The Ibizan Hound dog breed is a distinctive-looking member of the Hound Group with a highly evolved sense of scent. They are excellent at tracking small game, but they often do this with a lot of barking, unlike most other scenthounds that generally work quietly. Even though these dogs like nothing better than being out in the field hunting, they are well-mannered and quiet while indoors. This, as well as their devotion to their family, makes them great housedogs and companions for people with an active lifestyle.
The Ibizan Hound is an ancient breed named after the Ibiza island in the Balearic Archipelago in the Western Mediterranean Sea. These dogs are very similar in appearance to the Pharaoh Hounds and the dogs featured in the ancient Egyptian sculptures. They are thought to have been brought into the Balearic Islands by Phoenician traders.
The breed remained purebred over a long period due to their isolation. They did not suffer intermixing with other breeds, and maintained their ancient looks and other characteristics even though the islands came under several rulers over the centuries.
When the Ibizan Hounds were first introduced into the United States in the 1950s, their distinctive appearance received immediate attention. The breed became popular among dog enthusiasts, and got the recognition of the American Kennel Club in 1979. In spite of the interest they generated, these dogs were never bred in large numbers. Even today, they remain one of the rarer breeds in the country.
The Ibizan Hound is a lean, athletic-looking hound that measures anything between 22 inches and 29 inches in height. In spite of their extreme leanness, these dogs have a strong and sturdy skeletal structure. They typically weigh 45 to 65 pounds. The most striking feature of this dog is their large ears that stand upright on top of their head, giving them a perpetually alert look. They have a long and narrow muzzle, and a thin, long tail that extends beyond the hocks.
Most Ibizan Hounds have a short, smooth coat, but there’s a wire-coated version too. The wire coat may have hair as long as 1 to 3 inches. The color of the coat is red and white with some tan color. The limbs and the tip of the tail are typically white.
The Ibizan Hounds are active, energetic dogs that can run very fast and hunt prey in all types of terrain. An interesting fact is that the females are better at this job, and that packs consisting mainly of female dogs, with just one or two males, are preferred for hunting.
These dogs have an independent nature bordering on stubbornness, but they can be trained with positive reinforcements to be obedient. Being good with children and easygoing with other dogs, the Ibizan Hounds make good family pets. They are good as watch dogs too, as they will bark at anything out of the ordinary.
These dogs need plenty of space to run about, and lots of daily activity to be happy and contented. They are not exactly suitable for apartments or small city homes. It is better to give this dog a free run in large, secure yards with high walls as they are excellent escapists. They are known to run off and stay away from home for a long time. However, if they are familiar with the neighborhood, they may return on their own after a period.
Grooming and exercise
The short, smooth coat of the Ibizan Hound dog breed requires very little grooming. A light brushing once in two weeks is more than enough. But the wire-coated Ibizan Hounds obviously require more frequent grooming.
These hunting dogs need vigorous activity, preferably long runs to keep them in good shape. They should ideally have frequent opportunities to sprint freely at great speed, which is possible only in wide open spaces in the country. Since these dogs are known to take off after a scent and not return for several days, it is not safe to let them off the leash except in a large fenced in yard.
Even though these hounds love spending time outdoors, they are not suitable for living outdoors. They should be allowed to spend the nights indoors with the family. They cannot tolerate cold, but can withstand heat to some extent.
Common health issues of Ibizan Hound dog breed
The Ibizan Hound dog breed is generally free of major health issues. They may have some eye problems such as cataracts and retinal dysplasia, and a few dogs may be born deaf. An inheritable neurodegenerative disorder called axonal dystrophy is occasionally encountered in this breed. These dogs are prone to allergies and seizures too. Their average life expectancy is 12 to 14 years.