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Olde Ely Puppies

We are a family of PWD owners and not a commercial kennel but occasionally we may breed our dogs to ensure the healthy continuation of this rare breed. Have a really good read of the information below as it should answer all your questions and help you in your quest to find a healthy PWD puppy.

Please contact us for news or for information about PWD and if we are not breeding we may know of people who are.

We understand why people love Portuguese Water Dogs but we don't want you to be disappointed. They are rare.  Please be aware that it is highly likely that you will have to be patient and wait for a PWD.  Nationally there are very few puppies born each year and the demand is incredibly high - so don't be surprised if it takes up to a year or even 18 months before you get your forever PWD.

To put this in context, each year there are only around 200 PWD puppies registered with The Kennel Club. With average litter sizes of 7 to 10. Compare this to 35,000 Labradors, 33,000 Pugs, 21,000 Cocker Spaniels, 10,000 Bulldogs, 7,000 German Shepherds and you will understand why PWD are hard to come by. 

We regularly get 100 enquiries a year or a couple of enquiries a week from people wanting to know more about PWD and wanting a puppy.  Every year, in January & February, following the post-Christmas rush, we get at least 1 enquiry a day.  In a normal year, the number of enquiries for a puppy from us is already 10x the number of puppies in a litter. 

HOWEVER - in 2020, in just the 280 days of the COVID lockdown between March until the end of December, we had 1113 emails enquiries (yes I said 1000+) and we have lost count of all of the phone calls.  Things have gone absolutely mad. The website has gone from a few hundred hits a year to 12,000 hits in the last 280. 

 

Before you go any further :

  1. have a read of the NEWS page - so you can appreciate the current level of demand

  2.  click on the pdf below to read the information we sent to all email enquiries in 2020. 

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Why did we decide to breed our family pets?

As a family, we fancied breeding Holly but we wanted to do it in the best way we could. Having gone through the process of finding puppies we wanted to get it right as breeders. Welfare and health issues were paramount and we were adamant that we would do all of the pre-mating health tests and only breed if it was right to do so. With the great support and advice from two well-established PWD breeders / mentors Wendy was able to breed Holly. Added to this we are very proud to have achieved Kennel Club Assured Breeder status. This sets high standards for breeding, health testing and animal welfare, and we believe that this is something that all breeders should achieve. For more information please click the logo to the left.

If you are looking for a puppy or need advice there is lots of useful advice on the Kennel Club website:

https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/getting-a-dog-or-puppy/

Owning a dog is a very important decision and must not be taken lightly. It should not be an impulse buy or  snap decision, it should be carefully considered. It is not about how much you want a dog or how much you would love them, it must be whether you have the time and space for a dog. The time has to be right and you have to be able to meet the needs of this working breed. 

 

Like many other dogs, PWD can be delightful but with their willful behaviour and high maintenance coat, they are definitely not for everyone. Many people enquiring about PWD have never met the breed and made their decision based upon internet research alone. They fall in love with pictures of cute puppies without knowing what they are like as teenagers and then as fully grown adults. Before you make any decisions all prospective owners must meet the breed and breeder in person so they can really appreciate the size, caracteristics and challenges. If you do get a puppy please do your research well and follow all of the Kennel Club advice. 

What do I need to know?   

How do I find a healthy PWD?   

What do I need to ask a breeder?

What follows is what we consider to be vital when looking for a healthy, well-bred PWD puppy. There is a lot to read - but those who are really doing their PWD research will read it all - those who just want a dog will skip it and go straight to the contact page.  

 

We would advise searching out a reputable breeder - those who do all of the following:

Health Tests

  • Health tests: A good breeder will ensure that all of the health tests have been completed complete for both the mother and father and will openly share them with you.  (Click here to see the Health page) If they don't do them or won't share them we would advise you to walk away. If you are unsure please contact us for advice as we can tell you about the tests and help you to find them as they are freely available on the Kennel Club website. A good breeder may be able to show you the test results for not only the parents but further back in the pedigree line. Please note that some breeders don't do the tests saying their dog is clear by heredity. This can only be proved to be true if the line has been recently tested in the last few generations. i.e  grandparents were all clear. The Kennel Club advises to always retest every 3rd generation to make sure. 

