Portuguese Water Dogs can inherit improper coat. The dog may have some undercoat and shed. The appearance of a wavy with improper coat is like a Flat Coated Retriever or Border Collie, a curly will tend to look like an American Water Spaniel or Curly Coated Retriever. This condition is one of appearance, in the Canadian Standard this coat is a disqualification, in the American Standard this coat is a major fault. The temperament and behavior of a dog with improper coat will not differ from his properly coated litter mates. There is now a test to see if your dog carries improper coat available from Optigen.
Follicular Dysplasia or patterned hair loss is a genetic condition that affects some Portuguese Water Dogs. The condition generally presents itself at between two and four years of age. The hair may fall out and grow back or it may never grow back. Of the dogs affected with hair loss, it appears that the majority have tight curly coats and are the result of breeding two curly parents. It must be remembered, however, that not all dogs, not even most dogs, with tight curly coats will have hair loss.
There are other causes for hairloss. Thyroid deficiency, Cushing’s disease, allergies, parasites, environmental toxins and drugs are some agents that can cause the temporary loss of hair.