The Ibizan Hound, also at times in its development known as the Ibizan Warren Hound, the Ibizan Podenco, the Podenco Ibiceno, the Podenco Mallorquin, the Ivicene, the Balearic Hound, the Balearic Dog, the Balearen-Laufhund and the Galgo Hound, is an ancient breed with an exotic and highly distinctive appearance. When it spread to the Catalonia region of the Spanish mainland, it was called Ca Eivissenc or Ca Eibisenc. When it reached the south of France, it was called the Charnique, Charnihue, Charnegue, Charneque and Chien de Baleares, although the breed eventually was banned from France due to its association with poachers. It also has been called the Anubis - the "Watchdog of the Dead" - in part because a full-sized statue identical to the Ibizan Hound of today was found inside the tomb of King Tutankhamen when it was discovered in 1922. The affectionate nick-name for the breed is "Beezer." An interesting historical footnote is that according to legend, Hannibal was born on Ibiza and carried Ibizan Hounds with him on his elephants when he invaded Italy.
Ibizan Hounds were bred to hunt rabbits and other small game in packs, by means of sound as well as scent and sight, using their tall, upright ears, keen nose and elongated body built for speed. Their almost silent hunting sequence has been described as: "detect, flush, chase at 40 mph (64 kg), kill with a neck-break, and then retrieve to owner." They are unequaled in their high and broad jumping abilities. The American Kennel Club accepted the Ibizan Hound into its Stud Book in 1978, and the breed became eligible for show competition in 1979 as a member of the Hound Group.
Adult male Ibizan Hounds should be 23½ to 27½ inches at the withers and weigh about 40 pounds. Bitches range from 22½ to 26 inches measured at the same place and weigh on average 45 pounds. Their coat can be short or wire-haired, both of which are hard in texture. The only acceptable colors are any combination of white and/or red. They have been described as a Greyhound-type, prick-eared, sickle-tailed dog, with a deer-like quality in both look and temperament.
The Ibizan Hound can be traced back to approximately 3400 B.C. in ancient Egypt. Many artifacts found in tombs of pharaohs reinforce the existence of a royal dog closely resembling the modern Ibizan. Hemako of the First Dynasty (3100-2700 B.C.), Nevermat of the Fourth Dynasty (around 2600 B.C.), Tutankhamen of the Eighteenth Dynasty and the Ptolemies of the Thirtieth and final Dynasty, all have tombs containing evidence of the Ibizan's ancient ancestry. According to one AKC publication, even "Cleopatra reportedly was an ardent devotee of the Galgo [Ibizan], and her reign was the twilight of the pharaohs' time in Egypt."
In the 8th or 9th century B.C. the Phoenicians, who were well-traveled Mediterranean traders, discovered a group of Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain, one of which was Ibiza. These early sea-traders brought the ancestors of the Ibizan Hound to those islands, which have been ruled by the Egytians, Chaldeans, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals and Arabs, among others. Today, the Balearic Islands are part of Spain. The Ibizan Hound led a difficult life on those islands for many centuries, as did the islanders. The conditions were harsh and food was scarce. The hounds earned their keep by hunting hare and other small game to supplement the island's meager food resources. Only the strongest specimens survived. In the 1950s, a well known Spanish dog judge and breeder, living a short distance from Ibiza on the island of Majorca, took a strong interest in the breed and started a large but selective breeding program. With her top-quality dogs and enthusiasm for the breed, she actively promoted Ibizan Hounds throughout Europe. They rapidly spread in popularity in Europe, North America and even in Egypt, their ancestral land.
The first pair of Ibizans, Hannibal (Stop) and Certera (Tanit), arrived in Rhode Island, USA, in the middle of 1956. Their first litter was whelped that fall, producing four males and four females which, together with several other imports, formed the foundation for the American Ibizan Hound. The breed has flourished in the United States as watchdogs, hunters, show dogs and companions. The Ibizan Hound Fanciers and Exhibitors of the United States organized in the mid-1970s, and eventually became known as The Ibizan Hound Club of the United States. The parent club is extremely stringent in regulating and preserving the traits of this unique breed, including its unparalleled temperament, superior health, strong structure and resilient nature. Today's Ibizan Hound is a valued hunter, coursing dog, show dog and prized companion world-wide.
The Ibizan's average life expectancy is between 10 and 12 years. Breed health concerns may include allergies, cataracts, congenital deafness, medial canthal pocket syndrome and epilepsy.
The Ibizan Hound (nicknamed "Beezer") was developed in Ancient Egypt as a hunter of small game. They can reach top speed from a dead stop very quickly and can scale six foot fences without a running start. Beezers make excellent companion dogs as they are quiet, well mannered, independent and clean. They can be quite clownish and enjoy making harmless mischief whenever they can. Beezers have a lot of energy and need time to run, but most of the day they are content to sunbathe around the house, accepting as much affection as you are willing to give.
Though Beezers need time to gallop every week, you don't need to be a runner yourself to raise this breed, in fact even the fastest sprinters can't keep up with an Ibizan Hound. They should be taken to a dog park or better yet, enrolled in a dog club with a lure-training track where your Beezer can chase a mechanical lure at top speed. Other than their weekly runs, Ibizan Hounds are content with several walks per day to stay fit. They are fine city dwellers, as long as they are allowed to get to a park for regular sprints. Their size makes them unsuitable for small apartments, but they are graceful dogs who don't need excessive room to move around indoors, so large apartments or condos are ok spaces.
