26 February 2009

Bark Obama? A primer on Portuguese Water Dogs


Portuguese Water Dogs (PWD) are a breed of water dog similar to poodles. Portuguese Water Dogs once existed all along Portugal's coast, where they were taught to herd fish into fishermen's nets, to retrieve lost tackle or broken nets, and to act as couriers from ship to ship, or ship to shore…

Like Poodles and several other water dog breeds, PWDs are highly intelligent, have curly coats, have webbed toes for swimming, and do not shed…

If left untended, the hair on a PWD will keep growing indefinitely. Problems associated with this include the hair around the eyes growing so long as to impede vision, and matting of the body hair, which can cause skin irritations. For these reasons, PWDs must be trimmed about every two months…

In the lion cut, the hindquarters, muzzle, and the base of the tail are shaved and the rest of the body is left full length. This cut originated with the fishing dogs of Portugal… The lion cut diminished the initial impact and shock of cold water when the breed jumped from the boats, as well as providing warmth to the vitals. The hindquarters were left shaved to allow easier movement of the back legs and the breed's powerful, rudder-like tail…

The PWD's biddability, high intelligence, and tendency to vocalize and then seek out its human master when specific alarms occur make it an ideal hearing-ear or deaf-assistance dog. PWDs can be readily trained to bark loudly when a telephone rings, and then to find and alert a hard-of-hearing or deaf master…

Some PWDs will stand upright at kitchen counters and tables, especially if they smell food above them. This habit is known as "counter surfing" and is characteristic of the breed…

Their intelligence and working drive demand consistent attention in the form of regular vigorous exercise and mental challenges. Gentle and patient, they look (and are) soft, cuddly, and cute -- but they are not to be mistaken for "couch potatoes". When bored, PWDs will become destructive…

A Portuguese Water Dog is first described in 1297 in a monk’s account of a drowning sailor who was pulled from the sea by a dog with a "black coat, the hair long and rough, cut to the first rib and with a tail tuft". Some believe that the Portuguese Water Dog made its contribution to history in the 16th century, working on board the ships of the Spanish Armada...

Ingrown eyelashes (distichiasis) is not uncommon in PWDs and other curly-coated breeds, due to their curly hair…

Senator Ted Kennedy is the owner of two Portuguese Water Dogs: Sunny and Splash…

Portuguese Water Dogs retrieve home run balls that land in McCovey Cove, the body of water adjacent to AT&T Park.

(Photo and text from Wikipedia)

7 comments:

  1. more about the PWD. Not the best written article, but the content is interesting.

    http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/02/obamadog.html

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  2. I don't get the title. Why is your article called "Bark Obama"?

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  3. Bark Obama (or Bar'k Obama) has been proposed as a name for the First Dog.

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  4. I hope that name wasn't proposed by Barack himself. That's as bad as George Foreman naming all his sons George. But at least I get the connection now. Is he interested in getting a PWD?

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  5. The Portuguese Water Dog makes wonderful pets, and their curly hairs are so handsome. A good choice for the Obama family, now some questions remain: male or female, how will they call it?

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  6. Brian- yes, apparently the Obamas are considering getting one. One of his daughters is allergic to dander, which narrows their choices, and Michelle reportedly finds the PWD to be a suitable breed.
    Her daughters seem to prefer Frank or Moose for a name, so I'm guessing something like Bark Obama is not going to win out ;)

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  7. I Love Puggle. Puggle are for cuddles. The hot designer dog of the decade.

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