Portuguese Water Dog vs Istrian Sheepdog - Breed Comparison

Portuguese Water Dog is originated from Portugal but Istrian Sheepdog is originated from Slovenia. Portuguese Water Dog may grow 6 cm / 2 inches shorter than Istrian Sheepdog. Portuguese Water Dog may weigh 13 kg / 28 pounds lesser than Istrian Sheepdog. Portuguese Water Dog may live 3 years more than Istrian Sheepdog. Both Portuguese Water Dog and Istrian Sheepdog has almost same litter size. Portuguese Water Dog requires Low maintenance. But Istrian Sheepdog requires Moderate maintenance

Basic Information

Group:
Working dog
Working dog
Origin:
Portugal
Slovenia
Height Male:
43 - 57 cm
16 - 23 inches
54 - 63 cm
21 - 25 inches
Height Female:
43 - 57 cm
16 - 23 inches
54 - 63 cm
21 - 25 inches
Weight Male:
16 - 27 kg
35 - 60 pounds
26 - 40 kg
57 - 89 pounds
Weight Female:
16 - 27 kg
35 - 60 pounds
26 - 40 kg
57 - 89 pounds
Life Span:
12 - 15 Years
10 - 12 Years
Litter Size:
5 - 8
3 - 6
Size:
Medium dog
Medium dog
Other Names:
PWD, Water Dog, Portie
Karst Sheepdog
Colors Available:
black and white, or silver-tipped, Black, brown
Dark and Light shades of Grey
Coat:
single coated - curly and wavy
Long, thick and harsh
Shedding:
Minimal
Moderate, Seasonal
Temperament:
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Docile, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Quiet, Responsive, Social, Territorial
Affectionate, Aggressive, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Grooming:
Low maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Trainability:
Easy
Easy
Hypoallergenic:
Yes
No
Kids Friendly:
Yes
Yes
New Owners Friendly:
Yes
Yes

History

The Portuguese Water Dog is a working dog hailing from the Portuguese region of the Algarve. The dog has always been a friend of the sea, working around fishing boats, loving his life around water.

He descends from dogs that have always been used by Portuguese fishermen, and its believed he has Poodle in him. Known also as the Cao de Agua, which means Dog of the Water, the Portie as he is also known, almost disappeared.

Their numbers dropped in the early 20th century, but a certain Vasco Bensuade saved the breed, forming a breed club, writing a breed standard.

They then also made their way to England and the United States. It was in 1972 that the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America formed. In 1983, the AKC recognized the dog as a distinct breed.

Known also as the Karst Sheepdog, the beautiful, medium sized Istrian Sheepdog hails from Slovenia, Yugoslavia in the 1600s, being used to guard sheep. In fact, the Karst Shepherd was recognized as the Illyrian Shepherd in 1939.

The dog is fairly scarce in his own country, but interest in the dog started developing in the late 1970s. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale recognizes the breed and it has also been exported to the United States, being recognized by the United Kennel Club.

It is also recognized by a number of smaller kennel clubs. The dogs numbers have declined at certain periods in its history but fortunately breeding programs boosted its numbers.

Description

Standing at between 43 and 57cm in height and weighing in the region of 16 to 27kg, the Portuguese Water Dog is a medium-sized, curly-coated dog.

It is believed that the dog is hypoallergenic. He does however shed, though not a lot. He just loves the water and is always ready to plunge in. One of the distinctive characteristics of this dog is its webbed feet.

Temparament:

The Portuguese Water Dog is an intelligent dog that will do well with training and socialization.

It won’t be troublesome training this dog as he is intelligent. They're also calm dogs. Referred to fondly as the Portie, this is a fun-loving dog, friendly and social, getting on well with all members of his human family.

These dogs get on well with children and other family pets. They can be reserved toward strangers, but this makes them good watchdogs.

This is a medium sized, muscled, strong dog with an iron-grey coat that has shades of deeper grey. His beautiful coat is long, thick and fairly harsh to the touch, with the undercoat protecting the dog against cold weather.

Around the neck area the hair is longer, forming an eye-catching-like mane. The stomach area has longer hair too. He has a noble look about him with kind, brown eyes and a round skull. The muzzle of the dog is dark, the limbs long and muscular and the tail is long and covered in thick fur.

The dog is slightly longer than its height, and both males and females stand at 54 to 63cm in height and weigh between 26 and 40kg. The long tail reaches right down to the hocks. The ears of the dog are fairly short and are floppy.

Temperament:

This dog has always made an excellent guard dog, being alert and also being distrustful of strangers. He will need to be trained and socialized if you want him to be obedient to you and more amicable around children in the home as well as visitors to the home.

If he is trained and well socialized, he is able to make a good pet. However, he is an energetic dog, used to working and he isn't recommended for life in the city if there is only a tiny garden. He needs space and will require a large garden.

