the line of the eyes and do not reach below the lower jaw. Th e ears lie close to the head to help protect the ear canals from the water when swimming. Th ese aspects of the head as described in the written standard cannot be determined without hands on examination. When swimming, the dog uses its tail as a rudder; therefore, the tail should be powerful and thickly based. Th e tail tapers to its tip and is set slightly below the line of the back. It should be flexible, and reach no longer than to the hock. A hands on examination should be used to confirm these characteristics of the tail. When the dog is alert, the tail should be held in a loose ring, the front of which should not reach forward of the loin. To present this impression when being stacked in the ring, the handler may touch the dog’s tail to encourage it to hold it as if alert. One should find a dog of moderate size with strong, substantial but not coarse bone. Again this is best determined by hands on examination. In males, their height at the withers is expected to range from 20"-23" with the ideal considered to be 22". Females are a bit smaller with their height range between 17"-21" with the ideal considered 19". PWDs should look and feel like the athletic dogs and swimmers they are or could be. To be able to do the water tasks that had been expected of them by the historic fish- ermen of Portugal, the breed requires an strong athletic body. Th e slightly o ff -square body with well inclined, strongly muscled shoulders in balance with a rear of similar or equal angulation and muscle allow for a well balanced dog with unimpeded move- ment. Grooming can disguise both cor- rect and incorrect structure. Th e hands on examination is the only way to know that what you see is what is really there. A shoulder that is too straight will impede the dog in completing its water tasks especially delivering retrieval items to hand and boarding the boat in deep water. To aid in swimming, the PWD’s feet are round and rather flat with soft webbing between the toes. Th eir pasterns and hocks should be long and strong. A straight, short, strong neck balances the body and head providing the strength needed to do its tasks. Th e neck should not be long
Photos are of the same dog showing what is under the hair.
may cause the appearance of a fault where one does not exist. A judge needs to deter- mine the true structure of the dog and that is by a hands on examination. As the Portu- guese Water Dog is a true working breed, it should be judged as such. After viewing a profile for overall appearance, one judging a PWD should approach the dog from the front to proceed with the evaluation. During the hands on examination, one should find an impressive head. In profile, the skull should be slightly longer than the muzzle. It should be broad and well domed with a slight depression in the middle. Th e forehead is prominent with a central fur- row extending two thirds of the distance from the stop to the occiput which is well defined. Th e stop should be well defined. Th e muzzle should be substantial and wid-
er at the base than at the nose. Th e nose should be large. Th e teeth should meet in a scissors or level bite and should be large and strong; able to do strenuous retrieval tasks in and out of the water. Th e Portu- guese Water Dog’s eyes are medium sized, set well apart, roundish in appearance and neither prominent nor sunken, set a bit obliquely giving an attentive and, at times, penetrating expression. When looking into the dog’s face, if the eyes give a “startled” impression, they are too round. Eyes that are too round cannot be set obliquely and are not as the standard defines. Th e eyes should be black or various shades of brown with darker eyes preferred. Feel the ear leather. Pursuant to the standard, the ear leather should be thin and heart shaped. Th e ears are placed on the skull set well above
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