There are quite a few breeders of Portuguese Water Dogs but not all breeders are alike.

When looking for a breeder look for someone who is striving to preserve the breed for future generations. The goal of a preservation breeder is to keep the traits, characteristics and hereditary factors which made our breed distinct intact. These breeders have studied and researched our foundation dogs and understand the health aspects of our breed. They are interested in breeding sound dogs in mind and body that meet the physical standard of our breed and can do the job they were bred to do. This does not mean your puppy has to go out and be shown or win titles in obedience and water or be bred. Your puppy should look like a Portuguese Water Dog and act like a Portuguese Water Dog.

The Portuguese Water Dog Standard states the following which should apply to your puppy/dog:

“A dog of exceptional intelligence, it obeys any orders given by its master with facility and apparent pleasure. It is obedient with those who look after it and with those for whom it works. An animal of spirited disposition, independent, brave and very resistant to fatigue, it has a hard, penetrating and attentive expression, splendid sight and fair nose.”

This also means Portuguese Water Dogs are not for every household! These are working dogs and should have structured obedience classes for the first 12-18 months of its life. Portuguese Water Dogs are intelligent and high on trainability which makes it quite easy and enjoyable to train if you find a good trainer. IF you are not interested in putting the time and energy into these wonderful dogs then please don’t get one. Because they are intelligent if you don’t invest in time and energy in training them then they will figure out ways to train you and or get into trouble.

Here are some important facts you should take into consideration before purchasing a Portuguese Water Dog:

  1. Make sure the breeder you are dealing with is reputable and has done all the health testing on the parents of the litter. In order to check, go to Portuguese Water Dogs Club of America’s Heath Tests page and you can look up information about the required health tests. For a breeder to be listed on the referral list, they must be club members and abide by the Code of Ethics. They must also do the appropriate testing on the breeding pair prior to being bred.  
  2. Be prepared to meet and visit the reputable breeder at their home and know you probably won’t be able to pick out your own puppy. Reputable breeder’s temperament test and evaluate the pups on their conformation prior to placing and ask a lot of questions about you, your lifestyle, wants and needs before placing a pup. They also will not place one that won’t fit in with you and your family.
  3. Reputable breeders do not sell sight unseen or take orders for upcoming litters. They are not selling a sweatshirt but a living, breathing, bundle of fun that can’t always meet the color scheme you have pre-selected.
  4. Don’t be timid ask the breeder lots of questions. They enjoy talking about their dogs and should want to mentor and educate you about the breed. Check out the Portuguese Water Dogs Club of America’s Before You Buy Section for questions to ask the breeders.
  5. Verify the information you receive from the breeder. A reputable breeder will give you copies of health certificates, contracts and complete information on the dog and bitch they bred and why they bred these two and what they hope to accomplish/get out of the breeding.
  6. BEWARE of breeders in it for the $$$. They tend to have spiffy websites where you can pick out your puppy, and ship to destinations anywhere without meeting you. They also claim to health test but usually only do a few of the tests and quite often breed their animals before they have reached maturity (2yrs).
  7. They may also have canned statements like “I don’t show my dogs because they are my fur babies, and I don’t want them kept in crates.”
    • A reputable breeder generally shows in conformation and/or performance events and their dogs are clean and live in a clean environment. Check out the home you visit and see if all the dogs are kept in sanitary conditions and are well maintained. This is labor of love for the reputable breeder; they are preserving the breed not exploiting it.
  8. They won’t have pedigrees or registered names listed on their websites and have limited knowledge about the background of their dogs.
    • Plenty of photos of their dogs but no real information on them.
    • May have multiple breeds they are breeding because this is a business for supporting them and not for the betterment of any of the breeds they produce.
  9. They love to advertise they got their dogs from another country, especially Portugal.
    • Several of these for-profit breeders are well known in the US and reputable breeders here won’t sell them dogs. 
    • NoteNot all dogs brought from other countries fall into the hands of these folks; several are with great breeders in this country.
  10. There are many scams that will have you place a deposit on an imaginary litter. It is very important that you meet the breeder and their dogs, discuss contracts, temperament and expectations prior to placing a deposit on a puppy.
  11. Stay away from sites that sell puppies as brokers over the internet. These pups generally come from large puppy mills in the Midwest and are NOT health tested and at times their breed is in question.

This should give you a good reference point to start your search and find the perfect dog and a great breeder!