Monday, June 21, 2010

The Dogs Of Portugal

Our theme is Unity in Diversity.

One area in which there is plenty of diversity is in the dog breeds of Portugal.

Portugal has mountains, plains and a coastline. They need different types of dogs to work in each area.

The most popular breed in Portugal is the Portuguese Podengo known as the Portuguese Warren Dog.

The Podengo is the National Dog of Portugal and is featured as the logo of the Portuguese Kennel Club.

The Podengo comes in three sizes and two coat types, so there's something to please everyone.

The pequeno or small size comes in a smooth or wire haired coat.

The Podengo Pequeno is used for hunting rabbits. They grow to about 11 pounds.

The medium size or Podengo Medio is used for hunting rabbits and wild boar.

They also come in both coat types and they can reach 45 pounds.

The Podengo Grande or large size hunts deer and wild boar.

The Grande size gets to be about 65 pounds.


In the south central region a large dog is needed to guard livestock.

Rafeiro do Alentejo or the Portuguese Mastiff fits the bill.

The Mastiff weighs in around 100 pounds and has a short to medium length coat. He is a sober breed, independent and territorial.


The Cao da Serra de Aires or the Portuguese Sheepdog is a medium sized dog weighing about 40 pounds. His coat is long with no undercoat.

This breed was used to herd cattle, sheep, goats, horses and even pigs.

The Sheepdog is an intelligent and very lively breed. I see a strong resemblance to my own breed in this dog and think there were probably some common ancestors.


The Perdigueiro Portugues or Portuguese Pointer is used for hunting, especially partridge.

His coat is short and he weighs in around 60 pounds for adult males. This breed almost became extinct until a few breeders worked together to bring it back.


In the mountainous areas, a large athletic dog was needed to guard the flocks and to act as a watch dog. The Cao da Serra da Estrela is perfect.

This large (110pound) dog also known as the Estrela Mountain Dog or the Portuguese Shepherd has two coat types. The long or short coats are both thick with a dense undercoat.

This is an intelligent, calm but fearless dog and an instinctive protector of it's family.


Portugal's southernmost region, the Algarve, has a rocky coastline.

This is the area where the Cao de Agua Portugues, or Portuguese Water Dog worked alongside the fishermen on the boats. The dog is designed for swimming with a strong bone structure, is well muscled and has webbed feet.

This breed was used to pull nets, herd fish, retrieve objects that fell overboard, rescue people who fell overboard and to carry messages between boats and from boats to shore and back. They are strong swimmers.

The Portuguese Water Dog weighs between 50 and 65 pounds, though individuals may be larger or smaller. Their coats may be curly or wavy and there is no undercoat.

The Portie may be black, black and white, brown, brown and white or all white. All white dogs are not acceptable in Portugal or other parts of Europe.

In the USA the Portie is often seen in a short retriever cut, one length all over. In Europe only the lion cut, with shaved hind quarters is accepted.

This breed came close to extinction in the 1970's. Only 27 dogs were known to be in existence at that time. The breed has made an extraordinary comeback and is now perhaps the best know Portuguese breed worldwide.

The Portuguese Water Dog is an intelligent and tireless breed. They are decision makers, though you may not always agree with their decisions and they need to keep busy. They are extremely loyal and the happiest dogs I've ever known. They seldom have a bad day. I adore this breed.


How Sam Sees It said...

Wow! I sure learned a lot! Thank you!


Pippen said...

Hey! We had two friends that were Podengos... sadly they've both gone to the rainbow bridge but were fantastic to know!

Sam and Pippen

Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

Thanks so much for telling us about the Portugese breeds of dogs. We'd only heard about the Water Dog. We like the all over cut best, the lion cut looks a bit girly.

We loved looking at all the puppies, of course.

XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

parlance said...

The podengo grande reminds me of a dingo.

Maxmom said...

What a fabulously interesting post...I've not heard of most of those breeds. Thank you for the effort you have taken in the preparation of this blogpost. It was lovely to read it all.
Sending lotsaluv to you all

SissySees said...

