Portuguese Water Dog vs Labradoodle

Portuguese Water Dog vs Labradoodle

Labradoodle vs Portuguese Water Dog? These are both curly coated breeds with high energy levels, affectionate and loyal natures. Portuguese Water Dogs can have higher prey drive and be a little more wary of strangers, and Labradoodles can vary more in terms of their temperament and coat type. The differences between them mean that they are better suited to slightly different homes and lifestyles. Today we’ll help you to separate the two dogs’ traits, and decide which is better suited to your family and lifestyle.

Labradoodle Vs Portuguese Water Dog
Labradoodle Vs Portuguese Water Dog

In this complete decision making guide to the Labradoodle vs Portuguese Water Dog (PWD), we compare all the similarities and differences between these dogs, and help you identify what qualities are most important to you. The Labradoodle vs Portuguese Water Dog dilemma is a common one among people looking for a medium sized, friendly, active, non-shedding dog. In fact these canines have an awful lot in common.

Portuguese Water Dogs are as cute and curly as a Labradoodle, but could they possibly be better? Let’s find out!

Labradoodle vs Portuguese Water Dog History

Portuguese Water Dog

  • For a long time in history, the Portie served a great purpose in the lives of the fishermen. He was originally from Portugal where he proved that his endurance excels far better than most dog breeds we know of today. Before, you would usually see this dog in boats ready to dive into the water to collect the pieces of fishing gear or help in making great seafood harvests by directing the fish to the nets laid out by the fishermen.
  • In some instances, they would also swim across another boat to deliver messages. It has been a tough timeline for the Porties especially during the 1970s. Most dogs of this breed lost their jobs and were replaced by modern equipment for fishing. When they neared extinction, Dr. Bensaude took interest in this dog and it paved the way to its survival.
  • The number of this breed remains low until now, but Portie breeders are working hard to defy all odds!


  • To produce a hypoallergenic dog, Wally Conron developed a phenomenal Labradoodle in the year 1989. Not only was this dog intentionally crossbred through a Labrador and a Standard Poodle to be allergy-friendly, but Conron also wanted this to be an effective guide dog.
  • Sultan was the first Labradoodle who had the complete package to be a guide dog and the remarkable duty he has done was with a woman in Hawaii. It was by that point in time when breeders saw the work as something worth recognizing. Gradually, like the Labrador Retriever parent, the Labradoodle is rising to fame. This is one of the most sought out Doodle dogs of all time!
  • Currently, to create a recognizable breed, breeders are opting for a multigenerational breeding process.

Labradoodle Vs Portuguese Water Dog appearance

Portuguese Water Dog

The Portie dog has an off-square build and is typically longer than tall. Feeling his body behind his curly or wavy coat, you’d be able to guess rightly that he is substantially built to last a vigorous activity. He is neither coarse nor refined, but he’s generally robust and muscular. 

The reason why the Portie is a good swimmer is due to his webbed feet. He’s neither large nor small but is rather nicely sized to deal with the seas or rivers. The eyes may range from black to brown and the nose color will vary on the coat color.

The shades of the fur may usually be in:

  • Brown
  • Black
  • Brown & white
  • Black & white


A Labradoodle is considered a large canine. He has acquired the soulful puppy eyes from the Labrador breed and they are set behind his curly coat. The ears droop gracefully and are set back on the head. Considering that this dog is not purebred, most of his appearances are not consistent. Some of this dog type will look more like a Poodle while others will exhibit a hint of the Labrador genes.

Moreover, the coat color and type will vary a lot as well. For the coat texture, there are three known kinds:

  • Hair coat
  • Wool coat
  • Fleece coat

Meanwhile, the coat color may appear in a plethora of shades:

  • Chalky white
  • Apricot
  • Gold
  • Caramel
  • Silver
  • Cream
  • Black
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Cafe
  • Chocolate
  • Parchment

Are Portuguese water dogs hypoallergenic?

  • Lots of interest in Labradoodles is fuelled by the misunderstanding that non-shedding coats are hypoallergenic. Portuguese Water Dogs are often shortlisted as another hypoallergenic alternative. Especially since the Obama family famously adopted two Portuguese Water Dogs on the basis that they were allergy-friendly. Unfortunately however, there is no evidence that either type of dog is more hypoallergenic than any other breed. The proteins which trigger people’s dog allergies are produced in dogs’ saliva, sweat and urine. And studies have revealed that non-shedding dogs produce the same amount of allergens as shedding dogs.
  • If someone in your household has dog allergies, sometimes their reaction can be managed by washing the dog at least twice a week, and dusting and vacuuming the house every day. Furthermore, the allergens which dogs produce are all subtly unique at a molecular level, as are our immune systems. So every now and then someone with allergies lucks out and meets a dog which doesn’t trigger them. But it won’t be to do with them being either a Labradoodle or a PWD!

