Affable & Hypoallergenic: Portuguese Water Dog Breed Makes a Great Pet

Suffer from pet allergies? The Portuguese water dog is a great pick, as they are considered hypoallergenic. These cute bundles of curls are affectionate, athletic, and adventurous, ensuring plenty of family fun. Portuguese water dogs even graced the White House’s hallways as First Dogs of the United States (FDOTUS) in the 2000s because they’re not only low on allergens but they’ve got great personalities.

Do ‘Porties’ Bark a Lot?

Portuguese water dogs aren’t notorious barkers like some breeds (yes, we’re talking about you Chihuahuas and beagles). However, many factors such as genetics, training, and how a dog is raised determine their temperaments and behaviors. While this breed generally gets along well with children and other dogs, early socialization and obedience training in puppyhood can ensure a great pet.  

When it comes to strangers or anything out of the ordinary, a Portuguese water dog is likely to alert you with their distinctive bark. This breed has a reputation for barking when their owners leave them home alone for extended periods. PWDs can be destructive chewers when they are bored or lonely, so if you work outside the home, be prepared to come home to a couch with fewer pillows and tables with tooth-marked legs. 

How to stop Portuguese water dogs from barking?

Make sure your PWD gets regular exercise. If you’re looking for an easy way to reduce your dog’s barking, start with regular, daily exercise. Portuguese water dogs are a working breed, and as such, are very active dogs. Without activities like water sports, hiking, jogging, and walking, your dog may become bored and frustrated. You’ll see this when they display negative behaviors like barking at everything they see and hear. 

  • Remove barking triggers. Cloaking triggers like passersby, vehicles, and animals can limit excessive barking. How do you do that? Cloaking merely means to cover up; so in this case, close curtains and blinds so your PWD can’t see what’s going on outside. 
  • Distract your dog with ultrasonic sound. An alternative to closing you and your family to the outside world, use a combination of an ultrasonic training tool with a voice command like “quiet” and a healthy treat to reinforce good behavior.
  • Try white noise to drown out sounds. If sounds are his trigger, provide white noise for your PWD; turn on music or a TV show to drown out noises. 
  • Schedule walkers to visit your PWD. Because Portuguese water dogs love being around their humans, they can get quite lonely without you around. So if no one will be home for an extended period, you may want to ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to visit your pet throughout the day.

Facts About Portuguese Water Dogs

Portuguese water dogs were originally bred to be versatile fishermen’s helpers. Thanks to their athletic endurance, webbed feet, and waterproof coat, this breed takes to water easily. Whether it’s in the water or on land, Porties require a good amount of vigorous exercise daily. This breed loves and excels in many canine sports, including agility, tracking, obedience, and dock diving. Sufficiently exercised Portuguese water dogs can do well in apartment living.

  • Size: Portuguese water dog size ranges from 17 to 23 inches in height and 35 to 60 pounds in weight.
  • Life expectancy: Portuguese water dogs tend to live 11 to 13 years.
  • Coat: Portuguese water dogs have a dense hypoallergenic coat that is either tight and curly or wavy.
  • AKC group: Portuguese water dogs belong to the AKC working group.

Are Porties Easy to Train?

Portugues water dogs are highly intelligent, typically eager to please and react well to obedience training. That said, Porties have an independent streak that can pose a challenge for their owners. This breed can also be too lively with young children. Reward-based positive training with plenty of praise and training treats is an excellent training approach for this breed. To succeed in training, make certain your PWD gets plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation beyond training each and every day.

Does the Portuguese Water Dog Breed Need Grooming?

Although the Portuguese water dog is viewed as a hypoallergenic breed, it is not a wash-and-wear kind of dog. The dense waterproof coat requires a considerable amount of grooming. Some Porties’ owners clip their coat to the skin on the muzzle and hindquarters (called the lion clip) or clip the entire coat, called the retriever clip. Either style involves clipping a lot of hair; so much so, that you may want to think about taking your pet to a groomer initially or rotate sessions with grooming at home. An occasional bath will further help keep your dog’s coat clean and looking its best. Regularly brush teeth and check ears for infection.

What If My Breed Is a PWD Mix?

Portuguese water dogs are considered a generally healthy breed. Due to its low-shedding, hypoallergenic coat, a PWD mix may also be an ideal pet selection for those with allergies. However, because a mixed breed has genetic material from both parents, we suggest you research the parent breeds to get an idea of potential traits you might expect. No matter the combo you’re sure to get a pretty cute dog!

Here are two of the most popular Portuguese water dog breed mixes:

  • Bernese water dog — Portuguese water dog + Bernese mountain dog
  • Portidoodle — Portuguese water dog + poodle

Resource Links for More Portuguese Water Dog Info

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