  • Hip screening tests are done and the results shared with you. There are both genetic and environmental causes of bad hips but those breeders who do the tests will only breed with dogs who are around or below the breed average.  Screening is important as it helps minimise breeding genetic hip issues into the breed. The current 5 year PWD breed average is around 13.8 

  • Breed Coefficient: A test aimed at reducing in-breeding and help ensure PWD remain healthy and genetically diverse in what is a very limited gene pool. Search out a breeder who does the breed coefficient before breeding and ensures and can prove it is low. The score is out of 100 and you should only breed at or below the breed average which is currently around 9.0 -  the lower the better. For example, one litter was 1.8The higher the score the more genes the parents have in common. A score of 25 is the equivalent of shared genes between grandfather & grand-daughter. This quick and free KC check needs to be done to ensure breeders minimise the health issues from mating to a close relation. It ensures a strong and diverse gene pool. If you are in doubt please ask for advice. If a breeder doesn't know about it, don't do this or they just let their dogs mate as they wish - we would advise you to walk away. 

How do I find a good, reputable breeder?

There are very few PWD breeders in the UK. Start by looking up a Kennel Club Assured breeder on the Kennel Club website.  These breeders have actively committed to following the KC welfare standards and have had their homes inspected. As of 2020, there were only 11 breeders who have signed up to met the KC standard. 

Like all good breeders, if a dog is to be registered as a pedigree with the Kennel Club they won't breed a bitch under 2 years, over 8 years, and only let her have a maximum of 4 litters. Being a good breeder doesn't mean you have to be KC Assured and there are excellent breeders who are not KC Assured and do all of the health tests. 

 

To find other breeders, also have a look at the Portuguese Water Dog UK website. The key thing is whoever you chose it is vital you check they do all the health tests, hip scores, and breed coefficient. This applies to all breeders be they KC Assured and non-KC Assured.

Animal Welfare Licence: ask to see the breeder's current breeding certificate from the local authority. This is a legal requirement for commercial kennels. It may not apply to one-off family / hobby / occasional breeders who might breed once a year but how many local authorities apply the rules, some family breeders may be required to have one. It is always worth asking.

Visit, visit, visit, and ask lots of questions. 

Before you make any decisions all prospective owners must take the time to meet the breed and breeder in person so you can really appreciate the size, characteristics and challenges. This is especially true if you are inexperienced dog owners (i.e. have never owned a dog as an adult), have children or are looking for a so-called "hypoallergenic" dog. To help, a good breeder will regularly have people visiting from across the county to meet PWD in the family home. This helps people ask the breeder lots of questions to find out more about PWD as well as the challenges they pose, and check any allergy issues before they commit to having a PWD.

How do I ensure it is a pedigree dog?

Ensure you have seen the Kennel Club Pedigree certificate for both parents. All breeding dogs male & female will have a formal Kennel name & Kennel Club registration number and this can be checked on the Kennel Club website. If the parents are registered with the Kennel Club you can be sure of their pedigree. It also usually means that that their puppies can usually be registered as Pedigree dogs. However you will still need to ask the question "Will the puppies be registered with the Kennel Club?"  Sometimes puppies will not be eligible even if their parents are pedigree.

 

 Without proof of pedigree certificates for both parents and assurance that the puppies will be KC registered - this often means that the breeder hasn't fulfilled many of the breeding and animal welfare requirements. You are likely to get a puppy who is not eligible for pedigree registration; it may a cross-breed, or the parents haven't had the health checks or they have been inter-bred, bred too young (under 2) or too old (over 8) or the mother has had more than  4 litters. It can be an indication of poor breeding and puppy farms. If in doubt - walk away. 

How much does a PWD puppy cost? 

Ask a breeder and they will openly tell you the current going rate PWD breeders are charging. During 2019 the range was between £1200 up to £1500 from a good or KC Assured breeder who does all of the health checks and breed coefficient. This price tends to rise slightly each year. COVID update: due to the unprecedented increase in demand some dog breeders have doubled their charges to £3000 with some litters advertised for £4000 for their puppies. A simple case of supply and demand or sheer profiteering? Paying more does not get you a better behaved or healthier dog. Neither is it an indicator of a better breeder with more experience or one who does all of the health tests.

