FAQs

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Are Portuguese Water Dogs really hypo-allergenic?

The Portuguese Water Dog (PWD) has a non-shedding coat which makes it easier for people with allergies to tolerate.  We recommend that if allergies are a factor in your family that you spend several hours in close contact with a PWD.  Some people are reactive to the coat or dander of the PWD; others are sensitive to the dog’s saliva.  Some people react more to items that the dog gets on their coat (grass, pollen etc).  There is also a possibility that people react to puppies but not an adult dog.  

We have had many people with allergies visit with our dogs.  Many people had no reaction but others had reactions ranging from mild to severe.  Please do not buy into the marketing hype of hypo-allergenic dogs, particularly designer mutts (AKA doodles) which combine two different coat types and produce inconsistent coats.  Purebred non-shedding dogs are guaranteed to have consistent coat types, but only by test exposure to the dogs can you assess if there is going to be any reactivity in your particular case.  

Ask us about testing your allergies by 1) sitting with one of our adult dogs for a while, 2) putting saliva on your skin, and 3) staying in a closed car with a PWD.


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Why the emphasis on puppy development protocols?

Current research is showing that we have an incredible opportunity to influence a dog for their entire lifetime.

While we can’t create a puppy who is fearless, by exposing them to situations at the correct time, we can influence their development to such a point that they are resilient to fear.  The puppies are more willing to try new things and will recover faster from adverse events. Not only will these coping mechanisms result in a better behaved puppy; ultimately the puppy will suffer less stress over it’s lifetime and should live a longer life.

Check out this video of one of our puppies seeing a jackhammer for the first time - no fear!  Even more impressive when you know she’s being held by a stranger as her owner took the video.

If you want to see the work we do on a week-by-week basis, click here.



Why are purebred Portuguese Water Dog puppies so expensive?

Chilli Beach

The cost of raising puppies varies from breeder to breeder.  Many are fabulous, some choose to cut corners.

Some breeders choose not to prove the Sire or Dam by competing in Conformation or Performance events.
Some choose to limit or skip the recommended health testing of the parents.
Some make do with a minimum amount of medical care during pregnancy.
Some limit the amount of medical care the puppies receive.
Some compromise on the quality of the puppies living conditions.

Like other quality breeders, we don’t compromise on the care of our dogs, our moms and puppies get the best care from pregnancy to the time they go to their forever homes.  The thousands of hours we put into our dogs and puppies are a labour of love.

Do you have references?

Absolutely!  In addition to a huge number of testimonials, our Owners are available to personally speak to you about their experience with Whoosh PWDs. 

If you want to see what our Owners think of us, visit us here.

If you want to speak with any of our Owners in person, let us know. We would be happy to set that up for you!


What are we looking for from our owners?

Every owner is different just like every dog is different.  Here are a few things we think are good for both!

1.  A willingness to learn.  PWDs require basic obedience training and do best when they are challenged with ongoing activities. 
2.  Financially ready.
3.  A fenced yard or dog run. A good fence will keep your dog in and critters and thieves out.
4.  An interest in working with your PWD. Smart, active dogs like these need to be busy.
5.  An active and ongoing relationship with us. We support our owners for the dog’s entire lifetime.


When are puppies ready to go home?

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A puppy’s body isn’t the only thing growing in the first 8 weeks. Their little brains are growing too!

Puppies are being fed a barrage of information through their eyes, ears, and skin, all new things they have never seen, heard or felt before.  In this process, they are learning about their world. They are learning that humans are good, food is good, even new places and objects are pretty good!

They are also developing their emotions. They are learning to be happy, to be sad, to be frustrated, to be mad and to be afraid.

Unfortunately, their development is not in a linear fashion. During the first 8 weeks, they enter some  developmental “fear periods” where their brains tell them that world is a very, very scary place.  One of these fear periods happens between week 7 and week 8.  We don’t know exactly when a puppy will go through it or how bad it will be, but we know that the puppy will wake up one morning inexplicably wary of it’s surroundings.  This fear period lasts a few days; this is not the time to make major changes in routine or expose the puppy to new things.  If a puppy suffers an adverse event during this time, their fear reaction can last their entire life. By keeping the puppies with the security of their littermates throughout the fear period, we ensure that they are not exposed to any sudden sounds or new scary experiences.

Our goal is to have brave outgoing puppies that are ready to take on the world with their new families.


What is a Counter Surfer"?

If the idea of your dog stealing food off your counter freaks you out, this might not be the breed for you.  When you combine the PWD’s inquisitive nature with acute problem solving skills, they quickly discover that food appears on the kitchen counter at random intervals and a quick surf with their nose can provide a yummy morsel or a whole chicken.   

