Are Portuguese Water Dogs Good Guard Dogs? 5 Qualities + 3 Reasons Why They’re Not

Portuguese Water Dogs (PWD) aren’t good guard dogs due to their size. They’re not large enough to take down an intruder nor fight off a larger animal that may end up on their parents’ property. However, they can be trained to become alert dogs.

Of course, it’s natural to find out if the breed you like can help protect your home. If you want to check out more about the PWD breed, then you’re in the right place.

5 Qualities of Excellent Guard Dogs

There’s an age-old alliance between humans and dogs. While your role is to provide food, the dogs, in return, provide services such as protection. But since every individual is unique, so are dogs.

Which is why some are labeled as watchdogs, service dogs, and guard dogs. Each breed has prominent roles embedded in its genetics. 

Specifically talking about guard dogs, they have these 5 qualities:

1. Devotion

It’s a no-brainer. Dogs love receiving attention from any human. But, a good guard dog should be able to discriminate against whom he should protect. Right away, his loyalty should be to his master, especially if his human is being threatened by a stranger.

A good guard dog shouldn’t be bribed by any treats but rather act in a full protective mode. This only happens, of course, when the dog is trained. He has to be able to identify which one exhibits suspicious movements and which one doesn’t.

Now, Portuguese Water Dogs can distinguish bad people from good. And it’s no question where their loyalty goes. 

2. Power

If you’re being attacked by a passerby, your dog should be capable of helping you out. He has to have enough strength to either pull the other person away or stop the fight.

It’s a great disadvantage for smaller pooches when it comes to this area. After all, they’re not physically built to intervene in such situations. A good guard dog has to be tough, robust, and muscular with impressive proportions that can look menacing.

In the case of the PWD dog, he’s neither big nor small. Plus, he’s not heavy enough to exert the right strength to pin a stranger down to the ground.

3. Self-Assertiveness

A dog that’s easily scared is a liability. In fact, he may even end up hurting you in the process of protecting you during an attack. Trained guard dogs have honed their confidence level, and they know when to attack and what to do.

Great guard dogs find the courage to enact what they’re taught to do in critical situations. They don’t hesitate, nor would they need more pushing to step in. 

Meanwhile, PWD dogs are also confident, but it’s the confidence to do other things. 

4. Energy

This is a quality that can be heavily attributed to the PWD breed. Thanks to their immense working history, these dogs are presently used to doing tasks and other work. 

They’re not meant to be couch potatoes, and they actually love moving around. However, bearing this quality alone isn’t enough to make them a protection dog.

5. Aggressiveness

Naturally, a good guard dog should have enough aggression to intimidate a threatening person. When trained to manage their aggression, this dog will have to use his paws and teeth to stop the situation from getting worse.

Oddly, despite being a descendant of the wolf, as one study shows, the PWD is just not that aggressive enough to protect. 

Discover more: Are Portuguese Water Dogs Aggressive? 6 Reasons and 5 Tips

3 Reasons Why Portuguese Water Dogs Are Not Good Guard Dogs

With all the set qualities above, it can be concluded that the Portuguese Water Dog isn’t the right breed for protecting homes and properties. Why? Here are the top 3 reasons:

1. They’re Medium-Sized

PWD dogs only weigh around 35 to 60 pounds and reach a height of 17 to 23 inches. That puts him under the medium category. Now, guard dogs are primarily known for their size. And size can be associated with strength.

Of course, there’s no denying that Portuguese Water Dogs are strong. Unfortunately, they’re not strong enough for the job.

Know the full details here: Portuguese Water Dog Weight: His Ideal Mass and How to Maintain It 

2. They’re Friendly

A well-trained Portuguese Water Dog will be friendly to anyone. Strangers included. This alone makes him unideal as a guard dog. In fact, the right breed has to be reserved, wary, and observant.

It’s mostly not the case with the Portuguese canine. Since he loves to play around, he can be distracted from guarding your home.

3. They’re Not Aggressive Enough

Though dogs are equipped with impressive sharp weapons like the nail and the teeth, the Portuguese Water Dog seems to keep it where it’s safe. In short, the dog is not naturally hostile.

Instead, he’s sociable and amiable. He’s not been primarily bred to guard but rather to work with people, which is why he’s not high on belligerence.

Train Your Portuguese Water Dog as a Watchdog Instead

Since the Portuguese Water Dog isn’t the best fit to protect your home and family, train him to be a watchdog instead. He’ll excel in that aspect. Its role is not to attack bad people but rather to alert his owners of the upcoming danger.

However, alert dogs shouldn’t bark at everything they see. They have to be trained with various stimuli so they won’t react just because they saw a butterfly outside or when a leaf falls in front of their face.

So, how is it done then?

You have to list all the things your Portuguese Water Dog should bark at. Also, you have to ensure that the dog constantly barks at these things when he sees them. 

You may also want to read: Are Portuguese Water Dogs Easy to Train? 4 Reasons and 7 Training Tips

When Should a Watchdog Alert His Owners

1. When There’s Noise

Questionable noises should exhibit curiosity in your Portuguese Water Dog. Especially if he tries to find out if the one making the noise is his owner or not. If no familiar voice responds, this should be a cue for the dog to notify his other family members who may be resting in their rooms. 

2. When Someone’s Outside

A Portuguese Water Dog, as an alert dog, should only bark when he senses that an intruder is approaching his family’s home. If there are movements outside, especially at night, and he understands that this happening isn’t normal, then he mustn’t hesitate to make some noise. 

3. When a Stranger Gets inside the Property

If it happens that an unfamiliar individual already gets into the property, the PWD dog should act right away. More so if he saw how the person climbed up over the fence. Barking can be effective in making the bad guys hesitate to move forward with their plan of breaking into homes.

Though the Portuguese Water Dog isn’t able to physically deal with the burglars, he has to maintain a certain stance that would trick the intruders into thinking that they’re messing in the wrong house.