Portuguese Podengo Pequeno

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
fast facts

About Portuguese Podengo Pequeno

9-13 lb
12-15 years
AKC Hound
Best Suited For
Families with children, active singles, apartments, houses with backyards, farms and rural areas
Lively, friendly, active, intelligent
Comparable Breeds
Andalusian Podenco, Basenji
8-12 inches
Portuguese Podengo Pequeno Basics

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is an ancient, no-nonsense hunting hound from Portugal. They are multi-sensory hounds that hunt using both their sight and scent and come in three distinct sizes: The smallest Pequeno, the medium sized Médio and the large Grande. These three sizes are generally not cross-bred and each has their own purpose. Podengos also comes in two coat variants – wiry haired and soft haired.

The smallest of the three Podengos, the Pequeno has a distinctive wedge-shaped head, pointy erect ears and expressive almond-shaped head. The dog’s back is fairly elongated and muscular. The tail tapers off into a point and is curved like sickle.

Pequenos, like all Podengos, are hardy, active and extremely intelligent. As it’s a highly intelligent breed with an agreeable personality, they are often easy to train. They are also extremely faithful to their owners and make excellent companions.

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is an ancient, no-nonsense hunting hound from Portugal.


The Portuguese Podengo is an ancient breed that is believed to have derived from the hounds brought into the Iberian Peninsula by Phoenician traders from Asia Minor. The Pequeno was bred specifically to flush out and hunt small game such as rabbits in the harsh terrains of Portugal.

The tiny Pequenos are also said to have accompanied Portuguese explorers on their ships as ratters.

The first Podengo Pequenos arrived in America during the late 1990s.

The Podengo is thought to be bred from several hounds in order to catch rats on ships.


Pequenos have extremely high energy levels and should be fed 2 to 3 high-quality meals a day.

Podengo Pequenos are extremely intelligent and lively.


Podengo Pequenos are extremely intelligent and lively. They are however significantly less “refined” in their behaviors than other modern breeds and require an owner that is familiar with a more primal style of training. This includes setting rules, boundaries and limitations early on and making it clear what you expect from the dog. Pequenos can also be extremely willful at times and considering their small size and agility, it is advisable to keep them on a leash during training.


Podengo Pequeno males weigh in at around 9 to 13 pounds.

Temperament and Behavior
Podengo Pequeno Pequenos are lively and companionable and make excellent pets for the right dog owner. The ideal Podengo Pequeno owner should be able to display a calm and assertive style of leadership consistently. When placed in the hands of a weak leader, Pequenos can often become stubborn and willful and develop undesirable behaviors.

Pequenos are also extremely brave for their size and are alert for any intrusions into their territory. This makes them a good choice as a guard dog for a small home or apartment.

Pequenos also get along well with children and other animals, provided that they are socialized early. Setting rules and boundaries in terms of what constitutes as “prey” is extremely important when it comes to this breed as they have extremely strong hunting instincts. When walking them it is also advisable to do so on a leash as their attention can be easily captured by small animals that activate their hunting and chasing instincts.

Common Health Problems

The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a breed that has had little to no human intervention over the years and as a result does not suffer from any known hereditary health conditions.

Life Expectancy

When well cared for, a Podengo Pequeno can enjoy a lifespan of up to 15 years.

Exercise Requirements

Podengo Pequenos were bred to have enough stamina and endurance to hunt throughout the day, for consecutive days. As such, they have seemingly limitless amounts of energy and require a great deal of exercise. Although their small size makes them suitable for small homes or apartments, they should only be housed in small living quarters if their owners are able to cater to their exercise needs each day. They often do best in houses with large gardens or rural farm yards where they can frolic about at will.

Podengo Pequeno Pequenos are lively and companionable and make excellent pets for the right dog owner.

Recognized Clubs

The Podengo Pequeno Pequeno was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in January, 2013.

The club has this to say about the breed: “The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, a primitive breed, is known for its small size, erect ears, wedge shaped head, and two coat types, smooth and wire. It hunts by sight, scent and hearing, and is related to the Pharaoh Hound, Ibizan Hound, Cirneco dell’Etna and Basenji. The smooth coat is short and very dense, while the wire coat (rough) is long and harsh, with a bearded muzzle. Preferred coat color is yellow or fawn, with or without white markings.”


Portuguese Podengo Pequenos come in wirehaired and smooth-coated variants. They are a low maintenance breed and only require occasional brushing and washing to keep their coats healthy.


Podengo Pequeno puppies should be socialized with as many humans and animals as possible from a very young age. Rules, boundaries and limitations are also an important part of growing up for this primitive breed.

Photo credit: Marilyn Piurek/Wikimedia; Pleple2000/Wikimedia
Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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