The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is the National Dog of Portugal, originally derived from the ancient hounds that came to the Iberian Peninsula with traders from the area of Asia Minor around 1,000 BC. It is related to the Basenji, Cirneco dell’Etna, Ibizan Hound, and Pharaoh Hound. The first Portuguese Podengo Pequeno came to the United States in the 1990’s.
This is a rustic breed that was developed to hunt the harsh terrain of Portugal and to penetrate the thickets to gain access to its prey, typically rabbits. The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno hunts by sight, scent and hearing, and emits a high-pitched bark when coursing its prey known as the ‘Maticar’, which allows the hunters to know where the dogs and prey are located.
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno has a hardy, scrappy appearance. It’s most readily recognized by its small size, typical yellow or fawn color – with or without white markings, erect ears, wedge shaped head, and two coat types: smooth and wire (rough). The smooth coat is short and very dense, while the wire coat is long and harsh with a bearded muzzle. It is a very healthy breed that lives well into its teens, with few genetic problems.