Labradoodle Vs Portuguese Water Dog temperament

Portuguese Water Dog

  • The PWD is a dog that loves to develop meaningful relationships with his family members. He is sociable and playful so expect him to move a lot in the house seeking to be physically stimulated. If you are at work most times of the day, the maximum time you could leave him alone is six hours. Destructive behaviors would show if he hasn’t been shown attention or he has been filled with pent-up energy.
  • In general, Porties like to be accompanied by children. He loves the outbursts of energy they could easily match against his, but due to him being a canine, the play must be keenly monitored to avoid mishaps.


  • A Labradoodle dog is considered good for first-time dog owners. Mostly, this type doesn’t have behavioral problems but is rather sociable and friendly with kids, adults, and even strangers. His gentle nature concludes that he doesn’t have the quality of being a guard dog, but he sure will alert you if someone is approaching the front door.
  • This doodle dog is always ready to play, but he knows when to stay calm. Mentioning that the quality of this dog is inconsistent, expect some Labradoodles to be a mixture of reserved, boisterous, and slow to mature types.

Exercise Needs

Portuguese Water Dog

  • Depending on the energy level of the PWD, exercise has to be done for 30 minutes or longer. You can start the day by letting your dog enjoy a quick morning walk and let him indulge in a more rigorous exercise in the afternoon. This will help him in establishing good sleeping patterns while preventing yourself from dealing with an active dog at night if he’s exhausted at the end of the day.
  • Since he’s a waterdog, you can help him release energy by letting him swim in your pool or a nearby river. Simply regulate his time spent on playing or he won’t notice that the sun sets already!


  • The endless stream of energy a Labradoodle has would require its owner to conduct games that would help him burn off steam. A game of fetch, hide and seek, or toy search will surely keep your Doodle interested and stimulated. You can also invent your own game for your pooch depending on the dog’s preference.
  • Generally, a 30 to 60-minute exercise would be enough. You can divide this into shorter sessions to avoid exhaustion especially if there are factors such as extreme summer heat.

Trainability & Intelligence Level

Portuguese Water Dog

  • Porties are highly intelligent dogs. They love to learn new things every day so this is a great thing when he’s a puppy. This means that you wouldn’t have an overwhelming time to teach him basic house rules, crate, and obedience training because he can pick all these up easily and quickly. However, you should create training sessions that are challenging or you’ll end up facing a bored canine who’s itching to leave the training area.
  • Owning a dog of this kind comes with a commitment to always physically and mentally stimulate him. This canine is no couch potato nor is he amused by repetitive skill-learning tasks. Due to his work history, the thirst to always do something remains in his bloodline.


  • Labradoodles score high in intelligence too! This is no surprise at all since this dog type is an offspring of two remarkably bright dogs as well. Their eagerness to please their owners stands out as a quality that also makes training less challenging. In training a Labradoodle, it is necessary to maintain a schedule. Consistency, firmness, and positive reinforcements are imperative just like other dog breeds. 
  • Additionally, dogs don’t have long attention spans so keep the drills short. Don’t also forget that the owner-to-dog relationship factors in the success of training!

Do Labradoodles like water?

  • It’s hardly surprising that Portuguese Water Dogs have a strong affinity for water. It’s a trait of the breed which made them so well suited to their jobs helping fishermen in the past. Labradoodles also usually have a strong love of water. The original working Labs and Poodles were sent to collect shot waterfowl, wherever it landed, which being waterfowl quite often meant in water.
  • So whether you choose a Labradoodle or a PWD, they’re almost certain to love swimming! Swimming and retrieving items from water are a great way to provide exercise which is gentle on their joints. They also satisfy an emotional need to carry out the instinctive behaviors which we bred them for in the first place. If they really enjoy it, you might even be interested in trying dock diving together!

