Overview of Portuguese Water Dog Health Issues

All purebred and mixed breed dogs are prone to hereditary health problems. The Portuguese Water Dog is no exception. The PWDCA, Inc. supports a variety of initiatives to improve the length and quality of life of the PWD.  The PWDCA has been engaged in promoting breed health from the beginning.  Members are encouraged to know about potential health issues in the breed.  Responsible breeding practices are encouraged to reduce or eliminate hereditary health problems which can lead to increased veterinary costs, decreased quality of live, and/or premature death.

The PWDCA strongly recommends that responsible breeders obtain the following evaluations at a minimum, prior to a dog’s being bred:  

  • Annual eye exam by a veterinary ophthalmologist to certify the absence of inheritable eye disease
  • Hip X-ray to document no hip dysplasia (OFA)
  • Genetic testing (or certified Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) clear by parentage) for various conditions (listed below)

It is suggested that:

  • One parent be genetically tested as normal (non-carrier) or certified CHIC clear by parentage for
    • Eye conditions (Early onset PRA, prcd-PRA, Microphthalmia)
    • Cardiac – juvenile dilated cardiomyopathy (JDCM)
    • Neurological degenerative disease (brain and spinal cord) – Gangliosidosis (GM-1)
  • Both parents have a hip X-ray taken on or after the second birthday, evaluated by the OFA

Known Health Issues
(For more information please refer to Health Conditions)

  • Adidson's Disease
  • Allergies
  • Cancer
  • Canine Behavior
  • Eye Conditions, including PRA
  • GM-1 Gangliosidosis
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Juvenile Dilated Cardiomyopathy (JDCM)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Microphthalmia (MO)
  • Thyroid Conditions