1) Ancient history
Podencos have a long history on Iberian peninsula and there are drawings from the Neolithic Age in southeastern Spain, which are clearly showing dogs similar to Podencos. There are also many pieces of craftwork from the Iberian times, which show a dog type similar precisely to Xarnego. It is interesting, that all the territories occupied by Iberian tribes corresponds with the area in which the Xarnego occurs today. It is very likely that Xarnego is one of the oldest, if not the oldest of peninsular hounds. The breed evolved naturally mostly in the Valencian community, where it is believed that Podenco Valenciano represents the “real” Podenco type, which was not inferior to any other external influences.
The Xarnego Valenciano has also one other name, which is Gos coniller, that can be translated as Rabbit Dog and indeed these dogs are highly valued for their hunting abilities, especially for their excellent vision, hearing, sense of smell, high prey drive and chasing insticnt, agility, speed and athleticism. These dogs are perfectly adapted for the rabbit hunt on the Iberian peninsula and they can hunt long hours even when its very hot and dry outside. Hunting with Xarnegos have long history and tradition.
Sadly, even though the Podenco Valenciano is popular among hunters for their hunting skills, they are very often abused and treated very poorly. Just like all the Podencos and Galgos, they are probably one of the most abused dog breeds in Europe, often times living chained in tiny rooms in shameful conditions. That is why there are many rescue stations all over the Europe specializing on Podencos and rehoming them. One of them is Hope for Podencos and if you are considering adopting a dog, you can check out their website hopeforpodencos.com
Every dog is different, but most often the Xarnego Valenciano is wonderful family companion with lively, playful and curious personality, great loyalty and devotion to its owner, high intelligence and confidence and pretty independent mind. They are typically good partners for older kids or other dogs in the family, but other smaller household pets might be problematic due to the dogs high prey drive. Overall, this is very loving and loyal companion dog.
Even though highly intelligent, these dogs are not total pushovers to train, which is mostly due to their independent mind. They are very good problem solvers, but they are not so eager to please dogs just like some other breeds. They need good motivation for the training and of course, patient, consistent and kind trainer. This is pretty sensitive breed and harsh training methods will not work on them. That said, Podenco Valenciano will easily learn all the different obedience commands, but they just love to be independent and make their own decision, so they are not completely obedient all the time.
The Xarnego Valenciano is both, very energetic, but also relaxed hound at the same time. They are always ready for an outdoor walk, hike, jog or vigorous playtime, but they also love to relax in their home with its people. It is important to properly exercise your Podenco every day with at least few longer daily walks and some fun playtime, so they stay healthy, happy and so they do not develop some unwanted behaviour, such as destruction. These dogs are great athletes and excellent jumpers and you should have a high fence around your property so the Xarnego could not jump over it.
The Podenco Valenciano is lean, athletic and long legged dog breed with average height between 50-61 cm, which is 20-24 inch and weight is usually between 18-20 kg, which is 40-45 pounds. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
The Xarnego Valenciano comes in three different coat types, the smooth, also known as liso, rough, also known as duro and long silky coat, which is called sedeño. These dogs can be found in several color combinations, commonly in cinnamon, black, brown and chocolate, either single colored or bicolored with white areas that appear on the face, neck, termination and abdomen.
9) Touch of Tanit
Sometimes, the Xarnego Valenciano, and other Podenco breeds as well, have little brown spot between their ears, which is called Touch of Tanit. According to tradition, the goddess Tanit is said to have blessed selected Podencos with a fingerprint of the sacred red earth of Ibiza.
The Xarnego Valenciano is pretty healthy and hardy dog breed with lifespan between 12-14 years. Of course, just like any other breed in the world, they may suffer from some health issues, such as hip dysplasia, allergies, some eye problems or ear infections.