Portuguese Podengo: Getty Images
The Portuguese Podengo is a Portuguese dog with an ancient pedigree. It's believed that the roots of this breed's existence trail back all the way to 600 BC, when the breed was likely used by Phoenician traders as they navigated their way around Africa by sea. Phoenician trading led to the breed winding up in the country of its origin, Portugal, by the 700s BC.
Bred to hunt, the Portuguese Podengo is a unique breed in so much as it is bred in three unique sizes--Pequeno (Small), Medio (Medium) and Grande (Large)--and two coat varieties (Smooth and Wire), all corresponding to the certain game that they would be expected to hunt. The Portuguese Podengo Medio, for instance, was used to hunt rabbits and other smaller game, while the Portuguese Podengo Grande was bred to track wild boar, deer, and other larger game varieties. The three varying sizes of the Podengo are not inter-bred.
In terms of appearance, the Podengo comes, as previously mentioned, in three different sizes, small medium and large, and two different coats, smooth or wirehaired. The smooth coat of the Podengo is dense with an undercoat present. The wirehaired coat of the Podengo is rough and harsh, without an undercoat present. The wirehair can lead to the formation of a poignant beard.
Additionally, a Podengo's coat can come in a variety of colors. The ideal colors for the Podengo are yellow and white or fawn and white of any shade or mostly white with patches of any shade of yellow or fawn. Other acceptable patch tones include black or brown.
While all Podengos are intelligent and enjoy hunting, the Portuguese Podengo is also unique in that, in accordance with their differing sizes, the Pequeno, Medio and Grande varieties of the Podengo all have differing personalities. The Podengo Pequeno and Medio, for instance, have friendly demeanors, are great with children and, if socialized at an early age, can enjoy spending time with its human family. On the other hand, the Podengo Grande is a tougher dog than the other varieties, and is a hunting dog through and through. Podengo Grandes require the hand of an experienced trainer, and are used primarily in packs for hunting purposes. While the Podgeno Pequeno and Podengo Medio are watchful and observant, Podengo Grandes assume the role of guardianship to an even fuller extent.
While all Podengos are amenable to training, they require training at the hands of dog experienced people. Most likely, a Podengo would not be someone's first dog.