Portugese Water Dog

Grooming Advice

Known as the “Fisherman’s Dog” for his exceptional ability and stamina as a diver & swimmer, this highly intelligent breed is also a loyal and obedient companion. Employed to retrieve broken nets, herd schools of fish and ferrying messages between boats, he is seen and distinguished by two coat types - either curly or wavy.

As a relatively new breed to the show scene, it is important the coat is presented correctly and enhances the characteristics of his breed.

The coat colours are a wonderful sight in the ring with black, white, shades of brown, black/white, brown/white with all the shades bar the browns exhibiting a bluish skin tone.

Most countries are exhibiting with a Lion Clip though some present with a Retriever Clip. I have my personal likes but we go with what is required! The main aim is to present this dog looking robust and able to do his job.

The Wavy coat is seen to be fairly long and loosely waved with a low sheen whereas the Curly coat is fairly harsh, dense with compact, cylindrical curls and somewhat lustreless.

For all Black coats use Plush Puppy Black Opal Shampoo diluted slightly for ease of dispersion throughout the coat. However, the more you dilute, the less intensity of toning. For badly burned, faded areas, I would sponge on undiluted to those areas. Leave on Black Opal for as long as you can for maximum staining/toning. Do keep away from white areas. If you must do this on a black & white, then dry wipe with a dry towel as much as you can and continue wiping with a barely damp towel and only then, rinse off with water. This helps avoid getting the product on the white areas.

The Black Opal is not a colour/dye. It is a strong toning shampoo albeit the strongest black toning shampoo I know of. Please do wear gloves. The more you use this the stronger the tone will be. Try to imagine putting your finger into an ink pot and though it has stained, it will still have translucency. Do it several times and it becomes less so. Same with Black Opal shampoo. This is also great for the bluish skin tone required for those black coated dogs.

For corrective texture for these coats, use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo for the Curly coats and Plush Puppy All Purpose or Plush Puppy Conditioning Shampoo for the Wavy Coats. You do need a drape effect for the Wavy coats so the logical choice is for the conditioning aspects of your choice of shampoo though with a too soft coat or too limp a coat I would use the All Purpose. Plush Puppy Dilute all of these 5:1 I.e 5 parts water to one part shampoo. Rinse.

For the white areas use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo, being a toning shampoo to highlight the white areas. This is not a lightening/bleaching shampoo but will tone any of the unwanted warm colour from the whites. Repeated use achieves the best results. Dilute to 1 part shampoo to 5 parts water. Apply to the white areas, leave for 5mins and rinse.

Follow up the Curly Coat with a dilution in your rinse water of Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil, 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4 litres water. This will hydrate the coat without flattening or softening. Do not rinse - leave in. For the Wavy Coat, use Plush Puppy Revivacoat, worked liberally through the hair and left in - do not rinse. For dehydrated areas add 1 tbspn Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner to 2 pints/1 litre water and work through those areas only - usually the ends of the coat, then rinse. Follow with the Revivacoat throughout the whole of the coat. Leave in and do not rinse out.

The Portugese requires a strong, healthy coat so I am prompted always to treat this coat between shows with either Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil diluted 1dspn to 1 gal/4lt water and left in all week or Plush Puppy Coat Rescue, worked to a watery slurry with warm water and squished through the hair and left as long as possible before rinsing off. (Depends on how long the dog can stand still or you can spend before rinsing it off.) The Coat Rescue will add some structure back into the porous damaged hair and the Seabreeze Oil will hydrate and protect. Both have their uses and both are invaluable in any grooming area. We could not live without these two products. I also recommend the use of Plush Puppy Sunshade, this will protect the coat from sun bleaching which is more prevalent with the browns. Sunshade can be either sprayed over the coat tips or applied to your hands and wiped over the required area of the coat.

For your out of coat situations or where you just want more hair e.g. the legs, use Plush Puppy Volumising Cream diluted 1tbspn to 1 cup warm water and work well through the area and leave in - do not rinse. This will add that “more coat” feel and look to the hair without feeling sticky or foreign.

Where you want the Wavy Coat to lie down or “drape” for want of a better description, add Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream diluted 1tbspn to 2 cups warm water and apply liberally to the applicable area. Leave in and do not rinse. This will flatten and soften the coat.

For a less wavy or less static state to the Wavy Coat, add 1tbspn Plush Puppy Swishy Coat to 1 pint/500 ml warm water and sponge well through the coat. If tempted to spray this mix through the coat, it must be done evenly and underneath to all layers to get maximum benefit. Spraying across the top layers will do little to settle the underlying wave.

Blow dry the Wavy Coat using the Plush Puppy Pin Brush till 3/4 dry and finish with a loose look by using a widely spaced 1/2 bristle 1/2 nylon brush such as the Plush Puppy Porcupine Brush, with a loose action - do not stretch or pull too harshly as to over smooth.

All of these recommendations are tools for getting the best out of your coat and also where the elements have worked havoc on the condition. These are a robust and energetic breed and not one to be cossetted and live their life indoors. Yet, you want that pristine coat at it’s best so be prepared to do the hard yard and get the main work done prior to the show. Nothing worse than on show day trying to wrest a semblance of glamour out of a coat that has seen better days. Can’t do that with a quick spray from a bottle though I can say with some confidence that the new OMG Grooming Spray is a bit of a miracle in a bottle. Available in either a Ready to Use 500ml spray bottle at a dilution of 20:1 or in the 500ml Concentrate, I would recommend an approximate dilution for the Wavy Coat of 25:1 and 30:1 for the Curly Coat. Coats will vary amongst your dogs so what suits one may need less or more dilution for another though I will venture that I am pretty close to the mark on the recommendations I have given.

To blow dry the Curly Coat - use your dryer - never cage dry - and dry till 100% dry and then spray with OMG to spring back the curl.

The Portugese has a varied and somewhat interesting history with many proposals as to his origins from the known to the speculative. Suffice to say he is a beautiful and wonderful working dog ideally displaying strength, spirit and soundness. Presented well he should be noticed immediately in a lineup. His colourful coat displays, his all over pleasing silhouette and his attentive expression give this dog prominance - he is often the one to try to beat, coupling glamour with commonsense.

Use the OMG on the day for coat control, finish and brushing when necessary, a good spray of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher for extra enhancement without smelling artificial and an ever so light sprinkle of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust. I just cannot help adding the frou frou bits which if done well are never obvious. After all, it is a dog show and I refuse to allow the “hair do” dogs to have it all over the rest even though one often does not have the hair to do it with. There are more ways to do things than meets the eye and your Portugese has huge assets that properly tweaked and managed can be darned hard to go past.

- Cheryl Le Court