Portuguese Podengo

Country of origin: Portugal
Registries: AKC FSS, UKC,
Occupation: Hunter,
Size: Pequeno: 8 to 12 in tall;
9 to 13 lbs
Medio: 15 to 22 in tall; 35
to 44 lbs
Grande: 22+ in tall; 44+ lbs
Longevity: 12 to 14 years
Exercise: Moderate
Training: Moderate
Grooming: Moderate
Colors: Yellow, tan, black, and all parti-colours

Today, the small Podengo (Podengo Pequeño) is most commonly found in the high Alentejo region of Portugal and along the Tejo River in the heart of the country. The medium Podengo (Podengo Medio) is found further north, in the Douro River region. The water-repellent, fast-drying, smooth coat is more common in the wet north, while the wire-haired coats are seen more frequently in drier regions. Neither has an undercoat. The large podengo (Podengo Grande – see p.140) is very rare. Paintings from the 16th century show Podengo Medio and Pequeño sailing on Portuguese caravels, where they no doubt carried out ratting responsibilities. Both sizes are still kept as house dogs in Portugal. They are excellent rodent controllers still. The small Podengo in particular has true terrier aptitudes, following rabbits, badgers, and foxes into their burrows.

The large Podengo (Podengo Grande) was at one time a popular pack dog, bred to assist in the hunt for game such as wild boar. However, unlike its small and medium-sized relatives (see pp.80–81), the large Podengo faded into obscurity after Portugal’s agricultural and forestry policies changed following the country’s admission to the European Union in the 1980s. The large Podengo has been rescued from probable extinction through the work of breeders in the high Alentejo region of Portugal, where numbers have steadily increased. It remains very rare outside Portugal, although similar dogs exist in Brazil, central Africa, and India, descendants of large Podengos taken to these regions by Portuguese settlers.



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