  • Pay the going rate do not feel forced to pay more just because they are rare and hard to come by, or think you are getting a bargain by paying less.

  • Do not overpay: Some breeders charge twice the going rate for a "special "dog or a "therapy" dog.  There is no way you can tell if a puppy will be a good therapy dog until it is much older and much of it depends upon the environment it is brought up in and how it is trained. Some breeders will charge you more for a bitch or those cute puppies with 4 white paws. We would advise paying the going rate for all dogs as paying more does not get you a healthier, better adjusted, well behaved dog. 

  • Do not underpay:  a cheap dog almost certainly won't have had the tests, may be a result of too close breeding, may be more prone to health issues, may not be a pedigree (maybe a mix with a spaniel or poodle) and may have come from poor breeding or from a puppy farm. It may come from a litter that the breeder is unable to register as pedigree because the bitch is too young, too old or had over 4 litters in its life.  If in doubt ask for advice.

  • Deposit: We would advise to only pay a deposit when you have agreed with the breeder which dog you are adopting at your 5-week visit. Never feel pressurised into paying an earlier holding deposit or the full amount early. Never feel pressurised into having a dog that isn't what you want.  Don't be pressurised into having a dog because it is the last one or it looks cute. When you pick up the puppy at 8 weeks do not accept a puppy if it isn't the one you chose, or the initial vet check reports a serious issue.  If your personal circumstances change (illness, loss of a job, moving home etc) then a good breeder will not expect you to have the puppy and will offer you a full refund of your deposit. PWD are in such demand there should be no problem finding a new owner.

  • Contract: Ensure there is a formal contract, such as one based on the Kennel Club Assured Breeders contract. Ensure you see it several weeks before you commit to buying the dog so you can check it. Ask about any endorsements the breeder may put on the contract. A good breeder will send you the contract when you visit at 5 weeks. Some breeders only show you for the first time when you pick up at 8 weeks when you won't really have time to read it thoroughly and ask questions. A good breeder will have nothing to hide and will willingly show or send you a copy of the deposit form and contract.

What else do I need to know? 

Waiting lists: Different breeders do things in different ways - there may well be a waiting list, phone interview or questionnaire as demand is incredibly high. Just as you should question the breeder about what they do - be prepared to be questioned yourself. Breeders will want to know your experience with dogs and how you will meet the needs of this breed. They want to maximise the chances of the puppy going to a suitable home and minimise the chances of the puppy needing rehoming in the future. Don't be surprised if some breeders won't offer you a dog if, for example, you work full time, have young children, live in a flat or have a small garden.

 

Some breeders only start a list when they know their bitch is coming into season or is pregnant. With an average of 7 to 10 puppies in a litter and demand being incredibly high there is little point having a massive waiting list.

How do I get on your list?

  • For those who are genuinely committed to a PWD please note that we do not hold a never-ending waiting list - as you can imagine this would be incredibly long and we would just end up disappointing most of the people on the list. But if you are serious please take the time to phone us and if after chatting to us you remain:

    • serious about a PWD (and it isn't just one of many breeds you are looking at)

    • fully understand & are prepared to wait (for those currently enquiring it is likely to be 2022 or 2023)

    • we will then happily send you a questionnaire.

  • We then use these as expressions of interest to firstly ensure people can meet the needs of a dog, then we will arrange visits and then after the visits, if we are happy and you are happy with us only then we will create a final list and only if/when we know that our bitch is pregnant. We insist that all prospective owners complete and return the questionnaire, must have visited us before any litter and stay in contact. Visiting and then staying in contact is always an advantage for you as Wendy may be aware of other litters that become available.

  • Yes, it is OK to be on the list of several breeders. It increases the likelihood of getting a PWD.
  • No, we don't make people pay a deposit just be on the list.  
  • No, we won't put you on the list in place of someone else even if you offer us double the money or are on TV. or an internet "influencer". These dogs may be rare but they are not a fashion statement or something to have just to be different. 

