OUR CLUB'S MISSION
The Portuguese Water Dog Club of the Twin Cities strives to preserve, protect and promote the Portuguese Water Dog as a companion capable of outstanding performance in water work, obedience, tracking, agility and conformation.
The Club provides its members and interested parties with opportunities for communication and camaraderie among those who are interested in the breed across the country and around the world, but most especially for those in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.
The PWDCTC continues to help protect the Portuguese Water Dog by sponsoring health, grooming, breed, and training seminars. We will continue to promote responsible ownership and preserve our fine Water Dogs.
The History Behind our Club
It all started with the first litter of Portuguese Water Dogs that were whelped in the Twin Cities region in early 1985 by Ch. Captree Lote x Ch. Weathervane's Neocles Charo. This served as a sea change for the breed in the state and region; that brought together a dog-loving group of relatively new PWD owners, who gathered for the first time in October 1985. In those formative days, they had just a few noble goals in mind:
Share ideas and information
Pursue same joy with a delightfully smart and active breed
Learn and grow a healthy breed presence in the Twin Cities region
What began as an informal gathering has grown over the years, yet retained its focus to appeal to both the serious dog fancier and experienced competitor to the novice pet owner and budding competitor. And, the founders were thinking of the future – not just their generation; as one founder said: “we wanted to map out how we could go from near extinction to growing back to health …” and setting the Club and breed up for success in our region and beyond.
In its first year, the Portuguese Water Dog Club of the Twin Cities drew 25 members (and 13 PWDs) from four states, attracted new followers of the breed and achieved a number of milestones.
One Companion Dog title
Two litters whelped
Nine breed championships
Fun match and workshop
Published brochure on breed and club
Commitment to working, learning and enjoying as they better the future of PWDs
The founding members of the Club wasted no time getting down to business. Its first president was Helen Berg, a lifelong enthusiast and teacher, who partnered with vice president, Letty Afong, an avid steward of the breed’s potential and personality.
In early 1986, the bylaws were drafted and approved and committees started planning a number of events for the year. By the close of that first full year, the Club had hosted two obedience and conformation workshops … a solid foundation that yielded five or more conformation championship titles within two years as well as several obedience degrees.
True to the breed’s form, a Water Fun Day was held in 1987 … it has become a major event for the Club and grown even as it’s moved around to several of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes! This athletic group also stepped into agility work in those early days; it incorporated an Agility Seminar into the Second Annual Meeting in 1988. By the end of the first few years, the Club had grown to 48 members in 7 states and established a track record of teaching owners how to partner in competition with their PWDs, hosting events to successfully compete at higher levels and workshops to better prepare for ownership of this extraordinarily intelligent and capable breed.
Of course, the Club also focused on critical ownership issues like health and grooming. In 1988, one of the founders Letty Afong organized a storage disease blood sampling to elevate the importance of understanding potential health problems in the breed. And Master Groomer Peg Thomas offered a grooming demonstration – “since many had not yet been exposed to the traditional techniques for PWDs”.
One of the other areas where PWDCTC stood out was in creating the water test – focused on what the dogs are capable of, tapping into the historic value and partnering with PWDs to see what they can truly do. The early club members worked together to come up with a formal test in the early 1990s, which served as a significant input into the creation of Water Works, even at the national level.
As the club expanded over the years, it was more than just a club. It was education, camaraderie and new opportunities to learn – for both owners and PWDs. PWDCTC was the first regional PWD club to obtain AKC sanctioning and began hosting annual Portuguese Water Dog Regional Specialties. It has also demonstrated leadership at the national level, co-chairing the second PWDCA National Specialty.
In the years since, the Club’s membership has continued to grow. The programming is vibrant and full of energy when the community gets together to celebrate the same values and goals it was built upon in those early days.
1985 - First organizational meeting
1986 - Approval of by laws
1986 - First workshop (obedience/conformation)
1986 - River Readings first published
1987 - 28 members, four states represented
1988 - AKC Sanction of PWDCTC
1989 - First Sanctioned Best of Breed Match
2002 - Launch of our web site
2010 - Redesign of the web site
These links will help you learn more about the breed, activities and competitions, and health concerns that pertain to this athletic, social and incredibly bright breed. When you follow these links, please use your browser's back button to come back to our site. If you come across any dead links, please send an email to our web steward.
