Portuguese Water Dog Vs. Spanish Water Dog: Compared

Portuguese Water Dog Vs. Spanish Water Dog

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When it comes to choosing a working dog, you might be wondering which Portuguese Water Dog vs. Spanish Water Dog is the better option. After all, both breeds are known for being hardworking, reliable, and superb in strength and determination. 

However, they also have distinct characteristics that may put one breed over the other depending on your preferences.

Here is a brief comparison of these two rare breeds, so you can make an informed decision.


Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dogs, or Porties as they’re affectionately called, is an ancient breed with a long and storied history. Though their exact origins are shrouded in mystery, it is believed that they originated in the central Asiatic steppes around 700 BC. 

From there, they made their way to Europe, where they were adopted by the Goths.

It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that the Portuguese Water Dog truly began to take shape as we know it today. It was during this time that they became popular among Portuguese fishermen, who utilized their webbed feet and swimming prowess to help with tasks such as retrieving nets and herding fish.

Spanish Water Dog

Spanish Water Dog

The Spanish Water Dog is a breed of dog that hails from Andalusia, Spain. This canine has been around for more than 800 years, but it was only newly recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2015.

This rough and ready dog is a versatile companion, capable of performing various tasks such as herding, hunting, and water retrieval. Although it is clear that this water dog originated in Spain, the precise ancestry of the breed is still unknown. 

Portuguese Water Dog Vs. Spanish Water Dog-A Detailed Comparison

Let’s take a detailed look at the comparison of Portuguese Water Dog Vs. Spanish Water Dog.


The Portuguese water dog is a medium-sized breed known for its webbed feet, which make it an excellent swimmer. 

It measures between 50 and 57 cm (males) and 43 to 52 cm (females). As for the weight, it varies between 16 to 25 kilos. The eyes are rounded and slightly separated, and the iris is black or brown, surrounded by eyelids in the same tones. 

While the Spanish water dog is also a medium-sized, rustic, and harmonious breed of dog, it is known for its muscular build, although it does not appear heavy. 

It measures between 44 and 50 cm (males) and 40 to 46 cm (females). In addition, its weight is between 14 and 22 kilos. The eyes are oblique and expressive, and the coat is curly, short, and woolly, forming cords when rolled. 


Portuguese Water Dogs are known for their affectionate nature and strong bonds with their favorite humans. They also love to play and be clownish, making them great therapy dogs. 

Although they are well-mannered, monitoring is still essential as they have canine weapons that might be harmful.

Spanish Water Dogs are also great socializers due to their history of herding animals. However, they are not as obedient as the Portuguese Water Dog. Despite their intelligence, they can also be stubborn at times.

Moreover, dogs from this breed are naturally suspicious and reserved toward unfamiliar faces, so exposure might be necessary before they start giving anyone their trust. 

Although they are not generally aggressive, Spanish Water Dogs remain protected and make great guard dogs. Considering their history of herding, they may also try to herd your children.


Portuguese Water Dog

Health is an important consideration when choosing any pet, and both the Spanish Water Dog and Portuguese Water Dog are healthy breeds on average. With lifespans of around 12 to 14 years, they’re moderately long-lived for dogs of their size. 

While both breeds are relatively healthy, there are some significant differences in the health concerns that affect each breed. 

Portuguese Water Dogs are more likely to suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, while Spanish Water Dogs are more likely to suffer from epilepsy. Exercise-induced collapse is also more common in Portuguese Water Dogs. 

Activity Level

When it comes to high-energy breeds, the Portuguese Water Dog and Spanish Water Dog are at the top of the list. However, the Portuguese Water Dog is a relatively high-energy breed that needs a lot of exercises, while the Spanish Water Dog is more moderate in energy and can be content with less exercise. 

If you’re looking for a couch potato dog, the Spanish Water Dog is probably a better choice. However, if you’re an active person who likes to go on hikes or runs, the Portuguese Water Dog would be a better fit.


If you want to own a Portuguese Water dog, you must know that frequent brushing and grooming are necessary to keep his coat from matting and tangling. 

This high-maintenance doggy requires daily brushing and occasional baths to keep his coat smooth and manageable. In addition to regular brushing, be sure to check his ears, nails, and teeth regularly to ensure his overall health.

Provide him with high-quality food to keep him happy and healthy. 

Even though the Spanish Water Dog doesn’t need to be brushed frequently, bathing him is still a prerequisite. 

This is because foreign objects or debris could get trapped in his thick wool. By keeping him clean, you will help to ensure his coat remains healthy and free of tangles.

Living Condition

The Portuguese Water Dog is an active working dog that needs a lot of space to move around. He is not recommended for apartment living and does best with a large backyard where he can run and play.

While Spanish Water Dog does not need as much space as the Portuguese Water Dog, he still does best in a home with a large yard where he can run and play. Both breeds are relatively easy to train and make great family pets.


Now that we have looked at the detailed comparison between the Portuguese Water Dog vs. Spanish Water Dog, it is up to you to decide which one is the best fit for you and your family. 

If you are looking for a loyal and loving companion that will be by your side through thick and thin, either of these dogs would make an excellent choice.   

Your dog will be a lifelong friend no matter what you choose!

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