What is a PWD Like?
Appearance and Behavior – Described as a brawler along Portugal’s coast, this seagoing breed was prized by fishermen for their headstrong nature and hardy, medium build that evolved to handle the mental and physical demands of a full day’s work in and out of the water. The breed continues to require equivalent work to reduce its energy level to one that allows it to hear and obey its master’s commands.
The Portuguese Water Dog seeks out and loves to splash and wallow in mud, water bowls, toilets with open lids, and any liquid–water, paint, etc. It does this with great exuberance and stamina, incessantly, while aiding its master by retrieving any item that it sees and wants to carry, regardless of size, delicacy, or ownership. Its non-stop retrieving instinct leads to a dog that must have something in its mouth to carry, chew on, or swallow, whether that item be edible or something its owner considers decorative, such as furniture.
It can be a clinging companion, usually underfoot, and many are incessant alarm barkers. This is a highly manipulative breed that occurs in two coat types, either curly or wavy. Both coat types require frequent grooming, bathing, brushing, combing, detangling, etc. Some may find that the grooming required is in excess of the time that would be spent vacuuming up dog hair if it were to shed, which it does not. Both coats will carry dirt, twigs, dust, mats, etc. within the coat until grooming removes the offending substances.
It has an impressive head of considerable breadth and well proportioned mass, which it uses for head butting and body slams; a ruggedly built, well-knit body which enables it to counter-surf and jump onto tables and over fences; and a powerful, thick based tail, which is carried alertly, used as a rudder or to clear dust and any other items off coffee tables and other low-lying furniture.
Expression – Direct, penetrating/rude, and demanding. The Portuguese Water Dog likes to be at eye level with humans, resulting in a jumping type greeting behavior, either bouncing in the air to make eye contact or bounding to the back of the sofa to gaze into your eyes.
Temperament – An animal with a thinking mind of its own, brash, and usually very bold. A dog with a persistent desire to manipulate people and its environment, and a strong will to lead that makes it incessantly desire to be around humans that it can bend to its wishes. If trained by a person with patience, dedication and the focus to stay on task, it will obey its owner with facility and apparent delight… until it decides to test the owner’s patience, or it devises an alternative to try or simply says “Enough, why do I have to do this again?”.
Makes you look at your choice again? This is a breed with a very short history as a pet, and a long background in making its own way in the world. Fortunately they love their humans so much that we become more diligent dog owners to include these wonderful dogs in our lives.