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Portuguese Water Dog: Dog Food and Breed Portrait

Portuguese Water Dog: Dog Food and Breed Portrait

The Portuguese Water Dog (Cão de Água Português) is a medium-sized dog from Portugal. The FCI lists the Portuguese Water Dog under Standard 37 in Group 8, Section 3. Today, the former fishing dogs are usually purely companion dogs, which are also well suited for families with children.

Origin of the Portuguese Water Dog

The ancestors of the Portuguese Water Dog probably came to what is now Portugal around 2,600 years ago together with the Persians. For a long time, the swim-loving animals helped fishermen with their work. For example, they retrieved lost nets or worked as rescue dogs when a fisherman had gone overboard.


With time, the breed increasingly lost its importance as a working dog in the fishing industry. In the 20th century, it almost became extinct because of this. Around 1970, there were only about 50 specimens left worldwide. Since then, however, things have changed. Today, Portuguese Water Dogs are very popular social dogs, especially in the United States. According to the puppy statistics of the VDH, 143 animals were born in Germany in 2020.

Portuguese Water Dog Characteristics

The Portuguese Water Dog is a a medium-sized dog breed. It reaches a height of 50 to 57 centimetres and a weight of between 19 and 27 kilos. Females are somewhat smaller and lighter, with a shoulder height of 43 to 52 centimetres and a weight of 16 to 22 kilos.


The conformation of the Portuguese Water Dog is harmonious and almost square. He has a straight well-muscled back and a deep, broad chest with a pronounced arch and an elegantly tucked up belly. His strong legs have well-developed muscles and his tail, which is set medium-high, becomes thinner towards the tip.


Portuguese Water Dogs have brown or black eyes, set rather wide apart and slightly slanted. They wear their ears close to the head, although according to the breed standard their tip may not reach below the throat. A special feature of the breed is the intermediate toe skins, which are extremely useful when swimming.

The coat of the Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dogs have a hard-wearing coat. They come with a long, smooth coat as well as with a shorter, curly coat. The coat can be either solid or multicoloured. Black animals are particularly common. However, there are also white or brown Portuguese Water Dogs. According to the breed standard, brown and black specimens may have white patches on certain parts of the body, such as the belly, the forechest and the muzzle.


The coat of Portuguese Water Dogs requires regular shearing. Typical is the so-called lion shearing, in which the hair around the muzzle as well as on the entire rear half of the body, except for the tip of the tail, is shorn short. In the past, this was done to give the animals as much legroom as possible when swimming and at the same time to prevent them from cooling down too quickly in the water. Since Portuguese Water Dogs are now primarily family and social dogs, however, the coat is often shorn completely short, which reduces the amount of daily grooming required.

Portuguese Water Dog Temperament and Character

Portuguese Water Dogs are considered intelligent and loyal companions. At the same time, however, they are also quite stubborn. In addition, these spirited four-legged friends have a pronounced territorial behaviour.


Consistency is very important when training a Portuguese Water Dog. He needs a firm position in the hierarchy and good socialisation with conspecifics and people. However, excessive harshness should be avoided in his upbringing. A well-trained Portuguese Water Dog is usually friendly and considerate with children.

Activities with Portuguese Water Dogs

Activities with Portuguese Water Dogs

Portuguese Water Dogs are very active and docile. To keep them happy and to avoid undesirable behaviour, it is important to give them enough physical and mental exercise. Extensive walks and playing together are indispensable in everyday life.


Apart from that, various disciplines from dog sports are suitable for the Portuguese Water Dog. These include, in particular, sports in which the water-loving four-legged friend is allowed to swim. Apart from that, he can also be quickly inspired for sporting activities on land, such as obedience and agility. It is also possible to train him as a rescue or therapy dogs.

Portuguese Water Dog Diseases

Basically, Portuguese Water Dogs are a quite robust breed. However, they have a genetic predisposition to various hereditary diseases. Before an animal is used for breeding, appropriate genetic tests should therefore be carried out if possible.

Portuguese Water Dogs are genetically at increased risk for the following diseases, among others:

  • PRE
  • JDCM
  • Storage Disease

In addition, the dogs may develop hip dysplasia. Especially in young animals, it is therefore important to avoid too much stress on the musculoskeletal system.

Life expectancy of Portuguese Water Dogs

Provided it is an animal from a reputable breeder and its owner pays attention to good husbandry conditions, the usual life expectancy of the Cão de Água Português is 12 to 15 years.

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The right diet for the Portuguese Water Dog

For the health and well-being of a Portuguese Water Dog, a balanced diet with high-quality dog food is of crucial importance. The amount of food should take into account various factors such as the age, weight and activities of the four-legged friend.


In the Bellfor range, you will find everything you need for feeding your Portuguese Water Dog in a species-appropriate way. We recommend our Münsterländer Landschmaus for the Cão de Água Português. The grain-free dry food is characterised by its high content of meat or fish, among other things. For nutritionally sensitive animals, it is also available in a hypoallergenic version with insects.

In addition, the following Bellfor products may be useful for the Portuguese Water Dog:

  • Bellfor Haut & Fell (skin & coat) provides your four-legged friend with numerous valuable nutrients for his thick coat.
  • Bellfor Gelenke & Knochen (joints & bones) provides your dog with many important nutrients for the joints thanks to Ovopet.
  • Bellfor Dental dental care products will help you clean your dog's teeth without a toothbrush.
  • Bellfor Soft-Snacks are ideal for rewarding you Portuguese Water Dog during training.

With Bellfor's nutritional concept, you can support the healthy growth of your Portuguese Water Dog from an early age.

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