5 Facts about Podencos
My site is called My White Podenco, and I keep mentioning that word! To people in Spain it won’t be much of a mystery, but it’s easy for me to forget that to the rest of the world, Podencos are relatively unknown. Therefore, as an introduction to an ancient, amazing and often undervalued breed, here are 5 facts about Podencos:
1. There is no such thing as “The Podenco”.
The Podenco breed knows several variations. Podenco varieties are often named according to the geographical area in which they are found. The most common types in Spain are the Podenco Andaluz (Andalusian Hound), the Podenco Ibicenco (Ibizan Hound) and the Podenco Canario (Canary Islands Hound). The dwarf version of the Podenco Andaluz, called the Podenco Maneto, and of the Podenco Canario, the Podenco Enano are also frequently seen. Less common in large parts of Spain, but more so around where I live, is the Podenco Orito, originating in the province of Málaga.
Different types of Podencos have their own significant looks.
The Podenco Andaluz comes in 3 sizes (small, medium and large) and a combination of 4 coat variations (long, short, smooth, wired). The coats are a combination of chestnut colour and white. The same variations apply to the Podenco Maneto, but with their stocky, dachshund-like bodies they are available in size small only 😉
The Podenco Canario and Enano are very similar to the Podenco Andaluz, but slightly smaller.
The Podenco Ibicenco is originally from the island of Ibiza, and is a large Podenco variety. Like its Andalusian counterpart, the coat of the Ibicenco is a combination of white and chestnut smooth or wired hair. The Podenco Ibicenco has characteristic amber coloured eyes.
The Podenco Orito gets its name from the Spanish word for gold, “oro”. These dogs have a chocolate brown or black coat with gold coloured patches, however they may not have their coat to thank for their name. The Podenco Orito was once seen as the creme de la creme of rabbit hunters, and it is possible that they were referred to as “golden” because of their qualities, rather than their colour.
2. All Podencos have big ears.
No matter which variety of Podenco you encounter, there is one thing that bonds them all: Their large, upright ears.
3. Podencos are sighthounds, primarily used for hunting.
Despite their massive ears, sight is the Podenco’s primary sense to hunt. The Podenco has a strong hunting instinct and was originally bred to hunt small game such as rabbits, but they have been known to be used to hunt game as large as a wild boar.
Most Spanish hunters don’t view Podencos as their pets, or even as a living being. Podencos are perceived as tools that can be replaced or discarded when no longer needed, when the hunting season is over or if the dog is not performing up to standard. The animals are often kept in very poor living conditions, on the brink of starvation, as it is believed this makes them better hunters.
4. Podencos are an ancient breed.
Podencos are considered by most experts to be one of the most ancient dog breeds. It is believed the Ibizan Hound evolves from the tesem, the ancient Egyptian hunting dog. Representations of this dog on the walls of ancient tombs show a striking similarity to the modern Ibizan Hound.
5. Podencos have a long life expectancy of around 12-14 years.
One of the most powerful statistics I have come across relates to the Podenco’s life expectancy. Why? You would say 12-14 years is not bad, for a dog – but this is not the issue. The issue is that Podencos in Spain rarely reach 4 years old, and therein lies the problem…
It is a disgrace that an in history so well respected dog gets treated with such lack of respect in what are supposed to be more civilised times. The Podenco is one of the oldest breed of Spanish hound, yet one of the most abused.
This post serves as a short introduction to the Podenco breed and the situation they are put in by the hunters. You will find out more about the plight of the Podencos in my future posts.