Lots of fun comes in a small package.
Known as a National Dog of Portugal, dogs of the Podengo type originated from hounds brought by Phoenician merchants to the Iberian Peninsula around 1,000 B.C. They initially served as rabbit-hunting sighthounds who could withstand the rough terrain in Portugal. The first Pequeno, the smallest of three sizes of Podengo, was brought to the United States in the 1990s.
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno sports erect ears, a wedge-shaped head, and a curved tail. Various tones of yellow or fawn color the Podengo Pequeno, with or without white markings. The breed comes in two different coat types: wire and smooth — the wire is prevalent in the U.S. — and three sizes: Pequeno (small), Medio (medium), and Grande (large). Each size is recognized as a different breed with its own temperament; the Pequeno is the only size currently recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Portuguese Podengo, which includes the Medio and Grande sizes, will enter the AKC Miscellaneous Class on Jan. 1, 2014.
Podengo Pequenos stand 8 to 12 inches tall and weigh 9 to 13 pounds. Although they are very lovable, this breed is far from your typical lap dog. Bred to hunt, the agile and lively Pequenos race along gracefully in search of prey and require daily exercise. They might act aloof upon a first encounter, but with some trust and patience, Podengos will return your love with affection, obedience, and loyalty.
Believe it or not, these diminutive dogs show fierce protection skills. They have a distinct, high-pitched bark that alerts you to intruders — trespassers beware! Pequenos love to have fun and make amusing companions.
This charming breed will enchant its way into your heart.
Suzanne Faria of San Pablo, Calif., and her husband had been showing Ibizan Hounds for 20 years and decided to look for a new breed. “I wanted to find a smaller breed, and my husband is Portuguese ... so I started researching,” Faria says.
Now president of the Portuguese Podengo Pequenos of America, the parent club for the breed in the United States, Faria has four Pequenos, and thinks the breed couldn’t be any more perfect. She describes them as “magical” because of their versatility and their ability to sense emotions.
When Faria was experiencing a difficult time in her life, she needed comfort and stability. Her dogs, particularly her female, Vida — which means “life” in Portuguese — restored her strength. “She ran up and just snuffled her hair under my chin,” Faria says. “It was amazing to me that this little dog knew I was hurting and reacted to it. I was quite moved by it because she’s normally a happy-go-lucky creature.”
Both smooth- and wire-coated, Pequenos are easy to groom, requiring no trimming. Just brush their coats weekly to minimize shedding. The Pequeno can adapt to almost any environment. Faria says some Podengos live happily in apartments, so long as they get enough exercise.
With a lengthy life span, sometimes surpassing 20 years, Pequenos reward you with a lifetime of joy. “They are delightful little creatures to live with,” Faria says..