portuguese water dog

Spanish Water Dog vs Portuguese Water Dog

Even though, there are many similarities between the Spanish Water Dog (SWD) and, the Portuguese Water Dog (PWD), these two breeds also differ in many ways which can affect your adoption decision. In this article, you can find their general characteristics both physically and mentally and also have a chance to make a comparison between these two breeds.

History of Breeds

Portuguese and Spanish Water dogs are related breeds, and they have similar genetic codes and ancestors. If you think adopt one of these breeds, their historical origins can be interesting for you.

The Portuguese Water Dog which classified as a working dog by American Kennel Club (AKC) is originally from the Portuguese region of the Algrave where from the breed expanded to all around Portugal’s coast.

PWDs are also known Algarvian Water Dog or Portuguese Fishing Dog. Actually, it is a fairly rare breed. On the other hand, the Spanish one’s exact origin which classifies as herding class are not known but it has been a fixture of the Iberian Peninsula lakes and meadows for so long.

While one theory states that this breed was brought along with the Moors from the North Africa, other suggests it came with Turkish traders. This bred is also known as Perro de Agua Español, Turco Andaluz, and Turkish Dog.

While the Spanish Water Dog was officially recognized by the AKC in 2015, the Portuguese Water Dog was in 1983 which is much earlier. However, despite their differences it is thought that both breeds have common genetic links each other and other breeds like the French Barbet and the Irish Water Spaniel.


Both are very intelligent and loyal to their owners. Spanish Water Dog’s loyalty and its instincts make it a guardian to his pet parents. On the other hand, Portuguese Water Dog obeys perfectly to your orders with extraordinary intelligence and loyalty. They both show high level affection to their pet parents. Even tough, we can say that PWD has much easier relations with children, while SWD can need supervising.

Appearance and Grooming

These two breeds are both medium-sized breeds. While SWDs are averagely 17.5-19.75 inches for males and,15.75-18 inches for females, PWDs are 20-23 inches for males and, 17-21 inches for females.

They both have hypoallergenic coats and they shed less than many other breeds. Yet, PWDs can shed seasonally which is more common than SWDs. SWD have always a curly coat and its coat should never be brushed and be the same length all its body.

This is the most important condition to look like a well-groomed dog. Frequency of clipping depends on your preferences. It coats needs generally low need of attention, yet the cording process requires some expertise and attention.

Even tough, PWD also have hypoallergenic coat, it also needs regular grooming. However, its grooming maintenance is a bit easier than SWD’s. While AKC classifies SWD specialty grooming, for PWD it uses daily brushing categorization. PWD’s coat can be range between from tight-curly to loose-wavy. It may be used in the lion clip or the retrieve clip depending what you wish. PWDs must be trimmed about every two months and the coat brushed every other day.


There is not much difference between the two breeds regarding their nutrition style. Because of the possibility of food allergy for both of them, you should use either a high-quality food or a home-prepared food with veterinary surveillance and advice.

Diet should be appropriate for your dog’s age. Diet needs have the right balance of main nutrition groups and the protein level should adjust for your dog’s activity level. You need to avoid overfeeding to prevent overweight. Clean and fresh water should be always available.

spanish water dog


They both can be trained easily. SWDs may be defined as eager to please and PWDs need easy training. Both of them are intelligent and obedient. SWDs want to show their versatility and eagerness to satisfy their owners.

They need a reliable call and their temperaments need a special affinity. On the other part, PWDs have also similar training characteristics. They respond immediately to obedience training. They always desire affinity and human contact but, sometimes PWDs can think independently and challenge you.


Not surprisingly, they are both energetic and water-lovers! SWDs need at least an hour of daily exercise and PWDs as well. When SWDs reach full maturity, they become capable of long and exhausting exercises.

They are a perfect companion for running and hiking. SWDs are addictive to be active, yet they can adapt to settled-home lives. On the other hand, PWDs are also very good at many activities such as tracking, agility, rally, dock diving, etc.

To make them happy and healthy, you need to do some vigorous exercises with them every day! It should be mentioned that water activities are cut out for both of them! Both breeds are eager to dive in at the first opportunity and for this reason, you need to ensure their safety in the water areas.

Health and Life Expectancy

Both breeds have a similar life expectancy. While SWDs live averagely 12-14 years, PWDs do 11-13 years. They are both healthy breeds but, as with many breeds, both suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia.

Being different from SWDs, PWDs as purebred dogs are vulnerable some certain genetic defects. For that reason, if you plan to adopt a PWD, you can take their tests including PRA Optigen DNA Test, GM-1 DNA Test, and JDCM DNA Test in addition to ophthalmologist evaluation and hip evaluation. For both breeds, ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed every day with a toothpaste formulated for dogs.

Which Breed Should I Adopt?

These two breeds are much similar in many ways, so you can make your decision with small differences. Both are very funny, intelligent, loyal, faithful, hardworking, and both are great family dogs.

They are not dominant or aggressive breeds since they can be a great companion to other dogs or animals. Considering the Portuguese Water Dog breed is more willing to live a full of active life, we recommend that you do not adopt it if you are not a very outdoorsy person or if you just want an undemanding ped.

You can prefer the Spanish Water Dog which is more able to adopt any type of setting, whether it is an urban village or apartment complex. However, do not ignore this is just comparatively, the SWDs are still eager to go out. Both breeds shed less than many other breeds. However, if you don’t want to do regular brushing PWDs are not for you.

Conclusion: Spanish Water Dog vs Portuguese Water Dog

In this article, we talked about the differences between Spanish Water Dog and Portuguese Water Dog. Even though they are very similar breeds, there are some differences which can be a factor when you make your decision.

For instance, even though both are very energetic and active dogs, Portuguese Water Dog tends to shed a lot more than the Spanish Water Dog. So, they require more brushing. However, other than that, both are great dogs and they can be great companions to your family.

Alaaddin Sarac

I've been an avid dog enthusiast since childhood. I started this blog in hopes of helping owners find answers to questions I had after owning my first dog. This website was created as a way to share our love for all things canine with the world. From choosing the best food for your older dog to get the best beds for your tail-wagger, I aim to give you the information you need to give your dog the best care throughout his entire life.