What is a Portidoodle dog? The first time I heard the name, I assumed the person using it meant a ‘parti Doodle’! But of course, a Portidoodle is actually a Portuguese Water Dog crossed with a Poodle. Portidoodles are part of an ongoing trend for ‘designer dogs’, but their profile has remained relatively low, compared to other crossbreeds. A Portidoodle pup needs a lot of training, exercise, grooming and care throughout their whole life. They are best suited to active people who have the time and enthusiasm to spend several hours a day looking after their dog. In exchange, they are loving, loyal, and real man’s-best-friend material.
- What is a Portidoodle?
- Where did Portidoodles come from?
- Portidoodle personality
- What is a Portidoodle like as a pet
- Are they hypoallergenic?
- Is a Porti right for you?
- Where to find Portidoodle puppies for sale or rescue
What is a Portidoodle?
Portidoodle is the trendy compound name for a cross between a Portuguese Water Dog and a Standard Poodle. A smaller version, known as a Mini Portidoodle, is also available. Mini Portidoodles have a Miniature Poodle parent instead of a Standard Poodle.
Male Portidoodles weigh 45 to 70lbs. Females are almost always smaller – between 35 and 50lbs. All Portidoodles have long, non-shedding, curly coats. First generation puppies usually have black or brown coats, with or without white markings. But subsequent generations of puppies (with two Portidoodle parents, or a Portidoodle parent and Poodle parent) have the potential to inherit some of the Poodle breed’s other beautiful coat colors instead.
Most Portidoodle puppies are raised purely as companion animals and beloved pets. However they have a lot of the qualities needed to succeed at gundog training, and become working hunting dogs. They also have a good temperament for support work, or pets as therapy training.
Where did Portidoodles come from?
Portuguese Water Dogs and Poodles both have long and distinguished careers as working dogs. Poodles were originally developed to retrieve ducks and other waterfowl shot over water. And Portuguese Water Dogs originally worked alongside fishermen, herding fish, retrieving nets and equipment, and carrying messages between boats. The first ever Portidoodle litter went undocumented. But it was very likely a response to the growing demand for ‘designer hybrid’ pet dogs since the 1990s. That is, dogs with registered pedigree ancestry, but whose parents belonged to different breeds.
It’s hard to see, on the face of it, what is gained by crossing a Portuguese Water Dog with a Poodle. The Poodle is a longstanding popular choice for crossing with shedding breeds, because there’s a chance the puppies will have whatever traits made the shedding breed desirable, but now with a non-shedding coat. However, Portuguese Water Dogs already have a non-shedding coat. So it’s hard to tell what qualities a Portidoodle delivers that wouldn’t be more reliably found in either a purebred Poodle or purebred Portuguese Water Dog.
Reasons for breeding Portidoodles
Another potential explanation for the rise in Portidoodles is that Portuguese Water Dogs are much less common than Poodles. Someone keen to breed from their beloved Portuguese Water Dog might have difficulty finding another suitable Portuguese Water Dog nearby to arrange mating with. Whereas opening up their ‘dating pool’ to Poodles will produce lots more options, without changing the looks or personalities of the puppies very much.
And finally, designer dogs are big business. Puppies from unusual crosses can change hands for thousands of dollars. It may be cynical, but probably also realistic, to suggest that some breeders produce Portidoodle litters because they can sell them at a fat profit to someone keen to have a unique pet.
Portuguese Water Dogs and Poodles have very similar, winning personalities. They are both active, athletic, and fond of playing games. They are easily engaged and motivated in training, and they learn and remember new cues easily. Both dogs are also affectionate and devoted to their human family, and tend to be patient with children. Perhaps the only meaningful differences between them are that Poodles tend to be more reserved around strangers and unfamiliar dogs, whilst Portuguese Water Dogs are pretty indiscriminately friendly. Poodles also have greater watchdog instincts – that is, the instinct to bark at people, animals and vehicles approaching their home.
Since breed is a good predictor of temperament, it’s safe to assume that a Portidoodle will be the same again in all the respects that Poodles and Portuguese Water Dogs match. However, there are no guarantees whether a Portidoodle litter will grow up to be reserved around strangers like a Poodle, or the life and soul of a party like the Portuguese Water Dog. Or whether they will inherit the Poodle’s watchdog instincts.
What is a Portidoodle like as a pet?
All dogs are a big commitment. They need lots of your time, attention, energy, and yes, your money! Some important aspects of Portidoodle ownership to consider are:
Portidoodles are relatively easy to train. They come from two breeds which were both developed to work in close cooperation with a human handler. So they have a strong natural inclination to engage with people, and they understand new cues quickly. This is a big advantage for teaching basic obedience, like recall, walking at heel, and a sit-stay.
But it can also be a double edged sword. The same qualities which make Portidoodles easy to train – intelligence, problem solving skills, and mental stamina – also mean they get bored and frustrated if they are understimulated. Which can prompt unwanted coping behaviors, like digging, chewing, or barking. So besides basic obedience training, Portidoodles benefit from participating in activities like agility or gundog training throughout their whole life.
