The Portugese Podengo comes in three sizes, small, medium and large and there are two at types, smooth and wire haired. The smooth coated variety dates all the way back to the 5th century whereas the wire haired variety was first bred in the 20th century as a result of cross breeding. Podengos were used to hunt game, the smaller varieties would hunt rabbit and hare whereas the larger ones would hunt wild boar and deer. They would either work in packs or alone, tracking down the prey and flushing it out so that the hunters could shoot it. The Podengo is a sighthound. They also make good ratters and were kept on Portugese ships for this purpose. They are sometimes referred to as the Portugese Rabbit Dog.
The Podengo is a brave, attentive and loving breed. They are great with children, other pets and even other dogs if they are socialised from a young age. They are sweet-natured and will happily play with children and tend not to be too rough. They are often used as watchdogs in their home country of Portugal as they will bark when someone approaches the property. They are shy with strangers at first, but will soon become friendly towards them once they get to know them. They are affectionate towards their family and like spending time with their loved ones. Letting them meet as many new people as possible when they are still young will help prevent shyness later on in life.
When it comes to training, the Podengo will need a kind and consistent hand to get the best out of them. They are smart but can be sensitive to harsh words. Food based rewards, positive reinforcement and affection will all help with training. Once recall is trained it tends to be good and they can be trusted when let off lead. Activities such as agility are good for them as they have lots of energy and an urge to please their owners. Lure coursing and rally competitions are also well suited for this breed.
They have a medium to high exercise need, at least an hours walk each day will be needed. Play sessions in the garden should help fully tire them out. This breed is the kangaroo of the dog world and they can jump a 5ft fence with relative ease. They also like to dig, so it may be worth your while to invest in a sandpit in order to stop them from digging up your entire garden. They make good jogging partners and will happily trot along by your side.
Both the smooth coats and wire haired varieties will need regular brushing to keep them looking neat and tidy and to remove dead hair. Other than this they are quite low maintenance.
This breed hasn’t changed much since it was first developed in the 5th century, and as a result it suffers few health problems. Epilepsy can sometimes be seen in some individuals, though this isn’t common. Its weight varies widely, depending on which size of Podengo you own.
Portugese Podengos are a lively and affectionate creature. They love their families and will enjoy spending time with those close to them. Their alert nature makes them good watchdogs. They get along very well with children, making them the perfect family dog. They also get along well with other dogs and pets, especially if raised together. They require a decent amount of exercise to prevent boredom and potential destructive behaviour in the home.
Health problems that may affect Portugese Podengos include Legg–Calvé–Perthes disease (degeneration of the femoral head which can lead to lameness and joint swelling) and luxating patella (dislocation of the kneecap).
- Status: Rare
- Life Expectancy: 15 - 17 years
- Weight: 9 - 13 lbs
- Rare: No
- Coat: Short
- Grooming Requirements: Once a week
- Town or Country: Either
- Minimum Home Size: Small House
- Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
- Breed Type: Hound
- Size: Small
- Energy Level: Medium
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