The Ibizan Hound, also called Podenco Ibicenco in Spanish or Ca Eivissenc in Catalan, is an agile, deer-like dog of the hound family. There are two hair types of the breed: smooth and wire. The more commonly seen type is the smooth. Some consider there to be a third type, long, but most consider the longhair to be a variation of the wire.
The Ibizan Hound has no black on its body; they are either red or white or a combination of red and white. Its nose is flesh colored, as are its ears. Its eyes are a striking amber color.
The Ibizan may range in height from 24 to 29 inches and weigh from 45 to 60 pounds. The breed has a pronounced sensitivity to cold, their hair providing little in the way of insulation, and so in cold climates, sweaters are advised.
Ibizan Hounds are generally quiet (most bark rarely) and sensitive hounds, and very good around children. They also sleep for most of the day, although they should be walked at least three times and especially enjoy (and need) an off-the-leash run every so often.
The Ibizan Hound is typical of the Hound Group in that it rarely suffers from hereditary illness. Minor health concerns for the breed include seizures and allergies; very rarely, one will see axonal dystrophy, cataract, retinal dysplasia and deafness in the breed. Ibizan Hound owners should have their dogs' eyes tested by a veterinarian before breeding. Ibizan Hounds are sensitive to barbiturate anesthesia, and typically live between 12 and 14 years.
For many years, this breed was considered one of the ancient dog breeds. It was believed the Ibizan Hound originated in ancient Egypt, as pictures that appear to be of Ibizan hounds have been seen on the walls of ancient pyramids.
However, according to Elaine Ostrander, a geneticist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington, recent DNA analysis reveals that this breed is actually a recent construction, bred to resemble an older form. In a study directed by Dr. Ostrander, with the aid of her colleague, Dr. Leonid Kruglyak, "they have found genetic variations that allow them to distinguish among 85 dog breeds and to identify an individual dog's breed with 99 percent accuracy," according to Mark Derr, a science writer for the New York Times.
"We can assign a dog to a breed, but we can't tell what behavior it will have," asserts Ostrander. "There is huge variation in behavior between dogs within breeds." The results of the study, published in May 2004 in Science magazine, may help in the study of disease, both canine and human, because certain breeds are prone to some of the same genetic diseases as humans.
Wherever it may have actually originated, the breed were used to hunt rabbits and other small game on the Balearic Island of Ibiza. The Ibizan Hound is a fast dog that can hunt on all types of terrain, working by sight, sound, and scent. Spanish hunters run these dogs in mostly female packs, with perhaps a male or two, as the female is the better hunter. This breed is similar to the Pharaoh Hound, but the Ibizan Hound is larger and can have a multicolored hair pattern. The Ibizan Hound was fully recognized by the AKC in 1979.
- ^ Ibizan Hound Care - Breeder Retriever, URL dated January 17, 2007
- ^ Coile, Caroline, Ph. D., Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds, Barron's Educational Series, 2005. Page 80.