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Portuguese Water Dog Labrador Mix: Pictures, Info, Care Guide & More

Gregory Iacono

By Gregory Iacono

Parent breeds of Portuguese Water Dog Labrador Mix

There’s no denying that the lovable Labrador Retriever is one of America’s favorite dog breeds. The Portuguese Water Dog, while not as popular, it’s still among the Top 50 breeds in the US.

Put the two together, and you get an affectionate, athletic, and loyal dog ready for action! A Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mix typically makes a fantastic family pet and a devoted companion. Do you want to know more about this amazing (and gorgeous) mixed breed? If yes, read on!

Height: 21–23 inches
Weight: 40–80 pounds
Lifespan: 10–15 years
Colors: Black, chocolate, brown, white, and yellow in various mixes
Suitable for: Younger families, active people, those who love the water and want a low-shedding, affectionate dog
Temperament: Active, excitable, inquisitive, and highly social

One factor that many love about the Labrador Retriever Portuguese Water Dog mix is that they don’t shed much. They’re almost always lovable, affectionate dogs with vast amounts of energy and a distinct love for swimming and playing in the water. These friendly dogs are good with other people, pets, and small children.

One minor drawback is that some Lab-Portuguese Water Dog mixes go a little overboard (pun intended) around the water and try to “save” people who are swimming, which can be problematic. This trait, however, is usually subdued or, in some cases, absent, thanks to the calm nature of the Labrador Retriever.

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Portuguese Water Dog Labrador Mix Breed Characteristics


Portuguese Water Dog Labrador Mix Breed Puppies

Finding a Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mix might be challenging, depending on where you live. You’ll need to search for a reputable breeder who is socially responsible, caring, and honest. You can occasionally find a Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mix at a shelter, but it’s not easy.

Your best bet is to form a relationship with the shelter (volunteering is perfect), so they’ll contact you if a Lab/PWD mix arrives to let you know. A shelter or rescue can also check your puppy for health issues and advise you of possible concerns before you adopt.

Parent breeds of Portuguese Water Dog Labrador Mix
Photo Credit: Left – Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock | Right – Ben Hanson, Unsplash

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Portuguese Water Dog Labrador Mix 🧠

The Labrador Retriever and Portuguese Water Dog are highly intelligent animals that learn new things quickly, have an innate sensitivity, and are playful, affectionate dogs. Portuguese Water Dogs habitually overreact to anyone playing in or around water, whether a pool, lake, or ocean. However, when mixed with a Lab, that characteristic is usually lowered or eliminated.

A Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mix will be curious, highly active, and always want to be with its owner, which can sometimes lead to separation anxiety. However, the lovely dogs are usually calm, attentive, and intuitive, and they love meeting new people and new dogs.  They train best using positive reinforcement, and while they don’t make excellent guard dogs (they’re too friendly), they will certainly let you know when someone is approaching as they get excited and bark moderately.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

In most cases, the Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mix will be a phenomenal family dog if raised in a loving, caring home by responsible owners. Thanks to their Labrador and Portuguese Water Dog genes, most will make excellent family pets, getting along well with children even if those children play a little too rough. Most Lab/PWD mixes will be patient, love being petted and played with, and will gladly sit while you brush and groom them.

Because neither parent breed is a big barker, most Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mixes don’t bark except to alert you that someone is approaching. In other words, they won’t bark at every little thing and, in most cases, won’t be bothersome to your neighbors. They are gentle, devoted dogs and, once mature, will typically make wonderful companions and best friends for you and other family members.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

The chance that your Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mix gets along well with other dogs and pets is very high since both parents are known for this trait. Of course, proper and constant socialization is always a good idea and will help any dog to be more affectionate towards other dogs and pets. It’s also recommended to raise your new dog as a puppy with other pets, as this will further reduce their natural tendency to be aggressive or prey oriented.

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Things to Know When Owning a Portuguese Water Dog Labrador Mix:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

A high-protein, low-carb diet is recommended for this mix as they have high energy and a tendency to become overweight once they mature. Since they’re prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, you may need to give your Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mix supplements to help their joints, including fish oil, glucosamine, and chondroitin. However, you should avoid purchasing supplements unless your veterinarian approves.

Exercise 🐕

Your PWD/Labrador mix will need between 2 and 3 hours of activity every day until it gets to about 8 years of age. It will start slowing down at that point, but it still needs a good amount of activity to keep from becoming overweight, bored, and lethargic. For this reason, experts recommend that active adults or mature, active kids adopt this mix.

Training 🎾

Thanks to its parents, the PWD/Lab mix is a willing student eager to please and will quickly and easily pick up new commands and tricks. Positive reinforcement training techniques are highly recommended as these dogs are intuitive, sensitive, and don’t do well with negative actions or words.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming a Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mix depends on the coat the dog inherits. Yours might have the dense but hypoallergenic coat of a PWD and need extensive daily and monthly grooming. However, it might also have the water-repellent, thick coat of a Labrador Retriever that sheds moderately but only needs to be brushed once or twice a week. Regardless of the coat type, the dog will need its nails regularly trimmed and teeth brushed weekly to keep it healthy.

Health and Conditions ❤️

You’ll be glad to know that the Labrador Retriever and Portuguese Water Dog have few health or genetic issues besides elbow and hip dysplasia. Patellar luxation is also a concern, as well as separation anxiety. Besides those, however, the Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mix is an all-around healthy breed.

Minor Conditions
  • OCD
  • Separation anxiety
  • Ear infection
  • Hereditary myopathy
Serious Conditions
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Bloat

divider 9Male vs Female

As with most dogs, female Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mixes live slightly longer than males. It’s highly recommended to have your puppy either neutered or spayed, which will reduce several health issues like cancer and has been shown to extend a dog’s life by upwards of 20% longer. Males are generally larger, but the male and female temperament are similar.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Portuguese Water Dog Labrador Mix

1. They Aren’t Always Hypoallergenic

Even though Portuguese Water Dogs are close to being hypoallergenic (no breed is 100%), when mixed with the Labrador Retriever, the chance your puppy sheds a lot and causes allergies is still relatively high.

2. Many Consider the Portuguese Water Dog Labrador Mix the Best of Both Worlds

If you’re lucky, your puppy will be incredibly intelligent and affectionate like a Lab and close to hypoallergenic like a Portuguese Water Dog.

3. Bathing a PWD/Labrador Mix Often Isn’t Necessary

In most cases, your new PWD/Lab puppy won’t need a bath very often but will need to be brushed regularly.

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Final Thoughts

The Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mix is one of the most popular “designer” dogs that has grown in popularity in the last few decades. The beautiful, affectionate, and gentle Labrador Retriever mixed with the athletic, energetic, and almost hypoallergenic Portuguese Water Dog is the perfect combination.

Both breeds are intelligent and friendly dogs that love to be with their people and make great companions. However, they are high-energy dogs that need a lot of physical and mental activity and engagement to be happy and healthy. Portuguese Water Dog Labrador mixes are perfect for younger, active families who often get out to the park, lake, beach, or forest.

See Also:

Featured Photo Credit: Left – Jennay Hitesman, Shutterstock | Right – Neil, Pexels

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