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Portuguese Podengo Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

The Portuguese Podengo is a hound dog through and through!  If you adopt one of these incredible animals, you should expect them to be constantly alert, playful indicative of their ancient lineage.

You see.

The Portuguese Pondego is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, which is why it shouldn’t surprise anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting one that this breed is still going strong today.  There are considered the national dog of Portugal.  That said, however, one should understand that while the Portuguese Pondengo is considered just ONE breed, three different types constitute the whole.

Three types…

There are three types of Portuguese Podengo or three different sizes…

  • The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, the most petite, 8 to 12 inches at shoulder height
  • The Portuguese Podengo Medio, a mid-sized dog, 16 to 22 inches at shoulder height
  • The Portuguese Podengo Grande, the biggest, 22 to 28 inches at shoulder height

All of which are sighthounds through and through.  Which means he hunts by sight and not scent. He has a keen eyesight and excels at hunting rabbits. Leave him alone in a park, and he will run around all day, looking for rabbits and other small animals.

He can be an excellent watchdog…

The Portuguese Podengos, whether Pequenos, Medios, or Grandes, make excellent watchdogs. They are alert and sharp, and earnest about their job.  These guys are also not dogs that jump on strangers or bark unnecessarily. While they have a suspicious nature, they are calm and composed and never shy or aggressive.

Comparison Breeds

The Portuguese Podengos belong to the same Hound Group as the Ibizan Hound, Pharaoh Hound, and the Cirneco dell Etna. These breeds probably share the exact origin and are very good at hunting.

But is the Portuguese Podengo a good pet?

Yes, he certainly is that. The Podengo can be a perfect family dog, provided you treat him with love and respect. This means making him a part of every family activity and treating him like a family member.  He is an intelligent, high-energy dog and hates being relegated to the sidelines. And yes, he needs lots of exercise – you have to take him out on long walks every day, without fail.

But make sure…

To bring the Podengo puppy home from a reputable breeder who runs an ethical breeding program. Avoid puppy mills.  Also, having the Podengo on a leash would be best whenever you take him out for a walk. There’s no stopping him when he starts chasing cats or other small animals once he comes across them.

You can just read on for more interesting facts about the Portuguese Podengo.

Portuguese Podengo Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Portugal

Original Purpose:  Hunting

Height: Pequeno: 8 to 12, Medio: 16 to 22, Grande: 22 to 28 inches at the shoulder

Weight: Pequeno: 8 to 14 pounds, Medio: 35 to 45 pounds, Grande: 44 to 66 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Hound group

Life Span: 10 to 14 years

Origin of the Portugues Podengo Dog Breed

The Portuguese Podengo is from Portugal, of course. But where is he really from?  He is an ancient breed, and his origins go back to 600 B.C. The ancient Phoenicians and Romans first bred him for hunting boars.  The Podengo Grande was a fearsome hunting dog that could bring down any beast, while the Medio and the Pequeno were much smaller. They were used to hunt rabbits only.


What made the Podengo Grandes such special hunting dogs was that they hunted in packs and were unbeatable. They were used to hunt boars and sometimes track runaway slaves. They were deadly, relentless, and ruthless, and there was no escape for any creature that came in their way.  Eventually, the Podengos made their way to the Iberian Peninsula and became the favorite hunting dogs of the Portuguese Explorers. They took them everywhere they went, including to the New World.

We should also point out that…

The Podengo is one of the ten National Dogs of Portugal and is one of the oldest members of the Portuguese Kennel Club. He was brought to the United States in the 1990s.

The American Kennel Club registered the Portuguese Podengo dog for the first time in 2013. The AKC recognizes the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno as separate from the Grande and Medio Podengos.

 Physical Characteristics

The Podengo Breed Standard is undoubtedly an impressive physical specimen. The Podengo Pequeno, Medio, and Grande are incredibly athletic dogs. They do very well in dog sports such as obedience, tracking, and rally.

They also have…

The ability to jump really high means no fence is too tall for them.  They have a perfect physique, well-proportioned, lean, mean, muscular, and strong.  They have incredible stamina and strength and can run for miles without slowing down.  Additionally, when you look at their head, you’ll notice that they have triangular-shaped heads, pricked-up erect ears, sickle-shaped tail, and almond-shaped eyes. They have a natural mean look, as though they mean business.


The Podengos have two different types of coats, smooth and wirehaired. Some Podengos have soft, short, and dense coats.  Others have wire-haired, less thick, and slightly coarse coats.  The skins are of different colors, such as fawn or yellow with patches of white or white with patches of fawn or yellow.


Podengos are no-nonsense pets; they don’t shed much and have minimal grooming requirements. Just brush their coat once every week and bath them now and then. That should be enough.

Temperament and Personality

Podengos have been hunting dogs for more than 2,000 years. They are quiet, reserved, serious, and loyal to their owners. They are good with kids, too, provided they have been socialized from an early age.  So you should be aware that they are not too friendly with strangers, but at the same time, they don’t act aggressively with them. They are always alert and know exactly what’s happening around them. They are intelligent dogs and easy to train. The training and socialization should begin from an early age, right from the time they are puppies.

They’re also…

They are probably not suited to city life as they need plenty of space to move around and be close to nature. They have a strong prey drive and will view other pets, especially cats, as prey. They love chasing squirrels, rabbits, and other small animals.

Potential Health Concerns

The Portuguese Podengo is one of the healthiest dogs out there, but even he can suffer from specific health problems such as….

And while many of these conditions may not be life-threatening, they can become quite expensive, particularly if they become recurring issues.  This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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