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


    Maria visits her ancestral home

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    james ensor

    Posts : 130
    Join date : 2012-02-01
    Location : London, England

    Maria visits her ancestral home

    Post  james ensor on Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:47 am

    Maria, a Podengo Medio, was born in the Cape Verde island of Sal.  But her forebears were certainly brought from Portugal in caravels, on which they helped to keep down the rats. Portuguese sailors first arrived in the colony just as Cristoforo Colombo was "discovering" the Americas.  For her first visit to Portugal, she stayed in a farm near Lisbon. Tiny by English let alone North American standards, just a few acres or fewer hectares, it is home to ostrich, Lusitaner horses, hens, donkeys, dogs and wild cats. Brando befriended the donkey through the wire of his field. Maria`s main interest was the wild cats.


    Portuguese farmers allow their grass to grow long. By early summer it is waist height and yellow from lack of rain - a sight worthy of van Gogh when set against the drab green of the olives which are dotted through the fields.  Maria found this to be perfect cover and one day simply disappeared into it. Calls and even food appeals were disregarded for over an hour. She finally emerged only after I had almost trodden on her.


    She had been lying in wait for a wild cat to return, along one of the trails that they use through the hay stalks. She rose up and stalked away in dudgeon, obviously thinking "these humans have no clue about how to hunt." She showed no interest in hens, but when she met us in Cape Verde she had a chicken flea in her coat, indicative of prior acquaintance.

    The farm dog a small mixed breed female had five puppies. She was visited by a Podengo Pequeno from a nearby farm who came by at the right moment. So the farmer is hoping that some at least of the puppies will develop into Podengos. But at the age of a few weeks they are all running around with definitely floppy ears. The farmer enquires hopefully whether they will prick-up later into the distinctive Podengo radar scanners but it does not seem likely. He still hopes they will have enough Podengo spirit to deal with the  weasels which kill his hens at night.

    Most dogs in Portugal live in the open, summer and winter. In the country they mostly run free and in towns they are tied up in yards. In urban apartments, they live on the balconies. At night there is a massive dog chorus as one after another chained dog takes up the refrain perhaps sparked off by an intruder, such as a fox or weasel. Nobody else takes any notice but Maria would prop herself up at the low window and scan the horizon with her ears. 
     
    Maria hid again on rough ground bordering the Tagus estuary, where Portuguese grow crops of cannabis. This time we asked Brando our Labradengo to find her. He immediately put his nose to the ground and tugged at the lead trailing her in less than a minute.  She was busy on the beach, devouring old fish and as we came around the corner of a rock, she visibly jumped. The huntress does not like being hunted. On another occasion she smelled ann open-air sardine barbecue about a mile upwind. She headed off at her full speed of 25mph/40km/h. By the time that we located her, she had already gorged on sardines donated by English and Australian sailors to this poor starving dog with the funny ears..

    We have not seen many Podengos in Portugal and it cannot be said that Maria particularly warms to them. An Englishwoman at the vet had rescued a three-legged Medio.  A Portuguese couple walking their Medio puppy brought it up to greet her, but she barked at it.

    In one back yard we saw half a dozen Medios probably from a single litter, but they were locked in behind high walls. For the most part, the dogs we saw with Podengo-like features were the size of Pequenos but hard to identify definitively as Podengos. The Portuguese who opt for a pedigree dog seem to prefer a foreign breed such as a Jack Russell.

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