With curly hair and a single hypoallergenic coat like the Poodle, the Portuguese Water Dog doesn’t shed. The trade-off is that they require a regular trim. The frequency depends on the style you choose, but you can expect them to need a haircut every month or two in order to stay well-groomed. Their hair texture is either wavy or curled tightly, which gives you a few options. Let’s dive in to see what style is a good fit for your Portuguese Water Dog.
The 3 Styles for Your Portuguese Water Dog
1. Retriever Clip
This classic style resembles a puppy cut. The length of the hair is about 1 inch all over the body, except for the head, paws, and tail. The hair on their head is left a little longer so that it has a fluffy domed appearance. Their paws are similarly rounded, and the fur on their tail is left longer. In dogs with tight curls, this results in a cute ball on the end of their tail. For wavy-coated Water Dogs, the fur is draped majestically, forming a plume.
2. Lion Clip
The Lion Clip suits the Portuguese Water Dog so well that it’s considered a popular choice. It’s certainly a bold move that draws attention to their excellent form. This style allows the hair on the front of their body to grow long, contrasting with the shaved rear end. A bit of fur is left on the tip of the tail, completing the lion look. A heads up: if you’re considering this style, you should know it does take a lot of work!
3. Summer Cut
Given their history on the Mediterranean, Portuguese Water Dogs tolerate mild to relatively hot conditions, but they may need a little relief if you live in an area that gets unbearably hot in the summer. The summer cut basically takes their fur down close to the skin. This style allows for easier maintenance, which can be a perk for dogs that spend a lot of time outside.
How to Groom Your Portuguese Water Dog
In between professional haircuts, you’ll need to care for your Portuguese Water Dog’s coat at home. If they get their hair washed and cut at the groomer’s every month, you probably won’t need to bathe them at home unless they become exceptionally dirty. Generally, dogs don’t need to be bathed more than once a month—and sometimes not even that often. Excessive baths can strip the naturally produced oils from their coat, which can result in a dry, dull coat. Ironically, greasy skin can also be a sign of over-bathing, as their body struggles to compensate for the lost oils. A good rule of thumb is to only bathe them once a month, or as needed, with a gentle sulfate-free shampoo to keep their coat in top condition.
Brushing, however, is a different story. Your PWD needs to be brushed several times a week in order to stay tangle-free. It’s essential to use a slicker brush to make sure you’re brushing down to the skin in order to reach the mats. Brushing only on the surface level can actually create serious matting, so use gentle but firm pressure to make sure you’re getting to the bottom.
Like you would for any breed, you’ll also need to brush their teeth several times a week, and trim their nails as needed.
Whether you choose the regal Lion Clip, the classic Retriever Clip, or a practical Summer Cut, your Portuguese Water Dog is sure to look stunning. The Retriever Clip is the most popular option and is probably what comes to mind when you think of their breed standard. The Lion Clip is an awesome idea if you’re looking to make a statement or highlight their beautiful figure. While mostly chosen because of its low maintenance profile, the Summer Cut can also be a flattering option for your PWD’s figure. Regardless of what style you choose, regular brushing at home with a slicker brush is the key to keeping their style in top shape.
Featured Image Credit: Zadranka, Shutterstock