Portuguese Podengo Pequenos are a happy, hardy, intelligent breed and love the active life. Coming in two hair types - smooth and wire - they are known for their erect ears, triangular head, elegant lines of body and agile movement, and have been hunters for many centuries in Portugal. Their dexterity and hunting skills derive from the way they are built, like little energetic well-tuned engines of endurance and speed. This is an enchanting breed, graceful and poetry in motion. The Podengo Pequeno is called a "pack animal" as they enjoy the company of other dogs and humans of all kinds, ages and sizes. Making fine companions, the small (Pequeno) Podengos are very good guard dogs, barking to alert inhabitants when someone approaches the home.
This exceptionally healthy breed has a normal life expectancy of 15+ years. With proper loving care, some have even lived past twenty!
Podengos naturally excel at agility and sports and prefer to live where there is land (well fenced until they learn the recall) to roam and run in.
Pequenos are loving and lovable but are not lap dogs. They are independent thinkers who listen to their owners and delight in pleasing them. They should be treated like the smart, active dogs that they are. While Pequenos do not shed much and require little grooming other than regular combing and nail clipping, they need to be active. That means places to run free and wild, but carefully fenced in, as well as interesting things to do, like walking with their person, performing in sports like agility or a good game of catch. While some enjoy watching the telly with you, it is not their passion.
Like all dogs, Podengos need to be carefully introduced to new environments and children, people and other animals. They live happily in diverse homes, thanks in part to the efforts of PPCA in creating a positive Podengo Pequeno community and educating people about the breed.
The first small smooth coat Portuguese Podengo came to the United States in 1995 and the first small wire coat Podengo came in 2001. About 600 now reside in 40 states. Podengo Pequenos are registered with UKC in the Sighthound & Pariah Group and compete in all UKC events. They were recognized in January 2013 by AKC and are in the Hound Group. The breed is recognized by all major canine organizations, including the American Rare Breed Association and NAKC/Rarities, Inc. They also participate in events sponsored by the American Sighthound Field Association, the United States Dog Agility Association and other organizations. Many of our small Podengos have earned Canine Good Citizen awards, serve as therapy dogs, and do well in obedience. Some continue to hunt rabbits just like their Portuguese ancestors, carrying on this centuries-old skill with verve and dedication.
Indeed, the Podengo is an ancient hunting breed, its origins going back thousands of years. Coming to the Iberian Peninsula with the Phoenicians from the area of Asia Minor more than 2,000 years ago, small Podengos can be seen on the bas relief of 11th century churches and were first written about in 14th century Portugal.
Travels with Columbus
Small Podengos traveled aboard the caravels of Christopher Columbus (who had a Portuguese crew with their dogs) and the Portuguese explorers -- Vasco da Gama, Magellan and others. Their job was to keep the ship clean of rodents, thus protecting the food stores and the sailors from vermin-born disease. Some dogs from around the world can trace their heritage to these traveling Podengos.
In Europe, the Portuguese Podengo is classified by the Federation Cynologique Internacionale (FCI) as Group 5: Spitz and primitive type, Section 7: Primitive type hunting dogs. The FCI Podengo breed standard was revised by the Portuguese Podengo Club of America (PPCA) working with the Podengo Club of Portugal and the Kennel Club of Portugal to better reflect American terminology and is posted on this part of the website (see Breed Standard). Versatile, intelligent, happy, healthy, fun -- just a few adjectives to describe the small Podengo. Check out the following slide shows to see them manifest these words!