The Portuguese Water Dog is a lively, well-mannered, and high-energy working dog that’s fun for any active family. The breed was made even more popular when President Obama’s family introduced their two Porties, Bo and Sunny, into the US White House.
These canines have a long heritage as gun dogs, besides being originally bred fishermen. If you plan on taking in one as a companion, it’s good that you know just how big it will get, when it stops growing, and how you can measure and ensure optimal growth. They can get up to 37.5–47.5 pounds and between 18 to 21 inches.
Keep reading to learn about the physical characteristics of the Portuguese Water Dog, their growth patterns, and how their sizes vary between sexes.
Portuguese Water Dog Breed Overview
Portuguese Water Dogs are burly canines with a thick curly mane and low shedding qualities, originally bred on Portugal’s coast. Since their working days, they have been kept as pets due to their positive traits and characteristics.1 They’re excellent companions for many households, including those with small children, and will thrive if there’s a pool, pond, or near the beach nearby.
It’s a reliable canine whose intelligence makes it perfect for water-based activities such as hunting and rescue efforts. And as a working dog, it requires a high level of activities to stimulate it physically and mentally. However, it’s essential to keep it in a fenced-in backyard so it doesn’t roam.
It has an independent streak, but it prefers its owner’s company; loneliness can cause separation anxiety. If left alone for long periods, you’ll notice destructive behavior such as scratching, digging, and chewing if your pet is stressed.
Portuguese Water Dog Size and Growth Chart
You may classify the Portuguese Water Dog as a medium-sized canine breed that averages between 35 and 60 pounds and 17 to 23 inches in height. With a final predetermined size revealed at around the age of two, these dogs continue to grow and will reach adult height by the time they’re 18 months old.
Male Portuguese Water Dogs are heavier than females on average, as they can grow to between 42 and 60 pounds compared to their counterparts’ 35 to 50 pounds. A male Portie will stand around 20 and 23 inches, while a female can only be as tall as 17 to 21 inches.
Here’s a table of comparison between the age of Portuguese Water Dogs and their weight and height ranges.
|7 to 9 inches
|8 to 10 inches
|9 to 11 inches
|10 to 12 inches
|13 to 15 inches
|14 to16 inches
|16 to 19 inches
|17 to 20 inches
|18 to 21 inches
When Does a Portuguese Water Dog Stop Growing?
A Portuguese Water Dog will reach adult size by the time it’s 18 months old, but it can take at least two years to achieve maximum weight. It’s a quick-growing breed that matures faster than most medium-sized dogs, although its growth rate slows during adolescence.
After 6 months, your teenage Portuguese Water Dog will start filling out and gaining muscle mass, weight, and height. During this time, regular vet checkups and a healthy diet focused on nutritional quality instead of quantity are essential to support this growth burst.2
If you get the diet balance right, you’ll avoid its susceptibility to obesity. The amount of food should equal its activity level and age. Hold back on treats, especially if your pet has completed training. Consult your vet if you have concerns about your dog’s weight.
Factors Affecting the Size of Portuguese Water Dogs
Several factors play a role in a Portuguese Water Dog’s growth process, some of which will impact its weight or height. While some aspects, such as diet or activity levels, are manageable, others, like gender and genetics, are beyond your control.
Gender and Genetics
Genetics plays a central role in the size growth of your Portuguese Water Dog. In fact, you can tell your puppy’s eventual weight or height by looking at the parents. It’s, therefore, essential to find out your dog’s breed history to anticipate how big it’ll get due to the inherited genes.
Regarding gender, the males are taller and heavier than the females.
Besides affecting the health of your Portuguese Water Dog, diet can impact their size as it’ll either stunt or make them oversize. Therefore, you must offer your pet the right balanced nutritious food, spreading feeding time into two meals per day once they reach adulthood.
Include all nutrients in your dog’s meals if you prepare them at home and inspect commercial foods to ensure their source of protein is real meat or fish. With the guidance of your vet or pet nutrition specialist, you can also supplement this diet with vitamins and minerals.
Health and Exercise
The Portuguese Water Dog needs a fair amount of physical activity. Being initially bred for fishing, it’s sure not a lazy dog; exercise will help it cope if it’s not employed as a working canine. Give it at least 30 to 60 minutes of stimulation daily.3
These pets love water, and it’s recommended that you give them access to a swimming pool, pond, or beach if possible. The dog will thrive outdoors, and it’s the perfect companion for bike rides, jogs, or hikes to keep them active and mentally or physically stimulated.
Have your pet participate in as many activities as possible, enrolling them in agility competitions or hunting and fishing expeditions. That offers them an outlet for their intelligence and energy levels and prevents the development of destructive behavior or disobedience.
Ideal Diet for Maintaining a Healthy Weight
The Portuguese Water Dog requires a fair amount of protein, like lean meats, fish, poultry, and eggs. That’s because this canine requires a nutritionally dense diet that’s primed to build strong muscles and bones.
It would help if you avoided poor-quality commercial meals, as some of their ingredients will be detrimental to maintaining a healthy weight. A grain-free diet is recommended; wheat, corn, and oats will cause bloating and other health problems.
Initially, this breed fed mainly on fish, but you should watch for preservatives and other chemicals that may cause stomach sensitivities and food allergies.
How to Measure Your Portuguese Water Dog
Knowing your Portuguese Water Dogs’ size is essential to determine whether they’re growing correctly or are prone to being underweight, overweight, or obese. These measurements will also assist in acquiring suitable fitting collars, harnesses, clothes, carrying crates, kennel doors, or beds for your pet.
You can use a measuring tape for height and a weighing scale for weight. If you don’t have canine-friendly weighing scales, typical bathroom ones will do; simply take your metrics holding the dog and then without it and subtract the results.
For height, have your dog stand on a flat surface, holding it still and straight, or have another pair of hands hold it calmly. Start measuring from their withers, or the highest point below the base of the neck and between the shoulder blades.
Your dog’s height is the measurement from the ground or flat surface it’s standing on to the withers. It’s generally between 20 and 23 inches for adult males or 17 to 21 inches for females above 16 to 18 months.
Portuguese Water Dogs are highly intelligent, active, spirited, and eager-to-please canines that grow to medium size and weight. It’s the right pet for active families and those willing to give the dog sufficient mental and physical stimulation through exercise and other activities.
If you’re an outdoorsy family that doesn’t live in a cramped apartment, the Portuguese Water Dog is the right pet for you. It’s a unique and exciting breed that will be manageable, and neither will you consider its final adult size small.
Featured Image Credit: Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock