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Bo, the White House dog
Bo, America's First Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog has been bred for centuries as a working dog and companion for Portuguese coastal fisherman as a loyal retriever, net handler, and fish "herder".

Today, the breed — affectionately known as the Portie or PWD — is well-regarded for its playful temperament and dynamic personality.

Like the poodle, it is a single-coat breed that sheds little, benefiting families or children with allergies to pet dander. For these reasons, the Portuguese Water Dog has been chosen by President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia, as America's "First Dog."

Portuguese Water Dog behavior & personality

Bred as a practical working dog, the Portie is genetically predisposed to following commands.

However, while they love retrieving the daily newspaper (or better still, a frisbee), be prepared for a test of wills if a particular command offends the Portie's highly developed intellect. Training this dynamic dog can be frustrating at times, but ultimately rewarding.

Loyal and loving to their masters, they make excellent watchdogs and are usually great with kids.

Be warned, however, that supervision is highly recommended around younger children, as Porties may be a bit too rambunctious for toddlers. A warning to friends and neighbors may be in order, too, since Portuguese Water Dogs are known for their unbridled enthusiasm when meeting and greeting a friendly face at the front door.

True to its name, the Portuguese Water Dog has a love of the water that is legendary and will always enjoy puddle-jumping out in the rain or a nice jump into a nearby lake.

Care & health

Portuguese water dog swimming
The Portuguese Water Dog
in its natural element.

Although the Portuguese Water Dog sheds little, its thick coat tends to mat if not regularly brushed.

Exercise is very important to this breed, so be prepared for long walks in the park or frequent trips around a local dog run to help them release some of that pent-up energy.

Health issues typical to the breed include eye diseases and heart ailments although hip dysplasia remains the most common health concern which, if not caught in time, may lead to permanent crippling of the back legs.

More information about Portuguese Water Dogs around the Web:

Portuguese Water Dog Club of America - PWD central - with information on feeding, grooming, exercise and training tips, advice on purchasing or adopting a puppy, a discussion on health concerns, with photo gallery and detailed FAQ.

Portuguese Water Dogs - Wikipedia - Complete information on the breed including history, breeding, personality and temperament, health & care concerns, with related references and resources.

Portuguese Water Dogs: What's Good About 'Em? What's Bad About 'Em? - Pros and cons of ownership with guides to their temperament, care and grooming requirements.

Portuguese Water Dog - American Kennel Club - Dog show breed standards with information on required appearance, gait, temperament and other criteria.

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