The Portuguese Podengo is a Portuguese multi-sensory hunting breed. The hound hunts with sight, scent, and hearing, generally in a pack, independent of its human companion. There are three sizes of Portuguese Podengo: Pequeno, Medio, and Grande, and each size can have either a smooth coat or a wire coat. The Podengo Pequeno was developed for flushing rabbits and other vermin from cover, and makes a good exterminator. The Podengo Medio was developed also for rabbit flushing, but is capable of hunting and retrieval as well. The Podengo Grande was developed for hunting larger prey such as deer and wild boar.
The Portuguese Podengo most likely originated from primitive Phoenician game dogs which were distributed to the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal’s home today, during the 8th Century BC. Eventually these dogs probably mated with primitive Moorish dogs in order to refine the breed.
The varieties of the Portuguese Podengo were developed to be suited not only to different types of prey but also different hunting styles, terrain, and climates. For hotter climates, the wire coat variety is better with its open coat texture. The smooth variety has a tighter, denser coat which makes it better for cooler climates.
The first Podengo Grande in the U.S. was imported in 2008. Nearly 80% of purebred Portuguese Podengos in the United States are the Pequeno size, and most of those are wire coats.