The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a cheerful, versatile, rambunctious little dog with a strong desire to please the people he loves. However, it is an independent thinker and is naturally wary around strangers. Though they are lovable and loving, Pequenos are not lap dogs. They are tireless hunting hounds that need to actively engage with people and other animals to stay physically and mentally fit. They should be treated like the bright, active animals that they are. This is not to say that they are stodgy. To the contrary, Podengo Pequenos are known for their silliness. They run around the house with wild abandon, jumping onto and banking off of furniture and engaging in any number of other amusing antics. They become very attached to their owners, are patient with children and make terrific family companions. Loyal, tenacious and fearless, they also make great watchdogs.
Portuguese Podengo Pequenos are extremely high-energy animals that need lots of time and space to stretch their legs so that they, and their owners, stay sane. These superb athletes love to frolic outdoors and if they aren’t regularly used for rabbit hunting, their owners will need to find other outlets for their energy. Because of their instinctive propensity to chase anything small and moving, they should be exercised on-leash or in a securely fenced area for their own safety. Podengo Pequenos are fast, strong and ready to tackle almost any physical activity. Agility, lure coursing and flyball are natural matches for Podengo Pequenos, given their low-set bodies, speed and stamina, mental focus, drive and determination and natural nimbleness. Despite their hunting heritage, Podengo Pequenos should not live outdoors full-time, as they don’t do well with seasonal temperature changes or unsettled weather. The best balance is an indoor living environment, a fully fenced yard where they can roam and run freely, and plenty of outdoor outings.
The Podengo Pequeno is a very bright breed and is easy to train. Reward-based techniques, using positive reinforcement rather than harsh verbal or physical corrections, makes teaching these dogs standard obedience commands a breeze. Training them to do things that exploit their physical prowess is another good strategy. Recall training is important for all dogs, but a reliable recall is especially important for this independent, sometimes willful breed. Podengo Pequenos’ independence and intelligence should be harnessed and focused, not suppressed.
Podengo Pequenos tend to be a bit barky, especially when they are excited or want to draw their owner’s attention to something they find interesting. This can be a problem in tight urban environments or other crowded neighborhoods. Pequenos should stay on-leash whenever they are in open areas, for their own safety. If they don’t get enough exercise, these dogs can become bored and potentially destructive. Because this is a primitive breed that retains deep natural instincts, food guarding can be an issue. Some Podengo Pequenos suffer from separation anxiety, especially when they bond strongly with one person in the household.