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How Long Do Portuguese Water Dogs Live? Vet Approved Facts, Average Lifespan, Data & Care

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

portuguese water dog standing outdoor

Vet approved

Dr. Maja Platisa Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maja Platisa

In-House Veterinarian, DVM MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The Portuguese Water Dog is an energetic and intelligent breed that has recently grown in popularity due to their friendliness and loyalty. These dogs are known for their athletic ability and love of the water, making them ideal for families who enjoy swimming and other water activities. However, like all dogs, Portuguese Water Dogs have a finite lifespan. The average lifespan of a Portuguese Water Dog is between 11 and 13 years. Keep reading as we explore how long a Portuguese Water Dog might live and the factors that can impact their longevity. This way, owners can take steps to ensure that their Portuguese Water Dog has a long, happy, and healthy life.

What’s the Average Lifespan of a Portuguese Water Dog?

The average lifespan of a Portuguese Water Dog is between 11 and 13 years, with most living to about 12.5 years. However, this can vary depending on several factors, such as genetics, diet, exercise, and overall health. Some Portuguese Water Dogs may live shorter or longer lives than the average, with some living as long as 18 years.

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

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Why Do Some Portuguese Water Dogs Live Longer Than Others?

1. Nutrition

Proper complete and balanced nutrition plays a crucial role in a dog’s lifespan. For example, a balanced diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can help support a dog’s overall health and well-being. We recommend choosing a brand with real meat, like chicken or turkey, listed as the first ingredient and avoiding brands that use chemical preservatives, like BHA or BHT, and artificial colors.

2. Environment and Conditions

A dog’s environment can also impact their lifespan. For example, dogs in clean, safe environments with minimal exposure to toxins, injuries, or hazards are less likely to develop health problems that can shorten their lifespan. Ensure that your dog has plenty of room to run to get the necessary exercise but isn’t stuck out in the sunlight, rain, or snow, and is in a secure and enclosed space.

portuguese water dog near
Image Credit: Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock

3. Size

Obesity is a big problem for pets across the United States, with some experts suggesting that more than 50% need to lose weight. Obesity can predispose dogs to diabetes, heart and lung issues, joint issues, and many other health problems that can dramatically shorten your pet’s lifespan.

4. Genes

Genetics can affect your pet’s lifespan. For example, some dogs can have genetic health problems that might shorten their lifespan, while others might inherit genes that might protect them from certain health conditions.

5. Healthcare

Regular veterinary visits and prompt care for any health issues can go a long way toward extending your pet’s lifespan. For example, dogs that receive routine vaccinations, preventative medications, and dental care are less likely to develop health problems, and you are more likely to learn about major issues early.

portuguese water dog portrait with teeth out
Image Credit: Cindy Hughes, Shutterstock

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The 5 Life Stages of a Portuguese Water Dog


Your Portuguese Water Dog is a puppy until they are about 6 months old. During this time, they will require a special diet, and you should also try to socialize them with other animals and people as frequently as possible, so they are more social as adults. You will see their personalities develop during this time, and they will be curious, continually exploring their environment.


Around 6 months of age, Portuguese Water Dogs enter adolescence, and they will become more independent. They may also start to test boundaries, so having a training schedule in place is good. They may experience a growth spurt, affecting their diet and exercise needs.


Portuguese Water Dogs are adults when they reach about 2 years old and are no longer developing physically and mentally. They will also settle into their adult personalities.


Around 7 to 8 years of age, Portuguese Water Dogs enter their senior years and may start to experience age-related health issues, such as joint problems, dental issues, and reduced mobility. They may also require diet and exercise routine alterations to accommodate their changing needs.


Once your pet reaches 10–12 years old, they will enter the geriatric stage. Providing them with regular veterinary care, a comfortable living environment, and plenty of love and attention is essential.

portrait of a white and black Portuguese Water Dog wearing a collar
Image Credit: Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock

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How to Tell Your Portuguese Water Dog’s Age

Puppies have softer and fluffier fur than adults, which will have thick, rough coats. As the dog ages, the coat can begin to gray and thin in certain areas. But the best way to determine a dog’s age is to consult a veterinarian. They can examine your dog, paying particular attention to their teeth, eyes, coat, general appearance, and behavior, and give you a more accurate estimate based on their physical health and available medical history.

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Portuguese Water Dogs usually live 11–13 years, with most living just over 12 years. However, several factors can affect your dog’s lifespan, including genetic history, diet, healthcare, and environment, so your pet might live longer or shorter than expected. Providing them with a nutritional diet is one of the best ways to prevent the onset of many health problems, and frequent veterinary checkups can alert you to any issues early.

Featured Image Credit: Brook Robinson, Shutterstock

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