Portuguese Podengo Dogs Characteristics

The Portuguese Podengo or Podengo Português (Portuguese Warren Hound) is a primitive type Sighthound breed originating from, as its name suggests, Portugal. The breed comes in three varieties – Portuguese Podengo Grande (large), Portuguese Podengo Medio (medium), and Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (small). Except their size and weight, they are more or less the same dogs with only a few noticeable differences, which I’ll explain later in this article. There’s a common opinion that these dogs were developed from hounds imported to the Iberian peninsula from Egypt and North Africa by the Phoenician traders approximately 3.000 years ago. However, some experts believe that this breed particularly had evolved from small Iberian wolves. Anyhow, there’s no denying that these Portuguese dogs have many similarities with other Mediterranean hounds, such as the Pharaoh Hound, Podenco CanarioCirneco dell Etna or Ibizan Hound. That’s why the Podengo Português breed is by the FCI included in the group 7: Primitive Types – Hunting Dogs in the class of primitive dogs.

About Portuguese Podengo Dogs

The Portuguese Podengo dogs are known as lively, cheerful and loyal family companions. Podengos enjoy company and will do anything to keep your attention. You should never ignore your Podengo and keep him tied somewhere alone since this can have bad effects on his mental health. They like to play a lot and can be quite funny and crazy when happy. It is no wonder they are very good with children, especially, if they’re raised together. These hounds make good watchdogs since they’re very alert and suspicious toward strangers. They will bark like mad whenever somebody comes near the owner’s property, but won’t confront the stranger nor act aggressively. Unfortunately, Podengos tend to bark at everything they feel odd, so it’s understandable they’re prone to excessive barking, which can be quite annoying. You will have to correct your dog on this as soon as possible. Main Portuguese Podengo dogs characteristics are intelligence, agility, speed, boldness, loyalty, playfulness, cheerfulness, alertness, resourcefulness, independence, curiosity, and endurance.

Every Podengo Portugueso is a great hunting dog in its own way

Superb pack-hunting dogs!

The Portuguese Podengos are generally healthy dogs with small chance of suffering from some genetic diseases or defects. They are very active and energetic. Daily exercise is necessary in order to keep your dog nice and calm. So, play some games with him or take him for a long walk in nature or some park. Otherwise, your dog might become bored, which in other words means trouble. Bored Podengo can do all sorts of bad things, from annoying barking to obsessive digging. Yeah, these dogs like to dig a lot! So, if you have a garden, it would be wise to put a proper fence around it. With “proper”, I mean at least 6 feet high. This also applies to your whole yard. You see, Podengos can jump incredibly high, which is in connection with their hunting habits – they jump from above on their prey. On top of that, Warren Hounds are very curious dogs, eager to explore their surroundings, so they won’t hesitate to jump over a fence or wall (if they can) and check what’s going on in the neighborhood.

As Hunting Dogs…

The Portuguese Podengo dogs are in the first place excellent hunter companions. Even though they are different in size, Podengos share many common traits when it comes to hunting. They are fast and agile, they have keen senses of sight, smell and hearing, and besides, they are resourceful, hardy, persistent, and brave. These dogs often hunt in packs followed by the hunters (in the past, Podengo de Mostra was a Portuguese term for pack-hunting dogs, which was later shortened to Podengo), but they can as well hunt on their own. Another good thing about these dogs is that they excel in vermin control. So, you’ve probably guessed it by now that all Portuguese Podengo dogs have a strong prey drive and are certainly not very welcome in the proximity of cats and other small pets. Well, they can coexist peacefully, but only if they grew up together or if you socialize your dog. Socialization is also important when it comes to other dogs since Podengos, although generally nice and friendly with them, can sometimes be unpredictable.

Training And Some Other Traits

Luckily, Portuguese Podengos are relatively easy to socialize and train in obedience. Well, that is if you know how to establish yourself as a firm and dominant leader. Indeed, these dogs are very intelligent and can easily learn everything, but only through smart and focused approach. That is why they are not suited for the first time owners with no experience. To successfully train your Warren Hound, you will have to start with the training as early as he’s just eight weeks old. It is important to keep his training sessions short and fun, but regular on a daily basis. Podengos do well with the positive reinforcement training, so make sure you have some treats for reward. Avoid any use of forceful methods since they can result in your dog becoming too shy or timid. In the hands of an experienced owner, every Portuguese Podengo can become a dog to admire. No wonder Podengos can be excellent sporting dogs, who can successfully compete in various dog sports, such as agility trials, rally obedience, lure coursing, dog racing, and tracking.

