Portuguese Water Dog vs Bernedoodle: Their Differences

Portuguese Water Dogs and Bernedoodles are similar in some ways as they both are loyal, affectionate, and dependable as companions. However, they also have stark differences, which means one of them may not be suitable for your lifestyle and preferences. 

To help you up, we have listed not only where they both come from but as well as show how distinct they are when it comes to temperaments, exercise needs, grooming requirements, and more. Let’s keep reading.

Breed Origins

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dogs (Cao de Agua) come from Portugal, as their name suggests. Their history starts from being bred to aid fishermen who worked between the coast of Portugal and Newfoundland.

These wonderful dogs would jump right through the water and retrieve hooks and crannies that fell off the boat. In the water, their webbed feet help them swim and dive effortlessly. They would even lead fishes into their masters’ nets.

Although the Porties were skilled at doing their job, the fishing industry’s modernization almost made them extinct. Thanks to Vasco Bensaude, the Porties were prevented from vanishing.


The Bernedoodle is a cross between your Bernese Mountain Dog and the Poodle. While it’s hard to trace the origin of this mix, getting to know the parents will help clear the picture.

The Bernese Mountain Dog comes from the Swiss mountains, particularly in a canton called Bern, hence the name. Not only did he excel as a companion but as well as in working in the field. Due to its many positive qualities, this loving canine became a familiar face in obedience activities. 

Next up is the Poodle– a pride of Germany. This dog, despite being seen as a high-maintenance pooch these days, worked as a waterfowl. He would fetch game birds that fall for their hunters. Now, as they’re more developed, most Poodles are now seen strutting their unmatched confidence and different hairstyles in contests. 

Reading tip: What Do Toy Poodles Look Like When Fully Grown? Plus 10 Common Haircuts & Styles He Sports

Size, Appearance, & Coloring

Portuguese Water Dog

Remarkably, the Portie breed has no undercoat. He’s noted to have curly or wavy hair that comes in: 

  • Black.
  • Brown.
  • And White.

Some white markings may appear in some areas. In detail, the Portie has been  deemed a medium-sized breed that’s 17 to 23 inches tall and 35 to 60 pounds heavy.

He has a broad and domed-shaped head and floppy ears that rest on his cheeks. The eyes come in brown, while the nose can be black or brown. The body is well-built and proportionate. Also, the tail is slender and it tapers to the tip.


The Bernedoodle’s appearance is at the mercy of his parent’s genetics. He may look like a Poodle, a Bernese Mountain Dog, or a combination of both.

It’s also worth noting that the Poodle comes in three different sizes:

  • Toy.
  • Miniature.
  • And standard. 

That means the Bernedoodle’s size will vary accordingly. When it comes to measurements, he can be 23 to 27 inches and 90 to 120 pounds. 

His coat colors can be:

  • Blue.
  • Black.
  • Fawn.
  • Silver.
  • White.
  • Cream.
  • Brown.
  • Apricot.
  • And gray.

The dog has an intelligent look with dark brown eyes and slightly rounded ears. The coat is curly or corded, and it’s generally rough in texture.


Portuguese Water Dog

Your Portie companion is a clown at heart. He’s fond of showing his silliness and other quirky behaviors. It’s no surprise, too, if he shows how loving and loyal he is. After all, this is one even-tempered dog with good breeding.

He requires early socialization, so he can develop genuine bonds, especially if you plan on having other pets at home. He can bond nicely with cats and other smaller pets as this pooch has a low prey drive.

In training, a Portie that undergoes puberty may try to challenge your authority. This is why knowledgeable owners are suited for this smart and witty four-legged dog. 

You may also want to read: Are Portuguese Water Dogs Good for First-Time Owners? 5 Reasons Why They Are!


Generally speaking, Bernedoodles are playful and loving. They spend their time doing activities with their family or socializing with other pets. When around kids, the dog tends to be gentle. Still, their interaction has to be supervised.

Also, since this dog is for companionship, it’s not recommended to leave him on his own for too long. 

When bored, he may exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Digging.
  • Excessive licking.
  • Excessive barking. 
  • Chewing off furniture.

This can lead to separation anxiety too. A study even shows that dogs may carry the same behavioral pattern if he’s rehomed.

Exercise Needs

Portuguese Water Dog

Knowing that Porties worked hard during the early times as a breed, you have to maintain the same level of lifestyle, though not literally.

They have to exercise for 60 minutes every day. You can do things together like:

  • Walking.
  • Swimming.
  • And hiking.


As a moderately active dog, a Bernedoodle wouldn’t say no to walks in the park or swimming in the pool. Should you leave him to explore his surroundings, do so only in a fenced area. This dog tends to wander off and look for other territories to investigate. To keep this pooch healthy, he has to move and sweat off daily. 

Grooming Requirements

Portuguese Water Dog

Portie parents won’t be in for a lot of trouble with this dog’s shedding. The Portie pooch sheds at an incredibly low rate.

Just watch out when the spring and fall seasons come. Though the amount of hair they release will go up a bit, proper grooming will resolve any concerns. Brush this dog weekly using a quality slicker brush and other grooming tools to ensure the nails are trimmed, the ears are cleaned, and the teeth are healthy.

You might want to check out: Do Portuguese Water Dogs Shed?  4 Ways to Control It


At least 1 to 2 times a week of brushing will do for this dog. Baths are only needed when he’s smelly or dirty. Plus,other routine grooming should be done on a schedule. Always dedicate a reasonable amount of time in checking your dog’s overall health and hygiene so you can cuddle him without getting your clothes dirty.

Health Problems

Portuguese Water Dog

Ethically bred dogs are generally healthy. However, no dog is immune to diseases and illnesses. Diet, lifestyle, and other factors can cause a toll on your dog’s health.

Usually, the health issues that strike the breed are:

  • Addison’s disease.
  • GM1 storage disease.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy

Warning: Behavioral and physical changes should be taken seriously. Rush your dog to the vet, so he gets a proper diagnosis and treatment.


As a mixed breed, the Bernedoodle is predisposed to be more robust thanks to its wider gene pool. Still, he may develop a few medical issues, such as:

  • Allergies. 
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Skin problems.
  • Elbow dysplasia.

Breed Popularity

The following breeds were ranked by popularity which was conducted by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Let’s check their standings:

Portuguese Water Dog: 50th

Bernedoodle: Indefinite (Not a recognized breed.)