Ibizan Hounds are docile animals who should be treated gently at all times. Gentle consistency, lots of praise and treats, and and extra helping of patience are required for training. Beezers are independent animals and don't particularly have a need to please people. Their attitude toward training is, "What's in it for me?" You need to give them a reason to listen to you.
Beezers can be wary of strangers which can lead to excessive shyness or fearfulness, if left unchecked. Early and frequent socialization is required to teach the dog to accept new people and new situations are welcome.
The chasing instinct is strong in Ibizan Hounds. Cats and small dogs an be in peril if your Beezer's hunting instinct is as strong as his need to chase moving objects. Running should always happen in an enclosed area, and if you take your Beezer to the dog park, make sure there are separate areas for large and small dogs. Be aware, however, that most fences can't hold an Ibizan Hound. If he spots a bird, cat, rabbit or squirrel over a fence, he can jump it in a single bound, and often from a complete stand-still.
The Ibizan's clean-cut lines, large prick ears and light pigment give it a unique appearance. A hunting dog whose quarry is primarily rabbits, this ancient hound was bred for thousands of years with function being of prime importance. Lithe and racy, the Ibizan possesses a deerlike elegance combined with the power of a hunter. Strong, without appearing heavily muscled, the Ibizan is a hound of moderation. With the exception of the ears, he should not appear extreme or exaggerated.
In the field the Ibizan is as fast as top coursing breeds and without equal in agility, high jumping and broad jumping ability. He is able to spring to great heights from a standstill.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Size--The height of dogs is 23½ inches to 27½ inches at the withers. Bitches are 22½ to 26 inches at the withers. There is no preference for size within this range. Sizes slightly over or under the norms are not to be regarded as demerits when other qualities are good. Weight--Average weight of dogs is 50 pounds; bitches, 45 pounds. Proportion--Slightly longer than tall. Substance--The Ibizan possesses clean, fine bone. The muscling is strong, yet flat, with no sign of heaviness.
Long and narrow in the form of a sharp cone truncated at its base. Finely chiseled and extremely dry fleshed.
The Ibizan has an elegant, deer-like look. The eyes are oblique and small, ranging in color from clear amber to caramel. The rims are the color of the nose and are fully or partially pigmented. The appearance of the eye is intelligent, alert and inquisitive. The ears are large, pointed, and natural. On alert the ear should never droop, bend, or crease. Highly mobile, the ear can point forward, sideways, or be folded backward, according to mood. On alert, the lowest point of the base is at level of the eye. On frontal examination, the height of the ear is approximately 2½ times that of the widest point of the base.
Long and flat, prominent occipital bone, little defined stop; narrow brow. The muzzle is elongated, fine, and slender with a very slight Roman convex. The length from the eyes to point of nose is equal to the distance from eyes to occiput. The muzzle and skull are on parallel planes. The nose is prominent, extending beyond the lower jaw. It is of a rosy flesh color, never black or liver, and tends to harmonize with that of the coat. Pigment is solid or butterfly. Nostrils are open. Lips are thin and tight and the color of the nose. Flews are tight and dry fleshed. Bite--The teeth are perfectly opposed in a scissors bite; strong and well set.
Neck, Topline, Body
The neck is long, slender, slightly arched and strong, yet flat muscled. The topline, from ears to tail, is smooth and flowing. The back is level and straight. Body --The chest is deep and long with the breastbone sharply angled and prominent. The ribs are slightly sprung. The brisket is approximately 2-1/2 inches above the elbow. The deepest part of the chest, behind the elbow, is nearly to or to the elbow. The abdomen is well tucked up, but not exaggerated. The loin is very slightly arched, of medium breadth and well muscled. The croup is very slightly sloping. The tail is set low, highly mobile, and reaches at least to the hock. It is carried in a sickle, ring, or saber position, according to the mood and individual specimen.
Angulation is moderate. The shoulders are elastic but never loose with moderate breadth at the withers. The shoulder blades are well laid back. At the point of the shoulder they join to a rather upright upper arm. The elbow is positioned in front of the deepest part of the chest. It is well held in but not so much as to restrict movement. Legs --The forearms are very long, strong, straight, and close, lying flat on the chest and continuing in a straight line to the ground. Bone is clean and fine. The pasterns are strong and flexible, slightly sloping, with well developed tendons. Dewclaw removal is optional. Feet: hare-foot. The toes are long, closed and very strong. Interdigital spaces are well protected by hair. Pads are durable. Nails are white.
Angulation is moderate with the hindquarters being set under the body. Legs--The thighs are very strong with flat muscling. The hocks are straight when viewed from the rear. Bone is clean and fine. There are no rear dewclaws. The feet are as in front.
There are two types of coat; both untrimmed. Short--shortest on head and ears and longest at back of the thighs and under the tail. Wire-haired can be from one to three inches in length with a possible generous moustache. There is more hair on the back, back of thighs, and tail. Both types of coat are hard in texture and neither coat is preferable to the other.
White or red, (from light, yellowish-red called "lion" to deep red), solid or in any combination. No color or pattern is preferable to the other. Disqualify any color other than white or red.
An efficient, light and graceful single tracking movement. A suspended trot with joint flexion when viewed from the side. The Ibizan exhibits smooth reach in front with balanced rear drive, giving the appearance of skimming over the ground.
The Ibizan Hound is even-tempered, affectionate and loyal. Extremely versatile and trainable, he makes an excellent family pet, and is well suited to the breed ring, obedience, tracking and lure-coursing. He exhibits a keen, natural hunting instinct with much determination and stamina in the field.
Any color other than white or red.
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Sources: American Kennel Club