Portuguese Retriever Dog

As its name allows us to assume, the Portuguese pointer ( perdigueiro português in the Portuguese language or Portuguese pointer in English) is a breed of dog originating from Portugal , where they were historically trained to perform actively on hunting days with their owners. However, its behavior, as well as its appearance, were adapting to the cultural changes of societies inside and outside its homeland, and thanks to its very devoted and affectionate temperament, the Portuguese Retriever can become a great family dog, as long as he receives a good education and is socialized correctly.

If you would like to have a companion with these characteristics, or if you are simply passionate about the ‘canine universe’, continue reading this AnimalWised file, in which we will talk much more about the history and behavior of the Portuguese retriever, as well as the care that it requires. required to enjoy an optimal quality of life with their guardians. Shall we start?

Origin of the Portuguese Retriever

The history of the Portuguese retriever is intertwined with that of the other retrievers native to the Iberian Peninsula, since they all share a common ancestor. We are referring to the peninsular retriever , an ancient Iberian dog breed, whose presence in said territory has been documented since the 10th century. With the passage of time and due to natural and selective crossings carried out with the purpose that the peninsular retrievers could better adapt to the environmental and climatic factors typical of Portugal, as well as the needs and preferences of the Portuguese citizens who bred them, gave rise to a new “authentically” Portuguese dog breed, the perdigueiro português , of which we have news at least since the 12th century. .

However, the breed was not always named this way, since before it used to be better known as “sample podenco”, due to the great talent it showed for “sport hunting”. Likewise, it is important not to confuse it with the Portuguese Hound , which is one of the national dogs of Portugal and symbol of the “ Clube Português de Canícola ” (also called “Kennel Club de Portugal”).

In this first ‘stage’, which extends from the creation of the breed until the middle of the 15th century, approximately, the Portuguese show dogs used to accompany members of royalty and nobility, being widely used as “helpers” in the falconry . But, starting in the 16th century, these dogs would begin to be widely used by ‘commoners’ in hunting small to medium-sized birds, and especially partridges . And that’s where the name ‘retriever’ we know today comes from!

However, the morphological and behavioral traits that characterize the Portuguese retriever that we know today would only begin to be disseminated in the 20th century, thanks to selective crossings carried out by specialized hunters and breeders. Today, the breed is recognized by practically all international canine federations, even by the FCI, which includes it in Group 7 of the so-called “pointing dogs”.

Characteristics of the Portuguese Retriever

We are talking about a brachoid type dog of medium size, whose harmonious structure and well-developed muscles provide great flexibility in movements. Seen in profile, his body is almost square and the upper and lower lines make up a very elegant silhouette . According to the official FCI standard, the desirable height at the withers is 56 cm in males and 52 cm in females, with a “tolerance” of 4 cm more or less. A healthy weight should be between 20 kg and 27 kg for males, and between 16 kg and 22 kg for females.

The head of the Portuguese Retriever is rectilinear when seen in profile and square when seen from the front. It is covered with thin, slightly loose skin, but without forming wrinkles, and its size is proportional to the dog’s body (although, at first glance, it may appear larger than it is). The “stop” (naso-frontal depression) is well defined (90º – 100º). The face of the Portuguese retriever features almost round oval eyes , brown in color and a happy expression.

The snout is rectilinear and horizontal, ‘culminating’ in a large, black nose with wide open nostrils. The cheeks are parallel and the mouth has a moderate opening and strong jaws that support a complete dentition with a scissor bite. Finally, a very characteristic feature of the Portuguese Retriever is its triangular ears with rounded tips that are set above eye level on the back of the head. Its length is slightly longer than the dog’s skull and the “ideal” proportion between the width of the base and the tips is considered to be 2.5:1.

Portuguese Retriever Colors

The coat of the Portuguese Retriever is short, dense, very well adhered to the skin and has no undercoat. It is distributed evenly throughout the dog’s body, with the exception of the region of the anus and genitals, where it is softer and scarcer, and on the head, where the hairs become finer. Although their coat, in general, is not very soft to the touch, on the ears we find very short and fine hairs, with a velvety texture.

Regarding the colors of the Portuguese Retriever, both the FCI and the Clube Português de Canícola define as acceptable shades of light, medium and dark yellow , which can be solid or have white spots on the head, neck, chest, below the elbows. , on the lower extremities of the limbs and on the tip of the tail.

Likewise, it is worth clarifying that the presence of other colors or patterns on a dog’s coat does not define its beauty, much less its personality and behavior. Therefore, if you have adopted a Portuguese retriever who does not turn out to be “100% pure”, you can still have a companion of extreme loyalty and elegance.

What is the Portuguese Retriever puppy like?

A crucial aspect for the optimal physical, cognitive and social development of a Portuguese Retriever puppy is that it can remain with its mother and siblings until completing its weaning period, since during this period the “mother dog” is responsible for Teach your pups the basic principles of dog communication and social behavior, as well as the limits of play. And all this will be key to preventing the development of behavioral problems, learning difficulties and aggressive behaviors associated with gambling.

Likewise, and like any puppy, your little retriever will develop a series of exploratory behaviors as he begins to explore the new environment where he lives and the stimuli and individuals found there, such as putting practically everything in his mouth or even nibbling your hands or feet while playing.

To prevent these behaviors that are so cute in a puppy from becoming dangerous or unpleasant in adulthood, it is important to encourage good eating habits from an early age and direct the bites to the most appropriate objects and resources. To help you in this process, here at ExpertoAnimal we explain how it should be.


