Classified as a hound, the alert and playful little Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a quick, athletic rabbit hunter of ancient lineage. Pequenos love to run, romp, and chase when outdoors but make charming and well-mannered housemates.
The Pequeno is the smallest of Portugal’s three Podengo breeds, standing 8 to 12 inches at the shoulder and weighing no more than 13 pounds. A distinctive feature is the wedge-shaped head, with expressive almond-shaped eyes and erect, pointed ears. The long-backed body is muscular, the tail tapered and sickle-shaped, and the coat either short and dense or long and wiry. The overall look is that of a rustic, no-nonsense rabbit dog unspoiled by passing fashions.
Though new to the AKC Hound Group, Pequenos are an ancient breed. It’s thought that their ancestors were brought to Portugal in antiquity by successive waves of Phoenician, Roman, and Moorish traders and invaders. This breeding stock was adapted by the Portuguese to hunt rabbits in the craggy Iberian countryside. Pequenos have been called “probably the world’s smallest hunting dog.” Working alone or in small packs, they assist hunters by routing rabbits from their hiding places and into open country.
Temperament: Lively / Playful / Charming
Height: 8-12 inches
Weight: 9-13 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a healthy breed overall. With a small gene pool in the States, breeders screen breeding stock to be able to identify and breed away from possible genetic issues .Responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as eye disorders and joint diseases such as hip dysplasia or patellar luxation (slipped stifles). Overall, the majority of PPPs are healthy dogs with few genetic problems.
Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:
- Hip Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
- Patella Evaluation
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a no-frills, wash-and-wear kind of dog who comes in two coat types: smooth and wire. Routine brushing followed by running a comb through the hair to eliminate any tangles in the wire coat, and an occasional wipe-down with a damp cloth on the smooth coat, will be sufficient to keep him in great shape between monthly baths. No clipping or scissoring is required. Starting a good dental-care program with regular brushing will alleviate the possibility of issues occurring later. Nails should be trimmed regularly using a nail clipper or grinder.
Bred originally for rabbit hunting, the energetic Portuguese Podengo Pequeno requires brisk daily exercise. They have a rightful reputation for being tough and tireless. Playing in a large fenced yard, a vigorous walk daily, participation in agility or obedience trials, or hunting can provide the needed activity. They should only be allowed loose within safely fenced areas’”as hunters, their instinct to follow their nose can get them into trouble quite quickly.
The PPP is a very lively and intelligent little dog. They are quick learners, but training must be fun and given in short sessions. They relish any sort of training, and excel at almost anything you ask them to do. They are easily trained as hunters, in performance sports, and, despite their small stature, as watchdogs. So long as you keep your training sessions positive, you will end up with a dog who will be welcome in any situation.
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.