Portugal’s Robust First Mate

Perspective is everything.

In our view, one should look at a period of time not from today’s vantage point, but from the perspective of the people who lived in them. Being a “brawler,” for instance,  is not something of which to be proud of in 2019,  but when times were tough, and a livelihood demanded rugged, tough people, being able to keep up wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

There was a time when the Portuguese Water Dog was notorious as a brawler for centuries along Portugal’s coast, and indeed, its original breed standard described the dogs as “brawlers by nature.” This was a prized attribute by fishermen who needed a dog with a pushy and robust nature because a full day’s work in a boat on the sea was a tough existence, and the lifestyle demanded it.

As the breed moved into a role as a companion dog, the description was removed from the standard, and today’s PWD has a more moderate temperament that makes it an easy companion. That said, the Portuguese Water Dog retains its own mind and has an opinion on most things. Said to have a natural talent for manipulating people and its environment, the PWD requires a patient owner who stays one step ahead of him, and in return, the owner will be rewarded with a loyal, intelligent, and yes, willful, compadre for life.

Image: “Sea Alpha Male (King of Cups)” print from the Magical Dogs Tarot deck created by Mickie and Daniel Mueller. You can find the print here

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