Character of the Portuguese Retriever

In general, pointer-type dogs, although they have a lot of energy, are naturally calm and usually generate a very special bond with their guardians. Far from being an exception, the Portuguese Retriever is widely known in its homeland for its extremely affectionate and enthusiastic character , as well as its predisposition to training and physical activities in general.

These furry dogs are very devoted to their family members and quite sociable with other people and animals. However, and as the FCI highlights, they tend to behave in a “haughty” way when they interact with other dogs. Therefore, a good early socialization process will also be key to promoting better communication with their peers.

The Portuguese Retriever is also usually a confident and self-assured dog , so behavioral problems associated with insecurity , excessive fear and mainly aggression usually indicate problems in socialization and/or systematic exposure to physical punishment. , scolding or other types of animal abuse .

Care of the Portuguese Retriever

In general terms, Portuguese Retrievers are quite easy to care for, since, on a day-to-day basis, they require nothing more than the basic care of a companion dog. These care for the Portuguese retriever are as follows:

  • Diet : the Portuguese Retriever will need a balanced diet adapted to the nutritional requirements of each stage of its life.
  • Exercise – Retrievers are quite active and daily exercises are essential not only to exercise their body but also to keep their mind and behavior balanced. We recommend taking at least three walks a day with your furry friend and evaluating the benefits of introducing him to a canine sport, such as Agility. We cannot forget the mental stimulation in the Portuguese retriever. A dog that follows a sedentary routine is much more likely to develop symptoms of stress and behavioral problems associated with destructiveness and aggression. Try to introduce intelligence games to your dog every week and enrich his environment so that he can entertain and exercise himself even when he is alone at home.
  • Hygiene : which should include the application of essential vaccines with the correct frequency, periodic deworming against internal and external parasites, and ideally at least one or two visits to the veterinarian a year to verify the general health of the dog. Regarding the care of the Portuguese Retriever’s coat, these are very simple and you will only need to brush it once or twice a week to avoid the accumulation of dead hairs and impurities in its coat . Baths should be “reserved” for occasions where it is really necessary to deeply cleanse your best friend’s hair and skin, since too much can weaken their health by eliminating the natural layer of fat that protects their body. And whenever you want to bathe your dog at home , remember to use natural products or products suitable for canine use.

Finally, we want to comment on the freedom of expression of the Portuguese Retriever , since it is one of the basic freedoms of animal welfare and consists, fundamentally, of allowing your dog to be what it is, a dog. That is, it can act and express itself like a dog, without a process of humanization or systematic repression of its natural instincts being imposed. As a guardian, you should know that it is your responsibility to teach your furry friend what it means to “behave well” before reprimanding him for “behaving badly,” and understand that the methods you use to educate your dog will be decisive for the bond between you.

Education of the Portuguese Retriever

Complementing the fundamental care of a Portuguese Retriever, we come to education, which will be the basis of your dog’s behavior on a daily basis and its ability to relate positively to other individuals, stimuli and environments.

The educational process of any dog, whether mixed breed or “bred”, should begin at the moment of arrival at the new home, and ideally during the first months of its life (although the same “rule” applies in if you adopt an adult dog). If you need help, here at AnimalWised we tell you how to start training a puppy and we also share some tips for training adopted adult dogs .

Another good practice in the education of the Portuguese Retriever is to start socializing it before its third or fourth month of life, which is when its ‘critical’ period of socialization ends, during which recognition of friendly species occurs . For safety, it is best to start by introducing your puppy only to dogs and other animals that you know are healthy, vaccinated and dewormed. It is also very positive to give you the opportunity to interact with people outside the daily life of your home (that is, who do not belong to a family unit.

When your puppy has received all the mandatory vaccinations and is dewormed, you can start walking him in the streets, parks and squares so that he continues to interact with a variety of stimuli, environments and individuals. Likewise, if you have adopted an adult dog, or if you have not had the opportunity to socialize it at the most appropriate age, here are our socialization tips for adult dogs .

In the first months of the puppy’s life, we can also begin to work on basic obedience commands , both to stimulate his intelligence and senses, and to encourage more stable behavior inside and outside the home. Here we enter more properly into the field of dog training, which is not the same as education, but is equally beneficial for the physical and cognitive development of dogs.

Basically, if you decide to start training your dog at home (and we strongly recommend that you do), remember to respect a progressive evolution, starting with simpler commands and always working on them one by one, in short sessions of 10 to 15 minutes a day. , until you realize that your best friend is capable of reproducing them fluently.

To help you, at ExpertoAnimal we tell you what are the 5 dog training tricks that every tutor should know .

Portuguese Retriever Health

When it receives all the fundamental care that we detail in the previous sections, the Portuguese Retriever becomes a very resistant dog that can enjoy an average life expectancy of 13 to 14 years .

No typical or high incidence diseases are reported in this dog breed, although there is a very moderate genetic predisposition to hip dysplasia and some types of cancer , mainly at older ages. Additionally, dogs exposed to very intense physical activities can suffer a patella luxation .

Where to Adopt a Portuguese Retriever

At ExpertoAnimal, we do not support the sale and purchase of pets, since abandonment is a sad reality that hits almost all countries hard and brings serious complications to public health. Therefore, if you would like to have a companion with the physical and behavioral characteristics of a Portuguese Retriever, we recommend that you contact an animal shelter or shelter near your home to schedule a visit and find out about the dogs available for adoption. There you will have a good chance of finding a best friend compatible with your personality and lifestyle who will also be an extremely devoted and grateful companion. And if you have questions about the step-by-step adoption process, you can read the following article on “ How to adopt a dog?” ”.

However, if you still choose to go to a kennel, make sure that the establishment is duly registered with the authorities and that it complies with the health, hygiene and ethical standards for the responsible breeding of dogs.

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