What Colors Are Portuguese Water Dogs? Know Their 3 Possible Colors

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has listed brown, white, and black as the accepted natural colors of the Portuguese Water Dog. Though the colors are limited, it’s somehow a blessing in disguise for dog lovers who fancy the breed. It simply gives them a much easier time deciding which one to go for.

This time, we are going to shed some light on the deeper details about each of the colors possible for the Portuguese Water Dog. Let’s delve into it!

How Does Genetics Affect a Portuguese Water Dog’s Color?

The Portuguese Water Dog’s coat color is at the mercy of his gene pool. What his genes do is control both the eumelanin and pheomelanin pigments and where they appear. At times, albinism may also occur (a condition where there is little to no melanin produced).

This explanation may sound like predicting your Portie’s color is like rolling up a dice, but it’s entirely and scientifically possible! As long as you have a sound knowledge regarding recessive and dominant genes, mutations, and alleles, then it’s statistically probable to forecast your dog’s coat color.

For a recessive gene color to come into a display, there should be no dominant color genes present. Combinations of different genes may also result in various coat markings, patterns, and colors.

The Different Colors Common to the Portuguese Water Dog Breed

The Portuguese Water Dog breed may either come in solid or bi-colors. Some may even be more common than the rest. 

1. Black

Black is available to most breeds. Talking about the Portie, this is the most dominant of all. Usually, this coat color comes with a black nose and brown eyes that may look darker from afar.

A true black Portie should feature a solid color with no markings or other displays of colors. Due to low visibility at nighttime, it’s recommended that he be collared with an LED feature so he can be easily spotted in dim or dark areas. 

If he’s bi-colored, a few white markings can be noticed around the chest and feet.

2. Brown

Photo from: nalatheportie (IG)

Brown is the next dominant gene after black. The same features found in solid black Porties are present in brown PWDs. The intensity of the shade may vary a  lot with a few Porties looking light and the rest darker.

It’s entirely a fact for some Portuguese Water Dogs to be born dark too and then gradually fade as they mature. White markings may also appear depending on the dog’s genetic structure.

3. White

Don’t confuse a white Portie for an albino one. You can easily tell which has a genetic condition mainly by looking at the dog’s nose and eye rims. If the extremities are dark, then your Portie is naturally white.

Meanwhile, albinos have pink noses and rims around the eyes with eye colors that may strikingly come in blue.

Does a Portuguese Water Dog’s Color Affect Health?

Research from Australia has suggested that a dog’s coat color can impact his life expectancy and that it’s also linked to risks of developing medical conditions.

Although the subject focused on the Labrador breed, the result may have an astounding implication that’s applicable to other breeds like the Portie. The findings have shown that brown-coated Labs live significantly shorter than black and yellow Labs.

Brown coat is also linked to having higher incidences of acquiring ear and skin problems. They are four times more likely to suffer from dermatitis, to be specific.

Moreover, the common causes of death in brown Labs are cancer and musculoskeletal disorders.

This study is set to be used to find out if similar results occur with other dog breeds.

Does a Portuguese Water Dog’s Color Affect Behavior?

Even though we often associate good and bad temperaments according to colors, it’s certainly not factual in the dog world. Your Portuguese Water Dog’s temperament has more likely to do with his parents and how he’s raised, not with his color.

There’s what we call genetic temperament. A Portie that’s been born out of two Portie parents who are aggressive is highly likely going to inherit the same disposition. 

His nature doesn’t take all the credit for his personality though. How the owner raises and trains him also impacts the dog’s character. 

Does the Portuguese Water Dog’s Color Affect Price?

Ethical breeders put less emphasis on the coat color of a Portuguese Water Dog. The price is mainly affected by demand, location, sex, age, and season, but not primarily by the shade of the dog’s fur.

If the breeder you’re talking to offers a ridiculous price in exchange for a “rare-colored” Portie, then take it as a red flag. In most cases, black, brown, and white Porties cost the same.

A breeder overly advertising his puppies based on colors might be a backyard breeder. It’s best to check on the average prices in your area before you close a deal. This will save you from future risks like ending up discovering that the puppy you got was sickly or not pure. 

Does a Portuguese Water Dog’s Color Change With Age?

A dog that approaches old age will naturally end up having a coat that lightens. Like humans, your Portuguese Water Dog may go gray as he ages. This is particularly more visible in the muzzle and other areas of the face.

Meanwhile, puppies don’t ultimately gain their true coloration until they reach adulthood, so if you’re adopting a Portuguese Water Dog, expect his coat to have a series of changes.

What’s the Rarest Portuguese Water Dog Color?

Out of the three AKC-approved colors of the Portuguese Water Dog, white is the rarest. This makes it even more special considering that the breed itself is not commonly seen worldwide.

Still, despite the rarity, a white Portuguese Water Dog shouldn’t be sold more expensively. It just so happens that this occurrence happens once in a blue moon.

What’s the Most Common Portuguese Water Dog Color?

If you try to search the Portuguese Water Dog on Google, the most frequently you’d see is one that comes in black with white markings on the chin. We call it the “milk chin”. 

Perhaps the most popular dogs of this breed are Bo and Sunny–both of which were owned by former President Barack Obama. One of these dogs has a black and white combination. 

What Color of the Portuguese Water Dog Is the Smartest?

The Portuguese Water Dog’s intelligence is mainly affected by breeding, not by the color of his coat. If you have noticed that the other color outperforms the other, it could be that the dog was not properly taken care of during his time with the breeder or that the breeder focused more on the dog’s appearance rather than brainpower.

Early training can also affect our judgment regarding the Portie’s capacity to learn more complex drills. Naturally, this breed is perceived to be smart and obedient, so it’s generally unusual to witness one that doesn’t fit the stereotype. More or less, it goes back to how he was brought up by his owner.