What a great post! I'll take a small Podengo in a smooth coat to make the Knight happy. What darling faces!

LizzieJane said...

What great information. Thank you for this wonderful post.

Zona said...

WOW! Thank you for the lesson! You gave my mom puppy-fever (which is not hard to do) and now she's running off to check for her passport! ;)


Dianne said...

You are a wealth of information! It makes me want to go to Portugal. If only I didn't have an unreasonable fear of flying...and leaving the dogs! As soon as they build a bridge across the Atlantic Ocean, I'm going to buy a camper, pack up the dogs, and head across the ocean!

Rufus and Indie said...

I can't tell you how much I love this post! Portuguese breeds are so beautiful! Thank you for loving so much a Portuguese breed!
You just need to visit us! ;)

George The Lad said...

That was a very interesting post,
not to sure they look right with the loin cut.
See Yea George xxx

DEBBIE said...

Ola, que caes tao bonitos!
We recently got a puppy dog, who is 9 month... and we are completly smitten with him!


Marjie said...

Well, you surely know your Portuguese dogs. The Port. Mastiff puppy looks a lot like my Thor did as a baby, although Thor's a lot bigger as an adult. I'm not a fan of the lion cut on the PWD, but I guess it's all in what you're used to. You are a fount of information, Sue! How are your eyes?

Remington said...

Great pics and GREAT information! Thank you for sharing! I love to learn new things!

Lapdog Creations said...


♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

Very good post. We never knew there were so many different breeds of Portuguese dogs. We love how you tied in the area of the country with the need for a particular breed.

Those are some interesting haircuts on some of the water dogs:)

Thanks for sharing some very interesting information.

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Sierra Rose said...

What a great post! Thanks for our education on these amazing pooches!

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose

Thor and Jack said...

What interesting post! Thank you!

Hero said...

Yay for Portugal! Too bad you didn't mention any of the Azorean dog breeds. In the Azores the most popular farm dog/livestock guardian is the Cao de Fila de Sao Miguel. They are very intimidating looking dogs, but all the ones my family and I have met were incredibly well-trained and were amazing at their jobs. We also saw a few of Barbado da Terceira(Terceira Cattle Dog) though they don't seem to be all that popular in their island of origin. I've gotten to meet many Podengos of all sizes and Tagpi even had a sister Podengo medio for a short time. His family made sure she found a good home before they moved to Japan.

Of course, in the Azores I met quite a few Portuguese Water Dogs. I even met a PWD/Spaniel mix who was awfully cute. Thanks for this post about the country of my birth!

Maggie Mae and Max said...

What a wonderful post today! I just luvs to learn more about puppys from different countries. Portuguse puppys are great!

Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae

The Adventures of the LLB Gang said...

WOW...So much great info!! We loved learning about all the Portuguese puppies!

Smileys and Snuggles!
Dory, Jacob and Bilbo

Scout and Freyja said...

I didn't know that Portie's didn't have an undercoat. I would have thought that they would in order to keep them warm when they were in the water. Guess you learn something every day☺

Great post. I had NO idea there were so many dogs originating from Portugal.

Molly the Airedale said...

What a great post!
Each time we see the lion cut we immediately think that the doggie couldn't decide which way he wanted to go with his cut so he decided on both long and short together!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

CaladoHelena said...

It is nice to see people across the ocean trying to know more about our portuguese breeds.

You are right, but not only … there is another reason for us to have so many different breeds that is due to our history.

We had several different people occupying our territory, that goes thorough Romans, Muslims, Phoenicians, English, French, Spanish, … so, for every occupation and army coming to conquer this land, new breed of dogs came along and cross with the ones existed here.

Some of the army’s come by the Mediterranean sea, others form Africa, others from north Europe, other …

So you can see some of the different common breed traces in other world breeds.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating! Thank you.

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the many Bs said...

that's very interesting about the dogs of portugal. they are all beautiful, but our favorite is Fudge! we love your porties and have quite a bit in common with them too!


Dawn said...

Wow, I learned so much! Love it!:)

Nicki said...

cool post!