Small in stature and rectangular in shape, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno has a wedge-shaped head and erect ears. The muzzle is pointed and the stop is barely defined. The eyes should be almond shaped, honey to dark brown in color, with a lively expression. The triangular ears should be set at the level of the eyes, and are carried upright or tilted forward when attentive. The entire body is well muscled. The back is straight and long; the belly is lean and slightly tucked up. The tail should be strong and tapered with light feathering along the underside. When raised, it should have a sickle shape. The feet are oval with toes slightly arched.
The coat can be either smooth (short and dense) or wire (rough, long, and harsh). The wire-haired variety has a beard. Coat color ranges from yellow to dark brown or black, although yellow and fawn are preferable. White markings are acceptable.
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno’s trot is light and agile, well suited to hunting for hours at a time over rough terrain. History:
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno arrived on the Iberian Peninsula with the Phoenicians more than 2,000 years ago. The breed can still be seen on eleventh-century churches in Portugal and in some literature dating back to the fourteenth century. Farmers in Portugal used the dog for hunting rabbits and small game, and they were bred to have tremendous endurance, be able to penetrate thickets, and hunt alone or in small packs.
The first Portuguese Podengo Pequeno came to the United States in the 1990s; as of 2011, there were several hundred of these dogs in this country, valued as both pets and athletes. The breed, which can have either a smooth or wire (rough) coat, excels in agility, obedience, and rally, as well as lure coursing. It is also still a popular hunting dog due to its ability to locate prey via sight, sound, and smell.
In Europe, the dog comes in three sizes—small, medium, and large—but in the United States the breed has been split into the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno (small) and the Portuguese Podengo Medio/Grande (medium/large). The Pequeno was accepted into the AKC Hound Group as of January 1, 2013.