Portuguese Podengo

Portuguese Podengo

Origin: Portugal

– Podengo Grande — 55-70 cm
– Podengo Medio — 39-56 cm
– Podengo Pequeno — 20-30 cm

Portuguese Podengo
Medio Portuguese Podengo (Smooth Coat)

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Breed Profile

The Portuguese Podengo (Warren Hound) is the national breed of Portugal and an ancient hunting breed who is believed to have been introduced to Portugal by the Phoenicians. Today’s Podengo still retains many of the characteristics of its early ancestors.

The Podengo is an intelligent, adaptable, friendly and lively Sighthound. The breed is most commonly found in his native Portugal as well as in Finland. The breed was first introduced to the United States in 1994 in Hollywood, California when Director Martha Coolidge was searching for a “scruffy, tramp-like” dog to cast in her upcoming film, “Three Wishes”. She saw the Wirehaired Podengo in a dog breed book and after discovering that there were no Podengo breeders in North America, she sent trainer Gary Gero of Birds and Animals Unlimited to Portugal to find and bring back some of these dogs. The Podengo has been accepted for recording in the American Kennel Club Foundation Stock Service (AKC-FSS) Program since 2004. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) classifies the breed in Group 5: Spitz and Primitive Type, Section 7: Primitive Type Hunting Dogs. The Podengo Pequeno was first imported into the United Kingdom in 2002, and the breed was recognised by The Kennel Club (UK) in October, 2003.

The Podengo, though known as a Sighthound, uses sight, scent and sound to hunt in packs by tracking, flushing, chasing, capturing and killing its prey. The breed is agile, has great endurance, active and very trainable. He enjoys such activities as hunting, tracking, agility, flyball, and many other dog sports. The breed is also known to be very friendly, attentive, and fearless. He is also a very devoted companion who gets along well with children and other dogs.

There are three types and two coat varieties of Podengos: the Podengo Grande, Podengo Medio and Podengo Pequeno. Each type is either smooth-coated or wire-haired. The largest of the three, the Grande, is virtually extinct and is used to hunt wild boar. The medium-sized, or Medio, is the most popular of the three types and is used for rabbit hunting. This is also the breed seen on the logo of the Portuguese Kennel Club. The Pequeno, the smallest of the Podengos was also in danger of extinction. However, through the dedication of Portuguese fanciers, the breed has been experiencing a comeback since the 1960s.

The Podengo Pequeno, though small, is still a hardy hunter who is used to chase rabbits out of small places with the Podengo Medio following and giving chase on flat ground. The Pequeno is a variation of the medium sized Podengo but with the same general characteristics.

The larger Podengo Grande is the original Podengo but unfortunately is very rare today. This is the greyhound-like type of the breed that dates back to ancient times. The Podengo Grande was orginally, and is still, used to hunt large game, such as the wild boar.

The coat of the smooth-coated variety is short and dense; while that of the wire-haired is wiry, similar to the bristles of a wild boar, and longer than the smooth coat. The wire-haired also wears a distinct beard under the lower jaw. The coat colour can vary from a rich red to a light sand or black.

Health Issues

The Portuguese Podengo is one of the healthiest breeds of dogs. They are also long lived, well into their mid to late teens. If you are considering the adoption of a Portuguese Podengo puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main General Information page.)

Additional Health Resources:

Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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