| Kip Bergstrom
The Portuguese Podengo is one of the world’s oldest dog breeds. It has not changed greatly from dogs brought by the Phoenicians and Romans to the Iberian Peninsula over 2,000 years ago, rabbit and boar hunters of Middle Eastern and Egyptian origin already centuries old as a breed when they arrived. The Moorish Invasion in the 8th Century brought another strain across North Africa that influenced the type. During the 2,000 years of the breed’s development in Portugal, the Portuguese let nature take its course, simply selecting in each generation the dogs that proved to be the best in the hunt. Nature has made it a dog of strength, balance, proportion and moderation…a functional, rustic dog without exaggeration or artifice, arguably a more natural version of the dog that first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula so long ago.
Portuguese Podengos are versatile, multi-sensory hunters. In addition to their sharp vision, they have large, highly mobile prick ears, giving them keen hearing to find game in the brush. The Portuguese Podengos also use their hearing to triangulate on the game by calling to each other as they surround it, using a singing yelp called “the Maticar” (“the Cry of the Kill” or “the Thrill of the Hunt”). The Portuguese Podengo has an acute sense of smell as well, with which it can track game. They are built for a combination of speed, endurance and agility.