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How Much Do Portuguese Water Dogs Shed? Facts & Grooming Tips

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By Nicole Cosgrove

portuguese water dog puppy

If you’re considering adopting a Portuguese Water Dog, you may be wondering about their shedding habits. Shedding can be a significant concern for dog owners, especially those with allergies or those who prefer a low-maintenance grooming routine. So, in this article, we’ll explore the truth about Portuguese Water Dogs and their shedding. Portuguese Water Dogs don’t shed a lot, which makes them a sweet breed choice for people with allergies or those who prefer a low-maintenance grooming routine. Keep reading as we explain further.

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What Exactly Is Dog Shedding?

When people say that a dog is shedding, they’re referring to the natural process of their fur falling off. Shedding is a natural occurrence that happens as dogs grow and develop. Dogs shed their fur to get rid of damaged or dead hair, making way for new growth. Shedding is also influenced by the changes in the environment and the season. For example, dogs tend to shed more in the spring when they’re getting rid of their winter coat.

Do Portuguese Water Dogs Shed a Lot?

portuguese water dog in the forest
Image Credit: Brook Robinson, Shutterstock

Portuguese Water Dogs actually shed very little, making them a great choice for people with allergies or those who prefer a low-maintenance grooming routine. However, it’s important to note that all dogs shed to some degree, and Portuguese Water Dogs aren’t an exception. They have a single coat of hair that grows continuously, similar to human hair. So, this means that they don’t have an undercoat, which is the layer of fur that many other breeds have that sheds the most. As a result, Portuguese Water Dogs dogs shed just a bit, and their fur doesn’t tend to mat or tangle easily like other breeds.

More About the Portuguese Water Dog’s Coat

These dogs actually have a unique coat that is made up of thick curly or wavy hair. Their coat is hypoallergenic, which means that it produces fewer allergens than other breeds. Their hair is also water-resistant, which makes it easy for them to wade in the water (they’ll still need to be trained to swim initially). However, their coat requires regular grooming to keep it looking healthy and to prevent matting after water activities. Regular grooming throughout the week also helps to control shedding by removing any loose or dead hair.

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Factors That Can Affect Shedding

Portrait of one brown portuguese water dog sticking out the tongue outdoors on the beach under a blue sky in the background
Image Credit: Alessandra Sawick, Shutterstock

Dog shedding is a natural and normal process for all dogs. However, the amount of shedding can vary depending on various factors. Some dogs shed more heavily, while others shed less. The factors that can affect the amount of shedding can be both internal and external.

Breed Type

One of the most significant factors that can affect dog shedding is breed type. Some dog breeds are more prone to shedding than others. For instance, breeds like the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Labrador Retriever are known to shed heavily. On the other hand, breeds like the Poodle or the Bichon Frise have hair that grows continuously and does not shed much.


Another factor that can affect dog shedding is the dog’s age. Shedding is a natural process that is influenced by hormonal changes in a dog’s body. Puppies tend to shed their puppy fur as they grow and develop adult coats. Older dogs, on the other hand, may shed more as they age due to changes in their hormone levels.

Water Intake

Water can also play a role in how much your Portuguese Water Dog sheds. It can be a bit difficult to know how much water your dog drinks, but if they’re shedding more than normal, you might want to pay attention. A dog should drink 1 ounce of water per pound per day. For example, a 5-pound dog will need a little more than 1/2 a cup. Dehydrated skin can cause fur loss, and you’ll have more fur to pick up in the house.

Overall Health

The Portuguese Water Dog’s overall health can also affect shedding. The dog isn’t receiving proper nutrition (such as an adequate amount of protein, healthy fats, and carbs) or is suffering from infections or allergies, it can lead to excessive shedding. Similarly, if the dog is stressed or anxious, it can cause excessive shedding.

portuguese water dog standing outdoor
Image Credit: Brook Robinson, Shutterstock


The environment in which the dog lives can also play a role in shedding. If your Portuguese Water Dog is kept indoors most of the time, it may shed less as compared to a dog that spends more time outdoors. The season can also affect shedding as dogs tend to shed more in warmer months as they lose their winter coats.

