Meet Portuguese Podengo, a friendly, agile and fearless breed. Truly a companion dog, a Podengo is an easy-to-maintain breed, suitable for most households.
A Portuguese Podengo is an all-in-one package, with the best qualities you can think of in your pooch. He is agile, alert, lively, friendly and easy to keep.
The Portuguese Podengo is the Portuguese national breed. He is very fast and agile and extremely durable. Podengos exist in three sizes – small, medium and large. Each has two hair types –
smooth haired and wire haired–for a total of six varieties. The Podengo Português Grande (big) height: 55-70 cm; the Podengo Portugues Medio (medium): height: 39-56 cm, weight: 16-20 kg; and the Podengo Portugues Pequeno (small) height: 20-30 cm, weight: 4-5 kg.
The Podengo Pequeno’s (small) height at the shoulder is only 20-30 cm which makes him a very handy dog, and yet he is a hardy hunter. This smaller variation of the Podengo Portugues Medio (medium) was bred for hunting.
The smaller Podengo is a variation of the medium sized Podengo but without losing any of his other characteristics. Not much attention was paid to colour or tone of coat. The Podengo may be uni-coloured with occasional white markings, and his colour can vary from a rich red to a light sandy colour or even black. His coat may be short and shiny or longer and rough.
Journey down the lane…
The breed goes back as early as the ancient times. The Pequeno was originally used for catching rats and other small animals. Later he was used in combination with the medium. Even though the Pequeno is still being used for hunting, it also has been regarded as a household pet for as long as three centuries.
Of the several theories regarding the origin of the Podengo, the most probable to defend is that the breed, along with other similar breeds of the Mediterranean, descends from the Pharaoh Hound of high old Egypt. It appears to be one of the first differentiated breeds made by the functionality. This type of dog dispersed from Asia Minor (original area of the Phoenicians in 700 BC) to the north of Africa and the Mediterranean coast. The Phoenicians introduced the breed to Portugal and the entire Mediterranean region. Later, the Portuguese spread the breed to Brazil, central Africa and India.
The Podengo Pequeno has a special aptitude for hunting under the soil, pursuing badgers, foxes and bag-tails. The breed was used to enter in the burrows and frighten the quarry, or to kill them directly. That’s why he is courageous, smart and lively. But above all, the Podengo is a fearsome rabbit hunter, often used in impenetrable areas, sneaking out from among vegetation and rifts in the rocks. It is known as a ‘last-resource,’ exploring where other dogs won’t go.
The Podengo is a happy, attentive, agile, friendly as well as fearless dog. He is easy to keep, only barks occasionally, is very attached, and friendly with children and other dogs. He requires exercise and attention and likes to play. He is also a very fast learner. The Podengo is adapted perfectly to the climate, as well as to the form of Portuguese life. He has a lively character and a resistant and healthy body.
Living with a Podengo…
The Podengo Pequeno is today used as a companion dog, with excellent results, thanks to his obedient character and affectionate nature. The Podengo maintains a great resistance to diseases or genetic defects and demands very little maintenance. The hair has only one layer and presents obvious advantages during shedding. Because of his size, health, coat and personality, the Podengo Pequeno adapts easily to apartments and to the city as well as country living. This is a distinct advantage when compared to the more traditional companion dogs.
So, bring home a Podengo and love this powerpuff breed.
(Miguel Sabino is breeder who runs Viamonte Kennel at Leiria, Portugal.)