Água Português Cão
Portuguese water dog - Portugal FCI 37

Cão de Água Português

The Portuguese water dog It is a kind and patient breed.

The Water Português Cão (Portuguese water dog) It is a breed of dog of the Algarve, Portugal. They were used as working dogs by fishermen from time immemorial, but in the 20th century have become a rare breed.

While, the origins of the breed are somewhat obscure, What if one certainty is that the history of these dogs is very old.
A likely reference to the water Português Cão is found in the text of a monk, that in 1297 He described the rescue of a sailor by a dog with similar characteristics than the race hablamos… “long, black hair, cut up the first rib, and with a tuft at the tip of the tail“.

The common standard of shearing of these dogs, Mark to be as the description of the monk. Also, a photo of early 19th century, It represents the arrival of the King of Portugal to the beach of Bethlehem, shows a water dog, swim to the boat of the King.

The closest relatives of water Cão, Portuguese are Kerry Blue Terrier, the Barbet and the Poodle standard.

Originally, water dogs – excellent swimmer is- they were used by the Portuguese fishermen in their boats as helpers in varied tasks, as be... fish networks arreo, recovery of objects falling into the water, carrying messages between ships or between Earth and the sea, among others.

The writer Raul Brandão, in his book the fisherman (1932), It describes the activity of a fishing boat in Olhao, and much of its description was based on these dogs and their marine skills.

From the 20th century with the advancement of new technologies both in fishing and in the communication, the work that was usually done by dogs gradually was replaced, and there was no need to travel with dogs on board. Like everything else in life, progress has their 'pro' and its 'against', in the Decade of 1930 the number of copies of the race diminished a lot, and the few copies that survived were in the Algarve coast.

The 1934 It was a crucial year for the subsistence of this breed, and perhaps the starting point for the recovery of water Cão, Portuguese was the Lisbon exhibition in 1934, under the direction of Frederick Pinto Soares. Enter the story, Vasco Bensaude, a rich businessman who lived in the Azores Islands, He had attended the canine event, because it is also devoted to the breeding of dogs in water. He was so impressed with the water Português Cão than, He decided to purchase four copies and thus begin a careful in his Kennel breeding program, Algarbiorum. Y, what he achieved with the support of two loving friends in the race, Pinto Soares and Fernandes Marques.

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In Lakes, found a beautiful male who called Leão and was taken to Lisbon, followed by Dina, a female of Sesimbra. Two specimens found in the Algarve joined his Kennel, Nero, a male of curly hair and Venesa, a female of wavy hair. In 1937, born the first litter (Leão and Dina). Ushering in the "Algarbiorum" saga.

Vasco Bensaude was responsible for the recovery of the water Português Cão of Portugal and began the modern history of the race. He was responsible for his "Fausto Pereira Dos Santos" Kennel, and became an expert in the formation of Portuguese water dogs.

For many years, Vasco Bensaude was dedicated to the breeding of dogs but when in 1968 felt that his end was near, delivered to Conchita Cintrón, Castelo Branco the 17 copies of dog water Portuguese who had in his kennel and all your files.
Conchita Cintrón, was a brilliant person, breeder of Pointers, It carried out the Portuguese water dog breeding in his fifth Indian OJ, in Feijó, to the South of Lisbon.

Due to the tenacity and commitment to Conchita Cintrón dogs were placed in United States, where this wonderful race reached great popularity thanks to the commitment and efforts of another great personality in the history of this race, Mrs Miller Deyanne Farrell, He managed to diffuse them in America and around the world.

In 1972, in United States a group of breeders founded the American Club of the Portuguese water dogs (Portuguese Water Dog Club of America).

The Portuguese water dog is a breed of medium-sized, of strong Constitution, good muscular and compact body. Males have an ideal height for 54 cm., While the females measure approximately 46 cm.. The weight range from 19 until 25 kg in males and 16 and 22 kg in females.

There are two types of fur: long, wavy, with bright or short hair with hair is curly and more opaque.

The fur may be completely black, white or brown, or black or brown with white spots. Typical cutting is done in the muzzle and the back of the body, leaving a ball of hair at the tip of the tail, It gives an appearance of a lion.
Hair grows them continually so it required to be regularly brushed and trim or cut.

