Water Work

The PWDCA manual is available on

Either manual may not be copied or otherwise reproduced for sale without written permission of the PWDCC and PWDCA Water Trial Committees.

The Portuguese Water Dog is a working breed with a long history as a crew member on Portuguese fishing vessels. The dogs were responsible for carrying messages between boats and to shore, retrieving anything that went overboard, setting floats and guarding gear and boats in port. The natural working ability, adaptability and intelligence of the breed were demonstrated by the efficiency with which these complex tasks were completed. They were an invaluable members of the Portuguese fisherman’s team.

The Portuguese Water Dog today still retains these qualities – an affinity for swimming, strong retrieving abilities and an intensity in performing the task at hand.

In 1990 the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America completed the development of a series of water work exercises to demonstrate these natural qualities and instincts. These exercises test the dog’s ability to perform a task and its willingness to do so on command. The PWDCA Water Trial program provides an opportunity to earn titles (Junior certificate, Apprentice, Working, Working Excellent, Courier, Courier Excellent and Master Water Dog) based on successful completion of increasingly complex exercises. These exercises include a variety of water retrievals from shore and boat as well as swimming with handler.


The goals of water trials are to promote:

The following link will take you to videos of the exercises for 2019.