How do I get on a waiting list? Our top tips would be:

  • Phone and have a chat with lots of breeders, ask questions, check out whether the breed is right for you and whether the breeder sounds like a reputable breeder.

  • Consider how you ask and come across on the phone or in emails - There are those who simply ask "Have you got any puppies? How much? Can you put me on your list?" They often expect they can buy a puppy ASAP - within the next few weeks or months.  They ask no questions about the breed and presume that they are right even though they have never met them and presume they can easily get a dog. They are simply looking to buy a commodity. Such people will often buy in haste and will not be well prepared or informed.  It does nothing for the long term health of the breed and does nothing to eradicate poor, irresponsible breeding and puppy farms. It can lead to poor ownership, difficult and challenging dogs and the increased risk of rehoming dogs at a later date.

  • Then there are those enquiries which are personable; ask about the breed characteristics; want to know about the breed and whether it is right for them; want to know how to find a healthy, well-bred puppy. They are concerned about the health of this rare breed and ask suitable questions. They are making sure that the breed and breeder are right and they are looking to find and adopt the right dog. Such people will be committed owners and willing to wait. 

  • Now, if you were a breeder who would you choose for a puppy? - especially when in a normal year you need to reduce 100 enquiries down to 10.  In COVID 2020, with over 1113 enquiries in 280 days, a good breeder will need to work even harder to ensure their puppies go to suitable homes.

Choice of puppy: Once on the list do not expect to have a completely free choice. A good breeder will match the puppy and the owner together. Think of it as adoption. A good breeder will not let an inexperienced dog owner or those with young children have a dominant male or female.  At 5 weeks a puppy's characteristics are just starting to appear and a good breeder will often give you a choice between several puppies that will suit your circumstances, requirements, and experience.

Honesty:

  • You will want a good breeder to be honest about both the good and bad traits of the breed. They will be open about the grooming and the behaviour challenges that all PWD owners will face. They will be honest about waiting times, costs, health tests, contracts etc......

  • In return please be honest with the breeder. Be honest about your previous experience of dogs, about your work and daily life. The more a breeder knows about you the more they can be sure that you and a PWD will be a good fit. A good breeder wants to ensure they match the right dog to the right owner.

  • Don't be surprised if a good breeder turns down prospective owners if they feel that a dog is not right for them or they can not meet the dog's needs. A good breeder may well turn down an owner if

    • you haven't really considered how a dog will fit into your life 

    • you work all-day

    • you don't have a suitable home (PWD need a good outside garden and flats are not suitable);

    • you have severe allergies  

    • you are seriously afraid of dogs

    • You or your children interact poorly / inappropriately with the breeder's dogs when you visit

  • A good breeder will always put the welfare of the dog first and before the desires of the potential owner to have a PWD. 

Frequently Asked Questions. ​ Click the button to go to the Puppy FAQs page

Current questions include:

  • Are PWD suitable for flats? 

  • What size garden do we need?

  • Can I have a dog if I work full time? 

  • Can I take my dog to work? It's easy, right? It's only a cute puppy.

  • Are PWD suitable for families with young children / toddlers?

  • I have heard that they are a placid breed, are they are suitable for first-time dog owners?

  • I want one as I have been told they are perfect for my allergies as they are hypoallergenic and I won't react.  (Read our Allergy page)

  • I am busy and I have heard they are low shedding so that will make my life easier as they are low maintenance and that makes them easy to look after?  (Read our Grooming page)

  • Will you export a puppy abroad?    or    Can I get one from abroad?

  • I want one because have been told that they are perfect therapy / school dogs.

  • Are they perfect as a school dog?

  • Do they need much exercise? 

  • I don't have access to water - can I have a PWD?

  • Will they get on with our dog? 

    • Will they get on with our cat? 

    • Will they get on with our chickens / horse / goat / gerbil? 

  • Are girls / bitches easier? 

    • Are boys / dogs harder work? 

  • I want a PWD puppy for showing.

  • I want a PWD puppy because I will want to breed.

  • I am buying one as a birthday / Christmas / retirement present for my parents / someone else: 

If you are ever in doubt about any of the above then please ask us for advice.

