The Ibizan hound is an old and uncommon breed that has adapted well to modern times. Bred to be a rabbit hunter, the athletic Ibizan makes a great companion that relishes playtime. The dog is very sensitive, however, and requires a gentle, loving hand to thrive. The American Kennel Club accepted the Ibizan in 1979 in the Hound Group.
History and Origin
The Ibizan is one of the oldest purebred dogs in history. Although widely believed to originate in ancient Egypt, the Ibizan is named after a Balearic island, Ibiza, off of the coast of Spain. Ancient Phoenician traders were said to have moved from Egypt to the Balearic Islands, bringing Ibizans with them. It is said that the great general Hannibal was accompanied by an Ibizan as he crossed the Alps in the 8th century.
This charming dog quickly spread to mainland Spain and France. Also known as the Charnique, the Balearic Dog, Ca Eibisenc, and the Podenco Ibicenco, Ibizans have the ability to move swiftly and quietly. Like other ancient breeds, they use sight, sound and smell to track their game.
Today, Ibizans are used as retrievers, hunters and companions.
The Ibizan hair coat can be wiry, smooth or long. The coat should be red and white, with varying shades of red, no other colors are acceptable. Large, erect ears make these hounds stand out in a crowd. Their noses are flesh colored, and tend to be sensitive to sunburn.
The Ibizan body is long, lean and muscular. With a sculpted head and neck, they are often described as statuesque. Ibizan hounds have very little fat.
The average Ibizan stands between 22 and 29 inches, and weighs between 42 and 55 pounds.
Ibizans can be sensitive to strangers unless very well socialized, but they don't tend to show aggression. They are more likely to hide until the stranger is gone. They are very affectionate and loyal, and tend to be even tempered with their owners.
These hounds are exceptionally playful. They are constantly inventing new games, and turn just about anything into a toy. Once rules are made clear, Ibizans love nothing more than to obey their owners.
Ibizans do have an aversion to sudden movements. They are sensitive to harsh punishment, and will often cry loudly when yelled at. Only positive reinforcement is effective when handling these emotional creatures.
Home and Family Relations
These dogs make excellent companions. They are especially good with children, given their constant need to play. They are affectionate with other animals, including small dogs and cats.
When introducing a small animal into a household with an Ibizan, it is always recommended that initial meetings be supervised. As with many sight hounds, small pets may be considered fair game until they are recognized as part of the pack.
Ibizans are not well suited for chilly weather. They appreciate a soft, warm bed. If you let one of these guys sleep in your bed once, you have a sleeping partner for life. They have a tendency to choose a bed buddy and keep it.
Ibizans are highly intelligent dogs. They happily respond to rewards and patience. These dogs do not tolerate physical handling. They are very sensitive to touch and loud, sudden noises. The clicker method has been reported to be the most successful plan for obedience training.
When housing an Ibizan, fenced-in areas are mandatory. Ibizans can clear a small fence with minimal effort; therefore, the fence should be at least 6 feet high. They should never be allowed to run off leash; they will chase anything that catches their eye.
As with many sighthounds, Ibizans can be sensitive to some anesthetics and medications.
A sweater or coat is recommended in cold climates.
Common Diseases and Disorders
Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland does not function adequately. Without enough thyroid hormone, illness can occur.
Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that develops between the ages of 2 and 5 years.
Immune mediated hemolytic anemia is a serious blood disorder than results in profound anemia.
Von Willebrand's Disease is a blood disorder resulting in clotting problems.
Glaucoma is a painful and serious condition that causes pressure within the eye to increase. It can lead to blindness if not treated early.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a heart condition that results in a large, thin walled heart muscle.