Porto Novo Podengos

Our Visual Breed Standard

Our Visual Breed Standard

The Portuguese breed standard (see below) for the Podengo encompasses all six varieties. It is somewhat obtuse but closest to reality. The AKC standard for the Podengo Pequeno is rife with errors. The diagram above of what the small Podengo should be is clearly understandable.

Portugal considers the six varieties of the Podengo -- three sizes all with two coat types -- to be all one breed. In the USA, the breeds have been separated, largely to prevent interbreeding between the sizes, which is not allowed in Portugal but could happen here, undermining the integrity of the Podengo.

Portuguese Podengo (Podengo Portugues)
ORIGINAL STANDARD: Clube Portugues de Canicultura
AMERICAN TRANSLATION: Portuguese Podengo Club of America
ORIGIN: Portugal
UTILIZATION: Hunting dog, watch dog and companion

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: A Primitive type. Their probable origin lies in dogs from Egypt and the Middle East brought by Phoenicians and Romans to the Iberian Peninsula in Classic Antiquity. The Moorish Invasion in the 8th Century brought another strain across North Africa that influenced the type. The Podengo has developed over many centuries to be specifically suited to the rigors of the Portuguese climate and terrain. This has resulted in an extremely versatile, natural hunter. They have an acute sense of smell, sharp vision and keen hearing and they use all of these senses along with speed, agility and endurance in a unique hunting style. The Grande (Large) has been adapted for deer and wild boar hunting, in large packs. The Medio (Medium) and the Pequeno (Small) hunt rabbits, most commonly in small packs of either one size or a mix of the two sizes. Due to its smaller size, the Pequeno is able to flush rabbits from dense brush and rock crevices. The Pequeno also served as a ratter on the ships of the Portuguese explorers and traders from the 15th century on.

I. GENERAL APPEARANCE: The head is wedge-shaped, with prick ears. Sickle shaped tail. The body has no exaggerations in any of its proportions. Sound, well-muscled frame. The breed divides into three sizes: Grande, Medio and Pequeno (Large, Medium and Small); and in two coat varieties, Smooth Coat and Wire Coat. II. SIZE and PROPORTION: Body length (measured from the prosternum to the point of the buttocks) is slightly longer than the height at the withers. Bone substance increases with size. The depth of chest is one-half the height at the withers and the muzzle length is shorter than the backskull length.

Height at the Withers Weight
22 to 28 inches in the Grande (Large) 44 to 66 lbs in the Grande (Large)
16 to 22 inches in the Medio (Medium) 35 to 44 lbs in the Medio (Medium)
8 to 12 inches in Pequeno (Small) 9 to 13 lbs in the Pequeno (Small)

III. HEAD: Lean, broad-based wedge when viewed from the top or in profile. A large base and a definite pointed muzzle.

Expression: A bright, lively expression.

Eyes: Small, almond-shaped eyes, slightly oblique, not round or prominent. Eye color ranges from honey to brown, in accordance with the coat. Eye rims are always darker than the coat. Eyes of two different colors are an eliminating fault.

Ears: Set obliquely, with the outside edge at the level of the eyes, and of medium length. Erect and mobile, held vertically or tilting slightly towards the front when attentive. Pointed, wider at the base, triangular and thin; longer than their width at the base. Bent or lopped ears are an eliminating fault.

Backskull: Flat, almost straight in profile, prominent superciliary arches with a barely perceptible frontal furrow. Relatively flat between the ears with a prominent occipital protuberance.

Stop: Barely defined. Planes: The plane of the muzzle diverges slightly downward from the plane of the back skull. Parallel planes are a fault and convergent planes are a serious fault.

Muzzle: Pointed; curved seen from the front with a straight profile; shorter than the backskull; broader at the base than at the tip.

Nose: Tapered and obliquely truncated, prominent at the tip; always darker than the coat. A partial lack of pigment is a fault and a total lack of pigment is a serious fault.

