What is a Podenco?
The breed is believed to be a variation on the original Ibizan Hound, otherwise know in Spanish as the Podenco Ibicenco. There are several types of Podencos, distinguished mainly by size and/or region where located. Examples are the Podenco Andaluz, Podenco Manchengo, Podenco Canario and the miniature Podenco Enano. The Podenco was originally bred to be used for hunting small game such as rabbits, but have been known to be used to hunt game as large as a wild boar. The general temperament of the Podenco is similar to the galgo and greyhounds. They are very smart, eager to please, but sometimes stubborn. They are gentle, loyal, love to relax, but love exercise and interactive playtime too. Most have an amazing ability to jump, so a secure fence is a plus!
Why they need our help.
Much like the galgos and other breeds used by Spanish hunters (galgueros), the Podenco faces a very grim life. Galgueros view their hunting dogs as a ‘tool’ and strictly as property they own. A Podenco’s life is typically spent on a short chain with no shelter from the scorching or freezing temperatures or in dark sheds sometimes packed so tightly with other dogs that they cannot even lie down. Since there is a belief among galgueros that dogs hunt better when they are hungry, the Podenco is usually starved or fed and watered just enough to keep them alive. After hunting season ends or when a Podenco is no longer useful, they face much the same fate as the galgo. They are sometimes hung or poisoned, but more often they are driven to a remote location and abandoned, sometimes being beaten, having legs broken or in one known case, having their eyes gouged out so they cannot find their way home.
Here is a link to a story of one very lucky Podenco! Sebas, a Podenco, was rescued dragging his foot in a horrible trap, from the streets of a Spanish village. He was rescued by the animal rescue organization Evolución Madrid. They tended him and fostered him. He was later adopted to France. He is a Podenco. That is an ancient dog race, older than the Pharaohs. They are found all over the Mediterranean and in Spain. Along with Galgos, they are overbred and used as hunters’ tools. Then they are discarded, shot, poisoned, hung when they are no longer required. Receiving less publicity than Galgos (Spanish greyhounds), they share the same ugly fate. They deserve our attention. Let’s all work together for all dogs.