Wow, our new calendar is now available. This is the second year running that there is now an Australian based Portuguese Water Dog calendar. All dogs featured were bred in Australia! There is no other pwd calendar like this in the world. Just click on the picture above to order, or click here! It's selling like hotcakes! Just come and meet the Bluegrace family.
The Different Looks of the Portuguese Water Dog
However, the objective of this page is to demonstrate the different looks of the Portuguese Water Dog, as accepted in the show ring in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. There are different variations on a theme for this breed which is "acceptable" in the US and Canada, but not in the show ring in the aforementioned countries.
Coat typeEffectively there are two different types of coat, both of which are acceptable. The first is the wavy coat. The wavy is considered to be the more "traditional" coat type, but is as acceptable as the curly coat. Normally, the curly coats are kept shorter than the wavy, with the "acceptable" coat length normally being around 3-6 cm long. It is important that the curly is not presented in the same way as a poodle coat. Of overall importance, out of a score of 100, the Portuguese consider the coat to be of 5% importance. In a poodle, the coat importance is closer to 60%. So it is critical to appreciate the Portuguese Water Dog is not a "glamour" dog, but a true working breed.
As you become more experienced with the PWD, you notice that the reality is that coat types vary from the very very tight curly, to the almost straight. It is important the wavy coat is not blow dried straight and presented looking like a Newfoundland. The coat must be allowed to be presented with its natural wave.
The interesting thing with curly puppies, is they will often look like straggily wavy puppies for a long time until their adult coat comes through. I like to shave off curly boys completely at 12 weeks of age to allow a stronger coat to come through earlier. Seeing a wavy and a curlier pwd pup side by side at a show, it is quite likely you won't be able to tell the difference in coat type. But these differences will become more apparent as the pups age.
Sometimes it can take 3-4 years for the curls to come through properly, confusing both owner and breeder as to whether the dog is a wavy or a curly! And just to confuse people more, the dog can have a curly head, yet a wavy front. The key to deciding which coat type the dog is, is to look at the lustre of the coat. Curly coats will not shine, while wavy coats do.
ColourThe allowable colours of the coat in the Portuguese are:
As you can imagine, the colours can be stunning. The dogs with white markings, are marked along the traditional lines known as "Irish Markings". This is the same genetic pattern as which boxers, for example, are marked with white.
This photo taken at left is of Bear (Ch Bluegrace Embarcadico), a curly black and white dog. Notice that while he has only a small amount of white, it is placed along the lines as you would expect with Irish markings.
Primo, a stunning top winning dog from the US, is shown here at left, with the more pronounced Irish Markings.
In America, there has been some different variations to coat colour, with ticking being seen in a small number of dogs, and "parti-colours" allowed. A parti colour is a dog with between 30% and 99% white. This is not an acceptable colour scheme in most parts of the world for the show ring, but they do make lovely pets (just make sure they aren't deaf).
One of the most famous white pwd's in recent times is a dog from Portugal known as Booguie. This is his picture shown here above.
The Fading GeneThe fading gene is seen predominantly in brown PWD's. The puppies are usually born with a lovely rich brown colour, and then they gradually fade out to being an ordinary light brown, or mixed brown colour by the time they are aged 2.
The risk with the browns is that when bred to blacks, you can then get the fading gene seen very early in black dogs. Some people claim this colour is "silver", but the reality is that it is a faded black. Brown dogs also tend to carry a lighter eye, which can then replicate itself when bred to black dogs providing puppies with a yellowish eye tinge.
Other colour variationsThere is an increasing tendency for some breeders to promote different colour variations. For further reference to this, judges are encouraged to read Carla Molinari's extended standard to understand what is preferred.
This site is copyrighted to Jane M Anderson, and may be re-produced with permission only. Please email Jane for such.
.... visitors to this site since June 20, 2005. First published in 2003.