Sunday, December 30, 2007

Is a Portuguese Water Dog the Right Dog for You?

Every breeder has criteria for the type of home they find suitable for
one of their puppies. My criteria include no children under five years of
age and a family that has the time for the puppy. This usually means
that someone is home during the day or the puppy can go to work with
a family member. As I like to keep track of my pups, I prefer owners
who are geographically close. If a family is open to having a show pup,
or they want to do agility or water work with one of my dogs, they go to
the top of my waiting list.
Many people think they can manage this active breed plus a toddler
and do both justice. Others suggest puppy day care, dog walkers, and
various other measures so the dog won't explode waiting for them to
return home each day. These arrangements are often suggested by
people who are really anxious to have a dog but who really don't have
time for a dog of this breed. Portys were bred to be with their person
and to work with them on their boat. Portys want to be with you and
languish when neglected.
Few people who have not had a Porty realize how boisterous this breed
is, how mouthy (children will say "he bit me!") and how little they respect
your space (jumping up, the hit and run maneuver, the head butt).
Recently two of my little devils ran down a hill behind me taking me right
off my feet. I just got the cast off my leg the week the Noel Litter was born.
It is true, most people who have a Porty will never have another breed.
These dogs are so bright and have so much personality. There is a whole
lexicon of terms for Porty behavior that Porty owners know (the woo woos,
the shark, counter surfing, stuffy on walks, destuffing stuffies, etc.)
But Porty ownership is not for the faint of heart. I tell people if they want
a dog with the personality of a lab, get a lab. A Porty is a whole different
There are about 1400 Porty puppies registered with the AKC each year.
Each of these puppies will have found their home placed by a dedicated
breeder who is going to be responsible to that puppy for the rest of its life.
We all have the policy that the dog returns to us regardless of reason or
age of the dog if the first owner is unable to keep the dog. It is the
antithesis of the ads you'll see in the newspapers for other breeds:"3 males,
2 females, cash only". Once you have your dog, they never want to see you
again. With a Porty, you get both a dog and a mentor for the life of the dog.


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