PORTUGUESE WATER DOG
Th ese tasks required the dogs to be excellent swimmers and seafarers. Dogs were capable of diving underwater to retrieve fi shing gear and to prevent the escape of fi sh from the nets. Constant swimming and working with the fi shermen accounted for the remarkable muscular development of their hindquarters. As not- ed in the breed standard, this dog of excep- tional intelligence and loyal companion- ship served its master well. Our standard states: “pasterns are long and strong” and “metatarsus long...” Th is structure helps the breed to be an e ffi cient and productive mover in the water. Th e fi rst written description of the Por- tuguese Water dog is dated 1297, and con- cerns a monk’s report of a dying sailor who had been brought out of the sea by a dog that had a “black coat of rough hair, cut to the fi rst rib and with a tuft on the tip of the tail.” Due to this description, many early writings referred to the breed as the “Lion Dog.” Even today, you will still fi nd the breed in one of two acceptable clips; the Lion Clip or the Retriever Clip. Th e Portuguese Water Dog is smart, energetic, loving, mouthy, and needs a lot of attention and training. In fact, channeling the stamina, intelligence, and exuberance
of the dynamic PWD is highly rewarding (although a noteworthy challenge for any dog fancier). As with all Working breeds, having a place and responsibilities in the home makes for a happy PWD. Th eir favor- ite spot will always be by their master’s side. You can fi nd this breed competing in most all dog sports; agility, obedience, ral- ly, scent, tracking, dock diving, fast track, fl y ball, barn hunt, freestyle, carting, trick dog, parkour, weight pull, and herding. PWDs have been trained and certi fi ed as Search and Rescue Dogs. Many of you may recall “Dutch” and his owner/trainer who worked the World Trade Center aftermath. Dutch was cross-trained for live and cadaver search, making him an extremely valuable asset during those trying days. Th e PWDCA has its own sanctioned water trials that mimic many of the jobs they were once prized for in Portugal. It is an amazing sight to see our dogs still per- forming what were once vital functions for the fi sherman. We encourage anyone inter- ested in our breed, or in judging, to attend a water trial to understand the importance of the proper structure needed to complete these important tasks. Dates and locations can be found at PWDCA.org.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 2020 | 273
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