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  • Temperament: Independent, Alert, Intelligent
  • Height: 22-28 inches (large) 16-22 inches (medium)
  • Weight: 44-66 pounds (large) 35-44 pounds (medium)
  • Life Expectancy: 10-15 years
  • Group: Miscellaneous Class

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Breed Standard
Portuguese Podengo in three-quarter view.
Portuguese Podengo head and shoulders.
Portuguese Podengo standing outdoors in sunlight surrounded by boulders and tall grasses

About the Portuguese Podengo

The Podengo is a rugged coursing hound that comes in two sizes: medio (medium, standing 16 to 22 inches at the shoulder) and grande (large, 22 to 28 inches). They also have two coat types: smooth and wirehaired. The breed’s enthusiasts describe it as “primitive,” that is, it’s a rustic, no-frills hound untouched by fads and fashion since arriving on the Iberian Peninsula ages ago. Among their distinctive characteristics are large, erect, triangular ears; a pyramid-shaped head that tapers to the nose; and sweetly expressive, almond-shaped eyes.

Podengos, in general, are funny dogs that love to play. They easily entertain themselves with toys, chase each other and stalk each other around the house and yard. They are highly intelligent and learn new things very fast. Since they are a watchful dog though, they are not as easy going and playful with strangers and may view smaller animals like dogs and cats as prey. They may be quite reserved initially and prefer to greet strangers on their own terms. They are very tolerant and compliant, eager to please their family members and put up with most requests we make of them.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

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Portuguese Podengo

Find a Puppy: Portuguese Podengo

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Care

NUTRITION

The Podengo should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior).A primitive dog, the Podengo will hunt on their own if given the opportunity. Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The wirehaired Podengos will shed in sections. It is important to brush regularly to remove dead hair. The smooth-coated dogs should require slightly less grooming; an occasional brushing will suffice. Neither coat should be stripped. Beyond regular weekly grooming, the occasional bath will keep them clean and looking their best. Their nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting, and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris, which can result in infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Regularly

EXERCISE

Podengos are great watchdogs and companions. They are very playful and quick to learn, but not always easy to train. Both size varieties are respected as versatile hunters and companions who use all their senses, as well as their agility, speed, and endurance, running singly or in packs. The medium size is more intense and energetic than the large, who does enjoy relaxing on the couch.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

Podengos will both surprise and test the unprepared owner. They require firm training or they will find their own adventures, but they are easily motivated by food and fun. To get the most enjoyment from your Podengo, raise the most relaxed and tolerant Podengo you can by taking him to training classes and provide as much early socialization as possible.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Reserved with Strangers

HEALTH

Responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as food and contact allergies, hypothyroidism, and deafness. Since no health screening is done in the country of origin, any health testing should be considered a baseline to gather information. The U.S. parent club position has been one that favors testing for “illumination rather than elimination.”

Portuguese Podengo
Portuguese Podengo

History

The probable origin of the Portuguese Podengo is with the primitive, multi-purpose hunting dogs obtained, used and distributed by Phoenician traders during the circumnavigation of Africa in 600 BC and reaching Portugal in the 700s BC. This is evidenced by artifacts found under the Lisbon Cathedral. The Podengos were developed into different sizes in Portugal due to their functionality, the largest being the Podengo Grande, which was developed for deer and wild boar hunting. It will exhaust and detain large game and await the hunter’s gun. The Podengo Medio, being slightly smaller, was used for rabbit hunting. Due to Portugal’s relative isolation at the western edge of Europe, unlike the other two sizes, the Medio evolved to its present form without much influence from other breeds and, as a result, has the most strongly established and homogeneous type and greatest genetic stability of the three sizes. The Medio embodies the authentic type of the Portuguese Podengo.

The Portuguese Podengo is one of ten National Dogs of Portugal and has the honor of being the symbol of the Portuguese Kennel Club (the Clube Portugues de Canicultura or CPC). The Club do Podengo Portugues (CPP) is the national breed club in Portugal. Ironically for this breed, which in the Medio and Pequeno sizes has evolved for the past 2,000 years as a dog of the people, the efforts to save and improve the breed over the past 100 years have included many members of Portugal’s upper classes, who saw in this and the other nine indigenous breeds an essential element of the national patrimony.

The first purebred Portuguese Podengos came to the United States in the 1990s and now reside in more than forty-five states. The first documented Portuguese Podengos of any size in America were the wirehaired Portuguese Podengo Medios imported in August, 1994.

Did You Know?

The Portuguese Podengo has been assigned the Hound Group designation.
Most Podengos in Portugal are members of active hunting packs.
Portuguese Podengos named Tito, Rosa and Nikki were very successful in Hollywood, appearing in Zeus & Roxanne, Three Wishes, Soccer Dog, Homeward Bound 2, Dante's Peak, Cheaper By the Dozen, and Monster in Law, amongst others.
The Portuguese Podengo has been eligible to compete in Companion Events since January 1, 2008.
The Portuguese Podengo has been approved to compete in the Miscellaneous class since January 1, 2014.
The Portuguese Podengo has been approved to compete in AKC Lure Coursing Events for Suffix Titles since January 1, 2008.
As of July 2009, the Portuguese Podengo was split into two breeds: Portuguese Podengo (to include the Grande and Medio) and Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (the smallest of the three sizes).

