FCI Breed Standard for Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dog Lindsey
photo courtesy of Margaret McGovern
N 37 / 22. 01. 1999 / GB
PORTUGUESE WATER DOG
(Cao de agua portugues)
TRANSLATION : Portuguese Kennel Club, Mrs. R.
ORIGIN : Portugal.
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD : 09.12.1966.
UTILIZATION : A swimmer and diver of quite exceptional qualities
and stamina, this dog is the inseparable companion of the fishermen
to whom it is of great utility not only during fishing but also as a
guard to defend their boats and property.
Whilst his master is fishing the dog is attentive and, should a
fish escape (from hook or net), jumps, voluntarily, into the sea to
retrieve it, diving under water if necessary.
It also swims out to retrieve any broken net or loose hawser.
These animals are also employed as liaison between boat and shore
or vice-versa, even when the distance is considerable.
CLASSIFICATION F.C.I. : Group 8 Retrievers-Flushing Dogs- Water
Dogs. Section 3 Water Dogs. Without working trial.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY : In bygone times this breed existed
everywhere along the coasts of Portugal. Today, owing to
modifications in the fishing systems used, the breed has become
restricted practically to the province of Algarve which should now
be considered its home.
The presence of these dogs along the Portuguese coasts can be
traced back to very remote times and entitles them to be regarded as
a purely Portuguese breed.
GENERAL APPEARANCE : Dog of medium proportions, outline slightly
convex with a tendency to rectilinear, braccoid type.
Mediolinear type, well balanced, robust and well muscled. The
muscular development due to constant swimming is noticeable.
BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : An animal with an impetuous
disposition, self-willed, brave, quarrelsome, unassuming and very
resistant to fatigue. It has a hard, penetrating and attentive
expression, as well as splendid visual and remarkable olfactory
A dog of exceptional intelligence; docile and obedient with
apparent pleasure to any order given by its master.
HEAD : Well proportioned, large and broad.
CRANIAL REGION :
Skull : Seen in profile it is slightly longer than the muzzle;
its curvature is more accentuated at the back than in front and it
possesses a well defined occiput. From the front the parietal bones
are seen to be dome-shaped and to have a slight depression in the
middle. The forehead has a central furrow for two thirds of the
length of the parietals and the superciliary ridges are prominent.
Stop : Well defined, slightly further back than the inner corner
of the eyes.
FACIAL REGION :
Nose : Wide. Nostrils well open and finely pigmented. Black, in
animals with black, black and white or white coats. In browns the
nose is the same colour as the coat. Never flesh-coloured.
Muzzle : Narrower at the nose than at its base.
Lips : Thick, especially in front. Inner corner of lips not
apparent. Mucous membranes (roof of mouth, under the tongue and
gums) with accentuated black pigmentation.
Jaws/Teeth : Jaws strong, neither over- nor undershot. Teeth
good, not apparent. Canines strongly developed.
Eyes : Medium sized, set well apart and a bit obliquely, roundish
and neither prominent nor sunken. Brown or black in colour. The
eyelids, which are of fine texture, have black edges. No haw.
Ears : Leather heart-shaped, thin in texture and set well above
the line of eyes. Except for the rear edge of the ear being slightly
lifted off, the ears are held nicely against the head. The tips
should not reach below the throat line.
NECK : Straight, short, nicely rounded, muscled, carried high and
free; springing cleanly from the shoulders. No ruff, no dewlap.
Withers : Wide and not prominent.
Back : Straight, short, broad, well muscled.
Loins : Short and nicely joined to the rump.
Croup : Well formed and only slightly inclined, with symmetrical
hips hardly apparent.
Chest : Wide and deep, reaching down to the elbow. Ribs long and
well sprung providing great respiratory capacity.
Belly : Drawn up in a graceful line, of reduced volume.
TAIL : Not docked, thick at the base and tapering; medium set-on.
It should not reach down below the hock. When the dog is attentive
the tail should be held in a ring, the front of which should not
reach beyond the medium line of the loin region. The tail is of
great help when swimming and diving.
Position of legs : Vertical. Slightly oblique pasterns and hocks
FOREQUARTERS : Strong and straight.
Shoulders : Well inclined and very strongly muscled.
