This breed from Portugal is multitalented and excels both as a pet and as a hunting companion.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
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Podengos are classified all around the world as different types of dogs. In the United States, they are considered a “hound”, while in the United Kingdom they are labeled a “primitive breed.” In Portugal, on the other hand, they are still regarded as a “spitz” breed.
Podengos are a type of hound that comes from Portugal. Popular in their native land as well as in Portuguese immigrant communities around the world, they are a multitalented breed that excels both as a pet and as a hunting companion.
Podengos can trace their history back to the 5th century in Portugal and come in two varieties: smooth and wire haired. Whatever the coat type, they make great hunters and are skilled at tracking and hunting a variety of game, big and small. They hunt everything from rabbits to wild boar, and make excellent guard dogs. Because of their long history and because they have remained relatively unchanged throughout the centuries, they still retain what some people would call “primitive” dog behavior, which makes them both an extremely special and unusual breed. They are best suited for owners who have experience with these types of breeds, as they are less domesticated than say, a Golden Retriever or a Pug might be, and require a special type of training and consideration in order to make good companion animals.
Podengos will do best in a rural or suburban home where they have plenty of room to run and a safe, fenced in yard to accommodate their love of the outdoors. If you live in an apartment in a city, the Podengo might not be the breed for you. They require a great deal of exercise in order to stay fit and happy. Just as importantly, Podengos benefit from mental stimulation as well, and are susceptible to becoming destructive and mischievous of they are bored and left to their own devices.
Podengos do well with other dogs and children as long as they are socialized with them from puppyhood. They don’t make a good choice for families with other small pets, such as cats or rodents, because their hunting instincts are so strong that they might have trouble differentiating between a member of the family and a great thing to chase!
This is a smart breed. They may be even a little bit too smart! When training a Podengo, you’ll need to convince them that what you are teaching them is worth learning. Long, drawn out, and repetitive training sessions will not be effective with a Podengo- you need to make training fun and interesting for them or they will soon lose interest.
Podengos are still not very popular outside of Portugal, but you may have luck locating a breeder in areas of the United States with large Portuguese populations.
Portuguese Podengos on Embark
Explore some Embark dogs that share Portuguese Podengo ancestry.