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Portuguese Podengo

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Portuguese Podengo
Photo: Wirehaired Portuguese Podengo Medio
Photo: Wirehaired Portuguese Podengo Medio
Alternative names
Podengo Portugues
Portuguese Warren Hound
Country of origin
Portugal
Common nicknames
 
Classification and breed standards
FCI: Group 6 Section 7 #94  
AKC: Foundation Stock Service  
UKC: Sighthounds  
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct
Notes
 

The Portuguese Podengo is the name given to three types of dog from Portugal with a related ancestry. They represent a small (Pequeno), medium (Medio) and large (Grande) type of dog, each with two hair coats (smooth and wirehaired).

The rarest of all, the Grande, was most likely developed from larger Medios and the Pequeno was most likely developed, with the addition of other small breeds, also from the Medio. Of the three, the Pequeno displays more color variety because of this probable outcrossing.

Each has a different type of temperament but all three love to hunt, as is their heritage and tradition in their native country. Typically, the dogs hunt in a pack with their human companion following them. Each is capable of hunting game that is appropriate to their size. (Pequeno-rats, Medio-rabbits, Grande-boars).

They are very old type of dog, probably descended from ancient northern African sighthound-type dogs. As a breed, it is believed to be about 5,000 years old. They are all typically healthy, due to careful breeding practices in a rustic setting (in Portugal) where unhealthy whelps would not usually survive, thus removing them from possible breeding stock.

The WH PPM is a medium-sized, friendly, hardy and intelligent companion. It has a soft wire coat that functions as an air conditioner in the hot weather. The single coat (without undercoat) does shed. It is very active and is good with children and other animals, including livestock, if it is socialized from an early age.

The WH PPM (and S PPM) has existed in America for decades in small numbers with Portuguese-Americans in private home settings where they have been used for traditional rabbit hunting. Amazingly, they were never popularized outside of their immigrant homesteads. If dog-loving Americans had seen them there is no doubt that this breed would have become known sooner, as they are attractive, nice family dogs, with a touch of mischief.

They are watchful and observant and will bark when something gets their attention. They enjoy digging and need a secure fence. It is best if they have their own yard they can 'customize' themselves. When trained, they can have a good recall when not on leash. They are a very enthusiastic, trainable dog with a knowledgable trainer, as evidenced by their popularity in movies, where they are usually cast as a "scruffy mutt." This publicity has enabled the WH PPM to obtain a small but loyal fan base in America, who have turned into the first exhibitors (and will be the first breeders) of the breed.

The WH PPM have only recently been shown and developed as a registered (RVB-Netherlands, CPC-Portugal and AKC-Foundation Stock Service), pedigreed breed in the US and Canada.

The WH PPM is very young as a breed in America. There are about 11 breeders worldwide with registered, pedigreed stock. The available bloodlines of WH PPMs are extremely limited compared to other breeds of dogs (the coat types are not interbred) and all WH PPM are very closely related at this time. However, with careful breeding of only the best and healthiest dogs, larger bloodlines can be built confidently and strongly. Other examples of this situation are the Saluki and Basenji, both breeds which, within the past 100 years, descended from a tiny handful of registered dogs. With careful breeding of the best quality dogs, it is now a healthy, strong sighthound breed with much diversity.


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