Showsight Presents The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno


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By John S. Fitzpatrick, DVM

T he standard for any breed is the written description of the ideal specimen of that breed. Th e standard of the Portuguese Poden- go Pequeno depicts a dog of moderation that has the requisite bone, muscle, body proportions and angles to complete the job it was developed to do – hunt its prey, the European rabbit or com- mon rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) over uneven terrain, through thick cover and underbrush to provide meat for the Portu- guese farmers and hunters. It is important to keep that function in mind when judg- ing this breed. It is not a toy breed, lapdog or terrier but a very e ff ective hunter devel- oped over the years to e ffi ciently get the job done. Th e Podengo Pequeno is considered a primitive breed meaning it uses sight, scent and hearing while hunting. Ranging in height from 8 to 12 inches at the shoulder, the shorter ones are used to get into tight crevices to drag the prey out of hiding or bolt the rabbit so that the larger sized dogs can run them down and complete the hunt. Being the shortest of the “sighthounds” it obviously uses its acute sense of hearing and highly developed sense of smell to locate the quarry and then once sighted, course

It is not a toy breed, lapdog or terrier but a very effective hunter developed over the years to efficiently get the job done. THE PODENGO PEQUENO IS CONSIDERED A PRIMITIVE BREED MEANING IT USES SIGHT, SCENT AND HEARING WHILE HUNTING.

Notes on the Standard: Size and Proportions

the game and dispatch it. Demonstrating agility and impressive maneuverability to stay right with the rabbit, able to turn on a dime and using their speed to run down the quarry. Th e Podengo Pequenos were bred to hunt for hours each day starting in the early morning, breaking during the heat of the day and resuming the hunt in late afternoon. Th ey often hunt for several consecutive days. TYPE is the most important aspect in judging this breed. It is the only primi- tive breed that has a RECTANGULAR body outline.

Th e standard calls for the proper PRO- PORTIONS. A one to one ratio [1:1] of body depth, measured from the top of the withers to the bottom of the chest, to leg length, measured from elbow to the ground. Too leggy or too short on leg are the result of improper 1:1 ratio of body depth to leg length. Th e LENGTH of body is 20% or 1/5th LONGER [5:6 ratio -height to length] than the TOTAL HEIGHT of the dog (distance from the top of the withers to the ground).

“TYPE is the most important aspect in judging this breed. IT IS THE ONLY PRIMITIVE BREED THAT HAS A RECTANGULAR BODY OUTLINE.”

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are differences. The wires (rough coated) have less breed type all in all, and are also usually worse in proportions. VV: I see more or less the same number of dogs in both vari- eties. There are differences, especially in the wires—they lack features close to the true type. 5. Any grooming practices that you see that bother you or that you think other judges should be aware of? SF: The PPP breed standard specifically states, “A very rustic breed shown naturally. Groomed but not trimmed or sculpted. Dogs whose coat has been altered by excessive sculpting, clipping or artificial means shall be penalized as to be effectively eliminated from competition.” I am seeing an alarming trend from professional handlers to wash and blow out the PPP coat before each show. This softens the coat, which then requires them to add groom- ing products to harshen it back up. Coats that have been worked in this fashion are easily spotted and should be severely penalized. This is a rustic breed and should be shown with a minimal amount of grooming and never with product in the coat. GV: Yes, because of the show factor that seems to be so important in the United States. Podengos must not be over groomed, only tidied up—without losing their rus- ticity and only to help keep a cleaner outline. VV: I have seen dogs groomed in an incorrect fashion. PPPs should not be over groomed. 6. What is proper PPP movement? SF: PPP have an agile, easy gait that is clean coming and going with moderate reach and drive. As they move they should have a level topline that is not bouncy. There is nothing exaggerated about their movement. As their speed increases they will converge toward the centerline. PPP movement should reflect a dog that could work a field all day without fatigue or injury. GV: Thank you for asking this question—the PPP is not a sighthound; it is a primitive hound with moderate angula- tions and overall construction, and therefore cannot have an overextended movement front and rear. Also, the PPP “Podengos musT noT be oveR gRoomed, only Tidied uP—wiThouT losing TheiR RusTiciTy and only To helP keeP a cleaneR ouTline.”

2. What do you consider the ultimate hallmark of the breed? SF: The PPP is a primitive breed and as such has remained relatively unchanged for centuries. This longevity is credited in part to the fact that it is without exaggera- tion of any kind. You should look at the PPP silhouette, whether it is smooth or wire, and see a small rustic appearing moderate hound capable of working all day in rugged terrain. GV: The ultimate hallmark of the breed is TYPE, TYPE, TYPE! VV: The ultimate hallmark of the breed is type—a group of factors that give the overall image of the PPP. “The PPP is a PRIMITIVE BREED and as such has Remained RelaTively unchanged foR cenTuRies.”

3. What about this breed seems confusing to new judges?

SF: The PPP comes in a vast array of coloration and coat length. While some coats lay flat and tight against the skin, others may be as long as 2 to 3 inches. When faced with a class of three to four varying colorations and coat lengths, judges often ask which is “correct”. The answer is simply that they all are equally correct as long as they are of nice rough texture and not silky, wooly, full of grooming product or of a disqualifying color. GV: Usually the most confusing for new judges is choosing the correct type, expression and proportions. VV: The new judges sometimes have some difficulty in rec- ognizing the correct breed type and proportions. 4. Do you see more of the smooth or wire (rough) coated Podengo? What are the notable differences between the two (aside from the obvious)? SF: Currently there are more wires being shown in the United States, but there are more and more smooths being shown every day. The wire (rough) and smooth should have no differences in structure and should be judged equally. GV: I see more or less the same number in both varieties— in Portugal, perhaps a little more of the Smooth variety; abroad, definitely more Wires. Unfortunately, yes there

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