Quick! What looks like a poodle, has hypoallergenic fur like a poodle, but isn’t a poodle?
(Some people will argue that hypoallergenic fur doesn’t exist, in which case, let’s say low -shedding fur.)
Shirvo the Portuguese Water Dog, of course! Named after Matt Shirvington because of his ability to run 100m very fast. (No doubt.)
As you can see, Shirvo has an impressive physique and bears a striking resemblance to the 100m Gold medal winner.
This young pup will be 2 in September so is technically still a teenager, but without any of that teen angst or sulking that often accompany these difficult years.
In fact, Shirvo’s owner says he is more like a big cat when he is home as he is loyal and affectionate, coming up for pats and generally twining himself around people’s legs.
(OK, maybe not that last part.)
Shirvo recently enjoyed a clip at the groomers. On his return to Citizens Park everyone was surprised to see he was actually smaller than the poodle-type coat he sported had led us to believe. Still, he isn’t a small lap dog.
Portuguese Water Dogs were possibly made famous when Barack Obama adopted two (Bo and Sunny) for his family when he was living in the White House.
Shirvo is equally as famous at his local park. He is happy, social and playful; and living up to his name, if there is water around he will find it.
The Portuguese Water Dog was originally bred to work with fisherman on their boats. They would herd and retrieve fish (several sites told me this!) as well as retrieve other things such as nets, carrying messages from boat to boat and guarding boats in foreign ports.
With time these dogs were gradually replaced with technology and the breed become less common until the 1930s when Vasco Bensaude started a breeding program to bump up the numbers.