Poodles and Portuguese Water Dogs are both bred to do physically demanding work, and they’re capable of remarkable endurance. Like them, Portidoodles need at least two hours of physical activity everyday, in addition to the time spent on training. Besides walking, a Portidoodle will enjoy joining you for a run and keeping up with you on a bike ride. Take a look at canicross and bikejor for help running or cycling safely with a dog on the leash. Portidoodles are also keen swimmers and retrievers, so you can play fetch with them on land and in water.
There are lots of healthy Portuguese Water Dogs and Poodles out there. So a breeder who carries out proper health testing should have no trouble producing healthy Portidoodles too. Common ailments of this mix include:
- Ear infections
- Dental problems
- Hip, elbow and knee dysplasia
- Problems with their eyesight
Second and subsequent generations of Portidoodles are also vulnerable to inheriting some of the recessive genetic diseases that affect Portuguese Water Dogs and Poodles, if they weren’t effectively screened out before the first generation was bred. These include the degenerative devastating neurological disease gangliosidosis, the autoimmune skin disease sebaceous adenitis, and dwarfism.
Portidoodle coats are their crowning glory, but they are also very, very high maintenance. Every 6 to 8 weeks they will need their coat clipping back to a manageable length. In between trims, expect to spend 15 to 30 minutes 2 or 3 times a week brushing their fur all the way down to the skin, to prevent painful matts forming. Matted fur also increases the likelihood of fungal and bacterial skin conditions, because it traps moisture next to the skin. You’ll also need to devote attention to keeping their heavy, floppy ears clean and dry, to reduce the risk of ear infections. And of course they’ll need regular tooth brushing and a nail clipping.
Depending how much of this you do yourself and how much you pay a professional dog groomer to do for you, grooming is either quite expensive and very time consuming, or very expensive and quite time consuming. Either way, it’s going to involve a significant amount of your time and money!
Are Portidoodles hypoallergenic?
Non-shedding dog breeds and their mixes get a lot of interest due to a persistent myth that they are hypoallergenic. Lots of breeders even continue to advertise them as such. Unfortunately however, there is no evidence that non-shedding dogs are hypoallergenic. In fact, the proteins which trigger allergy symptoms aren’t even in their hair, they’re in dog’s saliva, sweat, and urine. And since Portidoodles have such a high maintenance, hands-on coat, you’re more likely, not less, to come into contact with those proteins.
What’s more, analysis of homes with shedding vs non-shedding dogs found no difference in the amount of allergen in the environment. Some non-shedding dog homes even had more allergens on the floors and furniture. Presumably because people with shedding dogs vacuum those surfaces more regularly to pick up loose hair, which also removes the pesky allergenic proteins.
Is a Porti right for you?
Portidoodles are ideal companions for active families, and people with a passion for dog training. If you’ve admired dogs doing agility or dock diving on TV, or performing in field trials at a county fair, then Portidoodles are a great dog to try them out with. Most dog sports have a lively community element to them as well, and if this appeals to you, a Portidoodle is sure to give your social life a boost.
Since Portidoodles need a lot of time and attention, they are a good match for larger households where everyone is committed to pitching and sharing responsibility. They have a reputation for being patient and affectionate with young children, but like all dogs they still need to be supervised around little ones.
On the other hand, this mix might not be a good match for you right now if you’re already juggling a lot of other commitments, or everyone in your household works full time. Or if you would struggle to dedicate several hours a day to meeting a demanding dog’s needs. Unfortunately they are not guaranteed to be suitable for people with allergies either. Finally, if having a dog with the Portuguese Water Dog’s social ease or the Poodle’s watchdog nature is a priority for you, then choosing a Portidoodle is not a reliable way of getting it. You’d be better off with a purebred Portuguese Water Dog or Poodle.
Where to find Portidoodle puppies for sale or rescue
The Portidoodle is a relatively little-known cross breed, and I’d hazard a guess that you’re only here because you’ve already seen a puppy available. To recognize whether they’re being offered by a good breeder, ask to:
- See proof that the puppies come from health tested parents.
- Meet the puppy with their mom. Mom should obviously be a beloved member of the breeder’s family, and the puppies should be confident, curious and active.
- See where the puppies are being raised – it should be clean, warm and dry.
If you still need to find a breeder with a litter of Portidoodle puppies, the most common approach to finding mixed breed dogs is by word of mouth and searching online. Unlike pedigree dogs, there are no organizations which maintain directories of pre-vetted breeders for mixed breed dogs. This puts more pressure on you, the buyer, to make sure you don’t fall victim to a puppy mill. Puppies from puppy mills are more likely to have health problems and long term behavioral issues.
What is a Portidoodle – summary
A Portidoodle is a cross between a Portuguese Water Dog and a Standard Poodle. It’s an unusual mix to encounter – because these breeds already have a lot in common, neither is particularly enhanced by crossing with the other! However, if you meet a Portidoodle pup, they’re likely to be energetic, playful, and smart as a whip. They’re a big commitment in terms of providing all the training and exercise they need, not to mention the financial burden of looking after their coat on top of food and vet bills. But they have a big personality and lots of love to give their humans, which makes them more than worth it for the right family. If you’re considering giving a home to a Portidoodle, let us know what about them appeals to you, using the comments box down below!