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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: 10-12 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 standing in three-quarter view on a white background.
Gelpi / Shutterstock
Portuguese Podengo standing outdoors in sunlight surrounded by boulders and tall grasses
Portuguese Podengo sitting facing forward.

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

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Portuguese Podengo standing in the grass.

Find a Puppy: Portuguese Podengo

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AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.



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.


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
Weekly Brushing




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


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.


May be Stubborn
Eager to Please


Reserved with Strangers


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 head portrait outdoors.
Nuno Matos1/Shutterstock
An illustration of a Portuguese Podengo standing outdoors.
A group of Portuguese Podengos on chain link leashes in front of a group of men circa 1950.
Two Portuguese Podengos standing outdoors on leads circa 1925.
A Portuguese Podengo standing in the grass circa 1955.
A Portuguese Podengo standing outdoors circa 1921.
Portuguese Podengos sitting in stalls waiting to be sold at a market circa 1930.


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

Colors & Markings


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


Description Standard Markings Registration Code
White Markings 014