Breed of the Week: Ibizan Hound

Let me just say, I adore the ears on this dog 😍😍  “This dog” being the Ibizan Hound.  What a looker, huh?

IbizaThe Ibizan Hound is named for the island upon which it was discovered, the Balearic island of Ibiza, near Spain.  It was primarily used to hunt rabbits and other small prey.  Hunters kept Ibizan Hounds in packs comprised mostly of females as the females were considered the better hunters.

TesemIn many circles, the Ibizan Hound is thought to be one of the most ancient breeds, having descended from an Egyptian hunting dog called the tesem.  This lineage, however, has not been confirmed in any studies, although author Heidi G. Parker recently stated that with the right tools, they would likely find the lineages of many dog breeds, such as the Ibizan Hound, can be traced back to ancient breeds.

In modern culture, Ibizan Hounds excel in lure coursing, agility, obedience, conformation, and tracking.  As might be expected, they are also wonderful family companions.  Playful, intelligent, and even silly, Ibizan Hounds do well in families with children.  They are affectionate with their family and will cuddle on the couch or bed with them, but they are generally reserved around strangers and prefer to keep to themselves until they know and accept the person into their family pack.

Wood fenceLike other sight hounds, Ibizan Hounds need a securely fenced yard to play in with a fence that’s at least 6 feet tall.  Why so tall?  Ibizan Hounds are known for being able to jump quite high from a complete stand still.  They’ve also been known to climb, escape from crates, and even open baby gates and latches.  Just to be safe, I suggest wood slat fencing, rather than chain link as they might just decide to climb that.  They should never be let off leash outside a securely fenced area as their high prey drive will cause them to chase after cats, squirrels, rabbits, kids on bikes, blowing leaves, etc.  Their high prey drive can blind them to dangers like speeding trucks, cars, and motorcycles.  If they do escape the yard, though, fear not; most know where home is and will eventually return.

Their ability to jump high from a stand still also makes them notorious counter surfers.  Food should not be left down with these hopping little thieves around.  Even if one puts the food up high, it’s likely the Ibizan will find a way to get to it (reminds me of our little black devil, Nanu, who can sniff out food or bones no matter where they’ve been hidden!).

Bred for speed more than stamina, Ibizan Hounds require only a couple 20-30 minute walks or jogs daily and are quite content even in an apartment if given enough exercise.  Ibizan Hounds enjoy being able to run freely at full speed and should be allowed to do so in a securely fenced area like a dog park or large yard.

Ibizan Hounds get along well with most dogs, especially if socialized at a young age, and can do well with cats if they’re raised around them, although outside cats that wander into their territory are considered fair game.  They most likely would not do well with other small house pets like rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, rats, and mice as they were bred for hundreds, if not thousands, of years to consider these little animals prey.

Ibizan Hounds have two coat types: shorthaired and wirehaired.  The wirehaired Ibizan Hounds may have a coat that’s 1-3 inches long and may or may not sport a mustache.  Both shorthaired and wirehaired Ibizan Hounds are easy to groom, requiring only a weekly brushing to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils.  They can range in color from white to red, with variations from yellow – called lion – to a deep red, to white and red.  Red and white is the most common of the coat colors.  Their nose and eye rims should be flesh-colored.  Any with eye rims or noses that are not flesh-colored are most likely not purebred.  Their eyes should be a striking amber color.

If you are interested in purchasing or adopting an Ibizan Hound, please do your research!  Ibizan Hounds are intelligent, active, and fun-loving dogs, but they can also be independent-minded and stubborn.  They are also sight hounds and will take any opportunity to chase after something that runs, although this behavior can be curbed inside the house if needed.  They are also escape artists and will likely test their owners’ ingenuity and patience to the limit.  Even still, if you are looking for an athletic, often silly companion that delights in entertaining you with its antics, love children and other dogs, is generally quiet but alert, and keeps you on your toes, an Ibizan Hound might be the dog for you!

Fun Fact:  On Ibiza, it is considered very bad luck to kill one’s dog – usually an Ibizan Hound – and they are, instead, released on the other side of the island so another person can “adopt” them.

Do you or have you owned an Ibizan Hound? Please tell us about him/her in the comments below! I’d love to hear about your experiences with the breed.

Have suggestions? Comment below!

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