Species Canis lupus
Subspecies Canis lupus familiaris
Portuguese Water Dog Basics
The Portuguese Water Dog, also known as cau de agua, which translates to “dog of water” in Portuguese, is a medium-sized dog that is intelligent and eager to please. This sturdy dog was created to assist Portuguese fishermen at sea. The oldest recorded record of these canines dates back to 1297, making them an ancient breed.
Portuguese Water Dogs formerly assisted Portuguese fishermen at sea by recovering lost equipment and herding fish into nets as part of a fishing crew. They would do this by diving into the sea and retrieving lost equipment, or by guiding the fish into the nets. These canines were able to dive as deep as 12 feet in pursuit of fish! They have an athletic physique and webbed feet that propel them through the water like flippers. In addition, they have a robust tail that functions as a rudder and a waterproof coat. This makes them superb swimmers with a physique suited to aquatic labour.
Their coat is medium-length and comes in two varieties: either curly or glossy waves. They lack an undercoat and are non-shedding. These canines are either black, brown, or white, with occasional white spots. These dogs are considered high maintenance since their coats need regular shampooing and brushing to avoid matting.
Portuguese Water Dogs are clever, autonomous, and very active. They need a great deal of physical activity and, as their name implies, they like water. These dogs need stimulating activities to prevent them from growing bored. Otherwise, they are inclined to indulge in harmful activities like digging and gnawing. These intelligent dogs are simple to teach and excel in a variety of activities, including agility.
Fun Facts about the Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dog was a fantastic companion for Portuguese fisherman, since it was born to swim. These proficient swimmers assisted the Spanish Armada by delivering messages between ships, and were also used by a baseball club to recover balls struck into the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay. Nevertheless, despite their present popularity, these canines were almost extinct previously! Let’s examine the Portuguese water dog more closely!
They Nearly Went Extinct
Beginning in the early 20th century, technological advances reduced the fishing industry’s reliance on these dogs. This precipitated a decline in numbers, and the Portuguese Water Dog population was virtually wiped off the map. Fortunately, Vasco Bensaid, a Portuguese merchant, took an interest in the species in the 1930s and was able to preserve them. He retrieved the canines from the fisherman and put them into a breeding programme. Vasco Bensaid acquired his own Portuguese Water Dog, Leao, who became the program’s foundational male. Bensaid subsequently established the Portuguese Water Dog Club.
After a few decades, the breed began to appear in dog exhibitions and acquired popularity as a household companion outside of Portugal. In recent years, various celebrities, notably Barack Obama, who owns two Portuguese Water Dogs named Bo and Sunny, have helped to popularise the species.
Baseball Aquatic Retrieval Korps
Portuguese Water Dogs are one of the greatest swimmers among dog breeds, so much so that the San Francisco Giants used them for a few seasons. These canines were responsible for retrieving home run balls hit from Pacific Bell Park into San Francisco Bay. Several Portuguese water dogs, collectively known as B.A.R.K. (Baseball Aquatic Retrieval Korps), were used to retrieve lost baseballs beginning in 2000.
While most of the retrieving took place during practise, Pets In Need, a non-profit no-kill shelter, auctioned off any balls the dogs recovered during the game for money.
Retriever or Lion Clip?
The Portuguese Water Dog has a curly or wavy coat. Regardless of coat style, there are two kinds of haircuts allowed by breed standards for the Portuguese Water Dog.
For this dog, the retriever clip is a basic, straight-forward hairstyle. The whole coat, including the legs and head, is clipped to approximately an inch in length. The feet and top of the head, on the other hand, have a bit more hair. The ears and nose, like the body, are kept short, as is the tail, with the exception of a tuft of hair on the tip.
The lion clip, on the other hand, is a cut that makes the Portuguese Water Dog stand out! With the exception of a tuft at the end of the tail, the rear half of the dog is clipped short in this distinctive cut. The hair on the front section of their bodies is left a few inches longer, giving these canines a really distinct appearance!