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Portuguese Water Dog - Fun Facts and Crate Size

36" dog crate Breed chart Crate Size Dog Dog Crate Sizes Dog Crates Intermediate Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog - Fun Facts and Crate Size

Portuguese Water Dog

Quick Facts:

  • AKC recognized in 1983
  • Lifespan: 11-13 years
  • Size: Medium
  • Energy: High
  • Recommended Crate Size: 36" dog crate*

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This dog breed once existed all along Portugal’s coast. They were taught to retrieve lost tackles and broken nets, and even herd fish into the nets. 

They were couriers from ship to ship. As their name suggests, the Portuguese Water Dog loves water very much. This is supported by their webbed feet.

In the early 20th century, Portugal faced social upheaval which led to the decline of this wonderful breed. Luckily, a wealthy Portuguese man named Vasco Bensuade saved this dog breed.

The Portuguese Water Dogs are known in their homeland as the cão de água which means dog of the water in Portuguese. In America, their name is shortened to PWD. They are considered fishermen’s lifesavers.


The American Kennel Club formally recognized the Portuguese Water Dog in 1983. These high energy dogs are known as adventurous, affectionate, and athletic. They are often known as 'A' students when it comes to training.

This breed is hypoallergenic and is currently ranked by AKC as the 51st most popular dog breed in America. They are an energetic breed and as working dogs, they like to learn new things and get bored easily.


The Portuguese Water Dog, sometimes shortened to 'Portie', weighs about 35-60 pounds and is 17-23 inches in height. They have two distinguished coat types: curly and the wavy.

This breed has a well proportioned, rugged body and a well-knitted coat. They have thick tails and as previously mentioned, webbed feet.

Portugal Water Dogs come in three colors: black, brown, and white. They have only one marking, which is white.


It is recommended to provide feed formulated to intermediate-sized breeds. It is highly recommended to discuss your dog’s feed with your veterinarian and/or breeder in order to determine the size and frequency of meals in order to ensure a healthy, long life. It is also important to ensure that clean, fresh water is always available.


Their coat length grows quickly so they need weekly grooming. If this is not suitable for you, you may want to think twice about committing to this breed.

If you don’t have the time you can always take them to the pet shop. Portuguese Water Dogs have fast-growing, strong nails so trimming them with a nail clipper is necessary to avoid cracking, splitting, or overgrowth.

They also have hairs on their ears so make sure to check them to remove any debris or wax. They like to chew to brush their teeth regularly. Giving them chew-able toys is recommended.


Without any regular training or exercise, Portuguese Water Dogs can become stressed and act destructively.

Spend at least 30 minutes every day of exercise. Walking or jogging is great for their fitness. 

Swimming is an unquestionable ability of them so if you have a pool, even though they are good swimmers, don’t let them swim alone.

This is a safety issue with pools, but it is also because exercising together is an excellent bonding experience between the dogs and their owners. 

When they have enough exercise, they can be quiet and calm and keeping them indoors or even in a small apartment would be no problem.

The Portuguese Water dog can suffer from a health problem called hip dysplasia, so care should be taken to not over-exert with rigorous activities.

Pet Crate Size

Pet Crates Direct recommends 36" dog crates* for most adult Portuguese Water Dogs.

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