The Portuguese Podengo: A Complete Guide

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The Portuguese Podengo is an ancient dog from Portugal. These dogs likely inhabited the land long before the Spanish settled in a few hundred years ago.

Early settlers saw many admirable traits in the breed, however, and many people began to domesticate the dog as a companion and a working dog.

Their friendly nature, high level of intelligence, and ability to learn almost any skill they were taught is what made them so highly valued.

They have never been bred for looks, and as a result, they have far more functionality and often maintain some of their more wild nature.

This means that they are the perfect breed for somebody who isn’t looking for a highly domesticated dog.

Portuguese Podengos are still wild at heart and love to be in the great outdoors or doing something active.

A light colored Portuguese Podengo
The Portuguese Podengo has a strong chest and powerful front legs.

Despite this wild nature, however, Portuguese Podengos can make a great companion.

If socialized during their puppyhood, these dogs will develop deep bonds with their human owners, and they will stick with them for their entire lives.

They can be very affectionate and are known for being very protective of their families. Many Portuguese Podengos are even trained as guard dogs.

Where the Portuguese Podengo really shines, however, is as a hunting dog. They have incredibly good hearing, sight, and a nose that can pick up even the slightest changes in the air.

They serve great as a pointer dog or gundog, and they can track a downed animal for miles.

If you prefer to hunt small game, then these dogs will happily chase small foxes and rabbits into their burrows and bring them out to you.

Portuguese Podengo Puppies – Before You Buy…

Portuguese Podengos are very attractive animals for a multiple of reasons, but it’s important to understand that these dogs have a somewhat wild nature at heart.

If you’re looking for a highly-domesticated dog that doesn’t have a lot of energy, then this isn’t the dog for you.

Portuguese Podengos need lots of room to run around and plenty of exercise. They will also need to be trained extensively if you wish to use them as a working dog.

What Price are Portuguese Podengo Puppies?

Portuguese Podengos will usually cost buyers around $1,000. If you know the breeder personally or if they’re trying to get rid of some of their stock, then you may be able to talk the price down to $700 or $800.

A lot of the time, it’s hard to find these dogs in America, which means that you may have to pay shipping and import fees to purchase a Portuguese Podengo puppy from overseas.

How to Find Reputable Portuguese Podengo Breeders?

These dogs are very popular in their homeland of Portugal as well as in several surrounding European countries. However, the breed hasn’t gained a lot of traction in America yet.

This is primarily because it is a relatively unknown breed.

There are a few breeders that stock these dogs in America, but they are few and far between, so you may find it more feasible to import your Portuguese Podengo.

Since the dog isn’t a hybrid, you don’t have to worry about getting a dog that you didn’t pay for.

However, you will want to purchase your dog from a breeder who has done a proper screening for physical problems and aggressive behavior.

Some of these dogs can be “too wild,” and are not suitable for home living environments.

If you get a good Portuguese Podengo puppy, however, the results couldn’t be better. These dogs are incredibly loyal creatures and will easily adapt to almost any environment (although they prefer slightly warmer climates).

A reputable breeder should give you a sheet with the dog’s parenting information and predictions about your new puppy’s character and appearance.

3 Little-known facts about Portuguese Podengo puppies

  1. Portuguese Podengos are very independent dogs. Don’t be surprised if they run off on their adventures from time to time. They will come back.
  2. Portuguese Podengo puppies have an affinity for chasing small animals, so it’s a good idea not to keep your pet gerbil around them.
  3. Portuguese Podengos will need to begin their training during puppyhood. If you wait until they are full-grown, then their instinctive wild nature will have already set in, and they will be a lot more difficult to train.
A Portuguese Podengo sitting in the sand
The Portuguese Podengo is a perfect pet for people who like wild and natural dogs.

Physical Traits of the Portuguese Podengo

The Portuguese Podengo is generally a medium-sized dog, but there are also “Pequeno” (small) and “Grande” (large) varieties of the dog.

All sizes of the breed tend to have similar characteristics, however.

They generally have a lean torso, with a strong chest and powerful front legs.

This allows them to run very fast and if they are trained for hunting, they can outrun most of the game that you will be hunting.

The Portuguese Podengo’s face is very similar to that of a Terrier.

Usually, their muzzles have a medium length, their jaws are squared, and their eyes are deep-set, with ears that hang loosely by the side of their heads.

Sometimes the larger dogs can have wolf-like features with long snouts, narrow eyes, and pointed ears, but this is less common and is likely the result of past breeding with other wild dogs.

Their coat is always a sandy brown color that blends in well with the rocky cliff sides of Portugal. They will often have white spotting of tufting on their chest, paws, and face.

Many of these dogs will also have a slight mustache. Portuguese Podengos are usually divided into two separate categories based on their fur; wire coat and smooth coat.

How Big is a Full-Grown Portuguese Podengo?

