of medium length. Parallel to the midline of the body.


Forearm: Long and heavily muscled.


Carpi: Strong bones, wider when viewed from the front than in profile.


Pasterns: Long and strong.


Feet: Rounded and flat, with slightly arched toes, of medium length. The digital membrane, which accompanies the finger along its entire length, is made up of flaccid tissues and covered by abundant and long fur. Black nails are preferred, but according to the coat color, white, striped or brown are also allowed. Nails should not touch the ground. Central plantar pad is hard, while the others are naturally thick.

HINDQUARTERS: Straight and well muscled. Slightly inclined hocks are permissible.


Buttock: Strong and well rounded.  


Thighs: Strong and of medium length. Very muscular. Knee joint turned neither in nor out.


Legs: Long and very well muscled. Not turned either in or out. Well inclined in the anteroposterior direction. All tendons and ligaments are strong.


Tarsi: Strong. Metatarsals: Long. No ergos.


Feet: Identical to the forefeet in all respects.


  • GAIT/MOVEMENT: Smooth movement, with short steps when walking; agile and cadenced trot; energetic gallop.


SKIN: Thick, elastic; not very fair; internal and external mucous membranes preferably pigmented.




Hair: The entire body is abundantly covered with resistant hair, without undercoat. There are two varieties of hair: one long and wavy and the other shorter and curly. The first is slightly woolly and shiny; the latter is dense, dull and forms compact cylindrical curls. With the exception of the armpits and groin, the hair is evenly distributed throughout the body. On the head they take on the appearance of tufts, on the wavy coat, and curly in the other variety. The fur on the ears is longer in the long, wavy fur variety.


COLOR: The coat is black or brown in various shades, or solid white. In black or brown coats, white is accepted in the following places: muzzle, forelock, neck, forechest, abdomen, tip of tail and underside of limbs, below the elbows and hocks. The white coat must exist without albinism, consequently the nose, the edges of the eyelids and the inside of the mouth must be pigmented black, or brown in brown dogs. It is characteristic of this breed the partial shearing of the coat, when it becomes too long. The posterior half of the body, the snout and part of the tail are clipped, leaving a tuft of voluminous long hair at the tip.  


SIZE:  Height at the withers: Males: 50 - 57 cm. Ideal height 54 cm. Females: 43 - 52cm. Ideal height 46 cm.


WEIGHT: Males: 19 - 25 kg Females: 16 - 22 kg  


  • FAULTS  

Any deviation from this standard should be considered a fault and penalized in exact proportion to its severity and its effects on the health and well-being of the dog.  



• Aggressiveness or excessive shyness.

• Any dog that shows any sign of physical or behavioral anomaly must be disqualified.

• Atypical dogs.