Portuguese Podengo Dog Breed Facts & Information

So you're in the market for a dog. You don't want anything too tiny, but you also don't want anything too gigantic. How about a Portuguese podengo? These cool pups come in a variety of sizes and coat types and are skilled hunters as well as loyal companions.

Westminster Kennel Club Hosts Masters Agility Championship
credit: John Moore/Getty Images News/GettyImages

The Basics

The Portuguese podengo is divided into 3 different size categories: small (pequeño), medium (medio), and large (grande). Their coats can be long and "wired," or short and smooth. All sizes of podengo excel at agility challenges, and all are avid hunters, hunting by both sight and smell. The breed is considered healthy and has no significant health problems. The small variety of podengo has an average lifespan of 15-17 years, while lifespans of the medium and large variety may vary.

The History

The Portuguese podengo is considered one of the oldest dog breeds. It has not changed much from its predecessors, dogs who were brought by the Romans and Phoenicians to the Iberian Peninsula over 2,000 years ago. The pequeño variety accompanied Portuguese explorers on voyages, keeping their ships free of rats, as early as the 13th century. Podengos were first brought to the United States in the 2000s, beginning when a dog named Chicharro de Viamonte, owned by Marilyn Piurek and Kip Bergstrom, was exhibited at an ARBA show in 2001. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2004.

The Personality

Podengos were bred to hunt, and as a result enjoy activities that let them use their hunting skills, like agility courses. Podengos are active, lively, and playful. They benefit from daily walks of at least 30 minutes and do well in fenced yards, where they can get plenty of exercise. (They're also great at jumping, so make sure your fence is tall!) Podengos tend to be very loyal to their owners, and are generally not fearful dogs. They are attracted to movement and will likely try to chase squirrels or other small critters whenever they see them.

The Appearance

The Portuguese podengo comes in three varieties that are not interbed: small, medium, and large. The small variety (pequeño) stands 8-12 inches at the withers and weigh 9-13 pounds. The medium variety (medio) stands 16-22 inches at the withers and weighs 35-44 pounds. The large variety (grande) stands 22-28 inches at the withers and has a weight range of 44-66 pounds. At all sizes, the breed can have short, smooth coats, or longer, wire-haired coats.

Both types of coat require very little grooming — a weekly brushing is plenty.

Essential Facts

  • Personality: Friendly, loyal, lively
  • Energy Level: Active, athletic
  • Trainability: Very trainable
  • Good with Children: Yes
  • Good with other Dogs: Yes
  • Shedding: Very little
  • Grooming: Easy, brush once a week
  • Barking Level: Barks when Necessary
  • Height: Pequeño: 8-12 inches; Medio: 16-22 inches, Grande: 22-28 inches
  • Weight: Pequeño: 9 to 13 pounds; Medio: 35-44 pounds, Grande: 44-66 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 15-17 years for the pequeño variety; lifespans vary for medio and grande varieties