The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America Club (PWDCA) is the national club for our breed, and has almost any information that you may want to know about the PWD!
Our PWDCA National Specialty Show has it's own web site! This event occurs every year and is hosted by a different U.S. regional club. The event lasts about 7 days and it's a great time to see a trillion PWDs, well maybe not that many ... and get to meet new friends.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a plethera of information, from breed standards to all dog shows and events in any given region. There's also infomation on tracking rules & regulations, titles, and a beginner’s guide. In addition, you may search for information on upcoming AKC tracking trials using their Event Search. You can also learn more about AKC agility rules & regulations, titles, and there's an agility beginner’s guide for you to look through. And, the AKC also offers obedience trials, with lots of information to help you better understand the sport.
PWD Health Links
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) - mission is to improve the health and well being of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of orthopedic and genetic disease. They are most commonly known for certifying hips and elbows of canines.
University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PENNHIP) is a not-for-profit program wholly owned and operated by the University of Pennsylvania with a mission to develop and apply evidence-based technology to direct appropriate breeding strategies aimed at reducing in frequency and severity the osteoarthritis of canine hip dysplasia.
The Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) is dedicated to the elimination of heritable eye disease in purebred dogs through registration and research. Many PWDs are examined by an optometrist on a yearly basis to maintain their CERF certification.
The mission of the Portuguese Water Dog Foundation is to generate significant resources for funding research of genetic and other canine diseases to improve the quality of life and health of our Portuguese Water Dog companions.
The Georgie Project is a collaboration between owners and breeders of Portuguese Water Dogs and scientists at the University of Utah. Since 1996, scientists have collected information from PWDs via blood samples, Xray and cheek swabs and have carried out multiple research projects specific to diseases found in our breed. The January 2009 River Readings has a full article on the Georgie Project.
Many local dog training clubs offer agility classes; and there are a variety of associations that offer trials throughout the Twin Cities and the tri-state areas. The AKC website includes information on their agility rules & regulations, titles, beginner’s guide and many other resources. In addition, you may search for information on upcoming AKC agility trials using their Event Search.
The United States Dog Agility Association, Inc. (USDAA) is another organization that offers agility trials and titling. There's also a calendar of events listing all their agility events through out the country.
NADAC or the North American Dog Agility Council is yet a third organization that offers agility trials and titling.
The Minnesota Agility Club (MAC) is a LOCAL organization that holds sanctioned competitions throughout the state. They have a variety of competitions both indoor and outdoors, and each is sanctioned by organizations such as the AKC, USDAA or NADAC.
The AKC website includes information on obedience rules & regulations, titles, beginner’s guide and many other resources. In addition, you may search for information on upcoming obedience trials using their Event Search.
Canine Good Citizen is an AKC certification program that is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community.
AKC Puppy Star is a new program designed to get dog owners and their puppies off to a good start by providing an incentive program certification for loving dog owners who have taken the time to take their puppies through a basic training class.
Water Work Links
The PWDCA site contains information on water work including the water trial manual, list of water trial judges, and approved water trials. In addition, you may search for information on upcoming obedience trials using their Event Search.
The AKC Tracking section includes information on tracking rules & regulations, titles, beginner’s guide and many other resources. In addition, you may search for information on upcoming AKC tracking trials using their Event Search.
Other PWD Club Sites
Alaska, Montana, Oregon, & Washington
Connecticut, New Jersey, New York
Florida & Georgia
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts & Rhode Island
Michigan & Ohio
For a full listing of ALL regional PWD clubs, please visit the pwdca regional club page.
PDF listing the many titles available to PWDs
Some of the photos on our site were taken by these fine photographers:
Amy Johnson, Great Dane Photos
Chris Gernentz, Footprints Studios
Creative Indulgence Photography
Laurie J. Erickson Photography
Lisa Sponsler, Dog Agility Photos
Marsha Kingsley Photography