Contact Information


AKC Registration: The AKC (American Kennel Club) offers breeders two choices in registering purebred dogs. The first is full registration this allows the dog to be shown in any AKC events and the dog's progeny are eligible for registration in the AKC Stud Book. The second is a limited registration. This is the breeder's choice and may be changed to full registration at the breeder's request. Limited registration allows the dog to be entered in any AKC event except a conformation show and any puppies produced by this dog are not allowed to be registered by the AKC. This has simplified our decisions as breeders as previously we had to "withhold the papers" until we had received veterinary documentation of spaying or neutering of the dog. Limited registration helps us protect our breeding program, as dogs that we feel should not be used for breeding are placed with a limited registration. We no longer sell our dogs on a spay/neuter contract but instead with a limited registration. However we strongly recommend that you spay/neuter your puppy at approximately 9 months of age for a female puppy and 12-15 months for a male puppy.

Agility: The AKC has offered competitive agility trials since 1994. There are three classes at agility trials—Standard, Jumpers with Weaves, and F.A.S.T. (Fifteen and Send Time). Standard has all three contact obstacles: A-frame, dog walk, and teeter (see-saw). It also includes a pause table, tire, tunnels, chutes, jumps, panel jump, broad jump and weave poles. Jumpers include only jumps, weave poles, and tunnels. In both Standard and Jumpers the agility trial judge has laid out the course that the dog and handler must follow. The judge scores the agility run based on faults and time. Both Standard and Jumpers have classes at each trial that offer increasing levels of difficulty—Novice, Open, Excellent and Master Titles. F.A.S.T. an acronym for Fifteen and Send Time is the newest addition to AKC agility (2007). In F.A.S.T. the dog is encouraged to work at a distance from the handler. It is basically a course within a standard course. Each obstacle or set of obstacles are assigned a point value (15 points) and within the course there are a series of obstacles assigned bonus points. A course time is assigned and dogs and handlers who complete the course including the bonus under time get credit for full points. Points are deducted for seconds over the allowed time. The competition is a test of strategy as the course can be run in any order as well as handling skill, speed, and accuracy. PWDs seem to love agility and we encourage all our owners to give it a try in an agility class.

Breed standard: The breed standard contains a narrative description of the breed and a long, highly-detailed description of breed characteristics such as structure, size, gait, coat, bite, temperament. The standard describes the ideal Portuguese Water Dog. This is used by conformation judges to determine how closely each exhibit comes to this hypothetical ideal dog. Any deviation from the standard is considered a fault and results in penalties against the individual animal. The AKC approved the current revised standard created by the PWDCA for the Portuguese Water Dog in August 1991.

Breed style: Style is frequently kennel specific i.e. the visual impression of a dog–"the specific way in which the defining characteristics of breed type are expressed" (ibid). Ormos advises: "Breed type should be a priority for every breeder. Consistent style should be our goal."

Breed type: A more general term than breed standard– "that collection of specific characteristics which, when taken together, separate one breed from another" (Patrick Ormos, "The Importance of Breed Type", American Kennel Club Gazette, December 1991, p. 72) Breed type enables us to tell the difference between the Portuguese Water Dog, the Poodle, and the Newfoundland all related breeds.

Canine Health Information Center (CHIC): The Canine Health Information Center, also known as CHIC, is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). The purpose of the CHIC is to provide an accurate, searchable database of health information for owners, breeders, and research scientists. All the information in the database is validated and downloaded from the source of the testing. This information is available to assist in breeding healthy dogs. The information on individually identified dogs is available only with the consent of the owners. A conscientious breeder will have their dogs' information available in this open health registry.

CERF: Canine Eye Research Foundation was founded by a group of concerned purebred owner /breeders with a goal of eliminating heritable eye diseases in purebred dogs through registration, research, and education. Veterinary Medical DataBases (VMDB) in Urbana, IL maintains the current CERF registry. VMDB is administered by the Association of Veterinary Medical Data Program Participants (A-VMDP-P) a non-profit consortium of Veterinary Schools incorporated in 1977 with the aim of developing databases as well as other veterinary related data repositories. The VMDB/CERF database of annual eye examinations by Board certified Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) is on-line and searchable. CERF numbers are only valid for one year following the eye exam. All breeding stock should have an annual exam to exclude inheritable eye conditions.

