A Portuguese Water Dog resting under the shade of the trees.
The Portuguese Water Dog (PWD) is not a miniature breed. This pup can approximately grow from 17-23 inches in height and weigh 35-60 pounds which can’t be considered as little. However, in certain cases, a smaller than the standard PWD may come to exist.
This breed, which is also called Cao de Agua, is the best athletic companion for water work. He has an active lifestyle fit for his right-sized body and when it comes to affection, his proportions don’t matter at all.
Porties ideally have to reach the standards set by the American Kennel Club (AKC), but should you encounter one that is below the right measurements, a few reasons can explain the occurrence of such a case. To know more about it, continue reading as we tackle its chances of growing undersized.
3 Reasons Why Portuguese Water Dogs May Appear Small
It may be born strong and fit to work, but there are still possibilities that this Portuguese Water Dog would grow up smaller than its average size. Here are a few possible reasons to bear in mind if you just brought your puppy home.
- Medical Conditions
The Portie has its chance to acquire dwarfism. Medically, it’s called achondroplasia, a form of osteochondrodysplasia (OCD) and it is caused by the fibroblast growth factor receptor gene mutation.
The result is abnormally short limbs, wherein the bones do not grow to the standard size expected of a breed. Only one parent can pass along OCD to carry the gene for an offspring to be potentially affected.
Here are the symptoms of OCD to take note of:
- Larger than normal head
- Undershot jaw with a shorter nose
- Crooked teeth due to a shorter jaw
- Abnormal bone shape
- Lack of growth
- Bones appear shorter than normal
- Enlarged joints
- Sideways bowing of forelimbs
- The Runt of the Litter
A Portie puppy has no exclusion from the possibility that it will not have all the attention from its parent. Accordingly, a “pick” is the healthiest in the litter, while the “runt” is the smallest, weakest, and has the least chance of survival.
Runts exist due to several factors that are beyond the control of the mother. Two factors are listed below:
It happens when the placenta cannot supply enough oxygen and nutrients to the runt from the mother’s bloodstream. This placenta malfunction hinders the development and chances of a runt thriving.
Survival of the Fittest
Even litters compete for survival. The puppies in good spots with good access to the mother’s milk can grow healthier and more prominent in size than the rest, unlike the runts that are usually the last ones to eat.
- Selective breeding
Selective breeding is common for choosing compatible dog parents to produce offspring with more desirable characteristics. Should someone desire a dog of this type to appear smaller, both or one of the subjects to be mated must have the right small size too.
The most common breed paired with a Portuguese Water Dog is the mini Poodle to achieve a miniature size. This mix is typical, maybe because PWDs and Poodles are closely related. Their genetic traits and characteristics can produce an affectionate, intelligent, and friendly mini Portidoodle.
Other Reasons Why Portuguese Water Dogs Are Miniature
Aside from the natural and crossbreeding factors why Portuguese Water Dogs are small, it is also essential to know how nurturing, and provision of needs can affect its growth and development.
One of the major reasons why a dog may appear tiny is due to poor health and nutrition. Maintaining a healthy balanced diet is a must in every breed, and this will reflect your personality as a dog owner.
To ensure this breed’s health, here are the essential nutrients you should include in its diet:
Every dog has a varying feeding schedule. Knowing it is another advantage to making sure that your Portie grows up to be full of vigor.
The Portie is an active breed that has the zest to please its owner, is biddable, and is easily trained. It should have regular exercises to keep a healthy lifestyle and keep it happy and entertained. As a water dog, this breed will surely enjoy training and activities in a water setup.
However, if these activities are done inadequately or excessively, bone development may be affected, resulting in long-term medical problems including stunted growth.
- Domesticated Dogs
If we compare the roles of different dog breeds before and the present, their tasks have made drastic changes. From being war dogs, they become service dogs and cuddle partners. And, instead of surviving in the wild, they are sheltered and deemed our domesticated companions.
With the roles mentioned above, pet owners desired smaller breeds for practical purposes such as calling out strangers, guarding the house, and even catching rodents in small spaces.
And, this is where the genetic makeups are changed to produce smaller versions of different breeds. Moreover, it also suggests crossbreeding to create a desirable characteristic such as size in adopting a pet.
Places to Get Your Miniature Portuguese Water Dog
A black Portuguese Water Dog laying in the grass.
Bearing in mind that a Portuguese Water dog’s possible small size may either come about naturally due to being a runt, a crossbreed or because of a health issue, ensuring you end up with a healthy one is a topmost priority.
Out there, several breeders are ready to offer you their dogs, but only a few of them can be trusted. To cut short your concerns, below are the right places to get your desired mini Portie.
- Meet Out with Responsible Breeders
They can provide documents, registration papers, and excellent reviews. And as a potential buyer, you can be sure of their credibility since they run health tests and safety procedures to ensure wholesome genes and behaviorally and mentally stable breeds.
Artificial insemination is likely to apply. Therefore, there is a high possibility to breed a Mini Portuguese Water Dog.
- Check Out Advertisements and Websites
Some advertisements and websites show pictures and videos claiming that they have Portuguese Water Dog breeds that are miniature. But remember that you don’t have to agree right away with their conditions. Make sure to check its legitimacy by asking for more proof and if it is accessible, visit their place or office in person.
Watch out for red flags and if there is none, closing a deal would be the next thing to do.
- Go to Adoption Centers
You might find what you are looking for in adoption centers that shelter abandoned and abused dogs from uncaring households. And if you are of a big heart, you might be interested to adopt one. Here, there is a probability that a Portuguese Water Dog that comes in smaller sizes is looking for a new, loving family.
Chances are that he wouldn’t be purebred though, but that wouldn’t seem like a problem as long as it’s minute in size, would it?