As his name implies, the Portuguese Water Dog (PWD) started out as a fishermen’s helper on the Portuguese coast. The breed’s love of swimming, paired with their water-resistant coats, made them a natural fit for herding fish into nets, retrieving broken nets and carrying messages between ships and from ship to shore.
This breed made its arrival in the United States in 1958, and has recently enjoyed a popularity surge, thanks in part to President Obama, who adopted a Portuguese Water Dog named Bo shortly after his inauguration. Though it’s still classified as a working dog by the American Kennel Club, the breed as a whole maintains a much more easygoing life then it did in the harbors of Portugal.
A faithful companion, the PWD is always ready to accept commands from his master and will do his best to please his family members. His working heritage makes him a natural at obedience training and agility competitions, so if you are bringing a PWD into your home, be ready to provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
PWDs are considered to be a relatively “hypoallergenic” breed, so they may be a good choice for those with allergies, though their constantly growing coat will need regular grooming.
Despite their love of water, PWDs are still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – not to mention your budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses PWDs are prone to include eye conditions such as cataracts, persistent pupillary membrane and progressive retinal atrophy; joint issues such as hip dysplasia; and skin problems such as pattern baldness.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your PWD inherits his mom’s bad eyes or his dad’s baldness, you’re covered.