The Portuguese Podengo is Portugal’s national dog and was originally bred to hunt rabbits and control vermin. The breed now has a strong reputation as a lively family dog that is playful and great with children. Although small in size, the Podengo is full of energy and loves to be busy. The Portuguese Podengo is intelligent, loyal and makes an excellent watchdog. Interestingly, the breed has three different sizes (but only the small size is seen in the UK) and has two coat types (wire-coated and smooth-coated). One of the Portuguese Podengo’s most distinctive features is their large, pricked, triangular ears.
The Portuguese Podengo is a well proportioned, sturdy dog that is slightly longer than they are tall. This breed has a blunt muzzle, large eyes that are light or dark brown to match the colour of their coat and large triangular ears that sit erect and forwards. The Podengo has strong shoulders, well-muscled legs and a long neck. The Portuguese Podengo has a high tail that curves over their back.
The Portuguese Podengo can have a smooth coat that is short, dense and flat against the body or a wire coat that is rougher, less dense and tends to stand out from the body. The wirehaired Portuguese Podengos also have a beard, while the smooth-coated Podengos do not. The coat can come in a range of colours including white with patches of yellow/ fawn, fawn with patches of white or yellow with patches of white. They can also have brown or black patches.
There are three sizes of Portuguese Podengo, these are:
Grande: this is the biggest Podengo at 55-70cm and 20 - 30kg.
Medio: this is a medium-sized dog at 40 - 55cm and 15 - 20kg.
Pequeno: this is a small dog at 20 - 30cm and 4 - 6kg. This is the only Podengo size that is found in the UK.
How big do Portuguese Podengo dogs get?
Height - Males: 20 - 30cm. Females: 20 - 30cm.
Weight - Males: 4 - 6kg. Females 4 - 6kg.
The Portuguese Podengo is a high energy dog that likes to keep busy. The Podengo is definitely not a lap dog; the breed is smart, active and enjoys outdoor life. This Portuguese Podengo is independent yet loving, they form strong bonds with their owners but can also handle being left alone for short periods during the day. The Podengo is a playful and mischievous breed, they love to entertain and enjoy daily training sessions. A Podengo also makes a great watchdog and will bark to alert you of things they are unsure of.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs intelligent? Yes.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs affectionate? Yes.
Do Portuguese Podengo dogs have high or low energy levels? High energy levels.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs loyal? Yes.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs playful? Yes, they love to play and entertain.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs aggressive? No.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs easy to train? No, they need to be handled and trained by someone who is familiar with the breed as Podengos can be stubborn and have a reputation for doing their own thing.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs good guard dogs? Yes.
As long as the Portuguese Podengo has been socialised from an early age they will be good with children and other dogs. This is a friendly breed but they are naturally wary of strangers. The hunting instincts of the Portuguese Podengo mean they should be kept away from smaller animals.
Do Portuguese Podengo dogs get along with other pets? They will get on with other pets they have grown up with but Podengos have a high prey drive so should be kept away from smaller animals.
Do Portuguese Podengo dogs get along with other dogs? Yes.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs good with kids? Yes, they are great around children.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs good with strangers? They are generally shy and wary of strangers.
Portuguese Podengos are adaptable little dogs that can happily live in a town or in the countryside. This breed often likes the sound of their own voice and they may bark more in noisy areas but training can help put a stop to this. Portuguese Podengos are lively dogs that need lots of exercise and access to a good-sized secure garden where they can spend time off lead. This breed can get bored quickly so they need to be kept busy and mentally stimulated; playing, walking and training are all important for the Podengo. As the Portuguese Podengo is an independent dog, they can usually handle being on their own for a few hours a day.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs good for first-time owners? No, the Podengo needs an experienced owner that is familiar with their needs. The Portuguese Podengo is a high-energy, intelligent breed that has specific training and socialisation needs.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs hypoallergenic? No.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs prone to drooling? No.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs a good breed for apartment living? This breed is happy as long as they get enough daily exercise and have access to a secure garden.
Do Portuguese Podengo dogs shed a lot? They shed a small amount throughout the year.
Do Portuguese Podengo dogs bark a lot? Yes, Podengos have a tendency to bark.
Can Portuguese Podengo dogs be left alone at home? Yes, they handle being alone for short periods of time.
Can Portuguese Podengo dogs handle the heat? Yes, wired-haired Pondengo dogs handle the heat better than the Smooth-haired.
Can Portuguese Podengo dogs handle cold temperatures? Yes.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs sensitive to loud noises? While not particularly sensitive, loud noises may cause them to bark.
The Portuguese Podengo has a life expectancy of 10 -12 years. Podengos are generally healthy but the breed has some known health issues including:
Hip dysplasia - this condition causes the hip joint to develop abnormally and results in swelling, pain and arthritis. Hip dysplasia can be treated and requires ongoing care to prevent strain and pressure. While this condition is more common in medium-large dogs it is something worth watching out for in Portuguese Podengos.
