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There are many reasons why man developed the various dog breeds. Some help him tend his lifestock, others retrieve game for the sportsman, others dig foxes and badgers from their underground dens, and some exist only to be decorative companions. However one of the most unusual reasons for development can be claimed by the Portuguese Water Dog, also known as the Cao de Agua.

The breed was developed along the coast of Portugal by fishermen to aid them in their work. The dogs dived into dangerous seas to retrieve fish which escaped when the lines were being pulled in and nets which broke loose. Cylinders were also attached to the dogs' necks and the dogs were used to carry messages between boats, or between boats and shore.

When the fleet was in the harbour the dogs curled up on deck and guarded the boat. So valued were these dogs that they had a right to a share of the fish as rations and twenty-five percent in money of the earnings of a crew member.

Changes in the fishing fleets saw the use of the dogs decline in Portugal and at one time they were near to extinction. Interest in the breed as a show dog and companion saw numbers increase, particularly in the USA during the 1980s and today, although not a well known breed, they are devoted companions in many homes throughout the world.

Portuguese Water Dogs have a profuse, thick, strong coat which comes in two varieties. The. curly coat has compact, cylindrical curls and is somewhat lustreless, while the other coat type falls gently in waves and has a slight sheen. They are a nonshedding breed and the coat is fairly easy to maintain, however the coat must be clipped regularly. In Australia, Europe and UK they are shown in a 'lion clip', but in USA they may also be shown in a 'retriever clip' where the entire coat is clipped or scissored to about 2.5cms to follow the outline of the body.

It is the character of this breed which is so enchanting. Portuguese Water Dogs are natural comedians. Their expression is direct and haughty and they move with their head and tail held high.

Portuguese Water Dogs need daily exercise. They are a very boisterous and strong willed breed but have a natural attentiveness and eagerness to please. However the stamina, intelligence and exuberance of the Portuguese Water Dog may be a challenge and they are recommended only for owners able to provide the activity, company and exercise need to stop the dog becoming bored.

Further Information
  Books - Portuguese Water Dog Pet Love

Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia

Last Update: 05/03/07 09:58 Views: 2959

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