Country/Date of Origin: Portugal/1400s
Fisherman along the Algarve coast of Portugal relied on a remarkable dog to help them in their difficult trade. Their seafaring dogs carried messages between ships and ship to shore. Indispensable crewmen they retrieved lost tackle, herded fish into nets, grabbed those that leaped out and in bad weather acted as living foghorns.
The Portuguese Water Dog is also a fine hunting retriever. Needless to say these dogs were closely guarded. They were little known outside of Portugal until the 20th Century although the breed is more than seven hundred years old.
They weren't very well known in Portugal either. In 1972 it was thought that there were less than 25 purebred dogs left. Fanciers around the world rallied and today the cheerful sea sprites have the popularity they deserve. In 1981 the Portuguese was admitted to the miscellaneous classes of the American Club. And in 1984 the numbers were high enough to allow a full membership in the Working Group.