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6 Portuguese Water Dog Colors & Patterns (With Pictures)

Kerry-Ann Kerr Profile Picture

By Kerry-Ann Kerr

portuguese water dog in the forest

Portuguese Water Dogs (affectionately known as Porties) are athletic, bright, easy-to-train dogs with a coat made up of tight, low-shedding curls. They’re the perfect companion for an active owner, and they’re natural-born swimmers. While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, the Portuguese Water Dog is a fantastic choice for owners with allergies, thanks to their infrequent shedding.

Their coats are wavy or curly and made up of medium to long hair. They are single-coated and come in various colors, which we will look closely at in this article. Generally, they’re cut in one of two ways: the retriever cut or the lion cut. The retriever cut is when the coat is cut to about 1 inch in length across the whole body, while the lion cut means the hindquarters, muzzle, and base of the tail are shaved, and the rest is left long.

Whether you’re here because you’re thinking of getting one or want to see cute pictures of the Portuguese Water Dog in all its colorful, patterned glory, we have you covered.

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The 6 Portuguese Water Dogs Colors & Patterns

Portuguese Water Dogs With Solid Colors

1. Black

Portuguese Water Dog
Image Credit: Zé Maria, Unsplash

Black is the most common color for this breed, although solid black comes in behind bi-colored dogs with white markings. Generally, a black Portie has brown eyes and a black nose, and it’s difficult to see at night. We recommend getting a reflective collar so you can be seen easily in low lighting if you enjoy early-morning or late-night walks.

2. White

The white Portuguese Water Dog shouldn’t be mistaken for an albino dog. Albinos tend to have pink rims around their eyes and pink noses. They can also have striking blue eyes. Instead, a white Portie will have dark eyes and a dark nose.

3. Brown

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

After black, brown is the next dominant gene. The shade of brown will vary and has been described as chocolate, tan, or liver. You might find your puppy is dark brown but fades gradually over time as they mature.

Different Portuguese Water Dog Patterns

4. Bi-Colored

portuguese water dog standing in the water
Image Credit: Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock

The most common bi-colored Porties are black and white or chocolate and white. Black or brown dogs tend to have a splash of white on their chests and feet. It can look like they’re wearing knee-high socks in some cases!

5. Tri-Colored

The patterns on tri-colored Portuguese Water Dogs vary and are all beautiful. You could get a black one with a white chest and feet with brown through the muzzle. Or, you can adopt a chocolate Portie with a white chest and feet and black around the eyes and ears.

6. Milk Chin

portuguese water dog
Image Credit: Zadranka, Shutterstock

Technically the milk chin is a bi-colored Portie, but the pattern isn’t as striking as it is with other types. It is a solid-colored dog with a splash of white on its chin.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Most Common and Rarest Colors and Patterns of Portuguese Water Dogs?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes the colors black, white, all shades of brown, and white markings. The most common Portie is black with white markings and a milk chin. If you’ve never seen one in real life, you might be familiar with seeing one on television—former President Barack Obama had two Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny. Bo was a black and white Portie, but he sadly died from cancer in May 2021.

The rarest color of Portie is white; despite this rarity, they don’t cost more than black dogs.

Does a Portuguese Water Dog’s Coat Change With Age?

If you have a puppy, expect its color to change. The color change will stabilize when they reach adulthood, but just like humans, you’ll notice that their color changes as they grow older and go grey. This will be particularly visible on their muzzle, eyebrows, and other areas of the face.

Does the Portuguese Water Dog Require Much Grooming?

Thanks to the wavy or curly texture of the Portie’s coat, you have to be on the lookout for mats and tangles. However, they don’t have an undercoat to worry about. They need daily brushing and a haircut every month or so to ensure their coat is healthy.

A bath every month or two will suffice, but it will depend on where you take them to burn off all that energy they have. Bathing your dog too much can strip its coat of natural oils and make its skin itchy and irritated.

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The Portuguese Water Dog doesn’t come in very many color variations, but it’s undeniable that the options available are adorable. Their coats can be curly or wavy, so you’ll need to fight against tangles and mats. Generally, they sport the retriever or lion cuts and are good pets for owners with fur and dander allergies as they are low-shedding.

If you want to adopt a Portuguese Water Dog, we don’t envy the decision you have to make—choosing between their coat colors is going to be tricky. The dog’s hair is, of course, only a tiny part of the decision. They’re intelligent, active, and fun-loving, so they’ll need a perfectly matched owner who can keep up with them!

Featured Image Credit: Brook Robinson, Shutterstock

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