Whippets became very popular in the North of England where they were used to catch hares and rabbits and to keep down rats on farmland. A light, narrow astonishingly fast dog, they have been timed at 35mph. Their running is helped by their gait known as double suspension, which means that all four legs are off the ground twice in each stride, once when they are fully extended and again when they are fully bent. I have not noted this feature in any Podengo Medio that I have seen although they can run exceptionally fast and love to leap over low obstacles. Their ability to jump from a standing start is not far short of that of a whippet. I would put it at about 5 feet. with an amazing ability to balance on a narrow windowsill after the leap. What is unusual about the podengo rear leg structure is that in recline its main joint can be pointed out from the body in a vee, leaving the rear paws either under the body or projecting out on the wrong side. The front legs also spread easily to a 60 degree split. Perhaps this accounts for their remarkable agility and ability to turn on a dime (english phrase is sixpence).
English whippets first arrived in Massachussets with the English millhands who came to work the cotton mills. Somewhat later the podengos arrived with Portuguese sailors to the same state. American and Canadian whippets are now substantially larger than British ones.
The Irish Lurcher developed for similar reasons in Ireland, then under the same laws as England. Only the landlords were permitted to keep Irish Wolfhounds, much prized for their ability to catch large prey such as deer. The peasants and smallholders instead kept Lurchers, which were smaller and often a cross between a Wolfhound and other breeds.
Like the Podengo both whippet and lurcher were bred freely by poorer people on the farms, often crossing with
other dog types. The aim was to produce good rabbit hunters rather than to meet breed standards, just as with the podengo. Thus all three dogs can be found in a wide variety of colours and coats, from wire to smooth.
What is perhaps most intriguing is that the whippet is believed to have originated with the Egyptian Pharaoh dog, also kept to hunt small game. This dog is also thought to be the direct ancestor of the podengo. Like the podengo the other dogs are known for their loving nature, astonishing sense of smell and ability also to hear their prey at some distance. They are called sighthounds, but whilst the greyhound certainly chases an object that it can see, the podengo medios that I have met generally start with an initial bout of sniffing the ground, like a bloodhound. They are able to smell lizards concealed in thick heather and small crabs burrowed into holes, without any difficulty at all. As for seagulls, they will chase them hopelessly for hours looking up at the fleeing bird some 10-20 feet above them.