Portuguese Podengo


The Portuguese Podengo is an ancient multi-sensory hound (sight and scent) breed of dog 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, dating back to the 5th century, whereas the wire coated variety is an outcome of the assimilation of various other breeds during the 20th century. [1]

The Portuguese Podengo was developed with six varieties ( consisting of two coat types, short and smooth or long and wire, and each with three sizes small, medium and large), each suited to different climates, terrain, type of prey and hunting style. Each is a very versatile hunter and companion that use all of its senses combined with agility, speed and endurance, running singly or in packs. The wire coat variety is better suited for hotter climates with its more open coat texture which provides better cooling and the smooth variety is better suited for cooler climates with its tighter, denser coat which provides better insulation. [2]

Keen hunting dogs, the Podengo has an affinity for game regardless of size. Each size category traditionally hunts game appropriate to their size and temperament. [1]


Quadrangular pyramid head, with erect ears, sickle shaped tail, well proportioned, with sound construction and well muscled; very lively and intelligent; sober and rustic. It exists in three sizes, (Small, Medium, Large) with two varieties of coat: smooth and wire. [2]


This breed is a primitive hunting dog, with the large Podengo being used for hunting big game, Medium (also known as the Warren Hound) having a natural aptitude as a rabbit hunter and either hunting in a pack or alone; with the Small Podengo being used for searching rabbits in holes and rocks. All varieties of this breed are also used as watchdogs and as companion dogs.

Portuguese Podengo (Small Smooth Haired and Wire Haired)

The Small Podengo is today used as a companion dog, with excellent results, thanks to his obedient character and affectionate nature. [2]

Portuguese Podengo (Medium Smooth Haired and Wire Haired)

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 socialised from an early age. When trained, they 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. [1]

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. [1]

Portuguese Podengo (Large Smooth Haired and Wire Haired)

Both kinds of Podengo (Large) are known to be tough, hardy and intelligently observant animals. They must be socialised very well and carefully by a breed-experienced handler. 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. [1]


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 behaviour. [1]

The Podengo is friendly with children and other dogs. It requires exercise and attention and likes to play. It is a very fast learner. Although their small size makes them suitable for small homes, townhouses or villas, they should only be housed in small living quarters if their owners are able to cater to their exercise needs daily. They do best in houses with large gardens where they can frolic about at will.


Small 20-30 cm (8-12 ins)
Medium 40-54 cm (16-21 ins)
Large 55-70 cm (22-28 ins)

Small 4-6 kg (9-13 lbs)
Medium 16-20 kg (35-44 lbs)
Large 20-30 kg (44-66 lbs) [2]


The Podengo breed is extensively free of any genetic defects.[2]

In Conclusion:

Now you know a little about the Portuguese Podengo and have decided this is the dog for you, or you would like more information, please make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Portuguese Podengo and its needs and whether this breed would suit your lifestyle.