Labradoodle and Portuguese Water Dog Health

How do Labradoodles and Portuguese Water Dogs compare at the veterinary clinic? The most common health problems of Labradoodles are

  • Thyroid disease
  • Ear infections
  • Allergies
  • Heart disease
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Obesity

Labradoodles do enjoy some health advantages of being a mixed breed too. For example purebred Poodles are prone to sebaceous adenitis, an irritating and itchy skin condition which is caused by a faulty gene. Since it appears to only affect puppies who inherit the faulty gene from both parents, and the faulty gene is rare in Labradors, most first generation Labradoodles are protected from it.

Large samples of health data are less readily available for PWDs, but the most common hereditary health problems affecting the breed seem to be hip and elbow dysplasia and thyroid disease. It’s likely that they are also prone to ear infections, since It’s the shape of the Labradoodles ear, and their love of swimming, which means that bacteria easily end up trapped in the warm, moist inside of their ear, and flourish.

A significant problem facing PWDs is that their population size is small. In smaller populations it is harder to minimize the effects of inbreeding, and breeding within small pedigrees is known to reduce average life expectancy. On the other hand, crossbreeding is good for longevity, because it can protect dogs against some hereditary diseases, as we’ve already seen. As it stands, data from longevity surveys suggests that Labradoodles live 12 to 13 years on average, whilst PWDs live 11 to 12 years. But again only information from a small number of PWDs was available to produce that figure.

Cost per Puppy

Depending on where you got your puppy from, whether it be a Portie or a Labradoodle, the prices can increase or decrease dramatically. You can get a Portuguese Water Dog for $750 to $2000 or $3000 if he has a superior lineage. The Labradoodle comes off as expensive too as it can cost $1500 to $2000. In some cases, he can even be worth $4000 if he has superb quality.

Labradoodles vs Portuguese Water Dog puppies

One of the big advantages of the Labradoodle over the Portuguese Water Dogs is a pragmatic one. Labradoodles are widely bred and finding a planned litter for sale or an older dog for adoption near you is likely to be pretty straightforward. PWDs are much less common, and breeders’ waiting lists for puppies are likely to be longer. You might also have to travel further to collect your puppy.

However this isn’t a completely unqualified ‘win’ for the Labradoodle. Due to their popularity, Labradoodles are also one of the dogs most commonly offered for sale by puppy farmers. Puppy farmers operate by breeding litters as intensively as possible to make maximum profit. They don’t commission health tests for their sires and dams, and they don’t take care to socialize their puppies before it’s time to sell them. As a result, puppies from puppy farms are more likely to have long term problems with their health and behavior.

Whichever dog you pick, it’s important to take your time to choose a responsible and reputable breeder. In the case of the Labradoodle, you might have to discount a lot more bad breeders before you find a good one. Remember that good quality puppies are always worth the wait!

Portuguese water dog vs Australian Labradoodle?

One of the main drawbacks of a Labradoodle vs Portuguese Water Dog is that Labradoodles are first generation crossbreed dogs, which means that some of their qualities are variable and unpredictable. Significantly, their behavior when you meet them as a puppy isn’t a reliable indicator of which parent they will be most like when they are grown up.

Australian Labradoodles are the result of a breeding project started in Australia in the 1990s to turn Labradoodles into a new pedigree dog breed in their own right. These days, two Australian Labradoodle puppies ought to ‘breed true’, meaning that their puppies will be reliably the same again. Genetic analysis suggests that they have turned out rather more like Poodles than Labradors, but if you meet a breeder with a sire and dam you love, you can be reassured that you know what to expect their puppies to be like.

Final Thoughts

  • Neither the Labradoodle nor the Portuguese Water Dog is objectively a better pet. There’s only what’s best for you, according to your expectations, your lifestyle, and the kind of home you’re able to offer a dog. In fact, these two dogs have so much in common that it’s very hard to draw any distinctions between them.
  • Both dogs have a lot of energy, and need plenty of physical and mental activities to channel that energy into. Before committing to either, it’s a good idea to be completely honest with yourself about how many other responsibilities and obligations you have, and whether this is the right time to make such a big commitment to a dog. Neither breed will cope well with being left without anything to do for long periods. But a Labradoodle from show-type Labrador lines might be satisfied with slightly fewer jobs and activities to occupy them than a Labradoodle from working lines or a PWD.
  • Both dogs are well suited to active families where someone is at home and available to interact with them for several hours a day. They can both be good companions for children too, but bear in mind that young children should always be supervised with dogs, and a high energy Labradoodle or PWD can easily knock over a small child (or elderly person!) by accident.
Edward Hollon is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Edward has been writing for petdii for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Edward has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Edward knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.