The Portuguese water dog hair cut can be done two ways or styles:

The lion Court

In the Lion Court, the hindquarters, the snout, and the base of the tail they shave and the rest of the body is left in its normal length. This is the traditional cut and perhaps the most functional, given the historical importance of race as a partner of a fisherman. The lion cut diminished the initial impact and shock with cold water, given that performed various aquatic work. The hindquarters are afeitaban to allow easy movement of the hind legs and tail, used it as a rudder.

The Retriever cut

The Court Retriever is left 2,5 cm long in a uniform manner on the body (Although some owners prefer the part of the snout and the base of the shorter tail). It's a more recent Court and style originated because breeders wanted to make the race more attractive and less unusual looking for buyers.

The Portuguese water dog FCI standard

HEAD : Solid and shapely strong and wide. Longitudinal axes of the skull and muzzle are parallel.



Skull : Seen in profile is slightly longer than the snout. Its curvature is accentuated in the back that later and the occiput is well marked. Front, notes that the parietal are bulky and have a slight depression in the Middle. Groove can be seen on the forehead means that extends up to two thirds of the parietal. The superciliary arches are prominent.

Depression links (Stop) : Naso‑frontal depression is well marked and is located toward the back of the interior angle of the eyes.



Truffle : Wide. The Windows open and finely Pigmented.

Black copies of the same color or in black and white or white color. In brown dogs, the nose is the same color as the coat. It must never be color rosa‑carne.

Snout : It is narrowest near the nose than in the base.

Lips : Thick, especially to the front. The corner is not apparent. Mucous membranes (on the palate, under the tongue and gums) they are completely black, dark brown in brown dogs.

JAWS/teeth : Teeth are not apparent. The fangs are strongly developed.Bite in scissors or pliers.

Eyes : Medium size, perceptible and rounded shape, placed well separated and slightly inclined.

Its color is brown or black. The eyelids have a thin skin and are bordered of black, Brown in brown dogs. The conjunctiva is not apparent.

Ears : Lightweight, heart shaped, implanted higher than the line of the eyes. Except for a small opening in the back, the ears are well glued to the head. The tips must not protrude beyond the base of the neck.


NECK : Straight, short, rounded, well loose and free postage. Strong muscles; No presents nor necklace, or dewlap. It forms a harmonious transition to the body.



Lineasuperior : Straight, level.

Cross : It is wide, but not prominent.

Back : Straight, short, wide and well muscled.

Pork loin : Short and well attached to the rump.

Rump : Well formed and very slightly tilted backwards. The legs are barely visible.

Breast : Broad and deep, reaching to the elbow. The ribs are long and well bulging. Large respiratory capacity.

Belly : Reduced volume and elegant porte.

TAIL : Natural. It is thick at the base and gradually decreases until the tip; neither too high implantation, or too low; its length should not exceed the point of the Hock.

When the dog is alert you should keep it in a circle, and the front of the same must not exceed the middle line of the spine. Tail serves as a vital aid for swimming and diving



Aplomb : They are regular. Is accepted that both front feet, as the rear, are slightly inclined toward the front in the part that lies beneath the Tarsus.


PREVIOUS MEMBERS : They are strong and straight. Allowed a slightly inclined Metacarpus.

Shoulder : Views from the front and crosswise, the blades are well sloped and muscular well.

Arms : Are strong and medium length. They are parallel to the midline of the body.

Forearm : Long and well muscled.

Carpus : Strong bones. It is wider at the front than at the side.

Metacarpus : Long and strong.

Front feet : They are rounded and flat. The fingers are not or too bent, not too long. Loose digital membrane, It is well developed and reaches the tip of the fingers, fine texture and is equipped with abundant hair. Fingernails must be preferably black, but white colored nails are accepted, Brown, or with stripes, According to the color of the fur. They are slightly separated from the soil. The central pad is thick, other pads are of medium thickness.


HIND LIMBS : They are straight and muscled. A slightly inclined Hock is supported.

Buttocks : Long and well-bulky.

Thighs : Strong and medium length; very muscled.

Knee : It moves parallel to the midline of the body.

Legs : They are long and heavily muscular. They are parallel to the midline of the body, and visibly tilted forward back. Tendons and connective tissues are strongly developed.

Hock : Strong.

Metatarsus : Long; No Spurs.

Rear feet : They have the same characteristics as the front.


