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Portuguese Podengo: nature, diseases [veterinarian's instructions

Portuguese podengo

  • History of the Portuguese Podengo breed
  • The nature of the podengo
  • Description of the Portuguese Podengo breed
  • Podengo care and nutrition
  • Portuguese Podengo disease
    • Cryptorchidism
    • Double row of eyelashes
    • Ectropium
    • Entropium
    • Cherry eye
    • Epilepsy
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Umbilical hernia
    • Legg Perthes disease
    • Loss of the kneecap
  • For whom Portuguese podengo?

History of the Portuguese Podengo breed

Portuguese podengo belongs to the hounds, and his ancestors most probably reached Portugal with Phoenician merchants approx. 700 years p.n.e. These dogs were used mainly as guard dogs and during hunting, and the breeding was carried out to diversify their sizes so that each of the varieties could specialize in a specific species. And this is how the big podengo (Grande) was created, whose specialty were wild boars and deer, as well as medium (Medio) and small (Pequeno) podengo with enthusiasm chasing rabbits among dense forests, as well as small pests in human homes.

Today, in the area of ​​the peninsula, the medium podengo is dominant, while in other countries the Portuguese miniature podengo (pequeno) has gained the most popularity, which also works as a companion dog. The FCI officially recognized the breed in 1954, and the first representatives of it arrived in the USA only in 1990. In 2009, the AKC split the Portuguese podengo into two breeds: portuguese podengo (including the former grande and medio - medium podengo) and portugese podengo pequeno (portuguese miniature podengo).

Podengo belongs to one of the ten Portuguese national breeds and is a symbol of the local Kennel Club. Representatives of this breed could also be admired on the screens of cinemas and TV sets, including.in. in such productions as "Three Wishes " with Parick Swayze, a series of family films "Soccer Dog ", or "Zeus and Roxanne " with Steve 'em Gutenberg, where the title podengo Zeus befriends a dolphin.

According to the FCI classification, the Portuguese Podengo belongs to Group 5 (Spitz and Primitive Dogs), Section 7 (Primordial Hunting Dogs).

The nature of the podengo

The nature of the Portuguese Podengo dogs

Podengo is a very lively and energetic dog. A strong hunting instinct makes him a good assistant hunter and a slayer of local rodents, but he will also work as a companion dog. The nature of Podengo and his vigilant nature mean that nothing will escape his attention, hence he will also be an excellent guardian.

Podengo like to spend time with their family, preferably actively. They love all kinds of dog sports and get along well with other dogs when they play in the paddock. Their training should be based on short, interesting and praised training sessions, so that the pooch does not get bored too quickly. Podengo require a lot of attention and interest. If they do not have a companion or interesting activity, they may be prone to destructive behavior and excessive noise.

These dogs may live in apartments, but will feel better if they can run freely. Since they can jump high, you should ensure that the area is properly fenced so that they cannot escape.

Description of the Portuguese Podengo breed

General appearance of the Portuguese Podengo breed

The weight and size of the dog

Portuguese Podengo comes in three varieties, differing basically only in size:

Portuguese podengo big

Portuguese podengo large sizeheight at the withers approx. 55 - 70 cm
Portuguese Podengo big weightweight 20 - 30 kg
Portuguese podengo big

Portuguese Podengo medium

Portuguese Podengo medium sizeheight at the withers approx. 40 - 54 cm
Portuguese Podengo medium weightweight 16-20 kg
Portuguese Podengo medium variety

Portuguese podengo small

Portuguese podengo miniature size height at the withers approx. 20 - 30 cm
Portuguese Podengo miniature weight weight 4 - 6 kg
Portuguese miniature podengo

The dog's silhouette is proportional and muscular, and in a small podengo it is slightly elongated.

Breed description

HeadThe head is lean and lean, with a slightly defined stop, tapering gradually towards the nose.
The muzzleStraight, wide at the base and shorter than the skull.
LipsThe lips of the Portuguese podengo are dry and tight.
JawsStrong with a full set of teeth set in a scissor or pincer bite.
EyesSmall, slanting, with a lively and intelligent expression, surrounded by a dark rim of the eyelids. Their color depends on the color of the coat - from honey to chestnut brown.
EarsSet obliquely, erect and very mobile, in the shape of a triangle.
NeckStraight and muscular, it harmoniously connects the head with the body.
RidgeLong and straight with slightly sloping or straight and strong loins.
RumpWide, may also be slightly sloping.
ChestLong and deep, moderately broad.
BellySlightly tucked up.
TailMedium length, set high, tapering towards the end. The medium-length tail is carried horizontally in motion or curled over the back.
LimbsForelegs short and straight with a strong and slightly oblique metacarpus. HINDQUARTERS: straight and parallel, short and in proportion to the rest of the body.
PawsRound, with tight fingers and hard pads.
The Portuguese Podengo breed standard

Color of dogs

The breed of Podengo dogs comes in three varieties (large podengo, medium variety, small podengo), and when it comes to the colors of dogs, there are short and long-haired varieties with white markings. Short-haired hair is smooth and dense, while long-haired hair is as rough as bristles.