Legg-Perthes disease - This condition affects the hip joint and causes bone death due to poor blood supply. This is painful and can cause stiffness, limping, pain and shrinking leg muscles. Legg-Perthes disease can be treated with surgery, anti-inflammatory pain relief and physiotherapy.
Luxating patella - This is occasionally seen in Portuguese Podengos and is when the kneecap dislocates causing limping and stiffness. This can be treated with physiotherapy, pain relief and surgery.
Eye disorders - Portuguese Podengos can suffer from a range of eye disorders including corneal ulcers, cherry eye and distichiasis (extra eyelashes growing behind normal eyelashes). These disorders can all be diagnosed and treated by a vet.
How long do Portuguese Podengo dogs live? 10 - 12 years
Despite being small in size, the Portuguese Podengo has an abundance of energy. They need to exercise for at least an hour per day, with as much time off-lead in a secure area as possible. As the Portuguese Podengo has strong hunting instincts they should be walked on a lead when in areas that are not secure. If you enjoy jogging or hiking the Portuguese Podengo would be a great trails partner. In addition to daily exercise, the Podengo needs regular play sessions too.
Take care when off lead as Portuguese Podengos are known to be escape artists, they like to dig and they will quickly identify any weaknesses in fences and barriers.
How much exercise does a Portuguese Podengo dog need? - At least 60 minutes per day.
Do Portuguese Podengo dogs like water play? Yes, particularly when the weather is hot.
Portuguese Podengos do well with a diet of high-quality dry food, they are not known to be fussy eaters and don’t usually have an issue with weight gain. A Portuguese Podengo puppy needs between 40 - 125g of food each day depending on their age and build. This should be split into 3 - 4 smaller portions and spread throughout the day. This is a rough estimate as every dog is unique so it is important to have a personal dietary plan made to ensure your Podengo is getting the right amount of food based on their individual needs.
Are Portuguese Podengo dogs prone to weight gain? No.
How much should I feed a Portuguese Podengo puppy? Between 40 - 125g (depending on age and build) of high-quality dry food split into 3 - 4 portions.
How much should I feed an adult Portuguese Podengo dog? Between 50 - 95g of high-quality dry food depending on weight and activity level.
Grooming: Portuguese Podengos have low maintenance coats. Smooth-coated Podengos require weekly brushing while wire-haired require brushing a couple of times a week. Both coat types shed a small amount throughout the year with an increase in shedding during Spring and Autumn when more frequent brushing may be needed. It’s also important to check your Podengo’s ears regularly and clip their nails when needed.
Emotional Care: Portuguese Podengos are active dogs that have a low boredom threshold. They need to be doing something otherwise they will become bored and frustrated resulting in destructive behaviours and constant barking. Portuguese Podengos are quick-witted and need consistent training throughout their life. Podengos make excellent watchdogs and don’t mind being left on their own for short periods during the day. This breed is happiest when they feel like they have something to do.
History of the Portuguese Podengo
Portuguese Podengos are thought to be a descendent of the Pharaoh Hound of ancient Egypt. While not originally from Portugal, it is believed the breed was brought to Portugal by Roman and Phoenician traders. Portuguese Podengos are often described as primitive as the breed remains largely unchanged since their arrival in Portugal in the 15th Century. The breed has always been used for hunting and is small enough to go down burrows after prey. Over time, the Portuguese Podengo developed into three distinct sizes with each also having two coat types, each size was used for different hunts.
Portuguese Podengos are highly prized hunting dogs and they continue to be used for hunting in Portugal today. The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno can hunt by sight, sound and scent. This breed was introduced in the United States and the United Kingdom in the early 2000s. Their numbers are slowly rising in these areas where they are becoming increasingly popular as family pets.
The Portuguese Podengo is the national breed of Portugal.
There are 3 distinct sizes of Portuguese Podengos (Pequeno, Medio and Grande).
The Podengo Pequeno is the most common Podengo outside of Portugal.
Podengos are multi-sensory so use their sight, hearing and scent to hunt.
Podengos have featured in films and TV shows including Three Wishes, Dante’s Peak and Zeus and Roxanne.
Ready to bring a dog into your family? Take a look at our buying guide for information on finding and buying a puppy. Be aware of scams and don’t pay a deposit if you haven’t met the breeder and seen the puppy. To make avoiding scams easier, all breeders have been vetted on Puppies to ensure they are responsible. Take a look at our Portuguese Podengo puppy page to find puppies in your area.
How much does a Portuguese Podengo cost to buy? £600 - £1400
How much does a Portuguese Podengo cost to feed? £30 per month.
How much does insurance for a Portuguese Podengo cost? £35 - £55 per month, depending on coverage.
There aren’t many Portuguese Podengo puppies for sale in the UK so you may have to join a waiting list. Another option is to adopt a Podengo from a dog rescue centre. Head to your local centre or speak to the following associations about adopting a Portuguese Podengo: