Portuguese Water Dogs ( Portie, or PWD) was officially recognized in 1983 by the American Kennel Club who classifies this breed as a working dog. This is somewhat rare breed, but has been gaining popularity over the last decade ( and we can see why!) We love this breed and can’t wait to tell you more. Here are eight awesome facts you may or may not have known about the super cool Portie.
1. The Portuguese Water Dog has become increasingly popular due it taking up residence in the White House.
The breed was chosen by the Obama family because of their hypoallergenic qualities. Bo was given to them as a personal gift from Senator Ted Kennedy. The family later got Sunny so that Bo could have a playmate. Bo holds the title of “first dog.”
2. They have awesome webbed feet
As with most water dogs, the webbed toes make swimming a breeze. Long ago, thought to be dated as far back as 700 BC, the Portie would not only herd fish into the fisherman’s nets, retrieve items in the water, act as courier between boats and shore, but also would guard both the boat and the catch when the boat was at port. It was then that these webbed toes were especially helpful. They are very much water dogs.
3. They don’t shed
Like the poodle, The PWD has no under coat, and therefore makes a great dog for those who suffer with allergies due to the fact that they do not shed. They are also absolutely gorgeous!
4. They almost went extinct
On the verge of extinction, the Portie was saved by a Portuguese businessman in the 1930s. He sought out the PWDs from the fishermen and erolled them in a breeding program. This act saved the breed, and it is now flourishing thanks to the attention from people like President Obama. In fact Germany has recently sold out of all Portie puppies. This is fantastic news for a rare but fun and wonderful dog breed that made an amazing comeback.
5. One for the history books
The first written account of the Portuguese Water Dog is from the year 1297, and is from a monk’s report of a dying sailor who had been rescued from the sea by a dog which had a “black coat of rough hair, cut to the first rib and with a tuft on the tip of his tail”. Due to the fur trim that still in use today, many writings describe the breed as a “Lion Dog.”
6. They are smart
Portuguese Water Dogs are extremely intelligent. They love learning new things, but they can also become bored easily. They remember the names of many items, better than most dogs can, but without appropriate exercise and mental stimulation they can become destructive and chew up all your things. They love a challenge, so make training fun! This dog makes an excellent running companion and is also well suited to agility training.
7. Check their health records
Sadly, Portuguese water dogs can be predisposed to hip dysplasia, cataracts, progressive retinal atroph, distichiasis or ingrown eyelashes and GM-1 Storage disease, a fatal nerve disease, though it has mostly been bred out of the them. These illnesses can reduced by checking out the parents and their health before you adopt. To make sure you get a healthy dog, never buy from a puppy mill or pet store.
8. A Happy and loveable dog
And a great family pet! If you have ever met someone who is just happy to do whatever you are doing, then you have found your mate. Porties are just happy dogs, they love kids, other dogs and many different animals. They are sensitive and respond well to direction. A good breed for an active person wanting an adventurous, affectionate, eager-to-please dog.