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The Portuguese podengo is an energetic sighthound. It is the national dog of Portugal and comes in three sizes: small (pequeno), medium (medio), and large (grande). The dog breed also sports either a soft hair or wiry hair. It is intelligent, lively, and brave that excels in agility trials and makes an incredible family companion. It is loyal and courageous, which makes it a good watchdog and guard dog.
Are you planning to buy a Portuguese podengo dog? Read on to find more about the national dog of Portugal.
The Portuguese podengo is believed to be descended from Pharaoh hound. The breed was brought by Phoenician traders to Portugal in 1000 BC to be prized hunting dogs. The name podengo comes from the Portuguese word that means warren hound or rabbit hunter. The breed has been developed in Portugal since the sixteenth century and has been given the honour of being the national dog of the country.
The Portuguese podengo is said to be a member of the pricked-ear hunting dogs that are native to the Mediterranean along with the Pharaoh hound (Malta), Ibizan hound (Balearic Islands), and Podenco Canario (Canary Islands).
The Portuguese podengo comes in three sizes: small (pequeno), medium (medio), and large (grande), with the grande being the original version. In some countries, the podengo grande is often paired with mastiff-type hunting dogs. The medio became a distinct variety before the eleventh century, whereas the pequeno is believed to have been created during the reign of King Alfonso I in the 1140s. The breed is recognised by the Kennel Club in the UK.
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.
The Portuguese podengo is a jolly, multipurpose, lively dog with a strong desire to please its family. It is also active, intelligent, and has the energy and stamina to be an efficient hunter, able to hunt alone or in packs. The podengo is easy to train especially when given firm and consistent training at an early age. However, it has a high prey drive, which means care should be taken when it is around smaller animals, including cats.
The podengo is independent and skittish around strangers, although it is generally affectionate. This dog needs to stay actively engaged in an activity with people or other dogs to be mentally and physically fit. It is also known for its quirkiness and will run around the house or engage in many amusing antics.
The podengo is a terrific family pet and companion dog. It is loving to its family, patient with the children, and a fearless watchdog and guard dog. However, supervision is a must during interaction between the dog and the children to keep playtime safe and calm.
A typical serving for an adult Portuguese podengo will vary depending on its size: Grande – 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups, Medio – 1 1/2 to 2 cup, and Pequeno – 1/2 to 1 cup of high-quality dry dog food a day. The best thing to do is consult a veterinarian, so you can be sure to provide the balanced diet your dog deserves.
Typical daily calorie needs of an adult Portuguese podengo based on the three average sizes and weights:
Grande (44–66 pounds):
Medio (35–44 pounds):
Pequeno (9–13 pounds):
Since the Portuguese podengo comes in a variety of sizes, it is only natural to buy commercial dog food that is formulated according to the dog's size and activity level. Other than that, home-cooked meal or commercial dog food should be rich in animal protein that supports muscle growth.
With a lifespan of ten to twelve years, the podengo is a generally healthy dog breed until health disorders strike, which is highly possible. To come up with preventive measures, make sure you consult with a veterinarian regarding signs and symptoms attributed to the following diseases that affect the podengo: hip and elbow dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, epilepsy, luxating patella, demodicosis, ear problems, and some allergies.
The Portuguese podengo is intelligent and highly energetic, which means it needs the right amount of exercise and mental stimulation to be a happy and well-adjusted dog. The podengo will require at least forty minutes of daily exercises, but only in a safe and secure environment. When not given enough exercise, the podengo will become bored and as such will be prone to destructive behaviours.
If you are planning to buy a Portuguese Podengo, prepare to register your interest with breeders and be put on waiting list, since only a limited number of puppies are bred and registered each year. You would need to pay no less than £500 for a well-bred pedigree Podengo puppy.
To ensure that it grows healthy, you would need to feed it high quality dog food, which can cost from £20 - £30 a month. You would also need to buy it treats and accessories such as food bowls, leads, collars, and bed. The initial combined cost for these things can set you back £200 depending on the brands you opt for.
Aside from the initial purchase, pet insurance is another cost that you will have to shoulder monthly, ranging from £28 for a basic cover up to £54 for a lifetime cover. These prices vary depending on your dog’s health and age, size, weight, and where you live in the UK.
You may also need to set aside £900 a year for veterinary consultations and other necessary procedures such as vaccinations, boosters, neutering/spaying as these are not always covered by pet insurance. To give you a rough idea on how much you will likely spend month on month, it would be within the range of £60 and £90. This is exclusive of walking or grooming services that you might want to use at times.
Are you sure the Portuguese Podengo is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Do you think you can handle an energetic and lively dog like the podengo? If you are having second thoughts, try using our Pet Finder to find other dog breeds.
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A Sighthound is a branch of the Hound Group, which is a classification of dog breeds created for tracking and capturing prey. Dogs that fall under the Sighthound category were bred to hunt by sight and speed. For this reason, they are popularly known as ‘Ferraris of the dog world.’