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The national dog of Portugal gains nod from AKC - Part one

Podengo poses for the camera
Podengo poses for the camera
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

This year the American Kennel Club has accepted three new breeds: The Chinook (the national dog of New Hampshire), The Rat Terrier and The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno. Each breed will make its debut at The American Kennel Club’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Monday evening, February 10th from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on C-NBC and Tuesday evening, February 11th from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on USA Network.

The Podengo comes in three sizes: Grande (large), Medio (medium) and Pequeno, (small) and two coat types; smooth and wire hair. The Pequeno weighs between nine to thirteen pounds and stands eight to twelve inches high. The smooth hair coats are harder to come by.

Upon first glance, these dogs appear to be terriers, but they are in fact, hounds. Their expressions are alert and intelligent; they seem to be up for anything and everything. They are athletic and intrepid. Primarily, they are rabbit hunters, but also lure coursers, agility and flyball masters.
An ancient hound – Podengo means a Mediterranean Primitive Hound – the breed is steeped in history. “Appearing in art and literature as early as the eleventh century,” the Pequenos also traveled aboard the ships of Magellan and Vasco da Gama, thus keeping the vessels free of vermin. Underscoring such history, the Podengos appear in an eleventh century Bas Relief at the Church of Sao Joao Baptista in Tomar, Portugal.

Marilyn Piurek of Old Saybrook, CT. brought the very first registered Pequeno to America in 2001. The dogs she pioneered sound like uncomplicated, very healthy and happy little characters who can live up to their late teens. Their name could very well be Personality Plus Portuguese Podengo Pequenos! When asked to choose one word to describe the breed, she chose the word robust.

Upcoming: Part two: Meet the Amercian pioneer of the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno