Portuguese Water Dog
Who among us can resist the deep, milky eyes and sweet breath of a puppy? Couple that with the adorable look of a Portuguese Water Dog and yes, we were hooked. Today my husband Ron and I share the challenges of Portuguese Water Dog breeders and the honor of living with four unique PWDs: Boomer, Lucy, Bliss and Addy. Each has enriched our lives in countless ways and taught us far more than we could ever have imagined about living with a PWD. Our attraction to the Portuguese Water Dog was rooted in thinking we understood and accepted their character. We were looking for a dog to enjoy the water and our active lifestyle with us. Of course we loved the look of these fur kids and thought we had a handle on the meaning of terms such as mischievous, happy and enthusiastic, high energy, love water, clown like etc. With the exception of a few brief moments, we have never regretted our choice of this wonderful breed; however, we strongly recommend that all potential owners have a personal meeting with self and family members and explore why you might want a PWD as well as how will you provide an active life style that mutually enriches both your and your dogs existence. Portuguese Water Dogs love their people and need to be a part of the family, in many ways, raising and living with a PWD is like adding another child to your family.
Life with A Portuguese Water Dog
Our personal quest to appreciate this breed has led us down many paths. We have participated in AKC breed shows (confirmation), spent many wonderful hours submersed in pools and ponds or rowing boats in preparation for Water Trials. Agility and obedience have become as important as soccer, baseball or horse shows once were. We're very proud of the accomplishments of our PWD's. Our experience has included working with professional handlers in the breed ring as well as showing and handling our own dogs. To date our first PWD and only boy, Boomer has four titles, Lucy proudly boasts six, Bliss one and Addy (our youngest) is on her way to a stunning career. Not only have we come to appreciate our fur kids but through them we have experienced the added benefit of meeting and getting to know a cast of special and fascinating individuals who share our passion for this breed and we feel privileged to call some of them dear friends.
Early on, we heard that "out of sight equals in trouble" and certainly for the first 18 months, experience has taught us that this has proven to be true. Another adage we have come to respect is the need to be "consistent, persistent and insistent" in all of your communications with a PWD. The intelligence of a PWD needs a positive yet highly defined set of parameters for defining right and wrong, if you correct once but not the next time, the message is clearly, well maybe this is OK?
PWD's need to be an integral part of your family and our fur kids have taught us that the best way to do this is for us humans to carve out a little "special time" on a daily and a weekly basis that is dog focused. This may mean a day with a simple walk, another with a basic obedience session, a puppy class, mixed in with a play session the next, a few days of practice with tunnels and jumps, a swim, a teeter or developing a fetch to a return to hand. Our dogs are intelligent and will ultimately bore of repeating the mindless task of retrieving a tennis ball or fetching a Frisbee if it's not combined with more challenging activities.
We understand that not everyone is ready to adjust their lives for a puppy. We have learned that for many families, having a loving dog waiting for you to return home at the end of a work day, a snuggle on the couch and a companion to walk with or a play in the yard best describes how a puppy will fit in their home. This description does not entirely address the lifestyle that works for living with a PWD. Adding a PWD to your family is a serious decision and we encourage all potential new owners to speak with a number of breeders, ask questions and visit with some grown PWD's.
Our PWD's are show dogs, performance dogs and most of all, loving, loyal and intelligent companions. We can't imagine living with another breed and if you are first considering living with a PWD, we strongly recommend that you visit the PWDCA (Portuguese Water Dog Club of America) websiteand become familiar with the breed, it's benefits and challenges.
Another wonderful source is the Kathryn Braund book, The New Complete Portuguese Water Dog. PWD's are most definitely fun loving and endearing and we feel that our investment in time and training is deeply rewarding. However, many PWD's live wonderful, happy lives with their families without the lifestyle changes we have adopted. The most important factor, is can you live with and love the intelligence and energy that a PWD will bring into your life?