As prospective owners, you must consider whether a dog will really fit in with your lifestyle especially if you work, have allergies or have very young children. Owning a new dog is similar to adoption. You will need to make sure it is the right thing for you and you will need to fully commit to having a new dog and making all the lifestyle changes necessary. Once you commit to adopting a PWD puppy you will be taking over all legal, financial and medical responsibility for the lifetime of the dog. 

Many good breeders will require all prospective owners to complete a questionnaire and visit. Because demand is so high it shows that a prospective adopter has seriously considered the issues and is really committed.  Many reputable breeders will only deal with the eventual puppy owners - and will not talk to third parties/families who are buying a PWD as a surprise gift. Visiting is especially important if you are looking for a PWD due to your allergies, are inexperienced dog owners or have young children. It is vital you meet the dogs if you have allergies so you can assess the level of your reaction. We are more than happy if you wish to visit us to see how you react, irrespective of where you eventually get a puppy from.

 

We are open to visits from anyone interested in PWD and if you visit we will introduce you to our dogs; answer all your questions; explain and show you examples of pedigrees; health tests for the breed;  Kennel Club contract and explain any possible endorsements which breeders use. We will help you consider everything about owning a PWD so that you make an informed choice and can adequately meet their needs.

Prior to purchase:

Prospective owners will need to understand that as a breeder every effort has been made to avoid any possible inherited conditions. We will take every care with the breeding, rearing and welfare of the puppy however we can make no warranty as to the future health or disposition of the puppy. Relevant, existing screening schemes will be undertaken and copies of these will be shared when people visit prior to purchase.  The puppies will  also be checked by a veterinary surgeon prior to sale. Although no warranty can be given on the future health of the puppy, the outcome of that check will be passed on to the prospective puppy owner together with the details of the veterinary surgeon who carried it out. Any health issues from the Vet check will be declared prior to signing a contract of sale. 

Prospective owners will need to ensure they have asked for, have seen and are satisfied with all the information they require prior to signing a contract of sale. Once the contract is signed the buyer will take full and total responsibility and liability for the puppy including all legal, financial and medical costs.

 

During visits and  prior to the collection prospective owners should ensure they ask about and are satisfied with the following information - all of which we explain on visits and are willing to provide information and support on:

  • the possible consequences of buying the Puppy.

  • given the Dog Health Information, the genetic health checks and health screening carried out and any particular considerations that are likely to affect a PWD puppy;

  • the meaning of any Kennel Club endorsement placed on the contract;

  • the measures & considerations that should be taken, whether by neutering, contraception or otherwise, to guard against unwanted pregnancy; and

  • the Future Health and Welfare Needs of the Puppy including socialisation, vaccination, behaviour and manner training and neutering.

 

When puppies leave their breeder at eight weeks they should have:

  • Initial vaccinations completed and a copy of the vet's vaccinationrecord

  • Basic puppy health check at the vets and any  issues reported to the potential owners and clearly written on the contract of sale.

  • Microchipped and chip registration details and how to ensure they are registered to you.

  • Often they have 5 weeks of free pet insurance (often through the Kennel Club as part of the registration)

  • For interest, a good breeder may give you a copy of their weight chart from birth to 8 weeks.

  • A copy of the Animal Welfare act

  • Bag of food (or a voucher or e-code) and feeding guidance on quantity, times

  • Puppy information leaflet full of advice on how to bring up a puppy covering:​

    • first few nights

    • feeding

    • toilet training

    • crate training

    • behaviour training

    • advice on toys, treats, leads, bowls, car restraints to buy

    • grooming

    • Health advice esp vaccination advice, fleas, worms & ticks

    • The Kennel Club provides an excellent outline leaflet for Assured Breeders which a good breeder will adapt for PWD

  • Copy of the signed contract with any endorsements and any medical issues identified by the vet.

  • Receipt for payments made.

  • Kennel Club information including pedigree, Kennel name, and details of how to transfer ownership

  • Often a good breeder will provide some bedding smelling of mum and possibly a toy.

  • Some breeders will invite new owners to join a Facebook group to share photos, ask questions and seek support.

Nicholas & Wendy

OldeEly PWD

Haddenham, Ely, Cambridgeshire

01353 741108

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