We’ve successfully trained our dogs to do or not to do lots of things, but never this. 

P.S. The best defence is putting food at the back of a deep counter, or in the secure food storage device (a.k.a microwave). 

What is the application process?

If you think you and your family are ready, our Process is outlined HERE.   During the process you will be asked a lot of questions about your life, your experiences with dogs  and what you are expecting/planning for a new puppy.  It is also a great time for you to ask questions of us.  

Our goal is to ensure that every puppy goes to the home that is right for them, and that one of our Portuguese Water Dogs is right for you.  For us a well suited home is one where the dog will meet the owner’s expectations, and the owners will provide a home that matches the dog’s personality and natural skills.

Starting the Puppy Placement Process does NOT guarantee you a puppy but will enable you to be considered for one; we NEVER take deposits or sell puppies to people who have not successfully gone through our application process.  Please take into account travel when applying that we never fly puppies unaccompanied (or “Cargo”) to their new homes.  Our puppies have successfully flown and driven a long way, but always with either us or their new family.



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Do you really feed your dogs raw meat?

Yes we do and it isn’t as scary or dangerous as you might think!
Our commitment is to feed our dogs the same high quality, human grade food that we enjoy. With the multitude of news stories on contaminated and/or nutritional issues with processed kibble, we take pride in knowing exactly what we are putting into our dogs and puppies. What surprises most people is that the average  cost of feeding raw is often less than a good quality kibble!

We do not insist our owners to feed raw, but we hope they will.  There are many good quality sources for raw food, or we are happy to help new owner set themselves up to produce their own at home as we do.

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Why do they steal toilet paper?

It’s just a thing…. When our puppies start to explore outside the puppy pen, they quickly discover the toilet paper holder in the restroom.  They love to shred the rolls, and/or run through the house pulling it everywhere.  Our dogs  have normally outgrown this around 18 months but we know PWD people who need to keep their TP up on a high shelf permanently….


How do you care for your dogs?

Every one of our dogs is a member of the family and lives with us in our home. The dogs enjoy a lifetime of the very best food, accommodation, veterinary care and enrichment that we can provide.  All of our dogs keep active with dog sports, and particularly love water either in our pool or at the lake.  To say that our life revolves our dogs is not an understatement.

Where does your breeding stock come from?

We do not have “ breeding stock”, all of our dogs are family members and active participants in many dog sports.  We are grateful to Shelly Palash of Echobay PWDs (Canada), Elizabeth Volz of Robel Portuguese Water Dogs, and most of all to Dr. Linda Fowler of Nautique Portuguese Water Dogs for trusting us with their bloodlines, and helping us ensure we do our very best for our fabulous breed. 

Do you health test?

Yes!! We complete all genetic testing on all the parent dogs recommended by Portuguese Water Dog Club of America (PWDCA).   We are happy to prove it by emailing you copies of health testing certificates, or by telling you how to look them up on the official websites including the OFA website.  Doing all genetic testing is one of the simplest ways that a puppy buyer can look at to separate a quality breeder from a non-quality breeder.  Please, please, please ask for health certificates to be emailed to you and don’t be fooled by those that simply tell you “my dogs are healthy” or “my dogs were checked and they’re fine".

Who are your dogs registered with?

Our dogs are registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) and/or  the Canadian Kennel Club. 

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Why do I need to have a fence? My dog is trained well and always supervised.

We have friends that have lost dogs where fencing was not adequate: hit by vehicles, stolen by thieves or run off on their own.   In all cases the owners were devastated.  In each case, a properly secured fence would have reduced or eliminated the chances of this happening.  A secured fence isn’t just to keep your dog in but also helps keep other dogs and wildlife out (Even dogs twice the size of a PWD cannot fight off a coyote attack).

Having a secure area that your dog can let off steam off leash also goes a long way to making them easier to live with.

We have placed puppies with families who do not have fences, so talk to us about it.  

Do you ship puppies?

No.  New owners consider the purchase of a puppy from us as significant as adopting a  child. We would not want a child shipped unaccompanied in cargo either!

Do you sell breeding stock?

Whoosh breeding program is focused on providing family companions with the structure and temperament to participate in all kinds of dog sports. It can take two years or more for a puppy to mature to the point where a decision can be made to whether it is suitable to breed the next generation of Whoosh dogs.   Puppies of exceptional breeding potential are placed on a co-ownership contract.  We are happy to provide more details on this in person.

© Greg & Robin Illchuk 2018-2020