Known for centuries along
Portugal's coast, this seafaring breed was prized by fishermen
for a spirited, yet obedient nature, and a robust, medium
build that allowed for a full day's work in and out of the
water. The Portuguese Water Dog is a swimmer and diver of
exceptional ability and stamina, who aided his master at sea
by retrieving broken nets, herding schools of fish, and
carrying messages between boats and to shore. He is a loyal
companion and alert guard. This highly intelligent utilitarian
breed is distinguished by two coat types, either curly or
wavy; an impressive head of considerable breadth and well
proportioned mass; a ruggedly built, well-knit body; and a
powerful, thickly based tail, carried gallantly or used
purposefully as a rudder. The Portuguese Water Dog provides an
indelible impression of strength, spirit, and soundness.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Size--Height at the withers--Males, 20 to 23
inches. The ideal is 22 inches. Females, 17 to 21 inches. The
ideal is 19 inches. Weight--For males, 42 to 60
pounds; for females, 35 to 50 pounds. Proportion--Off
square; slightly longer than tall when measured from
prosternum to rearmost point of the buttocks, and from withers
to ground. Substance--Strong, substantial bone;
well developed, neither refined nor coarse, and a solidly
built, muscular body.
An essential characteristic; distinctively large, well
proportioned and with exceptional breadth of topskull.
Expression--Steady, penetrating, and attentive.
Eyes-- Medium in size; set well apart, and a bit
obliquely. Roundish and neither prominent nor sunken. Black or
various tones of brown in color. Darker eyes are preferred.
Eye rims fully pigmented with black edges in black, black and
white, or white dogs; brown edges in brown dogs. Haws are dark
and not apparent. Ears--Set well above the line
of the eye. Leather is heart shaped and thin. Except for a
small opening at the back, ears are held nicely against the
head. Tips should not reach below the lower jaw.
Skull--In profile, it is slightly longer than
the muzzle, its curvature more accentuated at the back than in
the front. When viewed head-on, the top of the skull is very
broad and appears domed, with a slight depression in the
middle. The forehead is prominent, and has a central furrow,
extending two-thirds of the distance from stop to occiput. The
occiput is well defined. Stop--Well defined.
Muzzle--Substantial; wider at the base than at the
nose. Jaws--Strong and neither over nor
undershot. Nose--Broad, well flared nostrils.
Fully pigmented; black in dogs with black, black and white, or
white coats; various tones of brown in dogs with brown coats.
Lips-- Thick, especially in front; no flew. Lips
and mucous membranes of the roof of the mouth, under tongue,
and gums are quite black, or well ticked with black in dogs
with black, black and white, or white coats; various tones of
brown in dogs with brown coats. Bite--Scissors
or level. Teeth--Not visible when the mouth is
closed. Canines strongly developed.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck--Straight, short, round, and held high. Strongly
muscled. No dewlap. Topline--Level and firm.
Body--Chest is broad and deep, reaching down
to the elbow. Ribs are long and well-sprung to provide
optimum lung capacity. Abdomen well held up in a
graceful line. Back is broad and well muscled.
Loin is short and meets the croup smoothly. Croup
is well formed and only slightly inclined with hip bones
hardly apparent. Tail--Not docked; thick at the
base and tapering; set on slightly below the line of the back;
should not reach below the hock. When the dog is attentive the
tail is held in a ring, the front of which should not reach
forward of the loin. The tail is of great help when swimming
Shoulders are well inclined and very strongly muscled.
Upper arms are strong. Forelegs are strong and
straight with long, well muscled forearms. Carpus is
heavy-boned, wider in front than at the side. Pasterns
are long and strong. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet are
round and rather flat. Toes neither knuckled up nor too long.
Webbing between the toes is of soft skin, well covered with
hair, and reaches the toe tips. Central pad is very thick,
others normal. Nails held up slightly off the ground. Black,
brown, white, and striped nails are allowed.
Powerful; well balanced with the front assembly. Legs,
viewed from the rear, are parallel to each other, straight and
very strongly muscled in upper and lower thighs. Buttocks
are well developed. Tendons and hocks are strong.
Metatarsus long, no dewclaws. Feet similar in all
respects to forefeet.
A profuse, thickly planted coat of strong, healthy hair,
covering the whole body evenly, except where the forearm meets
the brisket and in the groin area, where it is thinner. No
undercoat, mane or ruff. There are two varieties of coat:
Curly--Compact, cylindrical curls, somewhat
lusterless. The hair on the ears is sometimes wavy.
Wavy--Falling gently in waves, not curls, and
with a slight sheen.
No preference will be given to coat type, either curly or
Two clips are acceptable:
Lion Clip--As soon as the coat grows long, the middle
part and hindquarters, as well as the muzzle, are clipped. The
hair at the end of the tail is left at full length.
Retriever Clip--In order to give a natural appearance
and a smooth unbroken line, the entire coat is scissored or
clipped to follow the outline of the dog, leaving a short
blanket of coat no longer than one inch in length. The hair at
the end of the tail is left at full length.
No discrimination will be made against the correct
presentation of a dog in either Lion Clip or Retriever Clip.
Black, white, and various tones of brown; also combinations of
black or brown with white. A white coat does not imply
albinism provided nose, mouth, and eyelids are black. In
animals with black, white, or black and white coats, the skin
is decidedly bluish.
Short, lively steps when walking. The trot is a forward
striding, well balanced movement.
An animal of spirited disposition, self-willed, brave, and
very resistant to fatigue. A dog of exceptional intelligence
and a loyal companion, it obeys its master with facility and
apparent pleasure. It is obedient with those who look after it
or with those for whom it works.
The Portuguese Water Dog is spirited yet obedient, robust, and
of unexaggerated, functional conformation; sure, substantially
boned and muscled, and able to do a full day's work in and out
of the water.
Any deviation from the described ideal is a fault. However,
those inherent characteristics that are imperative for the
maintenance of proper type, and therefore cannot be
overlooked, are listed as Major Faults.
Temperament--Shy, vicious, or unsound behavior.
Head--Unimpressive; small in overall size; narrow in
topskull; snipy in muzzle.
Substance--Light or refined in bone; lacking in muscle.
Coat--Sparse; naturally short, close-lying hair,
partially or over all; wispy or wiry in texture; brittle;
Tail--Other than as described. Extremely low set. Heavy
or droopy in action.
Pigment--Any deviation from described pigmen- tation;
other than black or various tones of brown eye color; pink or
partial pigmentation in nose, lips, eyes, or eye rims.
Bite--Overshot or undershot.