Please check out the various links for health information, available tests and ongoing studies for our breed. An educated and informed buyer can’t be taken advantage of by an unscrupulous producer of dogs for profit. Stay informed and if and when you get your puppy, please join your local and National Breed Club.

DNA Tests Offered

  1. GM1 Gangliosidosis – in Portuguese Water Dogs- GM1 Gangliosidosis (GM1-G) is a fatal lysosomal storage disease. Affected Portuguese Water Dogs show progressive neurologic impairment leading to signs of cerebellar dysfunction between 5-6 months of age. GM1-G is autosomal recessive, meaning that animals with two copies of this allele will be affected. Animals with one copy of the gene will be clinically normal carriers.
    1. More information: AnimalLabs
  2. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) – is an eye disease that will eventually cause blindness. Progressive rod-cone degeneration (prcd) is the form that affects the Portuguese Water Dog.
  3. Early Onset PRA– presents as an earlyonset PRA where night blindness is recognized at 1–2 years of age followed by rapid progression to total blindness
  4. Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy (JDCM) – is a deadly disease found in the breed. It is recessively inherited and causes sudden death in puppies between the ages of five weeks and seven months. Fortunately, this disease no longer presents a challenge for breeders.
  5. Microphthalmia Syndrome (MO) – Microphthalmia and delayed growth syndrome (aka “puppy eye syndrome”) has been found in Portuguese Water Dogs by breeders dating as far back as 1986. Affected dogs present with microphthalmia of varying severity, other eye abnormalities, short stature and other findings. Males and females can be affected, although females predominate (about 70%). Pedigree studies suggest an autosomal recessive inheritance. Human literature reports numerous syndromes associated with microphthalmia, and many genes have been identified as having a causative role. Fortunately, breeders now have a test available to them to determine the genetic status of their dog prior to breeding.

Screening Tests Offered

Hip Dysplasia- Canine Hip Dysplasia typically develops because of an abnormally developed hip joint but can also be caused by cartilage damage from a traumatic fracture. With cartilage damage or a hip joint that isn’t formed properly, over time the existing cartilage will lose its thickness and elasticity causing lameness and pain.

Elbow Dysplasia- a general term used to identify an inherited polygenic disease in the elbow. Three specific etiologies make up this disease and they can occur independently or in conjunction with one another.

Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER) – Genetic diseases are those that are passed on from parent to offspring through genes that carry the codes for each specific trait. Many of the diseases and disorders that affect the eyes have genetic factors.

Not a Health Issue but a Test is Available

PWDCA recommended Health tests for Improper Coat Test.