A wonderful swimmer and diver, the Portuguese water dog is often referred to as “Cão de Água” (dog of the water). Bred in Portugal to accompany fisherman on trips, this intelligent dog dove for fish, swam messages back and forth and acted as a guard dog of the boat. The Portuguese water dog is known for having a lion’s cut, which is to aid while swimming in colder temperatures to keep vital organs warm. Once nearly extinct, a wealthy Portuguese man brought the breed back, and it is now mildly popular in Portugal and the U.S. as a fishing companion as well as a therapy and assistance dog.
Extremely athletic, the Portuguese water dog does best in an environment that allows it to have high activity and possible swimming opportunities. If not provided with enough activity, it is likely that this breed will have behavioral problems. With a willingness to please, it is easy to train and will need it to keep a calm temperament. An average shedder, the Portuguese water dog is hypoallergenic and has simple grooming requirements. Affectionate with all members of the family, it does well with children and other animals if introduced to them young. This breed will do OK in an apartment as long as it is exercised, but it would most likely prefer a yard to romp around in.