Portuguese Warren Hound (Podengo Português)

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
20 - 30 / 40 - 54 / 55 - 70
Weight (kg):
4-6 / 16 - 20 / 20 - 30
Life span (years):
yellow and fawn, with or without white markings, white with patches; black, brown, with or without white markings
average, large, small
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • playful and cheerful
  • good watchdog
  • great hunter
  • wonderful companion                           
  • requires a lot of daily exercises
  • doesn't suit for living in a small apartment

The Portuguese Warren Hound is a clever, mischievous and vigorous Sight Hound native to Portugal. It exists in three sizes and each possesses two coats varieties, wire-haired and smooth-haired, which equals six types of the breeds. This dog was developed to become an excellent rabbit hunter and vermin exterminator but today it’s also highly valued in the role of a sweet family pet.

It’s a common belief that the Portuguese Warren Hound is an offspring of the ancient Pharoah Hound, which was spread from Egypt and Asia to North Africa, and coastal regions of the Mediterranean. It was imported to the Iberian Peninsula more than two thousand years ago by Roman and Phoenician traders. The breed’s prominent features and rustic appearance had remained virtually unchanged until the VIII century when Moorish invaders introduced to this region their native dogs from Northern Africa. These dogs were mixed with the genuine Portuguese Podengo and this uncontrolled breeding worsened superb hunting skills of the breed. Nonetheless local breeders gradually removed undesirable traits that resulted from such a bad heredity by selecting for mating only best-quality specimens. In the end they produced an outstanding hunting dog that was capable of working on challenging terrains and in rigorous climatic conditions of the Portuguese territory.

The Portuguese term «Podengo» refers to the dog that is tasked to hunt in packs. It also describes very accurately the original assignment of the Portuguese Podengo. This dog was predominantly used in pack hunting on rabbits. In Portugal, this furry animal inhabits mostly rocky cracks and dense briars rather than hides in subterranean forms. The smaller variety of the breed was supposed to flush the rabbit from its concealment and the larger dog’s duty was to catch and dispatch it. It was praised for its adaptability, agility and unparalleled endurance.

In households the Portuguese Warren Hound served as a superb ratter and a mouser. During the Moorish occupation its hunting prowess alongside with profusion of rabbits in this area greatly helped to survive local human population. First depictions of the breed appeared in the Portuguese and Roman art works in the X and XI centuries. Later this dog was granted a status of the National Breed of Portugal.

The Portuguese Podengo has initially arrived to the United States in the 90s of XX century. The breed is acknowledged by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and the United Kennel Club (UKC). It was registered by the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service, which is an initial step towards its full recognition with this club. Nowadays the Portuguese Warren Hound is dispersed throughout the US where it’s mostly used as a companion dog. It’s the most popular hunting breed in its homelands but some dogs also took part incredibly successfully in agility, rally and obedience events.

The Portuguese Warren Hound is a cheerful, boisterous and smart dog with well-developed hunting instincts. It tends to cling to people and wants nothing more than to be in constant presence of its family. This affectionate frisky dog should be actively engaged in a family life since it’s prone to suffer from severe separation anxiety. It usually makes a joyful and lively friend for a child with whom it has been timely socialised.

The Portuguese Podengo expresses its natural wariness when it meets unfamiliar people. Nevertheless it can’t be described as snappy and won’t resort to violence unless intensely provoked. This dog is essentially a primitive breed with deeply ingrained primitive instincts. This means it can be really possessive and will act aggressively if someone encroaches on the stuff and food it perceives its own. Thanks to sharp outsight and permanent alertness it can be turned into a quite decent watchdog. However, the breed lacks necessary ferociousness to become a reasonable guard dog.

The Portuguese Warren Hound was developed specially for hunting in a pack and therefore it has very few issues with other dogs. It will happily share its life with one or several other canines, the more the merrier. Street animals can’t be safe around this dog because it perceives almost every moving object as a prey. But it can get used to the presence of a household cat or other pet if they have been introduced to each other since a very young age.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• legg-calve-perthes disease;
• patellar luxation.

The Portuguese Podengo is regarded as an easy-to-groom breed. The smooth-haired variety possesses a short thick coat. The wire-haired variety has a medium-length coat with natural roughness in it. On the dogs’ muzzle one can notice a dense beard. Both varieties require only weekly brushing.

In grooming of the smooth-coated Portuguese Warren Hound it’s better to apply a rubber curry brush or a hound mitt while a pin brush is probably better suited for the wire-coated one. The dog with longer hair won’t need regular trimming as it’s supposed to look a little bit unattended. It should be bathed only every three to six months or if it has been out working in the field. The breed sheds very little.

The Portuguese Podengo is a very bright and quick learner so its training won’t pose much difficulty. Due to its easy-going demeanour and willingness to please it’s rather unreasonable to use harsh disciplinary methods in the dogs’ training. In this case your Portuguese Podengo will simply refuse to follow your orders and no amount of coaxing will be enough to get its attention back to the lesson.

With reward-based techniques you can achieve much better results with this breed. The Portuguese Warren Hound eagerly soaks up new things and is capable of grasping very complicated tricks. This breed also excels in number of dog’s sports especially in obedience competitions.

The Portuguese Warren Hound is a happy lively dog, which brims with energy. To keep this dog in a good mood and healthy its owner must spend impressive amount of both time and dedication. Apart from a daily brisk walk it should have at its disposal a spacious but safely fenced yard or other area where the dog can play and roam off leash.

The Portuguese Podengo fits much better in rural surrounding since it hates being trapped in a small city apartment. This hardy dog is capable of going through virtually any physical activity no matter how challenging it is. It does pretty badly without proper amount of exercise and then it usually turns into a destructive, fidgety, aggressive and hyperactive creature.