The Portuguese Podengo also comes in three colors:

  • fawn,
  • brown (in various shades),
  • black (also lightened or faded).

The colors of the Portuguese Podengo with white markings are also allowed, as well as white as the dominant color with markings in the above-mentioned colors.

Podengo care and nutrition

Regardless of whether we are talking about a short or long-haired variety, the Podengo coat is easy to care for. The cover is single-layer, without an undercoat, so the moulting of this breed is not very intense. It is enough to brush your dog once a week to remove any dead hair. A rubber glove is best for combing a short-haired podengo, and a pin brush for long-haired ones. We bathe the dog as needed. We periodically check the length of the claws, which we trim, and brush the dog's teeth with a special toothpaste and brush.

Podengo's should receive good quality food, whether it is commercial food or meals prepared by us at home. The diet should be appropriate to the age and activity of the dog, and should be balanced in terms of nutrients. The breed is prone to obesity, therefore the podengo's nutrition should be monitored and the dog should be periodically weighed. You have to be careful about the treats you give your dog during training.

Portuguese Podengo disease


Cryptorchidism is an inherited hereditary defect in which one or both testicles do not descend into the scrotum. Correctly, this process should end approx. 2 months of age, but in some dogs it may be later, even up to 6 months of age. After this time, the inguinal canal is closed and the testicles cannot move between the abdominal cavity and the scrotum. The testicle may become stuck in the abdomen, in the inguinal canal, or under the skin in the inguinal area.

In the case of cryptorchidism, the treatment of choice is castration, i.e. removal of the testicles. Lege artis, both testicles are removed, even if we are dealing with a one-sided cavity, because this defect may be passed on to the offspring.

The undescended testicle, which is located in the abdominal cavity, is prone to neoplasms, so early removal is recommended. There are also hormonal methods, but I do not recommend them due to unproven effectiveness.

Double row of eyelashes

Distichiasis is a developmental defect in which an additional row of eyelashes appears on the upper or lower eyelid margin. Misplaced eyelashes cause chronic irritation of the cornea and conjunctiva, leading to inflammation or even ulceration of the cornea.

Treatment consists of surgical removal of additional eyelashes using cryoepilation or electroepilation. May relapse.


Ectropium is a defect of the eyelids consisting in the lower part of the eyelid being turned outwards, which leads to the exposure of the conjunctiva, which is then exposed to drying out and the penetration of impurities. It may be accompanied by symptoms of lacrimation and recurrent conjunctivitis and corneal inflammation.

Depending on the severity of the defect, some cases require only local hygiene and moisturizing, and some require surgical correction.


Entropion is a defect of the eyelids which involves folding a fragment or the entire rim of the eyelid towards the eyeball. The eyelashes then rub against the surface of the cornea, which leads to chronic irritation and even damage. This defect is often accompanied by lacrimation, conjunctivitis and blepharospasm.

Treatment of entropion is based on surgical eyelid surgery.

Cherry eye

The cherry eye is defined as a prolapse of the third eyelid gland, either unilateral or bilateral. It occurs most often in young dogs up to 2 years of age.

Clinically, in the inner corner of the eye there is a pink, spherical tissue protruding from under the third eyelid.

Treatment consists of surgical insertion or removal of the gland. Since the gland of the third eyelid is largely responsible for the production of tears, a complication of its complete removal may be the so-called. dry eye syndrome.


Epilepsy is a group of neurological disorders associated with excessive and spontaneous discharges within the nervous system.

Clinically, it manifests itself as seizures of varying severity and frequency. Epilepsy may be idiopathic (for no known cause) or functional (accompanying diseases of the systemic or nervous system) due to the cause.

During an attack, the animal is often unconscious and passes urine and faeces involuntarily. Attacks can also be partial and include only e.g. limb tremors, snapping mouths or walking in a circle. Often an epileptic attack is preceded by the so-called. the precursor phase, when the dog, feeling an impending attack, hides or seeks help from the owner.

