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The Ibizan Hound

Ibizan Hound

The Ibizan Hound

Ibizan Hound history has its roots in the time of the Pharaohs where both paintings and sculptures of the Anubis represent an ancestor to the Ibizan Hound, the Pharaoh Hound, and the other Podenco breeds. These go back as far as 3400 BCE. A painting on a sarcophagus showing a red and white prick-eared dog is unmistakably this breed. The various Podencos were spread throughout the Mediterranean by Phoenician sea traders.

500 BCE Anubis sculpture from the Houston Museum of Natural History

The Ibizan Hound is named for the island of Ibiza, one of the Balearic Islands off the east coast of Spain. There, and on neighboring Majorca, the breed stayed pure for more than 2,000 years, honed its rabbit hunting ability, and worked to put food on the table. The dogs still hunt on their native islands and elsewhere.

Since our first imports in the 1950s, Ibizan Hound popularity has grown in the United States. The breed achieved full AKC recognition in 1979. Ibizans are loving pets, sweet with each other and their families. Even adult Ibizans are known for their clownish behavior, although the highest titles of Obedience competition have been reached. They particularly excel in Lure Coursing where strong prey drive, speed, and athleticism are rewarded.

Nice wire, show pose

For judges, our Breed Standard does a good job of guiding your choices in the ring: “clean-cut lines, large prick ears and light pigment give it a unique appearance,” “bred for thousands of years with function being of prime importance,” “lithe and racy,” and “deerlike elegance combined with the power of a hunter.” These phrases from the General Appearance section of our Standard give the impression you should get when a great example walks into your ring.

Moving with lift.

Characteristic of Ibizan Hound type is our unique front construction and the movement that results from it. Here are the key statements in our Standard:

  • A rather upright upper arm. The shoulder blades are well laid-back.
  • The elbow is positioned in front of the deepest part of the chest.
  • The deepest part of the chest, behind the elbow, is nearly to, or to, the elbow.
  • The chest is deep and long, with the breastbone sharply angled and prominent.
  • The brisket is approximately 2½ inches above the elbow.
  • A suspended trot with joint flexion when viewed from the side.

“Joint flexion” and a “rather upright upper arm” are not excuses for lack of efficient movement or for unsoundness. The Ibizan is an athletic hunter. Its front is designed to gallop and trot high, an adaptation to hunting effectively in high brush and rough terrain. Our breed still has good reach in the front, they just do it with lift.

Nice head and ears

At first, we only had smooth-coated dogs in the United States, but now we have handsome wire coats as well. Our Standard describes the wire coat as 1 to 3 inches in length and (like the smooth coat) hard in texture. We run the full range from smooth, to a mix of smooth and wire, to fairly tight wire coats, and out to lush-coated examples. All are just fine. Our coat just needs to protect the dogs in its hunting activities in high brush. Part of why we have a range of coats is because we breed one breed, mixing wires and smooths with the goal of producing the most athletic, soundest, and most attractive hounds.

Ibizans have amazing ears, stunning eye color, and striking self-colored pigment. We want an ear which is more wide open than simply triangular. Our old Standard described the ears as an “elongated rhomboid truncated at 1/3 of its longer diagonal.” That was perhaps a little too much like a high school geometry lesson, but it did describe an ear which was more than simply “large and pointed.” Our Standard asks for an ear which is 2½ times as tall as its width at the base. Those are the big ears we want to see! On the other hand, it does our breed a disservice when judges make the competition into seeing who can hold their ears up the longest. We need judges to judge the athletic hunter under the ears.

Parti-colored dog