Podengo Central

Podengo Central

A place for Podengo owners and fanciers to share information and research the breed in a topical manner. Supported by the APPMGC & APPPC


    How did Podengo type dogs thrive in so many parts of the world?

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    james ensor

    Posts : 116
    Join date : 2012-02-01
    Location : London, England

    How did Podengo type dogs thrive in so many parts of the world?

    Post  james ensor on Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:53 am

    The Podengo and the Podenco from Spain are known to have been brought to Iberia, perhaps 2,000 years ago by Roman and Phoenician ships, from the Levant. The Canaan and Pharaoh dogs still live there. Similar dogs exist in the Mediterranean islands of Ibiza, Sicily and Malta.

    The Podengo Medio and Pequeno also inhabit the Cape Verde islands. They would have been brought there by Portuguese sailors, who kept them on their ships to keep down rats.  Perhaps the first American Podengos came via the Cape Verde islands as whalers out of New Bedford, Mass regularly recruited seamen, there. Perhaps some brought their dogs, with them.

    The Basenji which lives in the Congo basin is also a Podengo look-alike. The former Portuguese colony of Sao Tome and Principe and the Spanish former colony of Equatorial Guinea lie close to the mouth of the Congo, where Portuguese settled in the Fifteenth century. The Pariah dog of India is also similar, and the Portuguese had a colony at Goa on the south-west coast, from 1498 onwards, when Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route.

    Finally the New Guinea singing dog living high in the mountains of the Pacific island, north of Autralia is a dead ringer for the Podengo Medio.  West Papua, the western half of the island of New Guinea was also a Portuguese colony. Amazingly enough both Canaan dogs and the New Guinea singing dog have thick white lines up their chest towards their backs, which are best described as apron strings. So does Maria, a Cape Verde Podengo medio.

    We know that the Cape Verde Podengos arrived by ship: they were useful in keeping down the rats which infested all sailing ships. But perhaps dogs arrived by ship in many Portuguese colonies. English dogs certainly arrived in this manner in the former American colonies and Canada.

    People often suggest that the likeness exhibited by so many primitive dog types is due to the fact that dogs naturally revert to this shape, over time.  Whilst I believe that this is true, it misses the real point. That is that the Podengo is a superb survivor in a harsh environment, with scarce food. Natural selection of the strongest species would, I believe, explain the isolated colonies of Podengo type dogs in so many parts of the world, where Portuguese and Spanish sailing ships used to trade.

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