The Podengo is the national dog of Portugal. In the 1990’s, the first purebred Portuguese Podengo arrived in the United States. This breed now resides in more than 30 states, according to the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service. They are recognized by the major canine organizations. This includes the United Kennel Club, the American Rare Breed Association, and Rarities, inc. The Podengo is allowed to participate in events sponsored by the American Sight hound Field Association, the United States Dog Agility Association, among others.
The parent club for this breed is called The Podengo Club of America (PPCA). They represent all the various types and varieties within the Podengo breed. Most of The Podengos in the United States are registered with the CPC, which is the Kennel Club of Portugal.
The hound group designation has been given to The Podengo. There are 3 types and 2 varieties of The Podengo. The 3 types are Grande (large), Medio (medium), and Pequeno (small). All three sizes are available in either the wire coat varieties or smooth coat varieties. This breed is one of the healthiest dogs you can find. There are no genetic faults with the Podengo and they generally live into their mid to late teen years. They are also very agile and highly trainable.
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The Podengo stands out for its pyramidal head, erect ears, agile movement, and elegant body lines. The head of the Podengo is wedge shaped and they have prick ears and a sickle shaped tail. They have a well proportioned and muscular frame. The body length of the breed is a little longer than the height at the withers.
The average height of the large Podengo is between 22 – 28 inches. The average height of the medium Podengo is 16 – 22 inches. The average height of the small Podengo is 8 – 12 inches. The average weight of the large Podengo is between 44 – 66 pounds. The average weight of the medium Podengo is 35 – 44 pounds. The average weight of the small Podengo is 9 – 13 pounds.
The color of The Podengo is either fawn or cream. It can be either a dark shade, medium shade, or light shade. The color of this breed can be solid or it can contain white markings. The head of the Podengo is a broad based wedge and lean when viewed from the top. This breed has a lively and light expression.
The eyes of The Podengo are not very prominent or round. They are small, almond shaped, and slightly oblique. The ears of this breed are mobile and erect. They are held vertically or they are tilted toward the front of its body when it is attentive. The muzzle is pointed and shorter than the back skull. It is broader at the base than at the tip. Its nose is tapered and prominent at the tip. The color of its nose is always darker than the rest of its coat.
The Podengo is an intelligent breed that is lively and hardy. This makes them excellent companion dogs. This breed is also fearless and loyal, which makes them good watchdogs. This breed is also very independent.
The large Podengo has been used in big game hunting, such as wild boar, deer, etc. The medium and small Podengo are naturally good rabbit hunters. They generally do this in small packs of various sizes. All varieties of the Podengo are used as companions and also as watch dogs. If the dog is overly aggressive or aggressive, then this is considered an eliminating fault.
The Podengo needs quite a bit of exercise. Each day this breed should be taken on walks. The Podengo is a lively dog and their natural energy should be put to good use, such as training. Their coat needs brushing on a daily basis to keep it clean and shiny. This is especially true of the wire haired versions.
It is recommended to begin training the Podengo at an early age. They are very trainable. This breed can become very obedient and loyal if they are given firm, gentle, and positive training methods. If the proper training methods are used, they are very obedient, even off the leash.
The Podengo is a very old breed. This breed hasn’t changed very much from the time these dogs were brought to Iberia by the Romans and Phoenicians. In the eight century, another strain of the breed was brought across the northern part of Africa which influenced the Podengo. The Podengo developed for around 2000 years on Portugal in a natural manner. They simply allowed natural events to occur and they selected the dogs from each generation that were the best hunters. This breed is naturally strong, well balanced, and well proportioned.
The term Podengo was spoken early in the sixteenth century in Portugal to describe all dogs that were pack hunters. At that time, the complete name was called Podengode-Mostra. Mostra simply means a pack. As time went by, the name was reduced to simply Podengo. The reason for this was to distinguish the sight hounds, called Galgos, with the multi sensory dogs that hunted in packs.
In the Portuguese, there is no word that actually means hound. They consider the term Podengo to refer to a specific word for primitive dogs that were brought to the Mediterranean area by the people from Phoenicia around 2000 years ago. In Portugal, the various types of hounds are not referred to as Podengos. Each one is referred to by the English equivalent of their names.
Podengo dogs can be found in various areas in Europe. They can be found in the country of Portugal, Spain, Malta Sicily, various islands, and the Azores. This breed was brought to its new location by the Romans and Phoenicians. Later, because of Spanish and Portuguese migration, the Podengo was brought to other locations. They adapted well to their local area. They learned the local climate, hunting style, and terrain. So at the same time when the breed began to disappear from places around Middle Eastern countries, they began to flourish in their new areas provided by the Romans and Phoenicians.
The Spanish and Portuguese use words that are similar to describe the Podengo dogs in their respective countries. In Malta, where the Podengo dog is referred to as “Pharaoh Hound”, in other countries, it is called Kelb-tal-Fenek by Maltese people. The word Fenek means rabbit in Malta so the term Kelb tal-Fenek means Rabbit Dog. This dog has a triangular head and big ears, which are larger than the regular Podengo head.
At the time The Podengo arrived on the Iberian Peninsula, it looked similar to the Ibizan Podenco, also known as the Ibizan hound. It had a thinner coat and finer lines than that of today’s Portuguese Podengo. They had short coats but not quite as dense as the modern day version of The Podengo smooth coat.
Each version of the Podengo adapted to the Portuguese climate and terrain. They also adapted to the brushy woods of Portugal, which requires a tougher coat to survive.