Photo courtesy of the American Kennel Club. From the February 2019 Issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe.
The Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a rustic breed that is to be shown in it's natural state. However, they are also a hunting breed that runs through thick brush and cover, so a wire coated dog may have quite a bit of hair pulled out by the branches, thorns and thickets. Smooth coated Pequenos do not lose much hair while hunting, but may show honor scars, from scratches and minor injuries.
When preparing your smooth Pequeno for show, make sure the nails are trimmed and the teeth and ears are clean. A quick wipe, with a soft cloth, will remove any dust and debris from the short dense coat. The white legs may be chalked, to accentuate the depth of color on the rest of the dog. Make sure to brush out excess chalk.
A wire Pequeno takes a bit more work, to get show ready. First, it is important to remember the wire coat is supposed to be harsh. Bathing a wire coat will soften that coat. Ideally, if you must bathe the wire dog, do it a week in advance. This gives the coat a chance to “regain” the natural texture. A good coat does not need product, to make it feel harsh.
There is no trimming in this breed. Remember, the Standard states that if a dog has been scissored or clipped, it is not to be considered for a ribbon. This is a part of the Standard the judges should take very seriously. Shaved ears, a sculpted dog and tightly trimmed feet, for example, do not deserve a ribbon. Combing and pulling, to neaten up the dog, is perfectly acceptable.
Common places to pull hair on your Pequeno may be the elbows, general body area and under the tail. The feet can grow enough hair to look sloppy, but the coat is easy to pull. Be patient and give your dog some breaks. You can eventually make those feet look much better. The final place I might recommend pulling hair is off the ears. Sometimes, the dog is very clean pointed and the ears never grow much hair. There are those dogs that may need quite a bit of hair pulled off the ears. Over time, this hair may not grow back so vigorously. Again, you may chalk your dog, so the color is more distinct, but this is your option. Again, brushing out
When you enter the ring, you can hard stack or free stack your dog. There is no rule for this. Do what is best for your dog. The tail can be held up, but this is not necessary. As the dog moves, the tail should come up, in a sickle or saber shape. When the Pequeno is relaxed, the tail will hang down, between or behind the rear legs, without being tucked. A tucked tail is the sign of a nervous or scared dog.
Ideally, the ears are up and forward toward the handler. An alert dog may turn its ears toward a noise it hears, a pinned ear is not ideal, because it shows the dog may be spooked or nervous.
Finally, moving your dog. Remember they are to have “a light trot, easy and agile movements”. Fast and racing around the ring is not called for. There is no need for a lot of reach and drive. This breed covers ground easily, efficiently, and lightly. They do not go through wide open fields, rather dense brush, so do not need big, open movement.
This breed is lovely and funny. Allow those bright personalities to show through. They are very willing to do as they are asked, even if it's in exchange for some cheese, liver, or steak. Go enjoy your little dog and remember, they may enjoy embarrassing you, as the leap around the ring, in joy.