Featured Breed : Portuguese Water Dog
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Portuguese Water Dog

Life Span: 10 to 14 years

Litter Size: 4 to 8

Country of Origin: Portugal

Size: Typical male Portuguese Water Dogs stand from 20 to 23 inches. Females typically stand 17 to 21 inches. The males weigh approximately 42 to 60 pounds, while females weigh slightly less at 35 to 50 pounds.

Coat: The Portuguese Water Dog has a thick, even coat, with no undercoat. It can be either curly or wavy. They do not shed, but the coat does require care. The coat is clipped overall to a length of one inch. A plume of long hair is left at the end of the tail. The coat comes in black, white, brown, or white with black nose, mouth, and eyelids.

Character: These dogs are extremely loyal and affectionate and are sensitive to their owner's moods, but if not handled correctly can be quite stubborn. Boisterous and strong willed, these dogs are blessed with great stamina. Very alert, they will let you know immediately when anyone comes to your home. Portuguese Water Dogs make brilliant companions, but will want to be a part of your daily routine.

Appearance: The Portuguese Water Dog is a hardy and fit dog. The body is muscular with a wide and deep chest, a level top line, strong and straight legs, webbed feet and a long, high-set tail. The head is broad with a wide muzzle, a broad black nose, high-set hanging ears and round, dark eyes. The single coat is thick and water repellant to a degree, and is normally wavy or curly. The coloring tends to be black, brown or white, or combinations of these.

History: Portuguese Water Dogs originated along the coast of Portugal. Used by fishermen to haul nets, carry tackle and transport messages between ships, Portuguese Water Dogs were robust and dependable enough to be considered part of a ship’s crew. While no one knows for certain where they came from, some say they descend from ancient Asian herding dogs that were brought to Portugal by traders hundreds of years ago.

Health Issues: Portuguese Water Dogs are at risk of hip dysplasia, a crippling disorder of the hip socket that can require costly surgery to treat and often leaves the dog stricken with arthritis later in life. Other diseases that can affect the breed include heart and thyroid problems, as well as a condition known as sebaceous adenitis, an inflammation of the sebaceous glands that leads to hair loss and skin disease.

Temperament: The gregarious, fun-loving Portuguese Water Dog enjoys being around water and its human companions. They behave well with other dogs, pets and children, and are very responsive to direction, making it a perfect companion for active, adventure-seeking people.

Care: They require regular brushing and combing of their coat, and weekly cleaning of their ears, especially after swimming. Teeth and nails should be checked periodically. Portuguese Water Dogs need ample exercise which should consist of free exercise, daily walks or swimming. Owners warn that this breed is very likely to become obese if not exercised properly on a regular basis.

Training: The happy-to-help, no-nonsense Portuguese Water Dog eagerly takes to training. Without it, they will resort to making decisions himself, which is not a good situation for dog or family. They need guidance and direction, and training should begin as early as possible. Understanding this and working with them in a reinforcing and positive way will help you develop an incredible relationship, and they will learn almost anything you want to teach them.

Activity: The Portuguese Water Dog does well in a family environment and can be very active both indoors and out. This breed does best with at least an average sized yard, but if given the proper amount of exercise, he can do well without one. Portuguese Water Dogs love to jog and would make a wonderful companion for the outdoors type.

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