|Bella- the day she came to us|
|Koko the day he came to us- with Bella|
|Bella rode in "style" to her shows|
|Bella's last show|
Portuguese Water Dogs rode in bobbing fishing trawlers as they worked their way from the warm Atlantic waters of Portugal to the frigid fishing waters off the coast of Iceland where the fleets caught cod to bring home. Portuguese Water Dogs were often taken with sailors during the Portuguese discoveries. It is little known that they were also used as herders. After the fishermen returned from the seas they would often go back to their family farm, where there was livestock, such as sheep and goats.
The closest relatives of the PWD are widely thought to be the Kerry Blue Terrier, the Barbet of France and the Standard Poodle. Like Poodles and several other water dog breeds, PWDs are highly intelligent, can have curly coats, have webbed toes for swimming, and do not shed.
|Another couch potato|
Dr. António Cabral was the founder of the Avalade kennels in Portugal. He registered his first PWD in 1954, after Bensaude had pioneered the re-establishment of the breed in Portugal. Cabral worked with Carla Molinari, Deyanne Miller and others to establish PWDs in the US. The "Mark of Cabral" is a triangular shape of different color/textured hair, usually a few inches from the base of the tail. Both Bella and Koko have that triangle on their tails showing they go back to those early lines.
|Koko's color his first year|
Because they are working dogs, PWDs are generally content in being at their master's side, awaiting directions, and, if they are trained, they are willing and able to follow complex commands. They learn very quickly, seem to enjoy the training, and have a long memory for the names of objects. These traits and their non-shedding coats mean they excel at the various Service Dog roles such as hearing dogs (assistance dogs for the deaf), mobility dogs, and seizure response dogs.
|Bella with M Dilecta- on the farm|
|A true water dog|
While they are very good companions to people who understand what they need, the PWD is not for everyone. Because of their intelligence and working drive, they require regular intensive exercise as well as mental challenges. They are gentle and patient and according to the literature they are not "couch potatoes", (photos of our 2 show a different story) and boredom may cause them to become destructive.
Bo'sun was bred by Joanne and shown under Agua Dulce Kennel in Olympia (where Bella was born). We decided to show her at 6 mo. just for the fun of it, since I had been showing sheep and llamas for years and loved the competition. Bella showed in 6 shows (sometimes as large as 1300 dogs, tho few PWD's.) As a puppy her competition was sparse and she let me know early on that the ring was not for her- she longed for her farm life!
|Ever the clown|
Their temperaments cannot be more different. From the time we got her at 8 weeks of age, Bella has been almost "the perfect" dog. Joanne would daily send me tidbits of information to watch for this or that re. Bella, but she just never fit the book. (Animals don't read the same books we do!) Those who have known her from the beginning marvel at her kind, gentle manner. We never heard her bark until Koko showed on the scene and even now it is rare- usually at a raccoon on the porch.
Koko truly fits the bill for this breed. He has been a "hand-full" but finally having turned three, gets the picture! He is more openly affectionate to all in the Community, than the quieter Bella, but can be leery of strangers, especially men and he thinks he has to guard us. He is great with the 4H kids who come and like Bella loves to travel in the car, esp when birding.
They are not groomed like PWDs in the world as they live on a farm, which is sometimes muddy and yours truly is the groomer- so they sometimes look like breeds of another ilk. Those in the know can tell the breed by their tail, and its flag cut.
|Koko's color today|
daily joy to the monastic Community and guests.
|Shanley- sunning in the vegetable garden|