The Portuguese Water Dog is a wonderful dog for any active person who wants to put a lot of time and effort into their dog. If you are the type of person who enjoys outdoor activities like walking, running, and water sports, the Portuguese Water Dog is an excellent fit for your lifestyle. He is a very active dog and he loves the water – hence his appropriate name. And while the Portuguese Water Dog does not need to live in a home on or extremely close to a body of water, he will be a much happier dog if he has access to water on a regular basis.
The Portuguese Water Dog's preference for water is of course rooted in the origination of the breed. The dog was brought to the Iberian Peninsula and the Portuguese coast by invaders over 500 years ago. This dog was quickly adopted for his incredible skills in the water. Since Portugal was a seafaring nation, the dogs were taken aboard sea vessels and were utilized as fishermen. The dogs would follow the fishermen's commands to dive into the ocean and retrieve dropped fishing equipment, or to "herd" fish into nets. The Portuguese Water Dog was also used as a messenger by fishing boats. The dog would carry messages between boats on the open water, or from ship to shore.
Fishing technologies have made the Portuguese Water Dog obsolete as a fishing dog. He is no longer needed to retrieve lost items from the water, or to courier messages back and forth between boats or the boat and the shore. But he has become a common companion dog, and as such he needs a lot of attention and time with his master. This time is most happily spent playing in the water.
Since the dog originated on the water, and because his main occupation was as a retriever, he has a very strong desire to be in the water and to retrieve for his master. This means his owner should always be up for a rousing game of fetch in the water. Take your Portuguese Water Dog to the lake or sea shore and throw a stick into the water. He will gladly run, dive into the water, and retrieve the stick, bring it back to you, and wait patiently for you to throw the stick again.
As with any breed that loves the water, the Portuguese Water Dog does not require access to the water each and every day. However, he is happiest when well trained and well exercised. If you are interested in competitive dog sports, the Portuguese Water Dog will excel in these, and can be taught to do a host of tasks in the water. This is a terrific way for your and your Portuguese Water Dog to bond in the water.