Finding a Puppy

So you want to buy a Portuguese Water Dog puppy?

To find that perfect puppy you need to find the right breeder for you. There are many types of breeder out there and often the reasons for breeding will determine the quality of puppy you are going to get.


People breed for many reasons:


  • Kennel Club Assured Breeder - the assured breeder scheme is designed to promote good breeding practice and help prospective purchasers to identify those who breed responsibly, with the health of the dogs and puppies a priority, and who take care in ensuring that their puppies go to suitable caring owners.

  • Show breeder - breeds for the next generation of show dog, may also be part of the assured breeder scheme. Will care very much about breed standard and conformation.

  • Pet breeder – breeds to supply puppies as pets.

  • A one off litter, breeder -  breeding from their pet, often for just one litter because they want the experience.

  • Backyard breeder – breeds puppies purely for money.

  • Puppy Farmer –breeding dogs is a business and often done on a mass scale purely for money rather than welfare

Choosing a breeder

Choosing the right and a reputable breeder is essential and the only way you will find that breeder is to be armed with the right information. A puppy is not an overnight purchase.


  • Do your research and contact the breeder. Call /email and it is essential you arrange a visit.

  • Make sure they follow recommended breeding guidelines: 

    • They make use of health screening schemes such as testing for hip problems and eye conditions, and can provide certification for both the sire and dam. 

    • They ensure the puppy is seen with its mother, and have been able to interact with them all

    • They are prepared to answer your questions about the breed

    • They give new owners written information regarding the socialisation and training of the puppy

    • They are there as a point of contact throughout the puppy's life to ensure that the dog and owner have a happy and fulfilling relationship

  • Other things to look for:​

    • Happy, clean and healthy dogs and puppies, reared in a suitable environment​

    • A reason why the litter has been bred and permission to breed from their bitch

    • The puppies are Kennel Club registered

    • Vaccination and worming records for puppies and adult dogs

    • Puppies are micro-chipped before leaving for their new home (this is now a legal requirement)

    • The breeder only sells with a contract of sale 

    • They will always take a dog back for rehoming

    • No deposit is taken until you have all met in person at the breeder's home 

    • They are happy to show you their other dogs

    • They have no objection to you going away and thinking about it before committing to a deposit

    • A minimum of two visits to the breeder

    • A breeder who asks you a lot of questions to make sure you are the right home for their puppy

    • They are available at any time in your dog's life to help and advise 

  • Never buy a puppy and take it home on a one visit  basis  

  • If a breeder doesn't follow these guidelines and if the puppies do not appear happy and are not kept in good conditions, then look elsewhere. Never buy a puppy because you feel sorry for where it lives, unscrupulous breeders rely on our good hearts to make money and continue the suffering of other dogs.

This list really could be endless. Remember there are never any silly questions and any good breeder will be happy to answer everything.

So how do you go about looking for a puppy?
  • Crufts and Discover Dogs - each year The Kennel Club puts on Crufts and Discover Dogs, giving potential new owners the opportunity to meet breeders / owners and see dogs close up. This will give you the opportunity to quiz/discuss and really explore if this is the breed for you or your family.


  • Club shows - the club puts on two shows a year where breeders and enthusiasts are present and happy to chat!

  • Kennel Club Assured Breeders - view the list on The Kennel Club website

  • The Portuguese Water Dog Club of Great Britain breeder list

What health tests should I ask about?

The PWD does have a number of hereditary health problems, however we also have a lot of DNA tests which if used will mean no puppies will be affected.


DNA tests available are:


  • Prcd-PRA – this is a late onset degenerative disease which will cause blindness

  • EOPRA – this is a early on set degenerative disease which will cause blindness

  • JDCM – this is a heart defect that can cause death

  • GM1 – GM1 gangliosidosis is an inherited lysosomal storage disorder that progressively destroys nerve cells (neurons) in the brain and spinal cord leading to premature death.

  • IC13 – is for incorrect coat, it does not affect the health of the dog

  • Micropthalmia- is a eye growth defect and can be linked to sick and unhealthy pups

Addison’s disease can be fatal but at present has no reliable way of diagnosing it prior to clinical symptoms. Follicular Dysplasia is a condition which can cause baldness and skin problems, a test is available once clinical signs are noticed.

Physical health tests which can be used are:

  • Hip Scores

  • Elbow Scores

  • Yearly Eye Exam

There is a lot of research gone into all of these and a look at the BVA website will help you understand the results. But any breeder would be more than happy to talk to you about results of their dogs.


All of the above health tests are available and easily accessible. None are compulsory and only prcd-PRA and GM1 are recommended by the Kennel Club, but they are there to breed healthier puppies - any good breeders priority.