Portuguese Warren Hound
Other names: Portuguese Podengo
The Portuguese Warren Hound, otherwise known as the Portuguese Podengo, is a rare breed. Scarce in even their home country and threatened by extinction. This dog has a lively character, is intelligent and versatile. They can be used just as well for hunting, as a guard dog or simply as a pet. As a breed, the Podengo is divided into 3 size categories (small, medium and large), each with one of two possible varieties of coat (short and smooth or longer and wirey).
Key facts about the Portuguese Warren Hound
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Origins and history
These are very ancient dogs but little information exists regarding their origins: however they are probably Egyptian like the other Podengos. This dog has never been very well known outside of their country of origin and even in Portugal the number of dogs is unfortunately in constant decline.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types
Section 7 : Primitive type - Hunting Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Portuguese Warren Hound
Female : Between 16 and 21 in
Male : Between 16 and 21 in
- Male: Between 8 and 12 inches
- Female: Between 8 and 12 inches
- Male: Between 22 and 28 inches
- Female: Between 22 and 28 inches
Female : Between 35 and 44 lb
Male : Between 35 and 44 lb
- Male: Between 9 and 13 lbs
- Female: Between 9 and 13 lbs
- Male: Between 44 and 66 lbs
- Female: Between 44 and 66 lbs
The dog’s coat can be yellow and tawny (from lightest to darkest) with or without white marks; or white with yellow and tawny marks.
Type of coat
The coat is either short or long.
The coat can be either short and smooth or thicker and wired. In both cases the fur is averagely thick but denser for the short-coated variety.
Ranges between honey and hazel depending on the colour of the coat.
The Portuguese Podengo is a slender hunting dog, well-proportioned and strong. They can possess two types of coat depending on the 3 varieties of size; the small, medium and large Podengo. The head is a truncated pyramid-shape, with a broad base and pointed tip. The skull is flattened with an almost straight profile; the frontal furrow is not very pronounced and the stop is barely defined. The chamfer is rounded with a straight profile. The eyes are oblique, and small. The ears stand up and are very mobile, vertical or slightly forward sloping. The neck is straight, long, proportionate to the rest of the body. The medium-length tail, set rather high, is thick at the base and pointed at the tip. The limbs are strong and slender.
Good to know
This is a breed of dog that is unfortunately close to extinction, even in their country of origin. Those who like primitive dogs should think about breeding Podengos, which would also allow an ancient race that is very interesting from a dog-handling perspective, to survive.
Smooth coated Portuguese Warren Hound
Wire coated Portuguese Warren Hound
These dogs only trust their owners: to whom they will show great kindness but will become distant towards strangers.
Within the family, this dog is very jovial, excitable and playful. Their intelligence and enthusiasm make play-time with this dog great fun for the children.
The Portuguese Warren Hound is very energetic and excitable in nature. This energy must be channelled with a good education so that it does not become excessive.
It is mostly the versatility of these dogs that makes them intelligent. Regardless of their size, they can indeed be used for hunting, as guard dogs or simply as companions.
This is a truly primitive dog, expressing itself best when hunting. The medium Podengo is used for rabbit hunting; the large Podengo is used for big game hunting; the small Portuguese Podengo itself is used for rabbit hunting in burrows or rocks.
Fearful / wary of strangers
They are quite a reserved dog that attach themselves to their owners and are always timid around strangers. This shyness however, should not transform into aggression. A quality socialisation from an early age is indispensable for the Portuguese Warren Hound, especially whilst still a puppy.
Like most primitive dogs, this dog makes for a good companion but with an underlying independence. All the same, they are not the most independent of the Podengo dogs and are very attached to their master.
Behaviour of the Portuguese Warren Hound
This dog is very devoted to their master, yet despite being primitive, they do not enjoy solitude. It is in fact advised to have the dog be raised in a litter.
Furthermore, the Portuguese Warren Hound puppy must be positively and progressively trained to get used to spending time alone, in order to find these moments easier in later life.
Easy to train / obedience
Due to the fact that this dog can sometimes prove to be disobedient, their education must begin as of the puppy’s arrival in the home, in order to avoid taking up bad habits.
This dog barks very rarely and never without good reason.
Tendency to run away
The Portuguese Warren Hound’s heightened hunting instincts accounts for a great proportion of the risk during walks or if the dog’s home environment is not secured by some sort of fencing.
