How Much Does Portuguese Water Dog Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

The Portuguese water dog, or often referred to as a PWD, is classified in the working dog group, according to the American Kennel Club.  It is widely known for its special swimming ability and is considered as a working dog because it was used by Portuguese fishing crews to pull in fish and nets.  The Portuguese water dog was also used as a messenger between ships.

Similiar to a Poodle due to the thicker coat, the breed has been known to go as far back as the early 1300s.  Being recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1983, this breed has gained popularity in part to the adoption by President Obama.

Portuguese Water Dog by State Farm, on Flickr
Portuguese Water Dog” (CC BY 2.0) by  State Farm

How much does a Portuguese water dog cost?

On average, a Portuguese water dog puppy is going to cost anywhere from $1,500 to as much as $3,000.  Generally, your AKC breeds are going to be on the higher end while the dogs without any certifications can be near that lower price tag.  The costs, in general, will depend on the age, quality, breeder, bloodline and geographical location.  Of course, this is just the cost of the dog and won’t include the additional cost as mentioned below.

At, a popular online dog classified website, had about 60 listings at the time of this writing, with prices ranging anywhere from $2,220 to as much as $3,500.

On the official AKC Marketplace page, the breeders who did list their prices were asking anywhere from $2,500 to $3,200.

Winward Portuguese Water Dogs says the cost, on average, will be in the $2,500 range for a healthy, quality breed.  However, before adopting, the website advises that you ask for health certifications to ensure you’re receiving a healthy dog.

This LA Times article said you should expect to pay $1,800 to $2,500 for this breed due to its rarity.

What is going to be included?

Reputable breeders are going to include registration papers, up to date vaccinations, a health guarantee and sometimes a starter bag that includes coupons, food samples, and toys.  If it’s going to be shipped, they should include the travel crate as well.  AKC breeders will include genetic testing, an OFFA certification for the eyes and hips, and a microchip.

What are the extra costs?

As with any dog, factor in the recurring costs such as food, accessories, grooming sessions, registration and routine/surprise vet visits.  The costs of a healthy dog can easily cost $1,000 per year and much more if your dog were to come down with an illness.

This breed must be brushed weekly to avoid tangles and matting, and due to its long coat, it should receive a haircut at least every six weeks.  If you don’t do the grooming on your own, then consider a professional groomer.  Depending on where you live, a grooming session/haircut can be about $75.

Like most dogs, the Portuguese water dog can be stubborn at times, and if adopting young, be sure to consider obedience classes to teach it at least the basics of sit, lay down and stay.

Since it can be hard to find a Portuguese water dog locally, you may need to have it shipped via air.  Depending on the distance traveled, this can cost anywhere from $150 to $400.

Tips to know:

Males, on average, will be about one to two inches taller, measuring 20 to 23 inches, whereas a female will be inside the 17 to 21-inch range.  As for weight, males will weigh 40 to 60 pounds, while a female will weigh 35 to 50 pounds.

Its coat, which is quite similar to the Poodle, can either be curly or wavy, covering the whole body evenly.  The thick coat is virtually waterproof, allowing them to spend hours.  Up close, however, you can see the differences.  Shedding very little, it may be ideal for those who suffer from dog allergies.  Common coat colors include black, white, brown and combinations of the three.

Life expectancy, when healthy, can be 11 to 14 years.

It is better to buy a Portuguese water dog puppy than to buy an adult if you want yourself to manage its behavior.  When you buy a puppy, you can choose the way that you train it and have it adapt to your lifestyle; when you buy this breed as an adult, it will already have a mind of its own and its characteristics will be hard to change.

If the breeder does not offer a health guarantee or certificate, it is best to think twice before adopting.  To find a reputable breeder, consider the PWDCA.

If possible, try to interact with the puppy’s parents before deciding to purchase.  You will be able to tell a lot about the puppy from watching the parents.

The Portuguese water dog is known to be a lively, loyal, and a water-loving dog.  It should be given enough exercise including its desire to play or do an activity in the water so that it will not lose its vigor and innate enthusiasm.

Outside, a Portuguese water dog must be fenced in and never be let out to roam.  Since they can become easily bored, they may get themselves into trouble.

PWDs are prone to cataracts, hip dysplasia, PRA blindness, GM-1 storage disease, juvenile cardiomyopathy or distichiasis.

How can I save money?

Even though the dog is rare, you may have luck with a local rescue group or shelter.  Consider adopting an older dog, even if you’re not able to find this particular breed.  By adopting, you’re helping a dog that needs a forever home and helping a great local cause.  Plus, you can save thousands of dollars.

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Average Reported Cost: $900

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Eric Bosell (Minneapolis,  Minnesota) paid $1800 and said:

    Best dog ever

    Was it worth it? Yes

  2. Sam (Newton,  Massachusetts) paid $0 and said:

    The breeder actually paid me $100 to take the dog!

    Was it worth it? Yes

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