THE PODENGO BY DIANA MCCARTY
T he Portuguese Podengo Pequeno and Podengo are primitive-type dogs. Their ancestors were most likely prick-eared dogs brought by the Phoeni- cians and Romans to the Iberian Peninsula dur- ing classic antiquity. The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno and Podengo number among the “warren hounds,” which is the name for that group of Mediterranean rabbit-hunting hounds that also includes the Ibizan Hound, Pharaoh Hound, Cirneco dell’Etna, and others. PORTUGUESE PODENGO PEQUENO. The smallest- sized dog is the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno. Many people are familiar with the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno. It is short- legged and low to the ground. The low center of gravity allows it to push through brush. It is not an open field runner. Many people are less familiar with the medium (Medio) and large (Grande) sizes. These are long-legged, open field running hounds. Grouped together, the Medio and Grande are called, simply, PODENGO. The MEDIO, or middle size, was developed for rabbit chas- ing, flushing, hunting, and retrieval. Its hunting style includes cat-like stalking and, similar to the Ibizan Hound, it often jumps above the prey before landing on or near it to flush it out of dense brush, rock crevices, or burrows. It will dig, if neces- sary, to flush prey. The GRANDE is the largest of the Podengos. It was devel- oped for deer and wild boar hunting. It will exhaust and hold down the prey and await the hunter’s gun. The Grande is now very rare in its home country.
This photo provides the general size differences and is from a hunting seminar in Portugal that the author attended in April. Nuno Ferro (far right) was the seminar leader. Included in the photo are all three sizes (Pequeno, Medio, Grande) and both coat types (smooth and wire). Photo used with permission of Nuno Ferro.
LURE COURSING Podengos love to lure course. It is a wonderful opportunity for the dogs. However, those of us who have slipped Medios or Grandes are pretty sure that the plastic bunny would be aban- doned by our hounds if a rabbit, fox, or deer were to appear during the course. We are always looking for hound homes so that we can pre- serve the breed. For more information, please visit: www.podengo- mediogrande.com .
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Diana McCarty has been a Podengo breeder since 2009. She established the American Portuguese Podengo Medio Grande Club (APPMGC) in 2008 and was instrumental in the separation of the Podengo from the Podengo Pequeno, which
was approved by AKC in 2009. Ms. McCarty is involved in showing, importing animals from the country of origin, expanding the gene pool, and expanding the number of registered Podengos in this country. She is an AKC conformation judge (Basenji, Whippet, Bloodhound, Basset Hound) and is a sought-after seminar presenter on the Podengo. She also chairs the Wright County Kennel Club’s annual all-breed dog shows. Ms. McCarty is President of the APPMGC, and is Secretary of the Podengo Club of America, the UKC club. She recently returned from participating as a presenter at the Portuguese Podengo International Breeder Seminar in Verios, Portugal.
Note: The Pequeno was not bred down from bigger sizes, and the Medio and Grande were not bred up from Pequenos. You can, however, get Medios and Grandes in the same litter. Medios and Grandes have been bred together to expand the gene pool. However, Medios and Grandes are NEVER bred to Pequenos. HUNTING STYLE When the differing-sized Podengos hunt rabbit together, typically the Pequeno and Medio will hunt together. While the hunting styles of the Pequeno and Medio are different, their styles are complementary. Grandes will also hunt rabbit, but primarily they hunt in packs for larger game.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 2021 | 291
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