About Portuguese Water Dogs

As breeders of Portuguese Water Dogs we are committed to knowing that our puppies come from healthy backgrounds. Many of the puppies we have are suitable for showing at AKC events, and all of dogs come from quality parents free from known genetic problems.

Breed Standard

We strongly recommend reading the AKC breed standard as the beginning of your study of this or any breed. The standard refers to the PWD as “This highly intelligent utilitarian breed… an indelible impression of strength, spirit, and soundness”.

General description:
Size – Males 20 to 23 inches (22 ideal). Females 17 to 21 (19 ideal)
Weight – Males 42 to 60 pounds; Females 35 to 50 pounds
Proportion – Off Square; slightly longer than tall
Substance – Strong substantial bone; solidly built, Muscular build
Temperament – spirited disposition, self willed, brave, very resistant to fatigue. A dog of exceptional intelligence and loyalty. Obedient for whom it works.
Giovanni winning 4 point major from the 6-9 puppy class at Golden Gate KC, Judge Virginia Lyne, 2006

Giovanni winning at Golden Gate KC, 2006

Getting a Portuguese Water Dog Puppy

Is a Portuguese Water Dog for you?

What kind of dog are you looking for? What is your vision of the ideal dog? If you dream of a dog to be curled at your feet, sleeping never heard, only seen, to give attention to only when convenient. Then without a doubt you are NOT the person for a PWD!

The Portuguese Water Dog is fun loving, exuberant, and eager to explore and experience everything. It is the responsibility of the owner to guide and teach the puppy appropriate behavior, and to direct these talents in positive ways. This is not a dog that typically lies quietly at your feet; His head or entire body may be in your lap. He will paw at your newspaper (it’s very rude not to direct your full attention on him!). He may constantly bring things to you until he finds just the item, which you will toss for him or that brings you completely to your feet. Then after he has you thoroughly worn out he’ll curl up and settle in (or move on to the next person).

When you have a puppy, it is very important to be consistent in rules you set. The puppy should only be exposed to new situations when you are able to be there to teach the puppy appropriate behavior and rules for that situation. If the puppy breaks a rule, or acts inappropriately, separate the puppy from the area or situation (Time out). How you raise your PWD and the habits you allow to develop will determine the kind of companion he will be. So if you do well, help him be good, you will have a happy well-adjusted pet.

Portuguese Water Dogs at home

Searching for the Right Breeder

It is important for you to be comfortable with the breeder from whom you choose to get a dog. Ask questions, answer questions, educate yourself and ask the breeder to guide you to the right information. A conscientious breeder will know the background of the dogs he/she breeds and breeds to, not only one generation back but several. He/she will know the health status on the parent, and grandparents; dogs used in his/her breeding program will be; OFA certified clear of hip displasia, yearly CERF tested clear of eye disease, and DNA tested to know the PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) status to insure there is no chance of producing a dog that will be affected. In addition, they will know the GM-1 or storage disease status. This is only found in PWD’s and is fatal to affected puppies. It only can occur when two carriers are bred together. Carriers are rare as most breeders have eliminated this from the gene pool. How are the puppies raised and socialized? We raise ours in our living room so they are exposed to daily life in a busy household. What age do the puppies go to their homes? No sooner than 9 weeks.

The breeder should want to know if your life and home are ready for a pet; do you have time to take care of a pet? Do you have a fenced yard? A dog run? Will you crate train your puppy? How active is your family; how active do you expect your puppy to be? Will you be consistent with the rules you set for the puppy? Will you Obedience train? How much experience do you have with dogs? Are you interested in showing or breeding? Are you only interested in a dog that you will spay/neuter? We want our companion puppies neutered after a year old. Do you need more information about showing and breeding to decide? We strive to a very strict standard of only breeding dogs with complete health testing. We do not breed dogs that do not pass OFA and CERF.

Rainbow puppies

About Rustyco Portuguese Water Dogs

“Rustyco” is used in the AKC registration names of dogs, bred by and co-bred by Julie & Ty Rust. Our breeding program strives to maintain all the qualities these great dogs have: intelligence; personality; working ability; an eager to please, loving companion. Wanting to breed the best dogs possible we knew that we did not want to breed in a kennel environment. So, by placing dogs with breeding potential with people who would work with us to show and breed, each dog has its own family, the puppies are all born and raised in a home environment, only the best get bred. Our PWD family currently consists of 6 full-time family dogs “Jax, Splish, Brando, Dharma, Tuna, and Paisley”.