Warren Hounds often compete in various dog sports

You can safely bet on me ;)

Like I wrote above, Podengo Português dogs like to play a lot, it’s in their nature. That’s why you will have to buy some toys for your dog, so he can have his happy time while you’re off. If, for some reason, you’re unable to be home often and spend as much time as possible with your Podengo, then you should probably choose another dog breed. Although Warren Hounds prefer large open spaces where they can run and play freely, you can as well keep your dog indoors. They are relatively easy to housebreak, they have no doggy odour, and are very clean dogs, who like to take care of themselves. When properly handled, every Podengo creates a strong bond with its human family and literally becomes the human’s best friend. Be sure that your dog will express his affection in every way possible, be it undisputed obedience or some silly acts or gestures to make you happy. When outside, your Portuguese Podengo will usually come to check on you every once in a while, thus expressing his well-deserved loyalty. Lovely :)

Coat And Grooming

All three varieties of Portuguese Podengo dogs can occur with two types of coats – smooth-haired (short and dense single-layered hair – only smooth Pequeno has a thin and easy to maintain undercoat) and wire-haired (shaggy, feather-like, medium-length hair). The funny thing is that these different types of coats also represent different temperaments of dogs; smooth-haired Podengos are more independent and restless, while wire-haired dogs are gentler and cuddly. Doesn’t matter which type of coat your Podengo has, the grooming won’t give you a headache since these dogs have no thick undercoats and shed sparsely. Weekly brushing will suffice with both types. Lovely :) However, here I have to warn you about one thing! Warren Hounds are used to warm summer climates and can’t stand the excessive winter cold. So, if you live in colder climates, it will be necessary to keep your dog indoors during winter. Main Portuguese Podengo dogs colors are yellow, fawn, and black. They can vary in shades and can be solid or in combination with white markings.

Physical Characteristics Of Portuguese Warren Hounds

Although Portuguese Podengos differentiate in size and weight, they all more or less share the same physical traits. Every Warren Hound has the slender and compact body. The wedge-shaped head is slightly elongated. The tapering muzzle is straight and pointy at the nose, which is usually brown, but can also be black. The oblique eyes occur in honey or brown color and the highly-mobile ears are large, triangular and erect. The neck is long and strong and back is muscular and slightly arched. The medium-length tail is curved and pointed. The muscular chest is not broad nor too deep. The front legs are straight and parallel. The hind legs are strong and slightly angled. The cat-like feet are rounded with well-arched toes and strong pads. Those are some common physical characteristics of all Warren Hounds. Of course, the Podengo Grande is very similar to a Greyhound and has the long legs, while Podengo Pequeno is a “reduced” version of his bigger cousin with the shortest legs of the three. In the end, Podengo Medio is literally a cross between these two.

Pequeno is the most popular Podengo outside Portugal

Smooth-haired and wire-haired Podengo Pequeno

Podengo Português Pequeno Dog Characteristics

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is the smallest of Warren Hounds and probably of all hunting dogs. It is the most popular Podengo outside its native country, especially, the wire-haired variety. This comes as no surprise since these small Podengos are more family friendly and more loyal dogs than other two. These are very cute, lively and active dogs, who can play all day long. No wonder they make great children’s companions. They usually get attached to all members of the household and enjoy being in their company. These Warren Hounds will often make you laugh with their silly games and tricks :) They are very alert and make good watchdogs. Also, these small Podengos are the best of the three in vermin control. In the past, they had often accompanied medieval Poruguese explorers on their ships for that purpose. As a hunting dog, Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a flusher and a retriever with excellent tracking abilities. They are typical pack hunters, who rely heavily on their keen senses. In their native country, hunters often use them in combination with medium-sized Podengos. The life expectancy of a Podengo Português Pequeno is approximately 12-16 years. In their native country, you can usually find these dogs in the Centro region.