Adequate Grooming

Grooming is an essential part of keeping a Portuguese Water Dog’s coat healthy and reducing shedding. It’s best to brush your dog regularly to remove any loose or dead hair with a slicker brush. This will also help prevent matting, parasite infections, and tangles.

Bathing your dog every few weeks can also help to keep their coat clean and healthy. However, over-bathing can strip their coat of its natural oils, which can lead to dry skin and increased shedding. Some dogs will require more bathing than others. So, if you have a Portuguese Water Dog that spends more time outdoors and indoors, it’s likely that you’ll need to bathe them more often.

Health Issues Related to Shedding

Shedding is a natural occurrence in dogs and is usually nothing to worry about. However, excessive shedding can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health issue. If your dog is shedding excessively or has bald patches, it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up. Skin conditions, allergies, and hormonal imbalances can all cause excessive shedding.

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Grooming Your Portuguese Dog

Being a responsible owner of a Portuguese Water Dog means adequately maintaining their hygiene and grooming. Though they don’t shed a lot, these intelligent and active dogs require regular grooming to keep their coat healthy and shiny, and their skin free from any infections. Let’s take a quick look at the steps needed to keep your Water Dog’s coat in tip-top shape.

1. Brushing

The first step to grooming your Portuguese Water Dog is brushing their coat regularly. Since these dogs have a thick and curly coat, it’s important to brush them at least once or twice a week to remove any dirt, knotted fur, or mats. You can use a slicker brush or a comb to brush their coat gently. Regular brushing with a slicker brush also helps distribute their natural oils throughout their coat, keeping it healthy and shiny.

2. Bathing

The next step is bathing your Portuguese Water Dog. These dogs are active and love to swim, so they tend to get dirty quickly. You should bathe them at least once a month or whenever they get too dirty. Use a mild dog shampoo and warm water to wash their coat thoroughly.

Make sure to rinse their coat properly to remove any shampoo residue. Be sure to rinse the dog’s fur thoroughly, as its wavy and dense texture can easily cause shampoo or conditioner residue to remain.  After the bath, dry their coat with a towel or a hairdryer on low heat. Make sure to dry their coat completely to prevent any fungal skin infections.

Portuguese Water Dog getting a bath
Image Credit: Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock

3. Nail Trimming

Another essential step in grooming your Portuguese Water Dog is trimming their nails. Though it’s not a part of their coat, it can still have an effect on their quality of life (not to mention long nails can scratch up your floors). Long nails can cause discomfort and pain to your dog, affecting their posture and movement. You should trim their nails every few weeks, depending on how fast they grow.

Use a sharp dog nail clipper to trim the nails carefully, avoiding the quick, the part of the nail containing nerves and blood vessels. If you don’t trust yourself to trim your Water Dog’s nails correctly or safely (which is understandable), you can just take them to a professional groomer. Depending on where you live, a dog groomer may charge anywhere from $15 to $30 for this service.

4. Ear Cleaning

cleaning dog's ear with cotton
Image By: Vershinin89, Shutterstock

Lastly, you should also clean their ears regularly. Portuguese Water Dogs are prone to ear infections, so it’s important to clean their ears every week using a damp cotton ball and perhaps a canine ear-cleaning solution. You can also use a dog ear cleaner solution recommended by your vet. They will usually recommend one when you go to visit if you have trouble keeping your dog’s ears clean.

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Wrapping Things Up

While all dogs shed to some degree, Portuguese Water Dogs shed very little thanks to their unique coat.

So, does this mean that you won’t have to brush the dog’s coat regularly and keep it trimmed? No. However, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have to clean up as much dander around your house and car. And know that you will need to ensure that your dog is receiving quality nutrition such as a high protein diet and plenty of water and is getting regular checkups with a vet.

Featured Image Credit: T.Ivarsson, Shutterstock

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