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Well-proportioned muscled, sound with moderate bone. Lean 4-sided pyramid shaped head with prick ears. Tail – sickle-shaped. Over emphasis on any one feature should be strongly avoided. The Medio and Grande come in two coat textures, smooth and wire. The Podengo is a hunting dog; scars from honorable wounds shall not be considered a fault.
The proportions of the Grande and Medio are almost square. Strong in build, heavier bone present in larger size dogs. Body length from prosternum to point of buttocks is approximately 10 percent longer than the height at the withers. Grande – 22 to 28 inches at the withers, 44 to 66 pounds. Medio – 16 to 22 inches at the withers, 35 to 44 pounds. Disqualification – Over 28 inches, under 16 inches.

HEAD

The head is lean with a flat or slightly arched skull. Shaped like a 4-sided pyramid, tapering towards a slightly protruding nose tip. Occipital bone is moderately defined. The stop is moderately defined. The planes of the skull and muzzle diverge, cheeks lean and oblique (not parallel). Muzzle – The muzzle is straight in profile; slightly shorter than the skull; broader at the base than at the tip. Lips are close fitting, thin, firm, and well pigmented. Teeth – Large strong teeth should meet in a scissors bite. Nose – The nose is tapered and prominent at the tip. It is always darker in color than the color of the coat. Eyes – Almond shaped, very expressive, moderate in size, not prominent, set obliquely, color varies according to coat color from honey to brown. Fault – Eyes of two different colors. Ears – The ears are triangular in shape with their length greater than their width at the base. They are carried erect. Highly mobile, the ear can point forward, sideways, or be folded backward, according to mood. The lowest point of the base is at level of the eye. Fault – Rounded, bent ears. Disqualification – hanging ears.

BODY

Neck, Topline and Body: Neck – The neck is straight, strong and well-muscled. It transitions smoothly from head to body and is free from throatiness. Topline – The top line is typical of larger sight hound straight or slightly arched. Body – Well-proportioned body slightly longer than height at withers. Ribs moderately well sprung and well carried back. The chest reaches down to the elbow, medium width. The croup is straight or slightly sloping, broad and muscular. There is a slight tuck up.

FOREQUARTERS

The shoulder is long, inclined, and strong, angulation is moderate. The forelegs are straight, lean and well-muscled, with elbows held parallel to the body. The pastern joint is not prominent and the pasterns are short and strong. Presence or absence of front dew claws immaterial. The wrists are very elastic and flexible.

HINDQUARTERS

Well-muscled and clean. Upper thigh long, of medium width, muscular. Moderately angulated. The rear pasterns are strong, short and straight and there are no dewclaws. Feet – Oval, neither cat footed nor hare footed. Toes long, slightly arched, nails strong and preferably dark. Pads firm. Tail – The tail is set moderately high, thick at the base tapering to a fine point, and at rest it falls in a slight curve between the buttocks. When the dog is in motion it rises to the horizontal and is slightly curved or it may go up to vertical in a sickle shape. The hair is fringed on the underside of the wire coat tail. Disqualification – Curled in ring touching the back.

COAT

There are two types of coat: Smooth coat which is short and very dense with undercoat present. Wire coat which is rough and harsh, not as dense as the Smooth coat, and without undercoat. The Wire coat produces a distinct beard. The coat is to be shown in a natural state, the face and feet may be trimmed, but no other trimming or shaving is to be condoned. The coat does transition as the new coat grows in the old coat dies and comes out in large sections starting at the base of the neck, down the center of the back and then down the sides of the body. The coat is not to be penalized in this state of change. Fault – Silky or soft coat.
Color: Yellow and white or fawn and white of any shade or primarily white with patches of any shade of yellow or fawn. The following colors are also acceptable, but they are not preferred: tones of black or brown, with white patches or white with patches of black or brown. Fault – Brindle and solid white.

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Portuguese Podengo

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Chestnut Check Mark For Standard Color 070
Fawn Check Mark For Standard Color 082
Gold Check Mark For Standard Color 091
Gray Check Mark For Standard Color 100
Off-White Check Mark For Standard Color 461
Red Check Mark For Standard Color 140
White & Black Check Mark For Standard Color 202
White & Chestnut Check Mark For Standard Color 499
White & Fawn Check Mark For Standard Color 207
White & Gold Check Mark For Standard Color 208
White & Gray Check Mark For Standard Color 210
White & Orange Check Mark For Standard Color 213
White & Red Check Mark For Standard Color 214
White & Yellow Check Mark For Standard Color 501
Yellow Check Mark For Standard Color 232

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
White Markings 014