An average “medio” Portuguese Podengo will weight between 45 and 55 pounds and have a height of around 20 to 22 inches.

“Pequeno” dogs will have a weight of around 15 to 20 pounds and a height of 10 to 14 inches and resemble small Yorkshire Terriers in size.

“Grande” Portuguese Podengos are much larger and can weigh up to 65 or 70 pounds, with a height of 24 to 28 inches.

Each size has an almost identical attitude, and their appearances are very similar. In general, females tend to be a little bit smaller than the males are.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Portuguese Podengo?

Portuguese Podengos are very hardy dogs. Due to their wild nature, only the strong were able to survive. As a result, these dogs have become well-known for their longevity.

They are very hardy and aren’t prone to many of the diseases and cancers which plague Kennel Club dogs because of irresponsible breeding.

Most owners can expect their Portuguese Podengo to live for at least 14 or 15 years. The “pequeno” sized dogs have even been known to live to be up to 16 or 17 years old.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Portuguese Podengo

A Portuguese Podengo on a green lead
The Portuguese Podengo is a real hunting dog.

The Portuguese Podengo is a very intelligent dog. Wild dog breeds don’t survive as long as this without having superior wit and exceptional survival skills.

This breed has both of these in abundance. These dogs can be trained to do just about anything.

If you’re looking for a companion, then you will just have to train them for basic obedience and make sure that they know not to be too wild inside your home.

If you are looking to train them as a hunting or working dog, however, you will need to begin training early as these are the most habit-forming years.

They will take naturally to hunting as it’s in their nature.

Portuguese Podengos have very mild temperaments when they are relaxed. When they have the scent of blood during a hunt, however, they often get tunnel vision and can be harder to control.

This same thing can happen when they are on guard duty. If an unknown stranger is attempting to get into your house, then you can be sure that this dog will do everything in its power to stop them.

Despite their focused nature, however, these dogs are very friendly and playful. They enjoy going on long walks, and their favorite toy is a tennis ball or frisbee.

Portuguese Podengos are very social dogs and love to be out at the dog park meeting new friends.

The Portuguese Podengo’s Diet

Depending on which size dog you opt for, you will need to adjust their feeding amount and times accordingly.

Generally “pequenos” will need around 1.5 cups of food per day, “medios” will need around 2.5 to 3 cups, and “grandes” will need closer to 4 cups a day.

These dogs are all very active and have fast metabolisms. They are happiest when they are allowed to eat two or three times a day and have a healthy, more organic diet.

How Much Exercise Does the Portuguese Podengo Need?

Portuguese Podengos need a lot of exercise. They are often kept exclusively as outdoor dogs because of this.

In fact, they usually prefer to sleep outside in the open air than inside a cramped apartment.

You shouldn’t consider bringing home one of these puppies if you aren’t able to give them at least an hour of exercise every day.

Portuguese Podengo Health and Conditions

These dogs are incredibly healthy, aside from a few rare cancers.

Because they haven’t been interbred or genetically modified by Kennel Clubs, they don’t suffer from all of the ailments that are common in most American and European dogs.

Your Portuguese Podengo will live a long and healthy life, and you won’t have to step an arm and a leg at the vet.

What are the best types of toys?

Portuguese Podengos are generally quite playful but the best part about them is that they aren’t excessively attention-seeking.

This is a big bonus that comes with the Portuguese Podengo in comparison to other dogs that demand your attention at all times, even when you leave them with several of their favorite toys.

The dog can spend hours entertaining itself, given that it is provided with the right kind of toys that stimulate mental and physical activity.

The hunting instincts of the Portuguese Podengo will need to be satisfied, so when you purchase toys for it make sure that they are durable, strong, and safe to play with.

Do not waste money on toys of substandard quality simply because their price tags are lower than other toys.

Your pet will spend a lot of time throughout the day to bite, chew, and attack its toys during playtime.

No matter how much you convince yourself that you will be supervising your pet closely, you can’t do so the whole day and you definitely should not be putting your dog’s life at risk.

Invest in good quality chew toys, puzzle toys, and tug toys that are not made of hazardous material.

Games of catch or fetch will be highly intriguing to your pet but if you want to let it play independently, you can get it a bouncy ball or a clockwork toy that will move about as your dog tries to catch it.

A lot of interactive toys also come with a treat-dispensing design that further encourages your pet to spend hours engaged with the toy.

Puzzle boxes will put your pet’s brain power to the test and allow it to focus its attention on solving the puzzle in return for a tasty reward.

Final Thoughts on the Portuguese PodengoA Portuguese Podengo's face

The Portuguese Podengo is the perfect dog for people who are looking for a more wild and natural dog.

They haven’t been genetically modified in any way, and are as close to an ancient breed of dog as you can get.

Portuguese Podengos are incredibly intelligent animals and can be used for a wide range of different purposes.

They get along great in almost any environment and enjoy the company of a large family.

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