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Portuguese Water Dog vs Labradoodle: The Differences (With Pictures)

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

Portuguese Water Dog vs Labradoodle

The Labradoodle and Portuguese Water Dog should be top contenders if you’re looking for a solid, medium-sized, nearly hypoallergenic dog with curly hair. Each one is unique in its own right, so this article should make navigating similarities, differences, and compatibility easier.

The Portuguese Water Dog is purebred, while a Labradoodle is a hybrid breed of the Labrador Retriever and Poodle. Both share curly coats and similar sizes, but their personalities differ. We will go over all the aspects of each so you can make the best decision possible.

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Visual Differences

Portuguese Water Dog vs Labradoodle side by side
Image Credit: (L) Lynda McFaul, Shutterstock | (R) Flyby Photography, Shutterstock

At a Glance

Portuguese Water Dog
  • Average height (adult): 17–23 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 35–60 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Light
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Energetic, affectionate, brave, intelligent
  • Average height (adult): 22–24 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 50–65 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Peppy, intelligent, eager to please

Divider 8Portuguese Water Dog Overview

The Portuguese Water Dog is a curly-haired, high-spirited dog originating from the Algarve region in Portugal. These energetic dogs have been around a very long time, with traces of them dating all the way back to 200 B.C.!

Originally, these dogs helped fishermen out on the water, making them exquisite swimmers with adorable, webbed feet. Since their long-gone beginning, these dogs have charmed their way into people’s homes as family companions.

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

Personality / Character

The Portuguese Water Dog is definitely one of character. These dogs tend to be very cheerful and boisterous pups that learn quickly but still might give you a run for your money. These dogs might be a little headstrong or demanding of attention, so make sure you have enough time to spare.

These dogs live a life of excitement and will cheerfully brighten your day. Even though they tend to be very free-spirited, they can be very relaxed around the home. Porties are quite content spending time with their owners and tend to be pretty laid back and docile, especially after puppyhood is over.

However, to ensure your Portie has an even temperament, making sure they have the appropriate physical outlets is an absolute must. If your Portie doesn’t get the appropriate amount of stimulation, it can lead to negative behaviors like destructiveness or anxiety.


Your Portuguese Water Dog will need plenty of exercise! This dog loves to be on the go as much as you will let them. They are definitely best suited for those with an active lifestyle! These pups enjoy the great outdoors and will love to accompany you on all of your woodland adventures.

As the name implies, the Portuguese Water Dog loves splashing around in the water, making them great candidates for water activities. So don’t be afraid to take them to creeks, lakes, or even the backyard swimming pool to get out a little pent-up energy.

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


Portuguese Water Dogs make excellent candidates for training. They thrive on direction and attention but require a firm hand. Your Portie needs to learn the ropes right up front. If you let them, they will rule the roost and might be a little harder to manage than some other breeds.

If you are an experienced dog owner, your Portuguese water dog might require professional training. Luckily, there are plenty of options for you!

Health & Care

Porties are incredibly sturdy dogs. They were bred to be healthy and athletic. With proper breeding and adequate vetting, these dogs will maintain their health and live long, happy lives. However, some genetic issues can crop up from time to time.

These dogs should remain pretty healthy if you keep up with routine vetting. If any issue should crop up, your vet can appropriately diagnose and take care of it as it comes.

Some of the potential health issues common in this breed include:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Addison’s disease
  • Alopecia
  • Arthritis
  • Eye Disorders


To purchase a Portie, you need to make sure you choose a responsible, experienced breeder. Because these dogs are so unique, you can expect to pay roughly $3,000 per puppy. Sometimes, due to the rarity, you will have to travel or be placed on a waiting list to score a puppy.

If you choose to adopt, you might find a purebred Portie at a rescue or shelter. Costs will be significantly less, ranging from $160 to $400. One positive thing about adoption is that all healthcare costs associated with spaying/neutering and initial vaccines will be covered, cutting out another big expense chunk.