The goal of treating epilepsy is to reduce the frequency of attacks with oral anticonvulsants and, if possible, to find the root cause.


Hypothyroidism is a disease in which the thyroid gland produces less thyroid hormones. It is one of the most common endocrine disorders in dogs, and its symptoms are varied and often very subtle at first. Suspicion of hypothyroidism is based on:

  • quick fatigue of the animal,
  • skin changes and recurrent ear infections,
  • polydipsia and polyuria,
  • no estrus,
  • gaining weight or having difficulty losing your dog,
  • muscle atrophy and much more.

The diagnosis of the disease is based on the results of blood tests with the determination of the level of thyroid hormones (T4, fT4) and thyrotropin (TSH). Treatment is life-long by administering levothyroxine.

Umbilical hernia

Umbilical hernia is often found in puppies and consists in the displacement of a part of the viscera under the skin of the umbilical area. The hernia gate, i.e. the opening in the abdominal muscles, through which the fatty tissue of the abdominal cavity most often escapes, is the result of incomplete closure of the muscles in the white line and may be a residue of improper umbilical cord ligation.

Clinically, a hernia is visible as a soft lump at the navel, the contents of which can often be drained. Surgical closure is the only treatment method.

In the case of incarcerated hernias, e.g. intestines or hernias of very large sizes, surgery is performed as soon as possible, while small hernias are usually operated on animals that are several months old, or closed during castration or sterilization of the dog.

Legg Perthes disease

Legg Perthes Calve Disease is an aseptic necrosis of the femoral head.

Its essence is a disturbance in the vascularization of the head, and sometimes the femoral neck, which leads to deformation and severe pain of the pelvic limb bone affected by changes.

The main symptoms of the disease include:

  • lameness,
  • complete lack of burdening the diseased limb.

These symptoms are already present in several months old puppies.

Diagnostics is based on an orthopedic examination and X-ray of the hip joints. The treatment of choice is femoral head resection.

Loss of the kneecap

A kneecap dislocation or prolapse is a condition where the kneecap moves beyond the edge of the femoral block during the flexion movement of the limb. The patella can move to both the lateral and medial sides. As a rule, a dislocation is manifested by sudden and temporary lameness.

The degree of dislocation is determined using a four-point scale:

  1. Rare lameness.
  2. Temporary lameness.
  3. Permanent lameness - the kneecap can be adjusted, but falls out spontaneously.
  4. Constant lameness - the kneecap cannot be adjusted.

The diagnosis is based on an orthopedic examination which checks the mobility of the kneecap while flexing and extending the limb. Mild cases with sporadic lameness are subject to physiotherapy, while advanced conditions with significant lameness require surgery.

For whom Portuguese podengo?

Podengo is a dog that will prove useful not only for hunting, but will also be a great companion for the whole family. These dogs are joyful, lively and have a lot of energy. They are not very troublesome to care for, but require a lot of attention. They do not like to be bored, and the excess of unused vital forces during walks will be released in the form of destroying everything that falls into their hands. They become attached to their caregivers and being alone for a long time may be difficult for them, so they are unsuitable for people who spend a lot of time outside the home, unless we provide them with the company of a second pooch. The best carers for them will be active people who spend time outdoors, who like jogging or mountain hiking. Podengo are also friendly towards children, so they can be faithful and cheerful companions also for our children. They tend to be excessively barking and will alert us quickly when they hear or see something disturbing. Podengo dog breed is recommended rather for experienced people, because they are not easy to groom, and the character of the Podengo and their strong hunting instincts can be difficult to master, especially if they are family dogs. They require early socialization and training as well as a charismatic caregiver who will be respected and trusted at the same time.

What is the life expectancy of a portuguese podengo dog?

The life expectancy of a Portuguese Podengo dog is approximately 12-14 years.

What do Portuguese podengo dogs suffer from?

Portuguese Podengo comes in three varieties, and the most common diseases of dogs of this breed are cryptorchidism, double row of eyelashes (distichiasis), ectropion, entropium, cherry eye, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, umbilical hernia, Legg Perthes disease, patellar prolapse.

How much does a large Portuguese podengo weigh??

The large Portuguese Podengo weighs from about 20 kg to 30 kg.

How much does the average Portuguese podengo weigh??

The average Portuguese Podengo weighs between 16 and 20 kg

How much does a Portuguese miniature podengo weigh??

The Portuguese miniature podengo weighs from 4 kg to 6 kg.

Sources used >>

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