Portuguese Water Dogs are generally robust, healthy canines. But, as with most breeds, they do have known health issues. If you are considering bringing a PWD into your family, you will want to educate yourself about the health problems most common to PWDs and the health tests that exist to check for some of them.
PWDs are known to carry genes of a number of recessive, genetic disorders. Due to extensive research, there are now genetic tests available for many of those disorders. Through testing and careful selection of breeding pairs based upon the test results, breeders are able to ensure that those specific problems are not passed down to their puppies.
If you are thinking of purchasing a PWD puppy, we suggest that you consider only litters with parents that had all Portuguese Water Dog Club of America (PWDCA) recommended health testing done prior to the breeding. This testing cannot be completed until a dog is at least 24 months old.Following are the current PWDCA recommended health test results for a breeding pair:
- OFA hip screening - with both dogs being OFA certified fair, good or excellent
- GM-1, Storage Disease (Gangliosidosis) - with at least one dog testing normal via a genetic test or certified clear via the CHIC DNA clear by parentage program.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (prcd-PRA) - with at least one dog testing normal via OptiGen or certified clear via the CHIC DNA clear by parentage program.
- JDCM (Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy) - with at least one dog testing normal via a genetic test or certified clear via the CHIC DNA clear by parentage program.
- A current (yearly) Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) or Eye Certification Registry (ECR) certification (up to the age of 10) - with both dogs passing
- ** Beginning in 2018
Early Onset Progressive Retinal Atrophy (EOPRA) - with at least one parent testing normal (non-carrier) via a genetic test
You can search for test results on the dam and sire of a planned/available litter of puppies in the OFA Database .
There are other serious health issues prevalent in the PWD breed - including cancer and Addison's Disease. Cancer is a very common problem in many breeds of dogs. Addison's is prevalent in breeds such as Bearded Collies, Standard Poodles, Portuguese Water Dogs, Rottweilers, West Highland White Terriers, and Wheaten Terriers.
For more information about various aspects of Water Dog health, please see this page on the PWDCA web site:
PWD Health Conditions