Podengo Português Pequeno Dog Size And Weight

– Height between 9 and 12 inches (23-31 cm)
– Weight between 11 and 13 pounds (5-6 kg)
– Height between 8 and 11 inches (20-28 cm)
– Weight between 9 and 11 pounds (4-5 kg)

Podengo Medio is the most common Warren Hound in its native country

Smooth-haired and wire-haired Podengo Medio

Podengo Português Medio Dog Characteristics

The Portuguese Podengo Medio is a medium-sized Warren Hound. Contrary to Pequeno, who is more popular around the world, this is the most common of all Podengos in its native country and it’s the fastest of the three. This is an excellent family companion, who can live in harmony with other animals (even the small ones) with a bit of early socialization. They are very active and playful and make good playmates for children. These are as well the best climbers of all Podengos. So, if you wish to buy one, the high fence or wall around your yard (or garden) is a must. They are excellent watchdogs and hunting dogs. Medium Warren Hound is a small game hunter, but can be used in medium game hunting too. In their native country they are primarily used in the hunt on rabbits. This dog usually jumps from above on or near its prey to kill it or flush it out from its hideout. If necessary, he can chase the game with ease thanks to his incredible speed. On top of that, these dogs are superb diggers, which makes the rabbit’s chances of escaping quite minimal. They often hunt in packs, but can as well hunt alone. The life expectancy of a Podengo Medio is around 12-14 years. The biggest population of these dogs can be found in the Norte region, Portugal.

Podengo Português Medio Dog Size And Weight

– Height between 17,5 and 22 inches (45-56 cm)
– Weight between 37,5 and 44 pounds (17-20 kg)
– Height between 15,5 and 19,5 inches (39-50 cm)
– Weight between 35,5 and 42 pounds (16-19 kg)

Today, Podengo Grande is very rare even in its native country

Wire-haired and smooth-haired Podengo Grande

Podengo Português Grande Dog Characteristics

The Portuguese Podengo Grande is the biggest, oldest, and rarest of the three. Indeed, Pequeno and Medio Hounds had evolved from their bigger cousin. However, destiny sometimes comes with a taste of irony. So, while the numbers of small and medium Podengos have been always on the rise, the numbers of large ones dwindled. Today, they’re almost extinct unfortunately. The large Warren Hounds can be rarely found even in their native country (you can find them only in Alentejo region). The reason for that probably lies in the fact that they were, contrary to other two Portuguese Hounds, bred primarily as hunting dogs, guarddogs and watchdogs, not as companions. Nonetheless, the Podengo Grande can definitely be a nice family companion, but only if you socialize your dog as soon as possible. As a hunting dog, large Warren Hound is mainly used in the hunt on medium game, such as deer or wild boar, but can be as well used in the hunt on rabbits and other small game. These dogs usually hunt in large packs. They chase the game until it’s trapped, then they provoke it until gets exhausted, and finally they bite it from all sides and keep it in place until the hunter arrives. The Portuguese Podengo Grande lifespan is from 12 up to 15 years.

Podengo Português Grande Dog Size And Weight

– Height between 23,5 and 27,5 inches (60-70 cm)
– Weight between 53 and 66 pounds (24-30 kg)
– Height between 21,5 and 25,5 inches (55-65 cm)
– Weight between 44 and 57,5 pounds (20-26 kg)

Which One Podengo Should You Choose?

As you can clearly see, all Portuguese Podengos are special in their own way and I’m sure some of you willing to buy a Warren Hound still have doubts about which one to chose. Now, this always comes to your personal need and taste, but I’ll try to give you some short leads on this. To make some things clear, straight away, if you wish to have Podengo Grande, well then, you should have to do your best to get one. These Podengos are really, really rare even in their native country, so I guess it won’t be only a hard task, but an expensive one too. Also, you need to know that large Warren Hounds are not the best companions, but are certainly a good choice for hunters. They are equally good in small or medium game hunting, and they are also excellent watchdogs. If you are looking for a great companion, sporting dog, and reliable watchdog, then your choice should be a Podengo Pequeno. Podengo Medio is definitely the most versatile of the three because he can equally well serve as a watchdog, companion, hunting dog or a sporting dog. I hope these small suggestions will help you chose the right Portuguese Podengo for you, but in any case you won’t make a mistake. After all, this is the National Breed of Portugal, so you can rest assured your dog will be a special one.

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