Portuguese Water Dog
Image Credit: Zé Maria, Unsplash

Suitable for:

The Portuguese Water Dog is suitable for almost any living situation, permitting they’re able to get the appropriate amount of exercise. They are also particularly fantastic for allergy sufferers, and although no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, these dogs are one of the closest things to hypoallergenic you can get.

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Labradoodle Overview

The impressive Labradoodle has really made its mark in the doggy world—gaining praise and admiration from pet lovers everywhere. You have two excellent breeds in this combination—the Labrador Retriever and Poodle. Each of these parents gives way to interesting looks and personalities.

Labradoodles have been a work in progress since roughly the 1950s, with some dispute on exact timelines. However, over time, the development has given so many homes the best pups to love for a lifetime.

blue merle labradoodle sitting on flower bed
Image Credit by: Tara Menefee, Shutterstock

Personality / Character

Labradoodles are famous for their fantastic personalities. These happy-go-lucky dogs are highly sociable. Many people are overtaken by their general character. These calm, loving dogs make fabulous additions to many homes, including those with disabled, young, or old persons living in them.

In fact, many Labradoodles find themselves in service or emotional support roles for people. These cheery dogs are highly intuitive and emotionally sensitive creatures that can cater to the needs of human companions.

Even though they might be high-energy puppies, they tend to calm down beautifully as they age. Labradoodles are incredibly intelligent dogs that require mental stimulation and physical exercise.


A Labradoodle will need plenty of exercise! These dogs thrive on physical activity. They are the type that will look very forward to the morning and evening walks and practically any outing outside of the home. Since your Labradoodle is so social, they make perfect playmates at dog parks and other excursions.

Since these dogs are highly trainable and obedient, you can pretty much take them with you wherever you go. They will gladly accompany you every step and greet strangers and friends alike. If they have any type of service or emotional support role, you can likely take them into most stores and businesses without issue.

yellow labradoodle on the grass
Image Credit by: Option_Dave, Shutterstock


Labradoodles make incredible candidates for training. These dogs easily pick up simple commands, and can learn incredibly challenging concepts. Often, Labradoodles are chosen for roles and service and emotional support for humans. These dogs can learn extremely complex subject matter. 

Since they are so eager to please and highly trainable, even folks that don’t have so much experience training dogs might not have so much of an issue. However, if you want your Labradoodle to undergo more advanced training, you can always rely on a professional to help you achieve your goals.

Health & Care

With proper breeding, Labradoodles are incredibly healthy dogs. However, every individual dog will have their own sensitivities. Some dogs will go through life without a health issue, while others will develop them over time due to environment, lifestyle, and happenstance.

To keep your dog healthy, it’s essential to keep up with annual checkups after their first year of life. Labradoodles may also have specific health issues that might crop up genetically.

These include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Addison’s disease
  • Allergies


The price of a Labradoodle can vary quite drastically. For a pet, you can generally find a puppy between $800 to $2,000. However, if your Labradoodle has undergone specific or advanced training techniques, you can pay upwards of $5,000 and above.

This is a pretty common breed, which means you can often find puppies or adults in local rescues or shelters. If you do, you can expect to pay between $150 and $400 for adoption. You might even get lucky and find a person or family looking to rehome their dog for even less.

Labradoodle in a desert garden
Image Credit by: Danita Delimont, Shutterstock

Suitable for:

Labradoodles are a fantastic companion for nearly any lifestyle. These dogs acclimate well into multi-pet homes, growing families, and even service roles. Because of their Poodle parents, many Labradoodles are also hypoallergenic, making them compatible with mild to moderate allergy sufferers.

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Which Breed Is Right for You?

The bottom line is, only you can decide which of these splendid pups will work for you. But let’s break it down to make it easier. If you’re looking for a docile family companion that works well with every critter and human alike, the friendly Labradoodle might be best for you.

However, if you’re looking for a dog that’s a bit more energetic and adventurous with a craving for adventure, the Portuguese Water Dog might be the winner. Either way you go, you’ll love the pup you choose and bond with them all the same.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: (L) Eve Photography, Shutterstock | (R) Justin Sienkiewicz, Shutterstock

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