GM-1: Storage Disease (GM1 gangliosidosis) is a recessive genetic disorder. It is produced only when two carriers are bred together. The disorder is caused by a lack of an enzyme that allows the build up of toxic substances in the nerve cells. It is fatal to affected puppies by age 6 months.The PWDCA sponsored testing and research at the Neurogenetics Laboratory of New York University to find the defective gene responsible for GM1. In September 1999 NYU isolated the definitive gene and then developed a DNA blood test for the gene. All animals used for breeding should have had this blood test.

IC-13: The gene responsiple for improper coats. On March 7, 2010 a genetic test for improper coat carriers was announced by the PWDCA, Dr. Gordon Lark of the Georgie Project at the University of Utah and Optigen LLC. All of our breeding animals are tested for this gene by samples submitted to Optigen. The gene is a simple recessive so breeding a normal parent to a carrier will not produce any improperly coated puppies.

JDCM: Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy has recently been diagnosed in PWDs and causes sudden death in puppies. Initial studies by the veterinary cardiology department at the University of Pennsylvania have shown that this is a recessive genetic disorder. It is produced only when two carriers are bred together. Dr Meg Sleeper has developed a linked marker DNA test for the gene (October 2007). The results are reported as 1-1 (Normal/Clear); 1-2 (Carrier); 2-2 (Affected) The current recommendations of the PWDCA is that one parent should have two normal copies of the gene i.e. not be a carrier. If one parent is normal then none of his/her offspring can be affected with the disease.

Microchip: A permanently implanted radiofrequency identification chip that contains a unique alphanumeric identifier that provides a way to notify you if your dog is lost. Almost all animal shelters and most veterinarians have a scanner that can read these chips. A full discussion is available on our web site at

OFA: Orthopedics Foundation for Animals founded in 1966 to study and decrease the incidence of inherited orthopedic diseases specifically hip dysplasia. The foundation has since expanded its focus into a variety of orthopedic diseases including elbow dysplasia, patella subluxation, etc. It now also provides a database (open registry) of a number of inherited diseases.

Optigen LLC: Optigen has developed a genetic blood test to determine the PRA status of breeding stock. See PRA below.

POM: Producer of Merit Award for top producing dams and sires. Abolished by the PWDCA in 1997. The PWDCA Board has approved reinstating the award in 2008.

PRA: Progressive Retinal Atrophy first discovered in the PWD in 1990 is an inherited eye disease that causes irreversible degeneration of the retina and ultimately causes blindness. prcd(progressive rod-cone degeneration) is the only form of PRA known to affect Portuguese Water Dogs at this time. Research done by Dr. Gustavo Aguirre and Dr Greg Acland veterinary ophthalmologists at Cornell University in conjunction with the PWDCA led initially to a satellite marker test for the disease. In June 1, 2005 OptiGen announced a blood test for the specific gene prcd in the PWD. All breeding animals should have been tested for the gene before breeding.

PWDCA: Portuguese Water Dog Club of America Inc. is the national breed club for the PWD. Founded in 1972

PWDCNC: Portuguese Water Dog Club of Northern California is our regional PWD breed club founded in 1992.

PWDF: Portuguese Water Dog Foundation Inc. is the national breed club 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded as a charitable organization in 1998 to fund health research specific to the PWD

Temperament Test: Puppy Aptitude Test (PAT)© is a widely used method for assessing individual puppy temperament. The scores allow us to select the right puppy for the right home. We usually perform the test at exactly 49 days (7 weeks). Someone who has had no prior contact with the puppies must administer the test. Ideally the test should be conducted in an area that the puppy is unfamiliar with. This 2003 copyrighted version was developed by Joachim and Wendy Volhard for their book Dog Training For Dummies. For additional information on the PAT and it's precise scoring and interpretation please see the Volhard's book.

Created September 2006
Modified May 31, 2009