Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dog is so named due to his country of origin and former work with fishermen – retrieving lost nets? Also apparently used as a hunting dog. He’s a large and energetic dog who needs firm handling and plenty of space and exercise. There are two coat types: one is long and loosely waved, the other short and harsh with compact curls.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 8.7% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPSTBC
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
The thick, curly coat of the PWD can easily collect dirt and debris which can irritate the skin. Care needs to be taken to keep the coat clean.
- Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joints causing pain and lameness) breed mean score 15.4 (parents should be lower)
- Eye disease: Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) ( gradual loss of sight) (annual testing)
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (prcd-PRA)
- Gangliosidosis (GM1)
- Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy (JDCM)
- Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Hypoadrenocorticism (lethargy, weakness)
- Canine follicular dysplasia (hair loss)
- Haemophilia A (blood clotting disease – a severe type but may be uncommon)
- Multiple ocular defects
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: