Is a Portuguese Water Dog right for you?

Frequently Asked Questions about Portuguese Water Dogs
Do they shed?
They do not shed very much, but they do shed (all mammals shed at least a little).  PWDs, as well as other single-coated breeds (Poodles, Bichon Frises, Kerry Blue Terriers, Wheaten Terriers, to name a few), do not have an undercoat that sheds.  That undercoat shedding is what most people with allergies have problems with.

PWDs are hypoallergenic, right?
Portuguese Water Dogs are considered to be hypoallergenic because they are single-coated.  To be “hypoallergenic” is to have a decreased tendency to cause allergies.  There is no such thing as a non-allergenic dog.  Hypoallergenic dog breeds (single-coated or hairless) will still produce allergens, but because of their coat type will typically produce less than others.  People with severe allergies and asthma will likely still be affected by a hypoallergenic dog.

If you have severe allergies it is suggested that you spend time with adult PWDs before getting one.  Many people are allergic to Portuguese Water Dogs, so please be careful.  Spend time with the breed before bringing one into your home as a family member.

Are they good with children?
Portuguese Water Dogs get along great with children.  You need to remember, however, that dogs are not human.  PWDs will often consider a child as a canine litter mate and could play harder than you would want; and they play with their mouths.  It is important that you never let small children be unsupervised with your dog(s).

Can they stay by themselves all day?
PWDs are people-oriented and long to be with their “crewmates” or family.  Thus they do not do well in a kennel environment or left alone for long periods of time.

How big do they get?
The average size for a PWD is:
Males: 20 to 23 inches at the withers (the ideal is 22 inches), 42 to 60 pounds
Females: 17 to 21 inches at the withers (the ideal is 19 inches), 35 to 50 pounds

What are the Health issues I should be concerned with?
The health issues of greatest concern within this breed include Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Storage Disease (GM-1), and Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy (JDCM).

Please reference the Health Condition section of this site for more information.

The PWDCA, Inc. strongly recommends that any dog used for breeding be at least two years old, be examined for and evaluated free of hip dysplasia, individually tested for GM-1 status, Optigen rated for PRA status, and have an annual CERF test to determine overall eye health.