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Portuguese Water Dog… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Remember Bo Obama?

Bo Obama was the former First Dog of the United States, loved by children across the country. He is perhaps the most famous Portuguese Water Dog (PWD) Breed.

Funny, playful and a joy to be with….and a great swimmer too, with his webbed feet and all that….

Bo Obama

….is 10 years old now, that’s senior years for a dog. He is everything you expect from a perfect family dog. He is a gift that doesn’t stop giving, at least as far as Portuguese Water Dog Breeders are concerned.

As a result…

Ever since Bo Obama was brought to the White House, there’s been a huge surge in demand for Portuguese Water Dog Puppies in the United States.

And while…

Very few folks knew much about this dog breed from the Iberian Peninsula prior to President Obama and family choosing to adopt one, now we cannot get enough of them. They are everywhere, on magazine covers, on TV and even in children’s comics!

Which is a good thing…

If you ask us because these guys are a true “Family Dog”.  One that is kind, and loyal until the very end.  He is also very full of energy, zest and enthusiasm.

As well as…

Curious, friendly and outgoing and funny too.  Plus, he loves playing in the water; he is a water spaniel, after all.

He is also an inveterate attention seeker. He wants everyone to simply stop whatever they are doing and start looking at him. He loves playing with kids and follows them everywhere.

But should You Bring the Portuguese Water Dog Puppies Home?

Yes, absolutely, there is no reason why you shouldn’t. The Portuguese Water Dog is fast rising on the popularity charts, and there is a lot of curiosity about this dog. Perhaps this is the right time to bring him home.

Warning: This breed of dog is going to attract attention everywhere goes. People will stop you on the street as you take him out for a walk and ask:

Isn’t that Obama’s dog?”

A certain conversation starter, this Water Spaniel from Portugal!


Remember to bring Portuguese Water Dog Puppies only from reputable breeders who run an ethical breeding program.


…Remember the Portie, as he is called is a very active dog. He needs his exercise. You must make it a point to take him out walking every day. If you don’t have the time for that, hire a professional dog walker.

What about people with allergies?

 Is the Portuguese Water Dog safe enough for them?

Yes, it should be. However, it’s always better to consult with an experienced vet about that, if you’re worried about it.

Read on for more about the Portuguese Water Dog.

Portuguese Water Dog Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Portugal

Height: 17 to 23 inches

Weight: 35 to 60 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Working Dog

Life Span: 10 to 14 years

History and Origin

The PWD hails from the Iberian Peninsula of Portugal. He has always been a favorite of the fishermen from that region.  And back there, these guys are often called Pelo Ondulad which means, the curly haired one.

Now we should point out that…

The PWD shares many similarities with the Poodle, with whom he shares a common ancestor. He was used in the development of the Irish Water Spaniel as well.


It wasn’t until the PWD was brought to Newfoundland, Canada later by Portuguese fishermen, who went there in search of a better life that this dog really began to become known throughout the America’s.

In fact…

Despite the fact that these dogs have been around for many, many years, they didn’t “officially” arrive in the United States until the late 1950’s.  Which is why the first Portuguese Water Dog Club of America (PWDCA Org) wasn’t formed until 1972.

The PWD was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1984.

And even though…

The Portuguese Water Dog is a fine animal, nobody really paid much attention to this dog until former President Barack Obama decided to bring a Portuguese War Dog Puppy to the White House in 2008.

Physical Characteristics

The PWD is a mid-sized dog, of the right size and weight to fit into an apartment in the city. He is between 17 to 23 inches in height at shoulder level and weighs 35 to 60 pounds.

These guys…

Have a very muscular body structure, and has amazing stamina, much like any working dog. He is often seen with a “lion clip” and looks like a miniature lion cub. He has bushy eyebrows that cover most of his eyes, thick beard and large, sloppy ears.

And as we pointed out before…

He is called as Pelo Ondulado in Portugal because of his curly coat. Some PWDs have a coat with compact curls while others have coats with wavy curls.

The nice thing is that…

These dogs do not shed at all and do not have an undercoat. His coat is usually of the color black, white or different shades of brown.

But we should point out that…

Despite the fact that they don’t really “shed” their coat will require some pretty high maintenance in order to keep their coat looking good. You have to brush and comb him every day. Well, that’s a lot of work, but if the Obamas can do it, so can you!

Personality and Temperament

The PWD has many wonderful qualities – he is loyal, funny, and great with kids. He is the perfect family dog or companion dog and brings joy wherever he goes.

He’s an intelligent dog…

That is likely to surprise you with some of the amazing things he does. He is sensitive too and knows how to perk you up when you’re feeling a bit down.

But probably…

The best thing about the PWD is that he is very good with kids and makes an excellent playmate for slightly older children, aged 5 and above.


If you have a toddler at home, better wait a couple of years before bringing this dog home, as he can get excitable at times, and could accidentally hurt your child.

He gets along with cats and other dogs too, but cannot be trusted around rabbits, hamsters and other small animals.

 Health Problems

Portuguese Water Dogs are a reasonably healthy breed of dog. They have a life expectancy of 10 to 14 years, which is decent enough. Remember, the Great Dane only lives for 7 years.

But they are prone to certain diseases, possibly because of a genetic disorder. They can suffer from health issues such as…

And while…

Many of these conditions may not be life threatening, they can certainly become quite expensive to deal with particularly if they become recurring issues.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Petet t May 24, 2020, 7:43 am

    I think they are a great dog. As soon as I fix the third large gate, we will set about buying a portugese water dog puppy.

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