The Portuguese Water Dog Breed Standard
Canadian Kennel Club Standard with 2001 Revisions
Origin and Purpose
For centuries, this seafaring breed existed everywhere along the coast of Portugal
and is considered a purely Portuguese breed. Owing to modifications in the fishing
systems used, the breed has become restricted to the province of Algarve which
should be considered its home. It was prized by fishermen for its spirited
yet obedient nature and a robust, medium build that allowed for a full days
work in and out of the water. The Portuguese Water Dog is an athletic swimmer
and diver of exceptional ability and stamina. He aided his master at sea by
retrieving gear and broken nets, herding schools of fish and carrying messages
between boats and to shore. He is a loyal companion and an alert guard.
The Portuguese Water Dog is defined by his job. He has a hard, penetrating and
attentive expression, splendid sight and a fair nose. Slightly longer than tall,
he is a medium sized, sturdy, athletic, swimming dog with webbed feet, short
neck and a wavy or curly coat to protect him from the elements, whether in the
water or on land. From his impressive head with piercing gaze through a rugged
body to his powerful tail carried up in a ring with its characteristic flowing
flag, he presents an indelible impression of strength, spirit and soundness.
An animal of spirited disposition, he is self-willed, brave and very resistant
to fatigue. Exceptionally intelligent and a loyal companion, he does his job
with facility and obvious pleasure.
Well proportioned and massive.
Skull Seen in profile it is slightly longer than the muzzle, its curvature more accentuated
at the back than in front and it possesses a well defined occiput. From the
front the parietal bones are seen to be dome-shaped and to have a slight depression
in the middle. The forehead has a central furrow for two thirds of the length
of the parietals and the frontal bones are prominent.
Muzzle Is narrower at the nose that at its base. The stop, which is well defined,
is slightly further back than the inner corner of the eyes.
Nose Wide. Nostrils well open and finely pigmented. Black, in animals with
black, black and white or white coats. In browns the nose is of the same
colour as the coat.
Lips Thick, especially in front. Inner corner of lips not apparent. Mucous membrane
(roof of mouth, under the tongue and gums) well ticked with black or quite black.
Jaws Strong and neither over nor undershot.
Teeth Not apparent. Canines strongly developed.
Eyes Medium sized, set well apart and a bit obliquely, roundish and neither prominent
nor sunken. Brown or black in colour. The eyelids, which are of fine texture
have black edges. No haw.
Leather heart-shaped, thin in texture and set well above the line of the eyes.
Except for a small opening at the back, the ears are held nicely against the
head. The tips should not reach below the beginning of the neck.
Straight, short, nicely rounded and held high. Strongly muscled. No mane and
Wide and deep, reaching down to the elbow. Ribs long and well sprung.
Withers Wide and not prominent.
Back Short and nicely joined to the croup.
Abdomen Held well up in a graceful line.
Croup Well formed and only slightly inclined with hips hardly apparent.
Not docked, thick at the base and tapering; medium setting. It should not reach
down below the hock. When the dog is attentive the tail should be held in a
ring, the front of which should not reach beyond the line of the kidneys. The
tail is of great help when swimming and diving.
Strong and straight.
Shoulder Well inclined and very strongly muscled.
Upper Arm Strong and of regular length, parallel to the medial body line.
Forearm Long and strongly muscled.
Knee Heavy boned, wider in front than at the side.
Pastern Long and strong.
Round and rather flat. Toes not too knuckled up and not too long. The membrane
between the toes, which reaches the tip of these, is of soft skin, well covered
with hair. Black nails are preferred but whites, browns and striped are allowed
according to the colour of the coat. Nails held up slightly off the ground.
Central pad very thick, others normal.
Straight and very strongly muscled.
Thigh Strong and of regular length. Very strongly muscled. Thigh bone parallel to
the medial body line.
Second Thigh Long and strongly muscled, parallel to the medial body line. Decidedly
inclined from front to back.
All the tendons well developed.
Buttocks Long and well curved.
Long. No dewclaws.
Similar, in all respects, to the fore feet
Position of Legs
Regular. It is admissible for the front legs to be held so that feet are slightly
in front of the perpendicular and the back legs, from the hock downwards, also
a bit forward.
First and foremost a working dog, the Portuguese Water Dogs trotting gait
should be effortless, balanced and sound. He should display a proud carriage
and a light, happy attitude with the tail carried high in a ring over the back.
He should be gaited at a moderate speed. There should be good reach and strong
drive with a level topline. At increased speed there will be a tendency to converge.
Movement from front and rear will be clean and true. The walking gait is light
with short steps and the gallop energetic.
Coat and Colour
Profuse coat, of strong hair, covering the whole body evenly, except for the
under-arms and groin where it is thinner.
There are two varieties of coat
1. The hair is fairly long, wavy, rather loose with a slight sheen. The
hair on the top of the head is upright and that on the ears decidedly longer
than the leather.
2. The hair is shorter, forms compact cylindrical curls, thickly planted
and somewhat lusterless. On the top of the head the hair is similar to that
of the rest of the coat, whereas that on the ears is sometimes wavy. Colours
are 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. There is no undercoat.
Lion Clip The middle part and hindquarters, as well as the
muzzle, must be clipped. The rest of the coat is left long. The hair on
the end of the tail is left at full length.
Retriever Clip The entire coat is scissored or clipped to follow
the outline of the dog, leaving a short blanket of coat appearing no more
than one inch in length. The hair on the end of the tail is left at full
length. Hair on the ears is trimmed to the leathers.
will be made against the correct presentation of a dog in either Lion
Clip or Retriever Clip.
| Lion Clip
Males between 19.5" and 22.5" (50-57 cm) the ideal being 21.5"
Females between 16.5" and 20.5" (43-52 cm) the ideal being
18" (46 cm)
Males between 42 and 60 pounds (19-25k)
35 and 50 pounds (16-22k)
Any deviation from the described ideal is a fault. Major Faults are those deviations
that interfere with the performance of the dogs traditional job and which
therefore cannot be overlooked.
Colour other than those mentioned
Coat other than those mentioned
Over or undershot jaws
Over or under height
Flesh-coloured or discoloured noses