Information about the Portuguese Podengo

The Portuguese Podengo is an ancient multi-sensory hound (sight and scent) breed of dog from Portugal. The Podengo comes in three sizes that are not interbred – small (Pequeno), medium (Médio) and large (Grande), each size with two hair coats (smooth and wire coat) and its own unique temperament. All three sizes love to hunt, its tradition in their native country. Typically, the dogs hunt in a pack with their human companion following them on large tracts of land with lots of game. Their hunting style is of an independent nature, with the dog(s) forging ahead with the hunter within their site range (which can be many acres). When game is found, they will kill it and bring it back to the hunter or wait for the hunter to catch up and shoot it. Each is capable of hunting game that is appropriate to their size and temperament. (Pequeno-rabbits, Medio-rabbits and wild boar, Grande-deer and wild boar).

It is a healthy breed and the Pequenos average lifespan is approximately 15-17 years. The Médios live to be approximately 12-15 years.

The Portuguese Podengo in the UK is represented by The Portuguese Podengo Club of Great Britain, and the Podengo Pequeno was recognized by the Kennel Club in 2003. The Breed Standard was approved on January 1, 2006. The Podengo Pequeno was transferred from the Import Register into the Breed Register on January 1, 2008 at the Kennel Club. The Podengo Pequeno now has its own breed classes at Championship Shows and Open Shows (the other sizes are in the process of being included). The Podengo Pequeno was shown at Crufts for the first time in 2009. There are approximately 500 Podengos (primarily Pequeno) now resident in the UK.

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno became eligible to compete in the AKC Miscellaneous class on January 1, 2011 and can be recorded (but not registered) by the American Kennel Club. Incorporated in 2009, Portuguese Podengo Pequenos of America. is the recognized AKC parent club for the breed in the US. The first and largest club of Podengo Pequeno owners in the USA is the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno Club of America (PPPCA). PPPCA was incorporated in January, 2003 in Newport, Rhode Island and 85% of its members own Portuguese Podengo Pequenos. Other organizations that recognize the Podengo (all sizes) in the US are the United Kennel Club, American Rare Breed Association and North American Kennel Club. It is also recognized by The American Sighthound Field Association. The Portuguese Podengo Medio and Grande are represented in the United States by The American Portuguese Podengo Medio/Grande Club (APPMGC or ‘MGC’).

In Europe, the Podengo is classified by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) as Group 5: Spitz and primitive type, Section 7: Primitive type hunting dogs. The FCI breed standard, which originates in Portugal, governs all types and varieties of the Portuguese Podengo.

The United Kingdom registers the most Podengos, followed by Finland, the United States, and Portugal.

In both the United States and the UK the Portuguese Podengo is classified in the Hound Group.

All Podengo types are hardy, intelligent and lively dogs, excelling at agility and making fine companions. Loyal and fearless, Podengos are also good house guards and are amenable to training by dog experienced people and those that enjoy primitive (unrefined, “less domesticated”) dog behavior.

The Grande (large) was developed for deer and wild boar hunting. It will exhaust and hold down the prey and await the hunter’s gun. The Grande is now very rare in its home country.

The Medio (medium) was developed for rabbit chasing, flushing, hunting and retrieval. Its hunting style includes catlike stalking and, similar to the Ibizan Hound, it often jumps above the prey before landing on or near it to flush it out of dense brush, rock crevices or burrows. It will dig if necessary to flush prey.

The Pequeno (small) was also developed for flushing rabbits from cover. It is also a good mouser and was probably kept on board explorer ships when the Portuguese initiated the European worldwide explorations in the 15th and 16th centuries.

In the United States, the United Kennel Club (UKC) represents the breed as shown in Portugal and all FCI countries, the three sizes, all with two coat varieties, as one breed. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has divided the breed into the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno and the Portuguese Podengo (includes the medio and grande size). This breed Portuguese Podengo is represented by the American Portuguese Podengo MedioGrande Club. The current proposed standard for the breed is available at: The Pequeno entered the AKC Misc class in January 2011. The Portuguese Podengo (which includes the Medio and Grande), needs to be at 150 to move to Misc.

WIRE COAT: The WPP is a small-sized type with a rough coat. The single coat (without undercoat) does shed but not very much.

SMOOTH COAT: The SPP is a small-sized type with a dense smooth coat with undercoat that is low maintenance. It naturally sheds dust and dirt and dries very quickly.

The height for the Portuguese Podengo Peqeuno is 20-30 cm (8-12 inches) and weight is 4-6 kg (9-13 lbs). Dogs should not exceed the maximum height.

Both kinds of Podengo Pequeno are small, friendly, hardy, lively and intelligent companions. They are very active and usually good with children and other animals when socialized from an early age. They enjoy time with their human family.

Like their Medio relatives, they are very watchful and observant and will bark when something gets their attention. They enjoy running and sunshine and must have a secure enclosed fence. The Podengo Pequeno is trained well with positive techniques and should be kept on leash all of the time during training as they can be quite autonomous and have their own ideas about what constitutes proper behavior. They can be remarkably silly in the home, running around and jumping off furniture with abandon, therefore care must be taken to not allow them free roam of the house or hurting themselves by jumping from too high a perch. A walk with many Pequenos can be a delight and they will continually come back to the owner to make sure they are coming along.

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno accompanied Portuguese explorers on their ships for ratting purposes after the Portuguese completed the reconquest of their country from the Moors in the 13th century.

Wire Coat Pequenos were first shown in the United States in 2001 when Chicharro de Viamonte, owned by Marilyn Piurek and Kip Bergstrom, was exhibited at an ARBA show in Boston. He was the first Podengo to ever be shown in the United States and the first Podengo Pequeno champion in ARBA and Rarities. Smooth coat Pequenos were first shown in the United States in 2003.

Wire Coat Pequenos were first imported to the UK in 2002. The smooth coated Pequeno followed in 2004.

Most (75%)of the purebred Portuguese Podengos in the United States consist of the Pequeno size, and most of these (85%) are of the wire coat variety.