The Portuguese Hound is a breed of pack hounds originating in Portugal and has been declared National Dog of Portugal. This breed is also known as Podengo Portugues and Portuguese Warren Hound. Commonly referred to as Podengo in its country of origin, this dog comes in three different sizes (Portuguese Podengo Pequeno(small), medio (medium) and Grande(large)) and in two coat varieties, smooth coated and rough_coated. This ancient breed was brought to Iberia by Romans. It developed through natural selection and as such, has not changed too much from old times. The probable origin of the Portuguese Podengo is with the primitive, multipurpose hunting dogs obtained, used and distributed by Phoenician traders during the circumnavigation of Africa in 600 BC and reaching Portugal in the 700's BC. This is evidenced by artifacts found under the Lisbon Cathedral. The three varieties were developed to hunt different size game. Pequeno was developed as a hunter of rabbit and mouse. The Medio (medium) was developed for rabbit chasing, flushing, hunting and retrieval while 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 Grande dog stands between 22-28 inches, Medio between 16-22 inches and Pequeno between 8-12 inches and weighs 44-66 lbs, 35-44 lbs and 9-13 lbs for Grande, Medio and Pequeno respectively. Generally, the breed has pyramid head, mobile and erect ears, small, almond shaped eyes, always dark colour nose and sickle shaped tail. The elegant and well balanced body is slightly longer than it is tall. This breed sports two coat varieties that come in different shades of either fawn or cream colour.
This breed is NOT recognized by AKC however it is recognized by UKC, FCI, KC(UK) and AKC (FSS).
This breed is mostly found in different shades of fawn and cream though black is also acceptable color. White markings may be present with all colors.
There are two coat varieties for this breed; smooth coat and wire coat. The Wirehaird Podengo Pequeno(WPP) has a single rough coat that does shed but not too much.
The SPP(Smooth Podengo Pequeno) has a dense smooth coat with a short undercoat. This type of coat is low maintenance as it naturally sheds dust and dirt and dries very quickly.
The WPM's single, rough coat works as aircondition in hot weather. Like WPP's coat, it does shed but very little. The SPM's single layer dense, smooth coat is also low maintenance as it sheds dirt and dust naturally.
The WPG has a wiry coat that works as a natural protection against briars during wild boar hunting. It is self-cleaning coat that naturally sheds dirt and dust.
The SPG's smooth and single layered coat works as a protection tool against briars during hunting.
The Podengo Pequeno and Podengo Medio are very similar in temperament as these dogs display friendly and loving nature. They are intelligent, hardy and alert dogs that will bark to anything unusual. They are generally very good and playful with children and get along well with other dogs and pets in the family. These dogs are very agile, specially the Pequeno(small) type. These dogs will run around the house and will not be afraid to jump from higher places so care should be taken as these dogs can hurt themselves. They are excellent companions and watchdogs with an independent nature.
The Podengo Grande is largely used as a hunting dog. An apt hunter of wild boar, this dog works in packs and is a fearless hunter. It has protective nature which makes it a great watch and guard dog.
The the Podengo dogs, be small, medium or large, are very good jumpers as well as diggers. They will need high enough fence to keep them inside the yard. Early socialization and firm but fair training is a must for this breed.
Both coat types; smooth and wire or rough, are low maintenance. The coat naturally sheds dirt and dust and dries very quickly. It does shed but not too much. Not much grooming is required for this breed.
These dogs have an independent nature and are used to working without much direction. This calls for an experienced trainer who can use positive training techniques to win this breeds' respect and stablish himself as their packleaders whose orders should be followed by dogs without any questions asked! With its intelligence, this breed can be taught most commands to follow but positive training methods and experienced trainer is a must.
The Portuguese Hound is a very lively and active breed and certainly not suited for families with small space to live. At least a large yard is needed to keep this breed happy and fit. While a daily walk may be sufficient for Pequeno (small) type Podengo, the Grande may want lots of extra time and playing opportunities to let off its high energy. This breed needs an active family with atleast a yard to play.