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For its size, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeño is a tough and hearty little dog that loves playing games and making people laugh. There's something endearing about these pups that captures the heart of everyone they meet.
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeño is the smallest of the three varieties in the Podengo family. The other two are the Portuguese Podengo Médio (medium) and the Portuguese Podengo Grande (large).
The Podengo breed dates back thousands of years, originating in Asia Minor before the Phoenicians introduced it to the Iberian Peninsula. These dogs became very common in northern Portugal, where they have gained popularity as hunters and companions.
Using their keen senses, Portuguese Podengo Pequeños primarily hunted vermin and rabbits hiding underground. This talent earned them passage on the ships of many early explorers—including Vasco da Gama and Magellan—where they protected the food stores and sailors from rodent-borne diseases.
The first Portuguese Podengo Pequeño arrived in the U.S. in 1996. And in 2013, the breed attained full American Kennel Club recognition.
This Podengo Pequeño is built close to the ground and has a body that's a little longer than it is tall. The breed also has flexible little cat-like feet, a hardy coat, and a fantastic sense of hearing that allows it to plunge through thick brush while tracking prey.
Portuguese Podengo Pequeños come in two coat types: smooth and wire. Their coats are often light, medium, or dark yellow or fawn. But they may also be black or brown or have markings.
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeño's distinctive characteristics are its wedge-shaped head that tapers toward the tip of the nose and a straight muzzle.
Quiet, cheerful, and curious, the Podengo Pequeño relies on its smarts, speed, and sprightliness to hunt. They have short bursts of energy but are otherwise content curling up for a nap.
Podengo Pequeños are loyal to their family members and tend to be friendly and loving toward most people. That said, they can be wary and a bit reserved with strangers. Overall, they are fun-loving and expressive little dogs that enjoy attention from their humans.
Portuguese Podengo Pequeños require a high-quality, age-appropriate diet. Be sure to monitor how much your Podengo Pequeño eats, and reduce portions if your pup gains excess weight. Also, remember that giving too many treats in addition to regular meals can contribute to obesity.
To avoid tangles in the Podengo Pequeño's wire coat, routine brushing followed by a quick combing should do the trick. For the smooth-coated variety, an occasional wipe-down with a damp cloth should be adequate. Neither type requires haircuts.
Portuguese Podengos also need periodic baths and monthly nail trims. It's also a good habit to inspect your dog's ears frequently for wax buildup and debris.
Finally, all dogs need dental care, which should include daily teeth brushing and occasional professional cleanings. Maintaining good dental hygiene is essential for your pup's overall health.
Little hunters that they are, Podengo Pequeños need daily exercise—whether it's in the form of a brisk walk or a romp around a secure, fenced-in yard. Podengo Pequeños also have a natural ability for many dog sports—including agility, obedience, and rally.
Highly intelligent, the Podengo Pequeño is a quick learner, eager to please, and easy to train. However, these dogs can get bored and into trouble if they don't get enough mental and physical stimulation. Short, fun, and reward-based sessions with food or treats can help with this.
Also, early socialization is always a good idea, as it will help your Podengo Pequeño grow into a loveable and well-mannered dog.
PRCD is a particularly common form of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and is found in many breeds and mixed breed dogs. PRA is caused by the degeneration of photoreceptor cells of the retina resulting in progressive vision loss and eventual blindness.
Knowing if your Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup's lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.
Reviewed 26 July 2020 by Cindy Elston, DVM, MPH