MOVEMENT : Free with short steps. The trot is lightweight and good Cadence; the Gallop is energetic.



HAIR : Tough and abundant hair covering the entire body. There is no presence of an internal layer of hairs. There are two types of fur : one long and wavy, the other short and curly. The first variety hair is a bit shiny and soft; the second hair is shorter, well plenty, opaque and shape cylindrical flat curls. Except in the armpits and in the groin, hair covers body regularly. The hair forms a kind of squabbling over the head composed of hairs rippled in the variety of long hair and hair curly in the variety of short hair. In the variety of long hair, the hair around the ears is longer.

COLOR : The hair can be multicolored or unicolor. Unicolores dogs are white, black or brown in several shades; the others are mixed black and white or Brown and white. Completely white hair is not sign of albinism, always when the truffle, the mouth and eyelids are black. In the dogs with black hair, white or black and white, the skin is slightly bluish.

When the hair grows very long, is trimmed to half of the body, as well as the snout and tail, leaving him only a pompon on the end of the queue.

SIZE AND WEIGHT : The ideal size for males is of 54 cm., but copies are accepted between 50 and 57 cm..

In females, the size must be of 46 cm., with a minimum of 43 and a maximum of 52 cm..

WEIGHT : Of 19 to 25 kg in males.

Of 16 to 22 kg in females.

FAULTS : Any deviation from the above criteria should be considered as missing and the gravity of this is considered to the degree of deviation from the standard and its effect on the health and welfare of the dog.


  • Head: too long, close, flat or pointed.
  • Snout: too tuned or pointed.
  • Eyes: clear, too much bulging or sunken.
  • Ears: Incorrect insertion, too big, very short or folded.
  • Tail: heavy, hang during movement or high perpendicular.


  • Behavior: Aggression or excessive shyness-
  • Size: Above or below the limit.
  • Upper or lower prognathism.
  • Too light eyes, different shaped, size and color,
  • Deafness, whether it is hereditary, or acquired.
  • Cut tail, rudimentary birth, or lack thereof.
  • Hind limbs with Spurs.
  • Hair type other than the one described above.
  • Color: Albinism, Color rosa‑carne truffle, either all the truffle, or partially. Any other color than the one described in the standard.

Any dog showing clear signs of physical abnormalities or behavior should be disqualified.

NOTE : Los machos deben tener dos apariencia testiculos normal completamente descendidos en el escroto.

TRANSLATION : IRIS Carrillo, Federation Canófila de Puerto Rico.

Technical review : Miguel Angel Martinez (Federation Cynologique Argentina).

Character and skills

Is considered an exceptionally intelligent animal, with an active temperament, slightly restless, but obedient. It is also very resistant to fatigue. It is an excellent swimmer, being able to dive and swim underwater to recover the lost objects.

In the Natural Park of RIA Formosa, one of the attractions is the Kennel where was saved from extinction the Portuguese water dog, today known as the dog Obama, and where still today continues raising.

The Portuguese water dog is an excellent companion, loving, independent and intelligent it is easy to train in tasks of obedience and agility skills.

Because they are working dogs, the Portuguese water dog, in general, usually always close to his master awaiting instructions and if - due- trained, It is able and willing to follow orders very complex. They learn very quickly, They seem to enjoy the training, and they have a great memory for names of objects. These features and its single layer coat, have not moved, makes an excellent dog services several such as assistance dogs for the deaf, dogs Guide, Therapy Dogs.

Are very good companions for people who understand what they need, the Portuguese water dog is not a dog for any. Due to his intelligence and the need for unity in the work, require regular intensive exercise, as well as the mental challenges. They are kind and patient, but not “teleadictos”, physical inactivity and boredom can awaken destructive behaviors.

Recently, the race gained an unexpected publicity after the family of the President of United States, Barack Obama, Choose a pet Portuguese water dog. The dog, called Bo, He was introduced to the public 14 April 2009, due to the great interest shown by the media.

Portuguese water dog pictures

Portuguese water dog videos

  • Alternative names: Perro de agua portugués / chien d’eau portugais / portugiesischer wasserhund / portuguese water dog
  • Group 8 / Section 3 – Water dogs
  • Varieties: to) curly hair; b) wavy hair

Dogs breeds: Portuguese water dog


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