Lips: Close fitting, thin, firm, horizontally cut, and well-pigmented.

Jaws/Bite: Normal with scissors bite, with solid, white teeth; normal occlusion of both jaws. Full dentition in the Grande (Large) size. An undershot or overshot bite is an eliminating fault.

Cheeks: Lean and obliquely set, seen from the front.


Neck: The neck makes a harmonious transition from head to body. Straight, long, well proportioned, strong and well-muscled. Free from throatiness. A ewe neck or a severely arched neck is a fault. Back Line: Straight, level.

Withers: Only slightly visible in relation to the neck and back.

Back: Straight and long.

Loin: Straight, broad and well-muscled.

Croup: Straight or slightly sloping, of medium size, broad and well-muscled.

Chest: Reaches down to the elbows. Long and of medium width. The sternum slopes back and upwards. Rib cage is slightly sprung and slanted. Moderate fore chest.

Bottom Line and Belly: Slightly uprising bottom line; lean belly and flanks, slightly tucked up.

Tail: Medium high set and of medium length. Strong, thick, tapered with a slightly fringed under side. At rest, falls slightly curved between the buttocks down to the hock joint. In action, rises to the horizontal and is slightly curved or up to the vertical in a sickle shape. A curled tail is a severe fault.

V. FOREQUARTERS: Upright when seen from the front and side, well-muscled and lean. Shoulder: Long, slanted, strong and well-muscled. An open scapula-humerus angle.

Elbow: Tight to the body. Forearm: Vertical, long and muscled.

Carpus (Pastern joint): Lean and not prominent. Metacarpus (Pastern): Short, strong, slightly sloping.

Forefeet: Oval; toes long, strong, tight and slightly arched, with short, strong nails and tough, firm pads.

VI. HINDQUARTERS: Upright when seen from the back and side. Well-muscled and lean, running parallel to the main body line.

Upper Thigh: Long and of medium width and well-muscled. Stifle Joint: An open Femur-Tibial angle.

Lower Thigh: Long, lean, strong and muscled.

Hock Joint: Of medium height, lean, strong with an open hock angle.

Rear Pastern (Metatarsus): Strong, short and straight without dewclaws.

Hind Feet: Oval; toes long, strong, tight and slightly arched, with short, strong nails and tough, firm pads.

VII. COAT: There are two varieties: Smooth Coat, which is short and very dense; and Wire Coat, which is of medium length, rough, harsh, and with a distinct beard. The wire coat is not as dense as the smooth coat. Both varieties are without undercoat. Skin on both varieties is thin and close fitting. Shown naturally; groomed but not clipped. A silky or soft coat is a fault.

VIII. COLOR: Cream and fawn, either in light, medium or dark shades are accepted. The color can be solid, with white markings or white with markings of cream or fawn. In the Pequeno, the following colors are accepted but not preferred: black or brown, as solid colors, with white markings or white with markings of black or brown. Eliminating colors: brindle; black and tan; tricolor or totally white.

IX. GAIT/MOVEMENT: A light trot with easy, agile movement.

X. TEMPERAMENT/APTITUDE: Very lively and intelligent, independent and rustic. The Grande is used in big game hunting (deer, wild boar, etc.) in large packs. The Medio and the Pequeno are natural rabbit hunters, either alone or in small packs of one size or of mixed sizes. The Pequeno also seeks out rabbits among rocks and thick scrub. All varieties are also used as watch dogs and companions. Aggression or overly shy behavior is an eliminating fault.

XI. FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the faults should be regarded should be in exact proportion to the degree.

Eyes of two different colors
Bent or lopped ears
Undershot or overshot bite
Brindle; black and tan; tricolor or totally white colors
Aggression or overly shy behavior

N.B. Males should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


The Breed Standard
More smoothies!
Smooths & Wires
The Breed Standard
More smoothies!
Smooths & Wires
Marilyn Piurek, Porto Novo Podengos LLC, Old Saybrook, CT & Newport, RI, USA • Phone: 860-395-0546