The Portuguese Podengo is an interesting breed of dog that is divided into three different variants, which are not interbred. They are classed as a multi-sensory hound breed, being equally adept at hunting by either sight or scent, making them an incredibly versatile all-rounder for working roles.
They make for excellent hunting dogs and are adept at pursing game of all sizes from large to small, and are typically worked in packs, with a human handler bringing up the rear. They can either be used to pursue and kill prey, or flush it out and drive it towards their human handler.
The Portuguese Podengo comes in two coat varieties and three size variants, which we will examine in more detail within this article. Read on to learn more about the three variants of the breed.
The three variants of the Portuguese Podengo are classed as Podengo Pequeno, Podengo Medio, and Podengo Grande, referring to dogs that are small, medium or large respectively. Within these three size variants, each type is also further divided into either smooth or wire haired, and none of the six variants in total are widely or deliberately interbred.
The Pequeno is the smallest of the three types, and has a curved tail, wedge shaped head and pointed ears. They weigh between 9-13lb, and stand up to 12” tall at the withers.
Their coats can be seen in either yellow or fawn colour, and can be either wire haired or smooth.
The wire coated variant, or WPP, has a single layered coat that is rough in texture, and does not shed particularly heavily.
The smooth coated variant, SPP, has a thick, dense coat with an undercoat, which is considered to be very easy to care for.
The Pequeno is renowned for being active, lively and very personable, as well as being an intelligent and bright companion. They are good with other dogs when properly socialised, and are reputed for being good with kids too. They very much enjoy affection and interaction with their human families, and are very loving little dogs.
They are quick to alert the family to the approach of a stranger, and as such, make good watch dogs, and can be rather territorial. They love lots of activity and exercise, and playing with children that are interested in playing with them!
The Medio dog is the middle of the three in terms of size, and stands up to 22” tall at the withers, weighing up to 44lb.
Again, their coats are fawn or yellow, and can be wirehaired or smooth.
The wirehaired, or WPM, has a medium length coat that is rough in texture, and functions to keep the dog cool by insulating them from the hot sun in the south of their native Portugal. It is single layered without an undercoat, and only sheds a little.
The smooth coated variant, or SPM, is again medium length and single layered, and is low shedding too. This coat variant is more widely bred within the north of Portugal, where their fast-drying coat is well suited to the demands of the rainy winters.
The Medio is intelligent and friendly, and loves the company of people. They are active and like to spend plenty of time out of doors, and having something to do most of the time is important to keep them occupied and prevent boredom. They are again good with children, and usually other dogs too.
They share the watchdog traits of the Pequeno variant, and again, can be territorial. They are considered to be amenable to training and notably, have good recall skills, something that can be hard to achieve with many hunting dog breeds.
They do have something of a tendency to dig when outside and unsupervised, and have been known to burrow their way out under shallow fences, and so a fence or wall around the property boundary that has relatively deep foundations is advised. They also require a relatively high fence, as they are also skilled jumpers!
The Grande is the big dog of the three, standing up to 27” tall at the withers and weighing up to 66lb.
The wire coated variant, or WPG, has a tough, rough coat that serves as an extra layer of protection when the dog is hunting prey through undergrowth. It is single layered, and the wire coated variant of the Grande breed is generally fairly rare.
The smooth coated variety is again among the rarest of the various varieties of the Podengo, and has a single layered, dense coat that again offers protection against thorns and brambles.
The Podengo Grande is a hardy, bold dog that is an adept hunter, and requires a confident, experienced trainer. They are widely used for hunting and are the variant least likely to be seen kept domestically, partially due to their rarity as a whole compared to the Medio and Pequeno variants.
They make for good watchdogs and guardians, and again, have something of a tendency to escape by digging or jumping over fences, but the dog is intelligent, willing to please, and most amenable to training.