The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno and other Podengo type dogs have roamed the Mediterranean region dating back to the tenth and eleventh centuries. Breeders developed this rustic dog to hunt game in Portugal’s harsh terrain; the smallest, the Pequeno, was used for hunting rabbits.
Also, historians believe that Pequenos were vermin catchers on ships in the fifteenth century. The breed was first exhibited in Portugal in 1902 and was later recognized by the Kennel Club of Portugal in 1954.
The FCI accepted the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno in 1967, and in 1990 they founded the Portuguese national parent club. Nevertheless, in 1988, this breed’s first exhibition took place outside of Portugal and Spain in Amsterdam. Shortly after, the first Portuguese Podengo Pequeno arrived in the United States in the 1990s, and it entered the AKC’s Miscellaneous Class in 2011.
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is the national breed of Portugal. This dog is a small, primitive breed built for endurance and agility. For instance, the sturdy Pequeno has rectangular proportions, a long, straight back, and a level topline. Their chest reaches to the elbow and is moderately broad.
The legs are straight and strong with evident muscle; the compact feet act as shock absorbers. Also, the tail is thick at the root, tapering to a point. It is raised in a curve or sickle shape but never curled when the dog is in motion.
The head is wide and wedge-shaped, with a flat skull and a muzzle that is straight in profile and tapers to the tip. Also, the nose is always darker in color than the coat. Pequenos have triangular, erect ears and small almond-shaped eyes that give them a lively expression.
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Activity level: This dog is an active breed with a well-developed chase instinct and the stamina to hunt for hours at a time. A pack of well-trained Pequenos can catch several hundred rabbits in a day and will not hesitate to go to ground after fox or badger. They love to run, chase, and explore, and they enjoy hiking, jogging, going for long walks, participating in dog sports, and playing with their owners on a leash or in securely fenced areas.
- POPULARITY: Very rare
- FAMILY: Primitive
- AREA OF ORIGIN: Portugal
- DATE OF ORIGIN: Ancient
- ORIGINAL FUNCTION: Hunting rabbits
- TODAY’S FUNCTION: Hunting rabbits, lure coursing, companionship
- OTHER NAME: Portuguese Warren Hound
Portuguese Podengo Pequeno Temperament
Podengo roughly translates as “rabbit hunter” or “warren hound.” Lively, inquisitive, and intelligent, Pequenos are hardwired to hunt with a pack and find prey in dense cover. They are naturally curious, vigilant, and very friendly with their pack members; however, they should be introduced cautiously to new dogs. Due to their strong prey instincts, they may not get along with smaller pets and should never be left unsupervised with cats or other small mammals. Clean and quiet, they can adapt to many types of living environments with proper care and enough exercise.
Grooming a Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
The Pequeno requires minimal grooming, weekly brushing, and bathing several times a year suffices to keep the coat in good condition.
Coat: There are two coat varieties — smooth and wire. The smooth coat is short and dense: the wire coat is long and harsh but less dense than the smooth coat, with a long beard on the muzzle.
Color: Light to dark shades of yellow or fawn, with or without markings of white, yellow, or fawn.
- Major concern: none
- Minor concern: none
- Occasionally seen: Legg Calves, patellar luxation
- Suggested tests: none
- Life span: 12-15 years
- Weight: 9-13 pounds
- Height: 8-12 inches
Buying a Portuguese Podengo Pequeno Advice and Breeder Information
The club invites all who are interested in the Pequeno to contact its members for breed education
Parent club: Portuguese Podengo Pequenos of America