All three podengo size varieties are substantially identical in physical features except for the size and two coat types (smooth-haired and wiry-haired). The three size varieties include pequeno (8–12 inches; 9–13 pounds), medio (16–12 inches; 35–44 pounds), and grande (22–28 inches; 44–66 pounds). The medio and grande have square-proportioned bodies, whilst the pequeno is slightly longer than it is tall.
The Portuguese podengo has a primitive appearance that is typical of native Mediterranean dogs. It has a lean, wedge-shaped head that is either flattened or rounded like the Chihuahua. Its muzzle is slightly long and tapers somewhat towards the nose. The nose is a darker colour than the rest of the body. It has almond-shaped eyes, which range from honey to amber brown. The ears are large, triangular-shaped, and pricked, but point out to the sides.
As previously mentioned, the podengo comes in two distinct coats: smooth-haired and wire-haired. The smooth-coated podengo has a short-length coat that is dense and smooth, whilst the wiry-haired podengo has a medium-length coat that is rough and coarse. Also, a podengo with wiry coat often wears a distinctive beard and moustache. All sizes of the podengo come in shades of yellow or fawn, either solid or with white markings.
The smooth-coated podengo is easy to groom and will only require a weekly brushing or a wipe-over using a chamois leather. On the other hand, the wire-coated podengo will need to be frequently brushed at least two to three times a week. However, both coat types shed steadily throughout the year especially during autumn and spring, and as such will require frequent dog grooming. Other basic care is also required such as cleaning the dog’s ears, brushing its teeth, and trimming its nails.