Below: pequeno smooth, pequeno wire; medio smooth, medio wire; grande smooth, grande wire.
The Portuguese Podengo is an ancient, multi-sensory (sight and scent) hound that originally came from Portugal. They are typically hardy, intelligent and lively dogs and are loyal and fearless, making excellent companions. They are amenable to training by dog-experienced people and those that enjoy primitive (i.e. slightly wilful) dog behaviour.
As a breed, the Podengo is divided into three size categories that are not interbred: small (Pequeno), medium (Médio) and large (Grande). Their coats are either short and 'smooth' or longer and 'wired'. The smooth coated variety is traditional, dating back to the 5th century, whereas the wire coated variety is an outcome of the assimilation of various other breeds during the 20th century. In general, the breed is healthy: the Pequeno variety has an average lifespan of approximately 14–16 years.
A keen hunting dog, the Podengo has an affinity for game regardless of size. Typically, the dogs hunt in a pack with their handler following. When game is found, they kill and retrieve it or flush it towards the hunter to be shot. Each size category traditionally hunts game appropriate to their size and temperament, e.g. Pequeno – rabbits; Medio - rabbits and wild boar; Grande - deer and wild boar.
The Podengo Pequeno was recognized by the Kennel Club in 2003 and the Breed Standard was approved on January 1, 2006. The Podengo Pequeno was transferred from the Import Register into the Breed Register on January 1, 2008 at the Kennel Club. The Podengo Pequeno now has its own breed classes at Championship Shows and Open Shows and was shown at Crufts for the first time in 2009.
In Europe, the Podengo is classified by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) as Group 5: Spitz and primitive type, Section 7: Primitive type hunting dogs. The FCI breed standard, which originates in Portugal, governs all types and varieties of the Portuguese Podengo. In both the United States and the UK, the Portuguese Podengo is classified in the Hound Group.
History / General Information
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (small) was developed for flushing rabbits from cover. The Pequeno accompanied Portuguese explorers on their ships for ratting purposes after the Portuguese completed the reconquest of their country from the Moors in the 13th century. It is also a good mouser and was probably kept on board explorer ships when the Portuguese initiated the European worldwide explorations in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The Medio (medium) was developed for rabbit chasing, flushing, hunting and retrieval. Its hunting style includes catlike stalking and, similar to the Ibizan Hound, it often jumps above the prey before landing on or near it to flush it out of dense brush, rock crevices or burrows. It will dig if necessary to flush prey.
The Grande (large) was developed for deer and wild boar hunting. It will exhaust and hold down the prey to await the hunter's gun. The Grande is now very rare in its home country.
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is characterized by a wedge shaped head, with erect ears and a curved tail. Click here for the official UK Kennel Club Breed Standard.
Podengo Pequeno are small, friendly, hardy, lively and intelligent companions. They are very active and usually good with children and other animals when socialized from an early age. They enjoy time with their human family. Like their Medio relatives, they are very watchful and observant and will bark when something gets their attention. They enjoy running and sunshine and must have a secure enclosed fence. The Podengo Pequeno is trained well with positive techniques but should be kept on leash all of the time during training as they can be quite wilful. Association members are strongly recommended to ensure their dog – be it a Podengo or any other breed – is socialised and trained from an early age.