In the beginning (1200 b.C.-500 AD) in Tiro, Athens and later in Rome long coated dogs, brought from Central Asia by the Canaan (tribes of semitic origin), were trimmed in such a fashion as to look like the main of a lion. Hence the name by which these dogs were known, Canis Leo, independently of their size.
Lions are a symbol of power, strength and courage. They were used in battles trained to attack their enemies.
When Phoenitians, the Greeks and Romans reached the Iberian Peninsula they brought along with them their Lion Dogs.
As the years went by in Portugal and specially in the Algarve, the lion trim became a tradition among the fishermen, as they had long realized how important and necessary it was to trim their dogs in such a way as to not only protect their lungs from the cold water, but also to make them lighter when in the water when they performed their daily tasks in the water or ashore.
The Portuguese Water Dog when trimmed has his hindquarters clipped out by the last rib and a plume is left on the end of the tail, as a working trim for retrieving from the water. The muzzle is also clipped out up to just above the line of the eyes allowing the dog to see where he is going and what he is retrieving (Vasco Bensaúde, Algarbiorum Dogs)
In more recent years as fashion takes over, it is sad to see the Portuguese Water Dogs with their hair covering their eyes and muzzle and behaving like blind bats. Indeed it seems in the show ring often with the purpose of hiding faulty light eyes.
For further information about grooming the PWD "Step by Step" please refer to:
GROOMING THE PORTUGUESE WATER DOG
(book and/or video)
by JUDITH G. SEIDEBERT
751 Sun Acres Road
Zillah, WA 98953-9275
telephone: 509-829-DOGS (3647)