Portuguese Podengo

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Portuguese Podengo
Wirehaired Portuguese Podengo Medio
Other namesPodengo Portugues
Portuguese Warren Hound
Kennel club standards
FCI standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The Portuguese Podengo is hound (sight and scent) breed from Portugal. As a breed, the Podengo is divided into three size categories that are not interbred: small (Pequeno), medium (Médio) and large (Grande). Their coats are either short and 'smooth', or longer and 'wired'. The smooth coated variety is traditional, whereas the wire coated variety is an outcome of the assimilation of various other breeds during the 20th century. In general, the breed is healthy; the Pequeno (small) variety has an average lifespan of approximately 15–17 years.

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.

Keen hunting dogs, the Podengo has an affinity for game regardless of size. Typically, the dogs hunt in a pack with their handler following. When game is found, they kill and retrieve it, or flush it towards the hunter to be shot. Each size category traditionally hunts game appropriate to their size and temperament. (Pequeno: rabbits; Medio: rabbits and wild boar; Grande: deer and wild boar).

Registration and representation[edit]

  • The Portuguese Podengo in the UK is represented by The Portuguese Podengo Club of Great Britain (https://podengos.org) and The Northern Portuguese Podengo Association, 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.
  • All three sizes and varieties of the Portuguese Podengo have been registered at the United Kennel Club since 2004 and are in the Sighthound & Pariah Group. The Podengo Pequeno became AKC recognized in January 2013 and is now registered there. Incorporated in 2009, Portuguese Podengo Pequenos of America[1] is the AKC club for the breed in the US and is mostly in a few western states and the Midwest. The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno Club of America (PPPCA), founded in 2001,[2] is the first and largest club of Podengo Pequeno owners in the US and is in 40 states. They are the only club dedicated to BOTH the wire coat and the smooth coat varieties of the breed. The 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, North American Kennel Club and 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').

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

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

Types and varieties[edit]

There are three sizes of Podengos: Podengo Pequeno, Podengo Medio and Podengo Grande.

Within each size type are two varieties: smooth (also referred to as smooth coat) and wire (also referred to as wire coat, rough coat, wirehaired or longhaired). All of these types are called 'Portuguese Podengo' as a 'breed,' although none of these six types are interbred.

  1. Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (Smooth)
  2. Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (Wire)
  3. Portuguese Podengo Medio (Smooth)
  4. Portuguese Podengo Medio (Wire)
  5. Portuguese Podengo Grande (Smooth)
  6. Portuguese Podengo Grande (Wire)

In its home country, the Podengo is referred to as Small, Medium or Large Podengo. It is acceptable for the hair description to come before or after the 'type' name.

In the United States, the American Kennel Club split the Podengo Pequeno from the other two varieties as a separate breed. This was done primarily to prevent the interbreeding of the Pequeno with the Medio.

General information[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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.[3]

The Pequeno (small) was also developed for flushing rabbits from cover. It is also a good mouser.

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 (which includes both the Grande and Medio). The Portuguese Podengo is represented by the American Portuguese Podengo Medio/Grande Club. The Pequeno entered the AKC Miscellaneous Class in January 2011 and entered the Hound Group in January 2013.[4] The Portuguese Podengo (which includes the Grande and Medio) entered the AKC Miscellaneous Class on January 1, 2014.

Portuguese Podengo Pequeno[edit]


Smooth Coat Portuguese Podengo Pequeno

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is characterized by a wedge shaped head, with erect ears and a curved tail. The AKC breed standards include the following points:

  • Height: 8 to 12 in (20 to 30 cm)
  • Weight: 9 to 13 lb (4.1 to 5.9 kg)
  • Color: yellow or fawn
  • Coat: wire coat (a rough, single coat — no undercoat; does shed but not very much) or smooth coat (a dense smooth coat with undercoat that is low maintenance. It naturally sheds dust and dirt and dries very quickly)[5]


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. 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.

Wire Coat Portuguese Podengo Pequeno.


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. The Viamonte podengos were the first family of Podengos pequenos in the United States, followed by Gelado de Viamonte "Chico" in 2004. 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.

Portuguese Podengo Medio[edit]

Smooth Coat Portuguese Podengo Médio



The WPM is a medium-sized type with a rough coat that functions as an air conditioner in the hot weather. This coat was preferred in the South of their native Portugal, which is very warm. The single coat (without undercoat) does shed but not very much.


The SPM is a medium-sized type with a dense smooth single layer coat that is extremely low maintenance. It naturally sheds dust and dirt and dries very quickly. For that reason the Smooth Coat variety is preferred in the North of their native Portugal, which has rainy winters. The single coat (without undercoat) does shed but not very much.


Both kinds of Podengo Medio are friendly, hardy and intelligent companions. They are very active and usually good with children and other animals, including livestock, especially when socialized from an early age.

They are watchful and observant and will bark when something gets their attention. Most enjoy digging and need a secure fence, optimally enclosing their own yard. As they are very agile, regular fencing might not be enough, as they are excellent jumpers and climbers. The best way to address this is with a high enough fence to prevent jumping and a "fence" below the ground, preferably of hardware cloth.

