The breeds known as water dogs include the:
– Portuguese Water dog
– French Water Dog (Barbet)
– Spanish Water Dog
Water dogs are in the News because the Obama family has chosen one for their pet.
The water dogs which are best known in the US, and the United Kingdom are Labrador retrievers, and spaniels. There is no UK breed called a specifically an American, UK or English water dog but the spaniels probably come closest. On the Barbet breed web site it is recorded that, from ‘The Pictorial Museum of Animated Nature’ by Charles Knight (London: 1844), “The water-spaniel is extremely useful to persons engaged in the pursuit of water-fowl; it swims well, is very hardy, and is an excellent retriever”.
The Water Dogs would also in some countries, we are told, act as couriers, carrying messages between ships and from ship to shore, and would dive into the sea to retrieve broken fishing nets and equipment that had gone overboard. Often they would have to dive under water to retrieve submerged articles.
The Portuguese Water dogs are typical of the water dog breed family. They are generally happy dogs, and sometimes in the case of the Barbet called laid-back, but the PWD needs to stay busy or it will get bored. You should have plenty of toys for it to play with and you may want to consider crate training when you are not at home. Generally healthy, some can develop hip dysplasia and eye problems such as cataracts. However, in spite of their thick, wavy coats, Portuguese Water Dogs are fairly easy to groom, needing only regular brushing and clipping.
Portuguese Water Dogs are very playful, obedient, and easy to train, plus they really enjoy retrieving games of any sort. They are medium-sized, usually described a “spirited but obedient.” They make a good dog for modern day boat owners. PWDs have a body that is slightly longer than tall, the top line is straight and level and the brisket reaches the elbows. Sometimes called ‘Porties’, they have a broad chest and large head with a rounded skull, and heart-shaped ears that shouldn’t hang past their lower jaw.
They were, in times gone by, used for various duties while on board. The most used was their ability to retrieve nets and lost articles at sea, but some say that they were also good at herding fish to the nets. Another use was to get them barking in the fog to alert other boats of their location.
Portuguese Water Dogs are intelligent, rugged, robust, and love to work in and out of the water. They are exceptional swimmers and divers with great stamina.
As energetic, lively canines the Portuguese Water Dog adjusts well to almost any lifestyle. They need physical exercise and they love to swim.
If intending to show them please note that they are a very tightly controlled breed in the US, but for the whole breed that is good as we doubt there are very many, if any, puppy farms involving the breed.
Portuguese water dogs are medium sized, strong swimmers and active energetic family pets. in fact they can make very good family pets with their cheerful attitude.
PWD’s can have either a wavy or curly coat. Some people call this a tousled coat, and it requires regular brushing, and also clipping and trimming. But don’t expect your pet PWD to look like the show dogs you’ve seen in books or on TV, unless you are trained to do this or the trimmer you employ knows the technique.
They are a hypoallergenic breed making this a perfect choice for the Obama family.
They can come in black, black and white, brown, or brown and white. PWDs are very intelligent and obedient with those who work with them; but they are also self-willed, and not a breed for everyone!
Those who are considering a Portuguese Water Dog should talk with the breeder about their plans for training and being active with the dog, to make sure the breed is a good fit with your lifestyle.
So to summarize, Portuguese Water Dogs are a good indication of the dogs which represent this category of breed. They are very loving, independent and intelligent dogs. They love attention while being glued to their master’s side. Portuguese water dogs are known to be great family pets.