Dog lovers may find it interesting that the portuguese water dog was already well-known in Portugal for centuries, but not exactly because of its supposedly non-allergen hair. The truth is, the breed has been a multi-talented fisherman’s assistant. Trying to stir up the Portie’s more ancient origins is really a murky affair, but it is rather close in the bloodline to other European water dog breeds. Some of these dogs are experts and master when it comes to waterfowl retrieval, but the Portie’s genius were meant for other specialties. Some suggested that the Portuguese water dog was taken to Portugal by the Visisigoths, around the 15th century.
To be an effective PWD back then, the dog in question needed to be adept at the following: herding fish into nets; message courier; functioning as a lookout; moving and retrieving nets; as well as rescuing capsized fishermen.
If we were to go back to the Middle ages and pay a visit to the Algarve on Portugal’s southern coast, we would be able to take a look at the PWD working in his element. In the midst of a small fleet of fishing boats, a Portuguese water Dog is sure to be found, passing and relaying information from boat to boat, keeping a keen eye on the water in order to help spot a shoal of fish, and putting to use its unique repertoire of barks and sighs in order to find safe passage through fog. In his home country, the dog is known as Cao de Agua, or “dog of water”.
But there are really some elements that not even some assiduous portuguese water dog puppy training can resolve. By the early decades of the 1900s, traditional fishing methods were already getting replaced and updated, and Portuguese Water Dog were being spotted less and less among fishing boats. But in a stroke of luck for the breed, Vasco Bensuade, a wealthy Portuguese shipping merchant and dog lover, took a liking for the breed and bought a PWD named Leao (lion).
Eventually, Bensaude’s dog Leao became the founding sire of the kennel he put up to stabilize the Portuguese Water Dog breed at Algarbiorum. As for Leao, he became the ideal example upon which the Portie breed was soon patterned on. To sum up, it is largely thanks to Vasco Bensuade that we get to keep Portuguese Water Dogs as pets. It is also thanks to these early efforts that, year later, a breed standard was made public, the breed was seen more and more thereafter in dog shows, and as a result, there is greater demand for portuguese water dog puppy training.