A Portuguese Water Dog (PWD) has an 11 to 13 years average lifespan as stated by the American Kennel Club (AKC). In a sense though, no one can really accurately predict how long every dog would live. His lifestyle, as well as his genetics, would be great predictors, however, if the puppy will last long or not.
In our search for a four-legged companion, it’s almost always a prerequisite to go for a breed that can accompany you for a long time. Compared to other dogs like the Mastiff, the PWD lives considerably longer.
And, he can even surpass the average years that’s expected of him to live. You just have to know what the five factors are that may affect his lifespan and do five things to lengthen it.
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Why Size Affects a Dog’s Lifespan
Ever wondered why small dog breeds like the Maltese and Chihuahua live longer than most other dogs? Well, size does have an effect on their life expectancy. Since they are predisposed to grow in a small, compact body, their immune system is affected at a slower rate compared to those bigger than them.
Luckily, Portuguese Water Dogs are medium-sized pooches. That means that the number of free radicals their bodies produce come at a normal rate which is better than that of large dogs but not as great as it is with smaller ones.
To clear it out, the high amount of free radicals present in the body can negatively impact the substances the cells need to properly function. Mutations may eventually occur and this, in turn, causes more free radicals that are set to damage more cells.
That means aging accelerates even faster.
5 Factors That Affect a Portuguese Water Dog’s Lifespan
Size isn’t the sole factor that impacts a Portuguese Water Dog’s lifespan. Be aware that genetics and how he’s brought up also contribute to his well-being. If he’s poor at these levels, then it’s likely that he’ll suffer from an early death.
One strong reason why dog fanciers are strongly against backyard breeders is because of their unethical practices. Dogs from puppy mills are often very sickly, live in poor conditions, and have genetic disorders.
Backyard breeders usually don’t invest in bringing a sick puppy to the vet since they, as much as they can, try to avoid expenses. Since their goal is to earn a profit, they wouldn’t hesitate to sell a PWD with genetically predisposed diseases.
It’s a simple formula– a dog that’s unhealthy will always be at risk of having a shorter lifespan.
No dog is 100% free from medical conditions. You may have gotten your Portie dog from a legitimate breeder and have shown no concerning signs during puppyhood. At one point in your pet’s life, however, diseases may occur like Addison’s disease, a fatal condition.
Bringing him to the vet regularly can either aid in preventing him from developing serious issues or have the present ones diagnosed and treated immediately.
A Portie won’t ultimately achieve a healthy status without you leading him into an active lifestyle. Remembering his history as a dog, the Portie is incredibly high in energy. He was a fisherman’s aid and would constantly help in leading the fish to the net or swim from one boat to another as a messenger.
Maintaining this zestful lifestyle is a positive effort to increase your dog’s years. Releasing pent-up energy through physical and mental exercises can really uplift your dog’s mood. As you should know, the emotional aspect of a dog plays a major role in his health and lifespan too.
4. Weight and Size
Weight and height should complement each other. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of helping your Portie stay at a normal weight. Obese dogs significantly live for about 2 1/2 years shorter compared to a dog that comes in the right size.
Of course, an underweight Portie may also suffer from the same fate. Too much or too less of a mass can welcome various complications such as respiratory and heart diseases.
Dangerous dogs are mostly not appealing to most communities. Even though the Portie is not at all that aggressive, his teeth and nails can be weapons of concern. Every dog can potentially bite someone but this possibility can be eliminated through proper training.
If he’s not raised right and he ends up causing harm to someone, no matter the age, he might be put down.
Do Mixed Portuguese Water Dogs Have a Longer Lifespan Than Purebred Ones?
A Portuguese Water Dog that has been crossed with a different breed can deliver offspring that’s more robust and capable of fighting off diseases. A wider gene pool means having an increase in different aspects that include characteristics, fertility, size, yield, and immunity.
Commonly, this is what we call “hybrid vigor”. If you don’t find having a mixed breed an issue, it’s a wiser choice to go for a mixed Portie so he’ll have a higher chance of living considerably longer.
5 Things to Do to Lengthen His Years
It is always not too late to do something to lengthen your Portie’s lifespan, although, of course, it’s best for him to start a healthy lifestyle during puppyhood. To keep him spirited throughout his existence, here are five things you can do so he can live life to the fullest:
1. Give Him Healthy Food
Health starts with what your dog eats. If he’s still a puppy, he needs to have the nutrition necessary for his growth. Lacking certain vitamins and nutrients can cause unwanted medical issues but this can be avoided by giving him a well-thought-out diet that’s formulated by his vet or by investing in high-quality dog food.
Check each bag for MSG, fillers, and artificial flavoring. If these among others are present, reject the brand. We recommend that you try instead these three trusted dog food brands:
If the dry dog food isn’t appealing to you, you can consult your vet and see if a BARF diet will suit your Portie.
2. Bring Him to the Vet Regularly
For any signs of concern, bring your Portie to the vet immediately. You don’t know how significant this move is when it comes to your pet’s health. Allocate a yearly budget for vet bills. Having a dog is an investment.
3. Make His Life Meaningful
A happy Portie tends to live longer! Form a meaningful bond with your companion and take time to bring him outside for his regular playtime with friends. Being emotionally healthy can reduce anxiety, loneliness, depression, and stress.
5. Get Your Dog Spayed/Neutered
In a conducted observation, a fixed Portuguese Water Dog can live longer compared to an unspayed or unneutered pooch. If you don’t plan on starting a breeding business and have no room for another puppy, it’s best to have your Portie fixed. Doing so will also improve his health and behavior.