Sunday, January 8, 2012


This is a dog breed that comes from Portugal, as you can probably guess from the name.  And these dogs are very, very cute, mainly because the short-haired ones look a lot like basenjis, except with shorter legs and straighter tails.  There are also wire-haired podengos, also very cute, but they do not look nearly so much like basenjis.

Portuguese podengos come in three different sizes:  pequeno (small), medio (medium), and grande (large).  Then in each size group, you can have either smooth or wire coats.  Colors can include yellow, fawn, red, or black with white markings.  So if you want a podengo, you have lots of choices you need to make.

In Portugal, this breed is very popular, and it has been around for a long, long time.  Podengos first got to the Iberian Peninsula about 2,000 years ago.  They came with the Phoenicians from Asia Minor.  You can see carvings of podengos on 11th century Portuguese churches, and they first show up in literature in the 14th century.  Portuguese sailors used to take podengos with them to keep mice and rats from eating the food stored on their ships.

Podengo Grande
Podengos are very good hunting dogs.  They use both scent and sight to hunt, just like basenjis do.  Usually the dogs go out ahead of the human hunters, and when they find game, they either kill it and bring it back to the humans, or else they wait for the hunters to catch up and shoot the game.  The pequeno podengos are used to hunt rabbits, the medios for rabbits and wild boar, and the grandes for wild boar and deer.

Podengo Medio
The podengo pequeno is about 8" to 12" tall and weighs 9-13 pounds.  The medio is 16" to 22" tall and weighs 35 to 44 pounds.  The grande is 22" to 28" tall and weighs between 44 and 66 pounds.  In the U.S., 75% of the purebred podengos are the pequeno size, and 85% of these have wire coats.  The breed has very few inherited health problems because people haven't messed with the podengo's breeding as much as they have with some other breeds.

In general, the podengo is an intelligent, brave, and affectionate dog.  It is a good watchdog and a good companion.  Podengos can compete in lure coursing, flyball, agilty, tracking, rally, and obedience.  In Europe, the breed has been recognized for registration by several groups.  In the U.S., the AKC made the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno eligible to compete in the Miscellaneous class starting January 1, 2011.  Dogs' wins can be recorded, but registration is not open yet for the breed.

Organizations that recognize all sizes of the podengo in the U.S. are the United Kennel Club, American Rare Breed Association, the North American Kennel Club, and the American Sighthound Field Association.

One of Mom's friends, my Aunt Erica, who lives in Oregon, adopted a dog named Spencer from a shelter a few weeks ago.  She thought she was adopting a basenji mix, because Spencer was smaller than a basenji and had a straight tail kind of like a fox tail.  But then somebody told Aunt Erica that maybe Spencer was a Portuguese podengo, and now we all pretty much think that is what he is.  Anyway, I would like to thank Spencer for giving me the idea for this blog entry, because I'm not sure if I had ever even heard of Portuguese podengos before he came along!


  1. Such a small world! Today while we were at work, there was a dog that was a Azawakh that was coming in and mom was curious what they looked like, so she looked in the dog breed book to find them (She didn't believe they were a real breed because she thinks she knows every breed, but obviously not). Anyway, after she saw that the Azawakh was an actual breed, she spent some time flipping through looking at other breeds and thought that the Podengos looked interesting. And now you have written an entry about them! Annie

  2. Dear Annie,
    There are a lot of dog breeds in the world, and every time I think I have heard of them all, a new one pops up! Anyway, that is very funny that your mom happened to be looking at podengos in the dog book, and then I wrote about them. Maybe I will have to write about azawakhs someday, too!
    Your friend, Piper

  3. Dear Piper-

    We have had a very exciting weekend here! Yesterday, I think I told you, I had to work. Mom had some friends come to watch me work and I thought I'd show off. Mom said I was very naughty and should not run out of the ring like I did, but I'd had enough work and wanted to go visit our friends. And then the second time I had to work, I thought maybe there was a better party in the other ring, so I had to stop and watch the other ring. Mom said I should not do that but I think her priorities are confused.

    Today I had to work AGAIN. I tried very hard to listen to mom today because it's football day and if I'm good my Broncos will win. However, in the first run mom told me to do "Tunnel" and I did, but it wasn't the tunnel she *thought* she was telling me to do. So I did what she told me to do, but not what she thought she was telling me to do. Very confusing, I know. Think what it's like to be me! And then I stopped right before the weaves because everyone on the other side of the building was cheering very loud. So I had to stare at my fans. (Mom said the cheering wasn't for me, but I know better!)

    Our second run mom said I did everything perfect except I took 2 tries to do the weave poles so I didn't get any ribbons. And then we had to rush home so . . .

    we could watch the broncos. Mom said I did very good work, so she was almost certain the broncos would win, but if I'd Q'd she could be certain the broncos would win. (See the sorts of pressure I deal with every week????) And then I had to growl at my brother Jet the trying because he's dressed in black and everyone knows good bronco fans dress in orange like me! But even though Jet was probably not pulling for the right team, the broncos won, but they won in the 5th quarter of the game. (I know this is also confusing because usually there are only 4 quarters of something that has "quarters".) It was very exciting and mom and dad had to yell at the tv sometimes. I think that must have helped, but what helped the most was my good runs earlier today.

    Whew, that was a lot of typing for a little girl who has had such a busy day!

    I also should say thanks for the educational blog again today.

    In Tebow we Trust.

    --Your friend
    Zest, superstar in training

  4. Dear Zest,
    You did really excellent work, making it so that the Broncos could win the game, even if they had to play 5 quarters instead of just 4. I am very proud of you, and I am sure your mom and dad are proud of you, too!
    Your friend, Piper

  5. Thank you for writing about me in your blog, Cousin Piper! It's a nice blog, I can see why my mom reads it. But this is by far your best blog entry ever!!!

    From Your Cousin Spencie, Smooth Portuguese Podengo Pequeno Extraordinaire! (mom still calls me a basenji mix. She says it's easier... people get confused... some lady even thought I was a Dingo!)

  6. Dear Cousin Spencer,
    It was lots of fun for me to write about you and all the other Portuguese Podengos in my blog. I learned a bunch of stuff, and I hope that my faithful readers did, too. That's funny how some lady thought you were a Dingo, since you don't look anything like a Dingo. The same thing happened one time when Mom was walking my brother Barry and some man asked if Barry was a Dingo. I guess people think any weird-looking dog must be a Dingo! Hahahaha!
    Your cousin, Piper

  7. I don't look like a Dingo at all and neither does Barry! But my mom said Podengo, and the lady must have thought she said PoDingo, and said, "oh a Dingo!" and pretty much at that point my mom gave up and decided I should be a Basenji mix! Plus, then it's easier for us to pass as real cousins :-) From: Cousin Spencie!