He will also need to be exercised and not just left to his own devices in the backyard. Because he is essentially a working dog he doesn’t easily fit into the role of pet and companion. He is a working dog and will need to be kept busy.

Health Problems

Portuguese Water Dogs are generally healthy, but like most other dogs they are more prone to certain heath conditions, though your pet is unlikely to get any of them. Still it pays to know of some of the more complicated- and disabling ones.

Hip Dysplasia:

This is where the thighbone doesn't fit properly into the hip joint. Hip dysplasia spells pain for your dog and he may show lameness with one or both rear legs. Arthritis can develop too.

Hip dysplasia is hereditary, but it can be worsened by allowing your dog to become obese and from injuries from leaping off your bed for instance.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA):

This is a degenerative eye disorder that can lead to blindness, but fortunately it is detectable long before the dog shows signs of blindness.

Reputable breeders have the eyes of their dog certified each year by a veterinary ophthalmologist and they don’t allow the dogs to produce puppies.

As with many other dog breeds, the Istrian Sheepdog is a healthy dog that, because of history of hard work, is robust and able to stand up well to common dog illnesses.

However there is one dog illness that strikes many dogs and at any age, and it is hip dysplasia. This is a malformation of the hip joints.

You'll notice that your once active dog is lethargic, doesn't want to play so much anymore and battles to get up after lying down. The disease is painful for your dog and it can lead to mobility issues. The disease is diagnosed with x-rays and your vet will recommend treatment options to make life more comfortable and less painful for your beloved pet.

Caring The Pet

Your Portie is a dog that loves outdoor life and lots of exercise. Take him with you on your walks and give him a run off his leash. When he gets home, if you have a pool h’ll be the first to plunge right in. He makes a great pet to have at the sea too.

Provide him with plenty of nice chewy toys, balls and ropes so he doesn’t get bored.

Provide him with a nice, dry, warm sleeping area and don’t allow him to be disturbed when he retreats there.

Keep his vaccines up to date to prevent some life threatening illnesses.

Provide him with high quality food that has lots of vitamins and minerals instead of fillers, preservatives, colorants and toxins.

There are some excellent commercially manufactured dog foods which can be convenient and good for your pet. Try and provide him with some tasty homemade food occasionally. Nothing spicy and exotic. Dogs thrive on simplicity and consistency.

Boiled chicken, brown rice or pasta, carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes chopped up and added twice week to the dry kibble is all your dog requires to keep him energetic happy, thankful, healthy and happy.

A little bit of raw meat added in from time to time will be superb. See that he always has access to clean, cool water.

Exercise:

This is a dog that is used to guarding his flock and he will need to be in a home that has a fair sized garden. He can adapt to life in the city or to the countryside, but wherever he is, he will need sufficient exercise. Take him with you on your walks or hikes and give him some rope- and ball games.

General Care:

Wherever you live in the world, when the Winter winds howl and blow in icy rain or snow, a dog is at an increased risk of illness. You decided to have a dog in your home and it is your responsibility to care for him. Winter weather is downright unpleasant and dangerous for most pets.

Bring your pet in during such weather and provide him with a warm, dry sleeping space. During hot weather, make sure your pet has a cool, shady spot to lie down in, out of the boiling sun. Whatever weather you're experiencing, your pet should never ever be without a constant supply of fresh, cool water.

Provide him with excellent food that is full of vitamins and minerals to keep him healthy. Learn to know what human foods can be toxic for him and cause him digestive problems.

Grooming:

Your double coated Istrian Sheepdog will need a thorough brushing at least twice a week because of his dense, double coat. He does shed and isn't a hypoallergenic dog. His thick coat can tangle easily if it isn't properly brushed and maintained.

Clip his nails when and if they grow long. Other grooming aspects for this attractive dog require checking his ears for infection and also checking his teeth as dental disease can lead to a host of serious illnesses in your dog.

Characteristics

With training, your Portie can make a splendid pet. He is also adaptable to different living situations, and is capable of living in the city or in the countryside, just so long as his exercise needs are met.

He is such an affectionate and loyal, fun-loving dog while also being hard working, and all these wonderful characteristics mean that he can be a treasured pet and companion.

Your Istrian Sheepdog is a unique, strong-willed dog that is used to guarding, and working and he wants to be kept involved and busy.

He is wary of strangers and makes an excellent guard dog for any family home. Remember that it is never good to invest in a dog purely for guard dog purposes. A dog such as the Istrian Sheepdog is a social creature and he also wants- and needs to be part of a human family that provides him with plenty of interaction with them.

The Istrian Sheepdog is a loyal, loving dog who is capable of forming strong bonds with his human family. With proper training and socialization he makes a good friend of children and the elderly too.

Include him in all your family activities just like any human family member and he will make you a splendid, courageous pet.

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