This is a question we get everyday, how much energy do Portuguese Water Dogs have? Like all dogs, each dog is different. Portuguese Water Dogs were originally bred as working dogs, therefore those with higher energy and intelligence where highly sought after because they could perform the required work. Like every working dog breed, each dog is individual and have different energy requirements. Even within our own kennel group we have differing energy requirements, some of our dogs have a lot more energy than others.
Our sweet Leia loves to go on adventures and have fun, but she is just as happy sitting at home on the couch. Especially if it is cold outside you can find Leia curled up on the couch on a blanket. Rey is somewhere in the middle, she loves to go places and do things, she would have multiple adventures everyday if we wanted! She loves to play in the snow and visit the horse pasture, however, when it's time to relax and have a chill day, she is more than happy to snuggle and lay around. Finn on the other hand would go crazy if he had to be inside and relax all day. He loves to run, jump, wrestle and goof off. He will chase a ball (or Chewy) for hours. He just isn't happy being shut in and relaxing. We had to try once because he hurt his leg, we were able to have him on house rest for 3 days. He has pretty high energy needs and loves to work, he will catch a ball, follow the horses, go for walks, anything that gets him up and moving. However even then, he will take a rest on the floor, or in his crate while we run errands. As our Portuguese Water Dogs get a little older, they settle a little more, and have lower energy demands.
We get asked a lot to quantify the amount of energy a Portuguese Water Dog has, and we say they have moderate energy for a working dog. From our experience Portuguese Water Dogs are not going to be as high energy as som other working breeds like Border Collies, Australian Shepherds or Black Mouth Cur dogs. However they will have more energy than some pet breeds like mini Schnauzers, Poodles or Shih-Tzus. However, we always caution that everything is relative and just like with training, you can encourage more energy or less energy just based on your lifestyle and daily actions.
Our Portidoodles (Portuguese Water Dog cross Poodles) tend to have a little bit lower energy than our purebred Portuguese Water Dogs. They still like to go out and have fun, are energetic and excited to do things like hike and explore, however their energy requirements are not as high as a purebred. Which is why some people prefer them over a purebred Portuguese Water Dog.
We strongly encourage our families to invest in some good training and also games or toys that encourage brain stimulation. Portuguese Water Dogs and Portidoodles are incredibly intelligent and need just as much mental stimulation as they do physical stimulation. Having a good plan to mentally stimulate your puppy can help you limit acting out behaviors, and mischief making. We have found that even just 15 minutes of mental stimulation per day is equivalent to about an hour of physical exercise. Some of the things we like to use are puzzle feeders, snuffle mats, stuffed Kongs and training games, like hide and seek.
Energy requirements and temperament is one of the things that we test our puppies for in their temperament testing. We feel it is important to try and match families with a puppy that has complimentary energy levels. It wouldn't be fair to a high energy dog to go to a home where he is crated for a good portion of the day. It also wouldn't be fair to a family that wants to run agility courses or train them to work to have a lower energy puppy that would rather be at home. In our temperament testing we do our best to classify their energy needs (along with other temperament characteristics) so that we can set up both puppy and family for success!
In our experience we have found that Portuguese Water Dogs and Portidoodles are great dogs for a variety of families and a variety of lifestyles, the biggest need that a Portuguese Water Dog and Portidoodle have is to be loved by their family!