Breed Group: Hound
The sleek, elegant Ibizan (ah-BEETH-in) Hound is a quiet, clean and gentle dog that is reasonably playful, mild-mannered and even-tempered. They have a sweet disposition and are undemanding. They are among the best dogs with children and respectful with strangers. Inside they are busy dogs while a puppy but slow down as adults. Although they get along peacefully with other dogs, because they were originally bred to hunt small animals, they will pursue small pets. Cats raised with them are regarded as part of the “family pack,” but they may chase (and catch) unfamiliar cats. They need a great deal of exercise including an opportunity to run at least once a day. When outside Ibizan Hounds should be kept on-lease or in a fenced yard, otherwise they are likely to follow their sighthound instincts to hunt. But a superb jumper, fences must be at least six feet high. Fastidious, they clean themselves in a cat-like fashion. Beware of their ability as “counter surfers”. They can even reach the top of the refrigerator.
Although larger, the Ibizan Hound is similar to the Pharaoh Hound. Graceful and light on his feet, Ibizan Hounds are deer-like in appearance and movement. There are three coat varieties: smooth-haired, long-haired, and wire-haired. The smooth-haired is by far the most common while the long-haired is exceedingly rare. The wire-haired has a longer coat than the other two with rough hair. Colors may be white and red, white and tan, or solid white or red. Standing 22.5 – 27.5 inches tall and weighing 45 to 50 pounds, they are a desert breed so they do not tolerate cold well. Watch their ears to make sure they do not freeze on winter outings. Strangely, they have only a moderate ability to withstand heat.
The Ibizan Hound needs at least moderate socialization to ensure they do not become shy. Although he has a mind of his own, they learn quickly and enjoys obedience and agility activities. He needs a calm but persuasive trainer. Emotionally sensitive, verbal directions are more effective than physical corrections. Ibizan Hounds can be trained to participate in many sports, including lure coursing, hunting, tracking, obedience, and agility. They are usually easy to housebreak. With all their desirable traits it is too bad they can not be recommended for an inexperienced dog owner.
Ibizan Hounds are at risk for axonal dystrophy, a serious degenerative nerve disease. Any puppy purchased should come with the results of genetic testing showing them clear of the condition. Other health issues affecting the breed include Hypothyroidism, Cardiomyopathy, Epilepsy, deafness, and genetic shyness. Sensitive to anesthetics, vaccines, and chemicals, additional care must be taken when he is medicated or sedated. Their lifespan is 11-14 years.
The breed is ranked 133rd of all American Kennel Club breeds in popularity with fewer than 200 dogs registered annually. The Ibizan Hound is the rarest of the sighthounds; expect to be placed on a waiting list for a puppy.
The Ibizan Hound probably shares a common ancestry with the Pharaoh Hound, as it closely resembles drawings of dogs found in Egyptian tombs. In ancient times it is suspected sea traders may have taken these dogs from the middle east to the Baltic Island of Ibiza, which lies off the coast of Spain, where they remained in relative isolation. The breed then became popular on these islands as a hunter of small game. The first Ibizan Hound was brought to the United States in the 1950s. The Ibizan Hound was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1979, although it remains virtually unknown to the general public.
The national (US) breed club is the Ibizan Hound Club of the United States.