Obamas Dog - The Portuguese Water Dog

Is The Portuguese Water Dog Breed for You?


Public interest in the Portuguese Water Dog, or Portie as they’re affectionately called, skyrocketed after Senator Ted Kennedy gave Bo to the Obama family. The pictures of this adorable pup loping across the White House lawn entranced the nation, but does that mean the dog is for everyone?

Well, no. Porties require a lot of attention and care. Here are some of the attributes of a Portuguese Water Dog so you can judge for yourself.

The dog is hypoallergenic as we learned from all the news reports, which was necessary for the family because one of the Obama daughters has allergies. He’s also waterproof with webbed feet. That’s because he was originally a working dog for seamen.

While the dog is mostly non-shedding, it does shed, and the loose fur stays mainly on the body, so the dog has to be brushed frequently. A Furminator would be good for this task. Also, he needs grooming to keep his coat trimmed. There are two different trims for the dog, lion and retriever. The coat can vary from wavy to curly.

Porties are very smart and stubborn, quite a combination. The human companion then must reinforce consistently that he is the alpha dog. Then, the Portuguese Water Dog will take his place in the pecking order and obey.

Portuguese Water Dogs are also loyal and good with children although some do tend to mouth body parts. Their high spirits might not go well with extremely small children, but children the age and sizes of Malia and Sasha Obama do quite well with the dog.

Porties are very high energy dogs, particularly the younger ones. While all very endearing, the dog requires lots of exercise. If you want this dog as your own, prepare to run your and his legs off. Also, he gets bored easily and is a chewer, so he has to have a lot of toys that give him a challenge, such as the Kong Xtreme dog chew toy.

Portuguese Water Dogs are medium-sized dogs that weigh from 40 to 50 pounds for the males and 35 to 45 pounds for the females. They do well in either apartments or houses as long as they get lots and lots of exercise.

Usually quite healthy, Porties can have genetic problems that breeders are trying to breed out. Also, as the dogs age, they can get hip dysplasia, which is a deterioration of the muscles, ligaments and connective tissue at the hip. The dog will feel pain and limp.

The dogs can live to be 10 to 14 years old. For a medium-sized dog, that’s fairly common.

Hold onto your wallets. A puppy can cost $2000. Yes, three zeroes. For that outlay you’d better really want the dog.

If you understand the needs of this dog, you’ll have a beautiful life together. What he needs is exercise, mental activity, exercise, brushing, exercise, training and exercise.