Are Portuguese Water Dogs Good for First-Time Owners? 5 Reasons Why They Are!

Definitely! The Portuguese Water Dog whose fame surged when Obama brought a pair to the White House is great for first-time owners. BUT, this is not just for any first-time owners, but rather for those who are ready to own such a medium-sized dog. 

Photo from: nemotheportie (IG)

With a variety of dog breeds to choose from, you might’ve been more interested in the curly-coated Portie. He possesses certain characteristics and qualities which you should consider before ultimately bringing one home, more so if you are new to owning a dog. 

We will help you in getting to know more about the Portuguese Water Dog to make decision-making easier for you. Read more below…

3 Qualities of a Good First Dog

In reality, no matter the descriptions and differences of dog breeds, any canine can be a good first dog. After all, the rest boils down to ownership like training and socialization. If those were not given, even the nicest dog can become the hardest to manage. 

On another note, even if you are capable of providing the right training, your experience and lifestyle should not be ignored. Make sure you and the dog are a great match!

Now, if you’re confident that you have what it takes to get a puppy, first you should take a look at the 3 qualities considered to be green flags in a dog:


Since you are into the Portuguese Water Dog breed, you should spend some time first with your prospective puppy to determine if he’s the right one. Think that once he gets home, you and the dog, especially the rest of the family will be spending most of their time with this canine. With that being said, make sure that he’s friendly and approachable at all times. 

He should not exhibit negative behaviors such as growling or showing signs of aggression when there’s no reason to be. If he has behavioral issues, he’ll end up becoming a threat to your kids’ safety.


A good first-time dog is willing to learn the house rules. Some Portie puppies are sold without a strong foundation in training. Unless you have had the privilege to have your little puppy trained before arriving at your humble abode, then teaching him drills as soon as possible is vital!

Photo from: waterdog_june (IG)

Trainable Porties should be able to take up verbal commands such as “sit” and “stay”. They must also be able to understand what their crates are for and generally, on how to behave at home. 

By the way, if you are thinking of boosting your Portie’s mental capacity, consider getting any of these in-demand toys:

Has Minimal Health Problems

You wouldn’t want your first experience as a dog owner to be bombarded with vet schedules for his treatments. Although, of course, no dog breed is 100% healthy, you might want to go for a puppy with overall good health. 

You won’t go wrong by choosing the Portie. He’s considered to be robust. Simply follow the general advice which is to purchase one from a reputable breeder so good health is guaranteed. Although puppy farms sell their puppies at a relatively low cost, try not to get enticed by their offers. You will be spending twice or thrice as you would from that of a trusted source when it comes to medical bills. 

5 Reasons Why the Portuguese Water Dog Is Great for First-Time Owners

Some may say that the Portuguese Water Dog shouldn’t end up with those who have never owned a dog in their lives. This is probably because of how active this dog is and how demanding he can be when it comes to his needs. But, truth be told, you can cope with the requirements. Just keep yourself informed and involved in raising him.

There is no room for doubt in choosing a dog. The Portie can be a great first dog, especially with all the reasons listed below:

He Is Easy to Train

Porties love to learn. He might need to start with the most basic lessons and eventually, he can take on even more complex drills. He has an eager-to-please attitude and that means, you won’t have an overwhelming time teaching him a thing or two. He can be taught various tasks such as therapy, obedience, or water work.

He Is Even Tempered

The Portie dog is not easily annoyed, hence why he can be trusted around kids. He’s amusing, outgoing, and affectionate. In a litter, there will always be different kinds of personalities manifested by the puppies. Some can be stubborn, others can be laid-back, while the rest may fall in between. 

Avoid portie puppies that bully their littermates or are too shy to socialize. 

He Is Hypoallergenic

In a sense, the Portuguese Water Dog is a hypoallergenic dog breed. Not that he doesn’t shed at all, but rather the rate is lesser compared to other dogs. If you are a first-time owner who suffers from pet allergies, the Portie can be a great candidate to give you lifelong companionship with lesser health risks.

He Loves the Water!

The Portie dog loves the water! Whatever body of water that is, if you bring him to either a lake, a sea, a river, or a swimming pool, this dog will get into it and cool down. You can bring a few toys as well since this dog loves water-retrieving games. Just be sure to wash him afterward if his coat is dirty!

He’s a Great Guardian

Some Portuguese Water Dogs love to see everyone including strangers! However, others exhibit a wary and cautious attitude toward unfamiliar faces. If he’s trained well to guard your home or alert you when somebody is lurking around your home, he’ll surely not disappoint you.

Unfortunately, due to his size, he’s incapable of pinning someone to the ground. He’s better off as a watchdog, nevertheless, but not as good as the other breeds who have a history in guarding. 

Questions to Ask Yourself:

Does a Portuguese Water Dog Fit Into Your Lifestyle?

The Portuguese Water Dog is known to be an adaptable dog. He can thrive in any living condition as long as his basic needs are met. As a first-time owner, just ensure that you can dedicate your time consistently to training him to improve his intelligence and vigor.

Can He Be a Great Apartment Dog?

Absolutely! He’s only 17-23 inches tall with an average weight of 35-60 pounds. He won’t take up too much space in your place. Of course, it remains important that you take him out regularly for his physical and social needs.  

What Do You Want From a Dog?

This question will become a deciding factor on whether the Portie is your missing puzzle. List down all traits you want from your prospective dog and see if the Portuguese Water Dog ticks all the boxes! Determine your preferences whether it be in physical appearance, temperament, trainability, life span,  function, and don’t forget about gender too!