A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website here http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/watch for details of any such current issues.If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.

General Appearance   Robust, well balanced, rectangular in outline, very strongly muscled on shoulders. Hard, penetrating and attentive expression.

Characteristics   Very intelligent and tremendously energetic ‘fisherman’s dog’ with great swimming and diving traits.

Temperament   Pleasant disposition, self-willed but very obedient to owner. Brave and tireless.

Head and Skull   Large, well proportioned, skull slightly longer than muzzle, well defined occiput. Stop well defined. Muzzle tapers slightly. Forehead has central  furrow for two-thirds of length of head, frontal bones prominent. Nose wide, nostrils well open. Black in black, black and white, and white dogs, liver in brown, brown and white, and brown tones.

Eyes   Medium, round, set well apart. Black or dark brown with dark eye rims.

Ears   Heart shaped, dropped, thin, set well above eye level, held close to head, except at back. Tips not below neck line.

Mouth   Scissor bite, jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws, strongly developed canines.

Neck   Short, straight, strongly muscled. Carried high, no mane or dewlap.

Forequarters   Straight, strong boned and well muscled. Shoulders muscular and well laid. Pasterns long and upright.

Body   Length from point of shoulder to point of buttock slightly greater than height at withers.  Withers are wide and not prominent. Chest wide and deep, reaching to elbow. Ribs well sprung and carried well back. Short, strong loin.  Moderate tuck-up. Croup only slightly inclined.

Hindquarters   Straight and very strongly muscled, well angulated, buttocks long and well curved, strong hock, metatarsals long.

Feet   Round, rather flat, toes not too long or too knuckled up. Membrane reaching to tip of toes, covered with hair. Central pads very  thick.

Tail   The tail is a distinctive feature of the breed and should be medium set, thick at base and tapering, not reaching below the hock. When the dog is moving, the tail should be carried gaily, curved above the level of the topline, but not necessarily in a full curve

Gait/Movement   Walking, lively short steps. A light trot and energetic gallop.

Coat   Profuse, covering whole body except inside the elbows and thighs. Two distinct types, both without undercoats.
(a) Hair fairly long, loosely waved with slight sheen, hair on head erect, ears well feathered.
(b) Hair shorter, fairly harsh and dense, compact curls, lacking lustre, head hair similar to body, hair on ears somewhat wavy.
Muzzle and entire hindquarters from the last rib clipped.  Two thirds of tail clipped from set on.
Colour   Black, white, various shades of brown, black and white, brown and white. Skin bluish under black, white, and black and white dogs.
Size   Height: dogs: 50-57 cms (191/2-221/2 ins); bitches: 43-52 cms (17-201/2 ins). Weight: dogs: 19-25 kgs (42-55 lbs); bitches: 16-22 kgs (35-48 lbs).
Faults   Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

Note   Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Last Updated - September 2015
Standard of The Portuguese Water Dog
(Reproduced by permission of the Kennel Club)
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