Very attached to their master and wanting to avoid being alone, this dog can quickly express discomfort. Sometimes taking this out on objects that have the scent of their owners.
Greedy / Gluttony
Absolutely not difficult to feed, this dog is not picky and is satisfied with little.
Even though it is difficult to consider the small Podengo as a good guardian, these dogs can still be used as guard dogs. It is mostly the medium and large sizes of this dog that can show to be more effective due to their suspicion towards strangers.
This lively and energetic dog will only be happy and fulfilled when in the hands of a sporty owner and or one who hunts.
Even if they can be used for company, it is important to take into account the time one must devote to this dog (in exercising them and using up their huge amounts of energy) before adopting a Podengo as a pet.
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Portuguese Warren Hound in a flat
Whether in the house or in the garden: what is important, is that the dog can exercise. They can live a life of city-dwelling in an apartment but only if their masters make themselves available enough to regularly let the dog outside into open spaces.
Need for exercise / Sporty
Physical activity must play a large part in the daily life of this hunting dog. It is very important to let the dog outside several times a day to use up energy.
If you do not hunt, various activities linked to tracking would be recommended.
Additionally, even the miniature Portuguese Podengo can accompany their master in their sporting activities like canicross for example.
Having great endurance, while being sporty and very lively, this dog, whatever the size, can excel in numerous activities due to their enthusiasm and intelligence.
Travelling / easy to transport
Depending on their size, journeys and transport will be relatively easy. The miniature size, weighing only around 11 lbs cause generally no problems. However, for the large version of the dog, which can reach 66 lbs, access to public transport can sometimes be challenging, even if this dog size remains relatively average.
Portuguese Warren Hound and cats
If these two species were raised together, cohabitation can work, but beware of the dog’s hunting instincts, which can become dangerous for the cat.
Portuguese Warren Hound and dogs
Often raised in a litter, if this dog has the possibility to develop and reinforce their canine instincts from the youngest age, getting along with their peers will be easy. In fact, it is advised against raising the dog in isolation.
Portuguese Warren Hound and children
If the dog learns how to spend some time with children from a young age and they in-turn, learn to communicate respectfully with the dog, the Portuguese Warren Hound can absolutely cohabitate alongside children.
Portuguese Warren Hound and the elderly
Beware, these dogs are very active, it is therefore recommended against imposing isolation upon them. The dog’s masters must be sufficiently dynamic, even sporty to meet their needs.
The price of a Portuguese Warren hound varies depending on their origins, variety, age and gender. There is no reliable information that outlines the cost of acquisition for a puppy registered with the KC, particularly due to the breed’s very weak representation, especially in their home country.
The average budget needed to support the needs of a dog of this size, varies of course with size. One would have to spend around £20 a month for the smaller size, £30 for the medium size and £40 for the largest.
The short and smooth coated variety requires much less maintenance than the long and wired coated variety. Regular brushing (at least twice a week) is necessary to maintain the quality of the dog’s coat.
Upon returning from walks, especially in the forest or after a hunting session, the Portuguese Warren Hound’s body must be inspected for any potential infections caused by an injury or a parasite.
This dog experiences moderate hair loss, which becomes more significant during molting periods. During they must be brushed more frequently.
Nutrition of the Portuguese Warren Hound
This dog is absolutely not difficult to please; you must simply be mindful of providing the right quantity of portions relative to the size of the dog and their daily activity.
Croquettes of premium quality will suffice, offered each evening, in the right quantity. However, if the masters have enough know-how and time to prepare balanced meals based around raw meat, cereals and fresh vegetables, this primitive dog will eat what is in their bowl with great pleasure.
Health of the Portuguese Warren Hound
The estimated life expectancy is 13 years.
Strong / robust
Like all primitive types, the Portuguese Podengo is a rustic and very robust dog.
Their origins mean this dog won’t suffer in the heat; they’re used to warm climates.
Despite the thin nature of their fur, the Portuguese Warren Hound shows itself to be very robust, even in the face of poor weather conditions.
Tendency to put on weight
Obesity is not a concern for these active dogs, unless of course they do not get sufficient exercise.
The Portuguese Warren hound generally has very solid health, they do not suffer from any hereditary diseases specific to the species.