Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How Big Do Portuguese Water Dogs Get? Average Weight & Growth Chart

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

portuguese water dog standing outdoor

Size does matter when choosing a dog to adopt. If your eyes are set on a Portuguese water dog, you likely have many questions about its size. How big is a full-grown Portuguese water dog?

Although they look bigger because of their kinky fur, Porties or PWDs are medium-sized canines. Adults weigh between 35 and 60 pounds and reach between 17 and 23 inches tall.

Portuguese water dogs are perfect for most households because they are not too big or small. Their average-sized physiques are a plus point, especially if you are looking for an exercising buddy you can take with you to swimming, hiking, and fishing escapades.

Are you eager to learn how big Portuguese water dogs get? Read on.

divider 10

Portuguese Water Dogs Overview

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

Portuguese water dogs are high-spirited canines ideal for individuals and families that can offer plenty of interactive play. They have long, stocky, well-muscled bodies built for an active lifestyle. Although their fur hides most of the muscles, you can tell they are a working breed because of their outgoing personality.

Coats can have curly or wavy hair. The curly coats have compact kinky furs, while the wavy coats have long, glossy hairs. Their colors range from black, tan, brown, to white, although the latter is quite rare. Portuguese water dogs can also come in bi or tri-colored coats. Common hue combinations include black and tan, brown and white, or black and white.

Portuguese water dogs are naturally intelligent and playful, an attribute you can tell by their keen and attentive expression. As work dogs, they are happier when busy and will be eager to please you. They are best suited for experienced pet parents who can socialize them and provide consistent obedience training to discourage undesirable traits.

Porties need a good dose of daily exercise to release pent-up energy and prevent destructive behavior. Generally, they require 40 to 60 minutes of high-intensity exercise daily, although hours of activity when jogging, bike riding, or hiking will suffice.

Divider 8

Portuguese Water Dog Size & Growth Chart

One of the most distinctive features of Portuguese water dogs is that their bodies are slightly longer than they are tall. Like most canine breeds, males are larger and reach a height of 20 to 23 inches at the shoulder and weigh 45 to 60 pounds. Females are 17 to 21 inches tall and weigh between 35 and 50 pounds.

Age Weight Range Length Range
0 to 3 months 12 to 25 pounds 6 to 8 inches
3 to 6 months 25 to 30 pounds 8 to 12 inches
6 to 9 months 30 to 35 pounds 12 to 17 inches
12 to 24 months 45 to 60 pounds 17 to 23 inches

When Does the Portuguese Water Dog Stop Growing?

Portuguese water dogs go through a major growth spurt as puppies. Once they turn into young adolescents at six months, their growth drastically slows down. Most of the development during the adolescence phase involves gaining muscle mass.

Like most dogs, Porties are sexually mature at nine to ten months. However, their bodies are not fully developed and ready for breeding until they are 18 months old. At this point, they are fully mature and will stop growing taller. Your doggo could still add some pounds and increase muscle mass between 18 and 24 months.

Although Porties reach physiological maturity at 18 months, they are only mentally mature once they are about 20 months old. If you wish to breed your dogs, wait until they are at least 24 months old and have stopped growing physiologically and psychologically.

portuguese water dog at the beach
Image Credit: rida tadlaoui, Shutterstock

The 3 Factors Affecting the Size of Portuguese Water Dogs

One of the primary factors that will affect the size of your Portie is its gender. Males are taller and heavier than females of the same age, living under similar conditions.

Here are three other factors that can influence the size of your Portuguese water dog.

1. Genetics

Genetics has much to do with how big your pet will get, making it crucial to ask for pedigree papers from your breeder. You can estimate the adult size of your pup based on the size of its parents.

If one parent is short, your pet could inherit this genetic component. The pedigree papers will also inform you of any genetic conditions or health concerns to expect.

2. Diet and Exercise

Portuguese water dogs are not prone to weight issues mainly because they are an active breed. Providing work opportunities helps to keep them fit and agile. A Portie can quickly gain weight if it does not get enough exercise to burn up calories from food.

Moreover, the diet you provide can increase the risk of your dog getting underweight or overweight. If your Portie doesn’t get sufficient high-quality proteins and fat, it could grow skinny. On the flip side, too many of these elements can cause obesity. Getting into a feeding routine is crucial to make it easier to monitor the food portions and feeding frequency.

3. Age

Even Portuguese water dogs grow less energetic with age. Older dogs don’t need the same type and amount of food as puppies and adolescents. Generally, younger Porties can regulate their weight and size by consistently burning more calories through physical activities.

Also, you may notice some changes in your dog’s size after a neutering or spaying procedure. Desexing lowers the metabolic rate, and your pup may add pounds and instantly seem less energetic. While adjusting its diet is unnecessary, you may want to provide more physical stimulation to encourage muscle growth and keep weight in check.

Portuguese Water Dog
Image Credit: Zé Maria, Unsplash

Ideal Diet for Maintaining a Healthy Weight

The diet and amount of food your Portie needs will depend on its life stage and lifestyle. Puppies, adolescents, and young adults need foods rich in protein, fiber, and fats because they are highly active and burn more calories.

A balanced diet will also contain appropriate amounts of vitamins and minerals. These elements are instrumental in ensuring your dog maintains a sound immune system. It doesn’t hurt to request your vet for recommendations if you are unsure of the ideal diet based on your pet’s age, personality, and health status.

How to Measure Your Portuguese Water Dog’s Size

Often, it is unnecessary to go crazy measuring all sides, angles, and proportions of your dog when shopping for fitting accessories. However, there are areas you should measure to ensure your pet is growing at the expected pace. This will allow you to take the necessary measures, especially if it is underweight or overweight.


To measure height, ensure your dog stands flat against a wall. Use a measuring tape to determine the distance from the base of the front foot to the withers (highest point of the shoulder blades).

Waist, Neck, and Chest Girth

The waist circumference is the measurement of the narrowest area of the belly. On the other hand, the neck girth is the neck’s perimeter from the nape and around the top of the chest. When measuring the chest girth, you’ll need to pass your tape measure behind the forelegs and then on top of the broadest area of the shoulder blades.

portuguese water dog near lake
Image Credit: Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock

Divider 2

Final Thoughts

Don’t let the medium-sized bodies of Portuguese water dogs deceive you. They are a highly active breed best suited for individuals and families that can offer more than one-hour walks around the block. You must provide lots of structured activities to keep your furry friend mentally and physically stimulated. If you don’t keep it busy, there’s a high chance it will get up to some mischief to burn pent-up energy.

Although the weight of a Portie is highly dependent on its genetics, providing a proper diet and plenty of work opportunities can keep your pet’s weight in check. Generally, this notably sweet and affectionate breed is happier and healthier when out and about!

Featured Image Credit: Brook Robinson, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database