PWD with Chew

Procedure for Obtaining a RUSTYCO PWD

Down dog playing

Our normal process is to take applications with deposits from people who intend to buy a puppy from us. If your application is accepted you are put in line for a puppy that meets your needs. By taking deposits ahead of time, we have time to evaluate the home and be certain the right puppy is placed in the right home. When the puppies arrive; they are evaluated from day one. As the puppies develop from birth to an age appropriate to go to a home (8 to 14 weeks), we watch, and observe, and aptitude test – so we know which puppy would be best for the family that swims a lot, or wants to do tracking or obedience competition; which home is suitable for a very active pup and which is suitable for a more laid-back puppy. As breeders, we believe it is our responsibility to know there are homes ready and waiting before bringing a litter of puppies into the world. For the depositor they can feel confident that they are in line for a puppy and that years of experience will go into helping make sure they get the right puppy for them.

Occasionally if there is a large litter born some puppies may still be available and the wait may not be as long. Sometimes a puppy has been kept longer to determine its show/breeding possibilities; then this puppy may be available as a guaranteed show and breeding quality or sold as a pet.

Decide what you’re looking for!

Matching the temperament of our puppies to the right home is the most important thing we do as breeders. Although we all have our favorite color and coat type these are secondary in placing a puppy. Although the most important part in the dog’s life is companionship would you or do you want to show or breed if your dog turned out to have qualities important to the PWD population?

Do you want a pet that you would be required to neuter? On the other hand, would you consider trying to show, or hire a professional to show your dog, to get the championship if it turned out to have qualities vital to the breed? Would you be willing to then work with the breeder if the dog becomes a champion and passes health testing?

If you have decided to get a Rustyco PWD puppy, a deposit ($1,000) will put you in line for a puppy as you have described. If a puppy is not available “as you have described” within the specified time as stated on your deposit form, the deposit is refundable. Alternatively, if a puppy comes available and you are not ready, the deposit can be extended to the next litter if you choose.

Puppies are evaluated for breeding/show potential at 8 weeks. The current price of a RustyCo PWD puppy is $3,500.

Puppy Home Criteria

  1. Feed a raw diet. All dogs here are fed a raw diet. We use the Volhard diet. It is a mixture of raw hamburger mixed with a freeze dried powder. I follow the book “Holistic guide for a Healthy Dog” by Wendy Volhard.
    You may order food here or by clicking on the logo.
  2. We follow Dr Dodds of Hemopet minimal vaccine protocol.
  3. We do not use any of routine flea, tick or heartworm medicine. However we do use it occasionally when we cannot control fleas or ticks naturally. The product is called Cedarcide.
  4. I raise all my puppies using the Puppy Culture method. I require everyone to buy a copy of the DVD. Please click here or use the logo link to order the DVD.
  5. Puppies new owners need to enroll their puppy and attend both a Puppy Kindergarten training program and Basic Obedience Training classes, after completion of Puppy Kindergarten.
Volhard Dog Nutrition logo
Puppy Culture logo

Puppy Application

Our purchase application helps us get to know you and assists in finding the right home for the right dog or puppy.

Please complete and email us one of the following forms (there are two formats from which to choose):

For more information, please contact us!

Sale Agreements

Most reputable breeders use strict sales agreements. The length can range from a simple 2-page spay/neuter agreement to a lengthy 6-page show/breeding agreement. In most cases, it is long because the breeder is very protective and conscientious of where their puppies go and what kind of life the dog will have.

In most cases, when a dog with show and breeding potential is sold to a person without experience, the breeder(s) will remain on the AKC registration papers. The reason is that there is so much responsibility that goes along with researching, qualifying and planning a breeding that having an experienced breeder work with the beginner is the best way to protect the dog, its progeny, the bloodline and the PWD breed. The phrase “it takes a Village to raise a child” is also relative to PWD breeding. Once it is decided the dog will not or will no longer be bred, and it is spayed/neutered, the breeder signs off of the AKC papers. The term “Co Ownership” does not imply “Joint custody”. It refers to the AKC registration papers listing the Primary owner (buyer) and the co-owner (usually the breeder). In our agreements it states. “Sellers’ name will remain on AKC papers until it is mutually decided dog will not be used for breeding. This does not indicate any rights or responsibilities of the seller, other than as stated in this agreement”.

Our agreements and basic terms are, and have been, used by many well-established, reputable breeders in many different breeds. Rustyco uses a basic two page sales agreement and, when appropriate, an additional one page breeding agreement.

Congratulations on finding such a wonderful breed! If we can offer any more assistance, please contact us.

Available Puppies

Valentine’s Day Puppies

Our most recent litter was born February 14, 2024. We are looking for good homes for some of the boys and girls.

Parents are Ch. Rustyco Black to the Future, “Brando”, and Ch. Rustyco A Thousand Kisses Deep, “Dharma”. Check out their separate pages in the links to see photos and their health records!

Valentine's Day Puppies nursing

Valentine's Day Puppies nursing