Different looks for Portuguese Water Dogs
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Different looks for Portuguese Water Dogs

In recent years, PCD enthusiasts have been able to create many versatile looks for their Portuguese Water Dogs. Sometimes it is even hard to imagine that it is essentially the same dog. In the show ring, not a few observers have mistaken a Portie for a poodle!

When it comes to coat type, there are two acceptable types. Wavy hair is said to be more in keeping with tradition, but this doesn’t make the second type, curly hair, any less acceptable. Curly layers are kept shorter than wavy ones. But worrying about a PWD coat for the show will get you nowhere, as their fur’s importance is rated at 5%, while the poodle’s is 60%. True appreciation of the Portie begins with acknowledging him as a working breed, and not because of glamour.

Further interaction with Portuguese Water Dogs will lead to the observation of variations in the coat, such as very tight curls or almost straight. Blow-dried hair that is straight looks artificial, so the coat should be presented in a natural wave.

Let’s have some interesting trivia before we move on to fur color. Imagine meeting a Portie with a curly head but wavy forehead (sometimes it takes a few years for the ultimate coat type to show). So will it be completely wavy or curly (never both)? The key to deciding what coat type the dog is is to look at the chandelier of the coat. Curly coats won’t shine, while wavy coats will.

The only PWD coat colors allowed are: all black, black and white, brown, brown and white, and all white. Dogs with white markings are consistent with the concept of “Irish markings”, which is the same genetic pattern that Boxers are colored with, for example. So the Portie can also have a dramatic appearance, despite having working roots (and not showing).

Variations of the above patterns are found in the US, and ticking is seen in a small number of dogs. Even the “parti-colors” also make it to the shows. While this scheme is a no-no in most of the world for the show ring, there’s no stopping dog owners from wanting a harlequin-shaped PCD the moment they see one.

The discoloration gene has been observed to be prevalent among brown Portuguese Water Dogs. Most of the time, puppies come out a deep brown color, only to fade to a common light brown or mixed brown color as they approach their second year.

A disadvantage of browns with this tendency is that when they are crossed with blacks, the fading gene shows up among the black offspring. Some breeders try to maximize the opportunity by claiming a “silver” color, when the fact is that the dog is a faded black. Brown dogs also tend to have a lighter eye, which can then be replicated when crossed with black dogs, giving puppies a yellowish tint to their eyes.

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