The Portuguese Water Dog was bred as an aid to Portugal’s fisherman. The dog lived on the boats with the men and would act as couriers between boats or to shore as well as herding fish into the nets and retrieving lost equipment in the water. Many dogs are born with a work ethic and require some ongoing job or project. Many of those dogs excel in a particular endeavor and become specialists. Few are as adept at the versatility expressed commonly in the Portuguese Water Dog.
Easy to train, quick to master new skills, it’s not unusual to find the dedicated Portuguese Water Dog family working their dog in multiple endeavors from water work,chasing a ball,obedience,agility and more. To say this is a requirement would be overstating the facts but if you are unwilling to consider pursuing such things at all with your dog then the Portuguese Water Dog is probably not the breed for you. As proof, one of the dogs that searched the rubble of the WTC after Sept 11 was a Portuguese Water Dog named Dutch.