Upper arm : Strong and of medium length, parallel to the medial
axis of the body.
Forearm : Long and strongly muscled.
Pastern joint (Carpus) : Heavy boned, broader seen from the front
than from the side.
Pastern (Metacarpus) : Long and strong.
Forefeet : Round and flat. Toes not much knuckled up and of
medium length. The interdigital membrane which extends over the
whole length of the toes, is limp and well covered with long hair.
Black nails are preferred but white, brown and striped nails are
also allowed according to the colour of the coat. Nails do not quite
touch the ground. Central pad very hard, the others normally thick.
HINDQUARTERS : Straight and very strongly muscled.
Buttocks : Long and well rounded.
Thigh : Strong and of regular length. Very strongly muscled.
Stifle : Parallel to the medial body plane.
Second thigh : Long and strongly muscled, parallel to the medial
body plane. Well inclined from front to rear. All tendons and
ligaments well developed.
Hock joint : Strong.
Hocks : Long. No dew-claws.
Hind feet : Similar, in all respects, to the forefeet.
GAIT / MOVEMENT : Free movement. Walking with short steps; a
light rhythmical trot and an energetic gallop.
HAIR : The whole body is profusely covered with a resistant coat.
There is no undercoat. There are two varieties of coat : wavy long
hair and short curly hair. In the first variety the long hair is
rather soft with a slight lustre; in the second the shorter hair is
dense, lustreless and forms compact cylindrical curls. Except for
the armpits and the groins, the hair covers the whole body evenly.
On the top of the head there is a topknot of wavy hair in the
long-haired variety and of curly hair in the short-haired. In the
long-haired variety, the hair of the ears is decidedly longer.
COLOUR :Either self-colour or combinations. Self-colours are
black, white or brown in various shades of brown; combinations are
black or brown with white. A white coat does not imply albinism
provided nose, mouth and eyelids are black. In animals with black,
white, or black and white coats the skin is slightly bluish.
It is a specific feature for this breed that as soon as the coat
grows very long, the middle part and hindquarters of these dogs, as
well as the muzzle and the tail are clipped. At the end of the tail
the hair is left at full length in the shape of a plume.
SIZE AND WEIGHT :
Height at the withers :
Males : between 50 - 57 cm [19.7"-22.4"] the ideal size being 54
Females : between 43 - 52 cm [16.9"-20.4"], the ideal size being
Weight : For a male : 19 - 25 kg [41.9-55.1 lbs].
For a female : 16 - 22 kg [35.2-48.5 lbs].
Head Length of the skull 12, 5 cm 11 cm
Width of skull 11 cm 9,5 cm
Length of bridge of nose 9 cm 7 cm
Chest Circumference 61 cm 56 cm
Width of the chest 15 cm 13 cm
Depth of the chest 21 cm 18 cm
Topline Length of the trunk 45 cm 40 cm
Width of the trunk 11, 5 cm 10 cm
Length Of the body 51 cm 45 cm
Of the tail 32 cm 27 cm
Height At withers 54 cm 46 cm
From ground to elbow 29 cm 25 cm
At the rump 52 cm 46 cm
FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be
considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should
be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS :
Head : Very long, narrow, flat or pointed.
Nose : Flesh-coloured or discoloured, totally or partially.
Muzzle : Funnel-shaped or pointed.
Jaws : Over-or undershot bite.
Eyes : Wall eye, light coloured, different to each other in
form or size, very sunken or very protruding.
Ears : Wrong setting, very big, very short or folded.
Tail : Docked, rudimentary or non-existent. Heavy, droopy in
action or carried upright.
Rear-pastern : Presence of dewclaws.
Coat : Different from the types described. Albinism.
Size : Over- or undersize.
Deafness : Either inherited or acquired.
SCALE OF POINTS
Head : Carriage, skull, muzzle, bridge of nose,
mouth, eyes, ears, nostrils. 20 20
Neck, withers, shoulders and forelegs 10 7
Brisket, loins, upper and lower line of body 15 15
Croup, pelvis, hind legs 10 13
Feet, toes, nails 10 10
Tail : Carriage, form and set-on 5 5
Coat and its texture, colour, density 5 5
General aspect, harmony of form, movement,
height, sex characteristics 25 25
N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles
fully descended into the scrotum.