Breed standard and history


General Appearance

Small, sturdy, slightly longer than high. 


A primitive dog used primarily for hunting rabbits. A keen, alert and agile dog who hunts by scent, sight and hearing. 


Sociable, intelligent and lively. 

Head and Skull

Lean, fine, seen as a broad based wedge when viewed from above and in profile. Flat or slightly arched skull. Occipital bone slightly prominent. Stop moderately defined. Muzzle shorter than the skull, appears as a blunt wedge when in profile, with a slightly protruding nose. Lips thin, black and tight fitting. 


Expressive, moderate in size, not prominent, set obliquely. Colour varies according to coat colour, from light to dark brown. 


Triangular, large and thin. Broad at the base tapering to a fine point. Set on medium high and obliquely. Very mobile, carried erect and forward when alert. Length of ear greater than width at base.


Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaw. 


Straight and of medium length. Strong, well muscled. Free from throatiness. 


Forelegs straight and parallel. Well laid muscular shoulders. Pasterns short, strong and slightly sloping. 


Length of body from point of shoulder to point of buttock greater than height at withers. Topline level, slight rise over loin. Moderate forechest. Chest fairly deep, not too wide. Ribs moderately well sprung and carried well back. Underline rising slightly. 


Strong and muscular. Moderately angulated with firm hocks and moderate length of rear pasterns. Legs parallel when viewed from behind. 


Strong and round, toes tight and well arched. Nails strong, short and preferably dark. Firm pads. 


Medium length, high set. Thick at the base tapering to a fine point. Curved over the back when moving. Never curled. 


Swift and light footed. Sound. 


Smooth or wire coated. Never trimmed. Skin thin and close fitting. 

Smooth coated: Short and very dense. 

Wire coated: Rough and harsh, but not as dense as the smooth coat and without undercoat. Distinct beard. 


Yellow, fawn (in all shades from light to dark), black (diluted or faded), with or without white markings. White only if accompanied by markings of one of the listed colours. 


Height 20-30 cms (8-12 ins). Weight 4-5 kilos (9-11 lbs). 


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work. 


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum. 



The Portuguese Podengo is an ancient multi-sensory (sight and scent) hound breed of dog from Portugal. As a breed, the Podengo is divided into three size categories that are not interbred: small (Pequeno), medium (Médio) and large (Grande). Their coats are either short and 'smooth' or longer and 'wired'. The smooth coated variety is traditional, dating back to the 5th century, whereas the wire coated variety is an outcome of the assimilation of various other breeds during the 20th century. In general, the breed is healthy: the Pequeno variety has an average lifespan of approximately 14–16 years. 

All Podengo types are hardy, intelligent and lively dogs, excelling at agility and making fine companions. Loyal and fearless, Podengos are also good house guards and are amenable to training by dog-experienced people and those that enjoy primitive (i.e. slightly unrefined, "less domesticated") dog behaviour.

A keen hunting dog, the Podengo has an affinity for game regardless of size. Typically, the dogs hunt in a pack with their handler following. When game is found, they kill and retrieve it or flush it towards the hunter to be shot. Each size category traditionally hunts game appropriate to their size and temperament, e.g. Pequeno – rabbits; Medio - rabbits and wild boar; Grande - deer and wild boar.

The Podengo Pequeno was recognized by the Kennel Club in 2003 and the Breed Standard (see left) was approved on January 1, 2006. The Podengo Pequeno was transferred from the Import Register into the Breed Register on January 1, 2008 at the Kennel Club. The Podengo Pequeno now has its own breed classes at Championship Shows and Open Shows. The Podengo Pequeno was shown at Crufts for the first time in 2009. There are approximately 500 Podengos (primarily Pequeno) now resident in the UK. The United Kingdom registers the most Podengos, followed by Finland, the United States and Portugal. 

In Europe, the Podengo is classified by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) as Group 5: Spitz and primitive type, Section 7: Primitive type hunting dogs. The FCI breed standard, which originates in Portugal, governs all types and varieties of the Portuguese Podengo. In both the United States and the UK the Portuguese Podengo is classified in the Hound Group. 

Appearance (Pequeno)

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is characterized by a wedge shaped head, with erect ears and a curved tail. The Kennel Club Breed Standard is shown above.


Podengo Pequeno are small, friendly, hardy, lively and intelligent companions. They are very active and usually good with children and other animals when socialized from an early age. They enjoy time with their human family. 

Like their Medio relatives, they are very watchful and observant and will bark when something gets their attention. They enjoy running and sunshine and must have a secure enclosed fence. The Podengo Pequeno is trained well with positive techniques and should be kept on leash all of the time during training as they can be quite autonomous and have their own ideas about what constitutes proper behaviour. They can be remarkably silly in the home. A walk with many Pequenos can be a delight and they will continually come back to the owner to make sure they are coming along.


History / General Information

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (small) was developed for flushing rabbits from cover. The Pequeno accompanied Portuguese explorers on their ships for ratting purposes after the Portuguese completed the reconquest of their country from the Moors in the 13th century. It is also a good mouser and was probably kept on board explorer ships when the Portuguese initiated the European worldwide explorations in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The Medio (medium) was developed for rabbit chasing, flushing, hunting and retrieval. Its hunting style includes catlike stalking and, similar to the Ibizan Hound, it often jumps above the prey before landing on or near it to flush it out of dense brush, rock crevices or burrows. It will dig if necessary to flush prey. 

The Grande (large) was developed for deer and wild boar hunting. It will exhaust and hold down the prey to await the hunter's gun. The Grande is now very rare in its home country.