This is a very old and ancient dog breed, which evolved on Iberian Peninsula. The first ancestors of Portuguese Podengo were brought to the Iberian Peninsula by Phoenicians and Romans over 2000 years ago. Since than, these dogs did not change much, but they were later crossbred with some North African dogs, that came to Iberian Peninsula during the Moorish invasion in the 8th century.
Interesting fact about this breed is, that it comes in three sizes – Grande, Medio and Pequeňo. While the Grande and Medio are very similar together and they both have almost square body, the Pequeňo type has body slightly longer than tall.
Today, many of the Portuguese Podengo dogs are companion dogs, but throughout the history and even today, many of these dogs are used for hunting. Large podengos are used for hunting big game, such as deer or boars. Medium Podengos is mostly used for hunting rabbits, but when they are in a pack, they can also hunt larger game. And the small Podengo is mostly used for searching rabbits in holes and rocks. All varieties are also succesfully used as watch dogs.
Not only, that there are three size varieties of Portuguese Podengos, there are also 2 coat types! The coat can be either short and smooth, or longer and wiry. Traditionally, these dogs are smooth coated and the wire coated type is is an outcome of the assimilation of various other breeds during the 20th century. The wire coat variety does have a distinctive beard and moustache.
The Portuguese Podengo is an excellent companion for active people and families. These dogs are known for their high intelligence, but also independence, which means they are not total pushovers to train, even though they will understand new tricks fairly quickly. These dogs tend to be very loyal to its family and create a strong bond with it. On the other hand, they are pretty suspicious towards strangers and it can také some time before a complete stranger will gain their trust. The Portuguese Podengo is playful and lively dog that is always ready for some activity. The only problem might be some smaller household pets, which might be view as a prey in the eyes of Portuguese Podengo.
These dogs need quite a lot of daily phyiscal exercise to stay in good shape, healthy and happy. Daily longer outdoor walks are must and these dogs are great adepts for various dog sports, such as agility, lure coursing, flyball or some other sports where they can combine their ahtleticism with intelligence. Without enough exercise, they can develop some unwanted behaviour, such as destruction.
The original color of Portuguese Podengo are yellow and fawn in all shades from light to dark, with or without white markings. Today, the Small Podengos can be also found in some other accepted colors, which include black and brown with or without white patches.
8) National dog
The Portuguese Podengo has the honor to be one of the National Dogs of Portugal. And not only that, because the Portuguese Podengo is also the symbol of Portuguese Kennel Club. As you can see, this breed is pretty popular in its home country!
Just like majority of the ancient dog breeds, even the Portuguese Podengo can keep itself pretty clean and the maintenance is not very hard. If you want to minimize the shedding ,you should brush their coat regularly to remove the dead hair. The wirehaired versioun should be left in their natural state. These dogs also does not need much bathing, only when it is really necessary. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
Usually this is a very healthy dog breed with great lifespan. Of course, the lifespan is different with each size variety and the Podengo Pequeno has the average lifespan up to 17 years. There are no big health issues associated with this breed, but sometimes they can suffer from foot and toenail Injuries, muscle strains and some eye problems.