The Ibizan Hound (also known as the Podenco Ibicenco, Ibizan Warren Hound and Ca Eivessenc) is a native of the Balearic Islands, particularly the island of Ibiza, which lie off the coast of Spain. There is some confusion as to how this breed originated. Many authorities claim it as an ancient breed, and indeed Egyptian artefacts dating back nearly 6000 years depict dogs of very similar type. However, recent research by geneticist Dr. Elaine Ostrander (University of Washington) using DNA analysis suggests that the Ibizan Hound is of more recent date and its resemblance to the ancient hounds is either a coincidence of breeding for function or a deliberate attempt to re-create the dogs of antiquity. Whatever its antecedents the Ibizan was developed as a hunter of small game, particularly rabbit, and possesses all the finely-tuned senses of an efficient hunter: keen eyesight, acute hearing and a well-developed sense of smell. Hunting either alone or in a pack it can flush, point, has the ability to leap high in the air whilst running at speed in order to sight its quarry and it will retrieve game to hand, all of which make it a versatile and useful hunting companion. Often described as deer-like in its grace and elegance this is one of the rarer breeds of hounds but is slowly gaining favour both as a pet and show dog.
The affectionate and kindly nature of the Ibizan hound make him a most pleasant family companion. He is extremely devoted to his owners and delights in their company. This need for human contact, plus the fact that he is physically unable to cope with cold weather, means he is quite unsuited to living outside in a kennel. As a house dog he is quiet and clean and he should be treated as a valued member of the family and included in as many activities as possible. He is good with children and will join in any games with enthusiasm. While his love for, and loyalty to, his people is unbounded he can be reserved with strangers and protective of his home. This wariness should never take the form of overt aggression, rather he will display an aloof watchfulness until he is certain that there is no potential threat from the ‘intruders’ and then he is more likely to disregard them than to fawn and push for attention. He is a very sensitive dog and needs a tranquil and harmonious environment as he will pick up on and become stressed by tensions and arguments within the family. Loud, angry voices, especially if directed at him, will cause him the most abject misery. With other dogs he is generally peaceable and he will accept cats if raised with them. However he is a born hunter so caution is necessary with all small pets and wildlife. His astounding ability to jump great heights without a run-up (he can easily clear 1.5 metres/5 feet from a standing start) makes high-than-average garden fencing essential for his safety. For families or individuals who can provide the necessary exercise, training and companionship the Ibizan Hound is a fine choice.
As with many of the hounds the Ibizan requires a considerable amount of exercise. Two long, brisk, daily walks are the minimum needed to keep him in shape and to provide him with mental stimulation. Off-lead exercise is not recommended unless it can be undertaken in a secure area as it is his nature to chase anything that runs from him. Once hunting any inclination to recall will disappear as rapidly as he himself does and there is no chance of catching him once he reaches top gear at speeds in excess of 48 km/h (30 mph). The sport of lure coursing will satisfy his urge to run and chase and, being an extremely athletic dog, he can do well at agility.
Obedience training, the basics of which are essential for any breed, should be started at as young an age as possible. Not only will training result in a well-mannered dog who is a pleasure to live with and acceptable to society but it will also provide the Ibizan with the opportunity to use his brain and will enhance the bond between dog and owner. Intelligent and responsive to those he loves and respects he is a quick learner and a willing partner. All training should use positive reinforcement with rewards of treats and praise for good work. Harsh physical and verbal corrections will crush his sensitive soul and may break his spirit completely - leaving a dog who is scared to do anything for fear of getting it wrong or who coweringly obeys through fear of punishment. Socialization, which is the process of introducing the pup to other dogs and animals, various people, and novel sights, sounds and situations, should be commenced from a young age. Adequate socialization and training will produce a reliable adult dog ready to take his place in the world with confidence.
- eye problems
- may be sensitive to chemicals and anaesthetic agents.
Some photographs of the Ibizan Hound...