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For an excellent description on the history and breed profile of the Portuguese Water Dog, please visit the Portuguese Water Dog Club of Canada (PWDCC) at


The Portuguese Water Dog is exceptionally intelligent, has an endless amount of stamina, is brave, and spirited. He is also a devoted and loyal companion and an alert guard dog. This is not, however, the dog for everyone. His high activity level make him an excellent working dog and companion but he needs daily exercise and requires direction. He is people-oriented and does not do well in a kennel environment or left alone for long periods of time. The Portuguese Water Dog thrives on being part of a family and generally gets along well with children and other pets. Though not aggressive, he is alert and protective making him a good watchdog of home and property. (Canada’s Guide to Dogs)


Two varieties of coat exist:

  • Wavy:  The hair is fairly long, wavy and rather loose with a slight sheen. The hair on the top of the head is upright and longer than the leather on the ears.

  • Curly:  The hair is shorter than the wavy variety and forms compact cylindrical curls. On the top of the head, the hair is similar to that of the rest of the coat and the hair on the ears may at times be wavy.

As stated in the Canadian Breed Standard, there are two acceptable clips used for the Portuguese Water Dog and no discrimination is made against the correct presentation of a dog in either of these clips:

  • Lion Clip:  The middle part and hindquarters, as well as the muzzle, must be clipped. The remainder of the coat is left long and the hair on the end of the tail is left at full length.

  • Retriever Clip:  The entire coat is scissored or clipped to follow the outline of the dog, leaving a short blanket of coat appearing no more than one inch in length. The hair on the end of the tail is left at full length. Hair on the ears is trimmed to the leathers. No discrimination will be made against the correct presentation of a dog in either Lion Clip or Retriever Clip.

Companion dogs are most commonly seen wearing the "Retriever Clip."

Regular grooming is necessary for both the curly and wavy varieties of Portuguese Water Dogs. In order to prevent matting, the coat must be combed or thoroughly brushed on a weekly basis. The Portuguese Water Dog does not shed and, as the coat is hair and not fur, it continues to grow. This results in the need for frequent baths and regular clipping to maintain a healthy coat. The Portuguese Water Dog's teeth and ears should also be cleaned weekly.



Males between 19.5" and 22.5" (50-57 cm) the ideal being 21.5" (54 cm) 
Females between 16.5" and 20.5" (43-52 cm) the ideal being 18" (46 cm) 



Males between 42 and 60 pounds (19-25kg) 
Females between 35 and 50 pounds (16-22kg)

Black and white Irish marked, wavy coated male in traditional lion trim 

Black, curly coated female in the retriever trim.

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