When trained, Podengo Medios can have good recall when not on leash. While hiking with them, they generally stay in visual distance and "check" on their owners frequently, always being aware of their position (although that can mean a few acres away). Of course, they must be trained with a reliable recall first.

They are enthusiastic, trainable dogs. This led them to star in a number of movies in the 1990s and 2000s, including Dante's Peak, Three Wishes, Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco, Zeus and Roxanne, Secondhand Lions, Can of Worms and Soccer Dog: The Movie. Also The Lake House


The Portuguese Podengo Medio, both smooth and wire-haired, has existed, unregistered, in the United States for decades in small numbers with Portuguese-Americans in private home settings, where they have been used for traditional rabbit hunting. They were never really popularized outside of their immigrant homesteads. They are attractive, nice family dogs, with a touch of mischief. The first group of Podengo Medio fanciers met in the US in the early 1990s via the early Internet Gopher system. Registered purebred Smooth Podengo Medios began being shown in America in 2004 and registered purebred Wirehaired Podengo Medios began being shown in America in 2005.

The first Wirehaired Podengo Medio to be shown in North America was AM/CDN Ch Evita V.D. Kleiheuvel, owned by Mary Dixon at a United Kennel Club show in Belleville, Michigan. Evita became the first WPM United States Champion (with the United Kennel Club) and the first Canadian Podengo Champion (with the Canine Federation of Canada). The first Podengo Medio born in North America was Ch Marcos de Retrouvaille and was bred by Dixon. The first Podengo to earn an American Kennel Club Tracking Dog title (on February 17, 2008) was Jolena De Retrouvaille WM, bred by Mary Dixon.

Still rare, breeders in Portugal primarily breed for rabbit hunting, not pets. They are hunting dogs, often kept in kennels, not in homes. The idea of Wirehaired Podengo Medios being kept more as house pets began with breeders in Europe.

Portuguese Podengo Grande[edit]

Wire Coat Portuguese Podengo Grande



The WPG is a large-sized type with a tough but even temperament and a rough coat that primarily functions as a briar-protectant when hunting wild boar. The single coat (without undercoat) does shed but not very much. Registered WPGs are very rare, even in its home country and is not yet available to export.


The SPG is a large-sized type with a dense smooth single layer coat that also functions as a briar-protectant when hunting wild boar. The registered SPG is still rare in its home country, with very few individuals available for export.


Both kinds of Podengo Grande are known to be tough, hardy and intelligently observant animals. They must be socialized very well and carefully by a primitive breed-experienced handler. They are used primarily for hunting wild boar in large packs, where they are released from kennel trucks and sent to chase the boar to its den. They then continue to harass it until it emerges in its attack mode. The dogs then jump in and attach to the boar from all angles and dispatch it swiftly. The waiting hunter can then retrieve the prey.

They will be good guardians and require a securely fenced yard (at least 6 ft tall). They enjoy digging dens, also, like their other Podengo relations. It is most closely related to the Podengo Medio, in fact, Podengo Medios which grow too tall for the Medio standard may be classified as Podengo Grandes. This arrangement does not exist in any other way within the Podengo group. Training will be firm but fair with the Podengo Grande as it must have respect for its handler and be amenable to training.


The Portuguese Podengo Grande may have existed, unregistered, in North America with Portuguese-Americans in private home settings, where they have been used for deer and wild pig hunting. The first Podengo Grande was imported to the US in 2008 and the first litter born in 2009 as well as the import of four Grande of the wire coat variety. 2010 brought the second litter of Grande. Breeders in Portugal continue to breed primarily for hunting and the Podengo Grande is kept and raised in kennels.

There is a unique system currently in place in Portugal where unregistered dogs (denoted by the kennel club of Portugal as R.I. or 'Initial Registration') may be evaluated by breed experts and used in a breeding program. Succeeding generations, also evaluated by said experts, may eventually result in a three generation pedigree of known, evaluated, 'R.I.' dogs, which would thus create a full pedigree for certain formerly "RI" Podengos. This process is carried forth under rules established by the CPC and is not exportable to other countries, as it relies on the presence of indigenous wild specimens of the breed.

In the United States, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has determined that the Medio and Grande sizes together are to be called the 'Portuguese Podengo' as one breed. It will be registered by the AKC in the Hound Group.


  1. ^ "Minutes of the Board of Directors" (PDF). AKC.org. American Kennel Club. November 2010.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Portuguese Podengo Club Yearbook 2010, Great Britain, pp.45–51.
  3. ^ "Pondengo Portugueso". UKCDogs.com. United Kennel Club. Archived from the original on 2013-03-10. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  4. ^ Pous, Terri (12 January 2013). "American Kennel Club Invites Two New Breeds to the Litter". Time. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Portuguese Podengo Pequeno Breed Standard". AKC.org. American Kennel Club. Retrieved 21 February 2014.