About the Breed

Bouillon and Sian in Pippi Longsticking Land in Sweden (=

The Breed

Cao De Agua Portuguese  -  The Portuguese Waterdog

At the Portuguese coast south of Lisbon and at the Algarve coast, the dog that helped the fishermen was so highly valued that it was counted as a full person when dividing the catch. The clever, tough waterdog and excellent swimmer helped to drag in the nets and the boats, dived after the escaped fish and retrieved everything that had fallen into the water but did not belong there, including shipwrecks. At high sea
 it served as a messenger between the boats.

In fact the Portuguese Waterdog was until a few years ago an indispensable helper for the portuguese seamen. Together w ith the seamen the dog travelled around the world, including North America. Therefore the assumption that all ruffle hairy dogs, poodles and some retrievers derive from it, is probably not entirely wrong.

It is a funny and very intelligent dog, that with its disheveled appearance and charming temperament, makes most dog-friendly hearts go throb. But it is not entirely a gentle and soft breed, who totally submit to everything and everyone, the Portuguese Waterdog can also be strong-willed and determined.

During work or play the Portuguese Waterdog do not always take a command for a matter of course, if the dog think that the situation is different. One will  need to lure it to think the right thing - you can not force it to change its mind.

Meanwhile, technique has replaced the trusty four-legged friend, but people has not let the breed die out. In the U.S. there is a club (Baseball Aquatic Retrieval corps (BARK)), where a group of Portuguese Waterdogs and their owners are helping by retrieving "home run" balls for the San Francisco Giants on weekends!

Cao de Agua is thanks to its high intelligence and easy going nature a popular familydog, which are easy to train.

It has a happy and child-friendly character.

The Portuguese Waterdog still has a great passion for water and is very happy to fetch and carry things. It is an intelligent dog, that needs lots of exercise and meaningful activation - preferably something that has to do with water. It can be reserved towads s trangers. The breed  is watchful but by no means sharp.

As a small puppy it is necessary to train it to be home alone. It can learn it as well as other dogs, but should preferably not be alone too many hours each day. A Cao de Agua is not fit to live its life outside in a kennel, it prefers to live inside with its family. If the Portuguese water dog is outside and its owner inside, the dog will almost certainly begin to scratch the front door. It is not because it does not like outdoor life? Rather contrary, it jumps merrily around in all kinds of weather, but only as long as the owner is by its side. The entire life of the dog is centered around its owners.

The Portuguese Waterdog loves to have lots of toys, and preferably in a box where it can pick things out. Teddyb ears -  the bigger the better! soft toys with a sound inside are the favorites. It is quite common that a Cao de Agua constantly carries around on its treasures! and although one for example says, that the toys are not to be taken out in the garden, the toys will end up in the garden anyway. When guests are coming or when you get home yourself, you are greeted by a dog with one of its toys in its mouth. Often you are allowed to touch the fine  toy! and other times you just have to admire it, while the dog shows it off.

Also the fishermen used to cut their Cao de Agua in this way: The coat on the front legs should protect the dog when it climbed out of the water and over the gunwale. The big coat at the entire front part helped to protect the internal organs. In the head only the muzzle was clipped, as the eyes and ears are protected by the natural quantity of coat. In return the coat at the tail and the rear end was clipped very short to free the dog from resistance in the water so it could move at a considerable momentum. Also when the Portuguese Waterdog is diving (down to 4 meters), it is essential to have free movements and a strong musculature.

Water trials are still done to preserve the natural retrieving instincts and love of seawater in the Portuguese Waterdog.

There are two kinds of coat: the curly and the wavy. The most common colors are black or brown, with or without white markings. Cao de Agua is a medium sized dog, the males measuring from 52-56 cm and females from 48-52 cm.

When Cao de Agua are exhibited in an FCI country, it is shown in the original lion-cut!. In the U.S. (which is outside FCI) it is very common to exhibit Cao de Agua in a so-called Retriver cut! Which is an ordinary and practical haircut for the many family dogs which do not come at the shows.

One should be prepared that your life will change a lot after you have extended your family with a Portuguese Waterdog. It needs lots of socialization and to have many good experiences, while it is a puppy.

As a Cao de Agua grows up and becomes an adult dog, it also calms down and becomes a true delight to live with. All the bad habits it used to have as a puppy suddenly becomes something that belong to the past and you do not understand, that it is the same dog.

The Portuguese Waterdog owner should be accustomed to dogs and have an active lifestyle.The breed can be difficult to get in Denmark and will perhaps have to be imported.