The Portuguese water dog, or in Portuguese cão de água português, belongs to the group 8, section 3, of dog breeds recognised by the National Italian Canine Organisation (ENCI), i.e. water dogs. It is a medium-sized dog, weighing an average of 20 kg, with a coat that is either long and wavy or short and curled, which can be black or brown, or even pure white. The hair uniformly covers the whole body, and there is no undercoat. In individuals where the coat is black or brown, there is often a white tuft on the muzzle, chest, tip of the tail or feet. Like Sunny and Bo, the two dogs who lived in the White House with the ex-President of the United States Barak Obama … and yes, those are two Portuguese water dogs!
What character does the Portuguese water dog have?
The Portuguese water dog has a docile and cheerful temperament. It is a lively and very intelligent dog, who learns quickly. It is also very active and has great resistance to fatigue. Truly a sport type, therefore, it is very important to guarantee to this dog a dynamic life.
What are the main attitudes of the Portuguese water dog?
The Portuguese water dog is a skilled swimmer and a great diver, and therefore has a very muscular structure. In addition, it is very good at fishing – if necessary, even going underwater – and in retrieving.
It used to be easy to see dogs of this breed along all the Portuguese coasts, where they had spread from the province of the Algarve. They were very useful to fishermen, who often did not know how to swim, and therefore made use of the precious help of these dogs in all operations in the water: from the recovery and transport of fish, up to the recovery of nets and tools used in fishing.
Federica Pirrone, Mariangela Albertini, Patrizia Piotti researchers at UNIMI Veterinaria