Portuguese Podengos

The Portuguese Podengo is a sighthound that comes in three sizes: Grande, Medio and Pequeno. He resembles the Pharaoh Hound, Ibizan Hound and Cirneco dell Etna, and it is likely that all of these breeds share the same ancestry. Each is used to hunt rabbits in the place of his origin, which for the Podengo, is the country of Portugal. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering acquiring one of these rare and interesting sighthounds.

Traits, Personality and Behavior

The energetic and friendly Podengo comes in a wire or smooth coat. The Grande, who is little seen in North America, weighs 44 to 66 pounds; the Medio 35 to 45 pounds; and the Pequeno 10 to 13 pounds. Whatever their size, their athleticism makes them naturals at agility and lure coursing, and they can also do well in obedience, rally and tracking. They will enjoy regular exercise of 20 to 30 minutes daily, on leash, plus free play in a well-fenced yard. The Podengo's alert nature makes him an excellent watchdog.

Confine the Podengo to your yard with a tall fence. One of his hunting traits is the ability to jump straight up, very high.

To train a Podengo, use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play and food rewards, and keep training sessions short. Like most dogs, Podengos can become bored when left to their own devices. They can become noisy or destructive if they don't have other dogs to keep them company or don't receive much attention from their people.

The Podengo's coat is easy to groom. Give the smooth or wire coat a weekly brushing to remove dead hairs, and trim nails, brush teeth and clean the ears regularly. A bath is rarely necessary.

Sighthounds are attracted by movement, and the Portuguese Podengo will happily chase cats and other small furry animals. If he is brought up with them from an early age, though, he can live amicably with cats or small dogs.

The Portuguese Podengo should live indoors, with his family. It's an unhappy Podengo that is relegated to the backyard with little or no human companionship.

Health Issues Common to Portuguese Podengos

Because there are so few of them, little is known about the health of the Podengo. In general, they appear to be a healthy breed. They may suffer muscle or toe injuries while running. A reputable breeder will discuss potential health problems with you, including any problems she has seen in her own lines.

5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Portuguese Podengo Puppy

Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. Remember that this is a rare breed. You may have a wait of six months to a year or more before a puppy is available.

Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health problems in Podengos aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an adult dog, most of them can be ruled out. Podengos can live 10 to 12 years or more, so an adult dog will still be a part of your family for a long time to come.

Puppy or adult, take your Portuguese Podengo to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You're more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to housetrain puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Pet Insurance for Portuguese Podengos

Pet insurance for Portuguese Podengos costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Portuguese Podengos are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace dog insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Portuguese Podengos are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Portuguese Podengo is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.