In the beginning...
Elaine and Chris met their first Portuguese Water Dog, Guinness, through Elaine's work. His "joie de vivre" and work ethic were unbridled and irresistable. We fell in love with the breed. After some research and talking to many local breeders, a little brown and white female puppy from Camlin PWDs stole our hearts. We named her "Cocoa," in memory of Elaine's mother.
At 8 weeks old, Cocoa rode home on Elaine's lap and threw up on her favorite sweater not five minutes into the ride. It was OK, though, because it smelled of puppy food and puppy, not such a bad smell, actually.
Cocoa is quite full of personality, with a mind of her own--not unusual for this breed. She loves to work hard, as long as cookies are involved. While very independent, she can be sweet as pie and is happy to curl up next to us to enjoy a good belly rub or head scratch (or cookie). She loves to play with other dogs and has been called "the most well-adjusted girl" by her vet. She hates baths but enjoys hanging out on the grooming table. We think she likes the table because it's high, she can recon countertops and, since she is the queen, she can survey the vastness of her empire. We took her to puppy school like good parents and graduated to obedience classes. We still attend to this day, because we need constant training and she doesn't seem to mind playing along. As long as there's a cookie involved.
Not surprisingly, Cocoa LOVES the show ring. While we weren't sure we were ready to join the world of dog shows and conformation, it's not easy finding places to go where dogs are welcomed (well, Carmel). But everyone in the dog show world UNDERSTANDS. So we started showing Cocoa in local shows, and got hooked on the friendly competition, the quirky
politics (did we say QUIRKY?), and being around dogs, dogs, dogs everywhere. We were encouraged when Cocoa earned Best in Breed Puppy at the Sir Frances Drake Dog show in Marin.
Cocoa earned her conformation championship at 1 1/2 years old and obtained her Rally Novice title with Chris. She also competes in water trials--she is normally all business when trialing at water, except for the swim, and there, she draws the line (at least 20 trials now--but as long as she enjoys it, we're game to keep trying for that 1st title!). In 2007, Cocoa earned her Therapy Dog certification (TDI) with Chris at the PWDCA National Specialty in Ventura. Cocoa and Zada (her daughter) placed third with dad Chris showing them in Brace competition at that same show.
Cocoa enjoys embarassing her humans with her hijinks in water, obedience (thankfully there's now Beginners Novice on leash) and Advanced Rally. Surprisingly, since Cocoa was a puppy, she's shown an incredibly strong prey drive, and loves to chase a plastic bag on a pulley around a football field-sized. This activity is known as lure coursing. It's a shame she's getting a little old to compete now that it's open to working dogs!
Cocoa likes to dance to rock n' roll, especially Love Shack by the B-52s.
Portuguese Water Dog Club of Northern California (PWDCNC)
We joined the PWDCNC (PWD Club of Northern California), and met a lot of nice people who enjoy doing fun things with their PWDs. Like group off-leash walks, grooming seminars, holiday parties, picnics, water training, rally, agility and obedience (some PWDs even excel at obedience!). Both Elaine and Chris have been on the Board and are very involved in Club activities.
Noting that many people survived, in fact thrived with more than one PWD in their home, we decided that Cocoa needed a companion. We contacted our breeder Linda Campbell, who helped us find another brown PWD from Italian breeder do Lusiadas (Fabiana Bazzani). His name is "Maquah."
Maquah is quite robust and naturally athletic, so it's no surprise that he loves to work hard, especially if in means running at breakneck speed after a ball. Even so, he is very sweet and will quickly jump in our laps and stare lovingly into our faces (especially if one of us is trying to brush him). He is obedient and extremely enthusiastic about water work. In fact, Maquah loves just about everything that has to do with water, including bounding through any mud puddle he can find. Suffice it to say Maquah never just "walks" anywhere--it's more like prance-dance thing, and he's enthralling and hilarious to work with in any activity. Maquah "talks"; in fact he has a whole language of his own that he is continually trying to teach us.
Maquah earned his Rally Novice title with Elaine and earned his conformation championship before reaching age two. He also earned his UCI title, giving him his "international champion" title.
In an effort to keep Maquah exercised, we work with him in agility, rally advanced, courier water and novice obedience. Maquah earned his first leg in Advanced Rally at the 2007 PWDCA National Specialty AND his first leg in Novice Obedience at the same trial.
Malazada is from Cocoa's first litter. We call her "Zada" for short. Her daddy is "Baker", one of the top 10 PWDs in the U.S. in 2006. Malazada roughly translates to "deep fried donut" in Portuguese--we named her this because as a pup, she was truly a porker! She's quite the athlete now, and is the sweetest girl who loves her "licker" and enjoys water work, agility, rally and obedience. This girl is sweet, amazingly obedient and a fabulous working dog, wrapped up in a cute little package.
Chris has become quite adept at showing in the conformation ring, exhibiting Zada as a Breeder-Handler to her champtionship, not an easy task! Invited to Eukanuba because of this accomplishment, Chris has shown Zada three times at this event--we came home ribbonless but had a wonderful time each year.
Zada earned her Junior Water Dog title at just barely 6 months old and her Apprentice Water Dog title not long after (mama Cocoa is still working on hers). She currently is competing for Rally Excellent, having earned her Rally Advanced Title, has an Agility NAJ title and recently achieved her CD obedience title in 2011.
Zada has turned out to be an amazing PWD. As we've gotten better at training, she has shown us the incredible breadth of ability and intelligence of this breed. Zada's potential is limited only by the bumbling of her handlers! She earned her Courier Water Title in 2014, a huge achievement in portuguese water dogdom.
Uh...back to "About Us"
This page was supposed to be "about us", wasn't it? To know our dogs is to know a lot about us. They've happily transformed our lives. We live in Castro Valley, California. To get to know us and our doggies further, we invite you to contact us.