The Standard of the Portuguese Water Dog as approved by the FCI

TRANSLATION : Portuguese Kennel Club, Mrs.R. Binder-Gresly.

ORIGIN : Portugal.


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.

FCI-CLASSIFICATION : 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 olfactory faculties.
A dog of exceptional intelligence; docile and obedient to any order given by its master with apparent pleasure.

  Well proportioned, large and broad.
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 slightly developed 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.
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. Flesh-coloured or discoloured noses are a disqualification.
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) well ticked with black or quite black.
Jaws : Strong, neither over- nor undershot.
Teeth : 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 the eyes. Except for a small opening at the back, the ears are held nicely against the head. The tips should not reach below the throat line.

  Straight, short, nicely rounded, strongly muscled, carried high and proud; springing cleanly from the shoulders.

Withers : Wide and not prominent.
Back : Straight, short, broad, well muscled.
Loins : Short and nicely joined to the rump.
Rump : Well formed and only slightly inclined, with hips hardly apparent.
Brisket : Wide and deep, reaching down to the elbow. Ribs long and well sprung.
Belly : Drawn up in a graceful line.
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 line of the loins. The tail is of great help when swimming and diving.

Strong and straight.
: Well inclined and very strongly muscled.
Upper arm : Strong and of medium length, parallel to the medial body line.
Forearm : Long and strongly muscled.
Pastern joint (Wrist, Carpus) : Heavy boned, wider in front than at the side.
Pastern (Metacarpus) : Long and strong.
Fore feet : Round and rather flat. Toes not too knuckled up and not too long. The membrane between the toes, which reaches to the tip of these, is of soft skin well covered with hair. Black nails are preferred but whites, browns and striped are allowed according to the colour of the coat. Nails held up slightly off the ground. Central pad very thick, the others normal.
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. Decidedly inclined from front to rear. All the tendons well developed.
Hock joint : Strong.
Hocks : Long. No dew-claws.
Hind feet : Similar, in all respects, to the fore feet.

POSITION OF LEGS : Vertical. Slightly oblique pasterns and hocks are admissible.

GAIT/MOVEMENT : Free movement. Walking, lively short steps; a light rhythmical trot and an energetic galop.

Hair : Profuse coat, of strong hair, covering the whole body evenly except for the armpits and groins where it is thinner.
There is no undercoat.
There are two varieties of coat.
In one : the hair is fairly long, wavy, rather soft with a slight sheen. The hair on the top of the head is upright and that on the ears decidedly longer (than the leather).
In the other : the hair is shorter, forms compact cylindrical curls, thickly planted and somewhat lustreless. On the top of the head the hair is similar to that of the rest of the coat, whereas that on the ears is, sometimes, wavy.
Colour : Either self-colour or combinations. Colours are black, white and various shades of brown; also combinations of 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 decidedly bluish.
As soon as the coat grows long, the middle part and hindquarters of these dogs, as well as the muzzle and the tail is clipped. At the end of the tail the hair is left at full length in the shape of a plume. This clipping is characteristical for the breed.

Males between 19,68 inches (50 cm) and 22,44 inches (57 cm); the ideal size being 21,25 inches (54 cm).
Females between 16,92 inches (43 cm) and 20,47 inches (52 cm); the ideal size being 18,11 inches (46 cm).


Length of the skull12,5 cm11 cm
Width of skull11 cm9,5 cm
Length of bridge to nose9 cm7 cm

Circumference61 cm56 cm
Width of the chest15 cm13 cm
Depth of the chest21 cm18 cm

Length of the trunk45 cm40 cm
Width of the trunk11,5 cm10 cm

Length of the body51 cm45 cm
Length of the tail32 cm27 cm

Height at withers54 cm46 cm
Height of a foreleg29 cm25 cm
Height at the rump52 cm46 cm

Height at withers19-25 Kg16-22 Kg

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.

Head : Very long, narrow, flat or pointed.
Nose : Flesh-coloured or discoloured, totally or partially.
Muzzle : Funnel-shaped or too pointed.
Jaws : Over or undershot bite.
Eyes : Wall eye, leight coloured, different to each other in form or size; sunken or protruding.
Ears : Wrong setting, very big, very short or folded.
Tail : Docked, rudimentary or non-existent. Heavy, droopy in action or carried upright.
Hind-feet : Presence of dew-claws.
Coat : Different from the types described. Albinism.
Size : Over- or undersized animals.
Deafness : Either inherited or acquired.


Scale of pointsMalesFemales
Head, carriage, skull, muzzle, stop, nose, mouth, eyes and ears
Neck, withers, shoulders and forelegs 107
Brisket, loins, upper and lower line of body 1515
Croup, pelvis, hind-legs 1013
Feet, toes, nails 1010
Tail, carriage, form and set-on 55
Coat and its texture, colour, density 55
General aspect, harmony of form, movement, corpulency, sex characteristics 2525
Total 100100

N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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