Ibizan Hound

by Michelle Jones

Although this is an ancient breed, the Ibizan Hound is rarely seen in America outside the show ring. He resembles depictions of the Egyptian jackal god, Anubis. He was most likely taken to the Balearic island of Ibiza by Phoenician traders where he was fully developed as a hunting hound…

 Ibizan Hound Photo
Two Ibizan Hounds Race

The Ibizan Hound has changed little through the centuries, well-known to anciet Egyptians, Chaldeans, Carthaginians, Romans and Arabs. He has always excelled as a rabbit hunter, enduring the harsh weather conditions of Ibiza. He is a hardy, spunky dog who is extremely athletic and agile. Spanish explorers brought him to Europe, but he was unknown in America until the 1950’s. His tall, graceful, noble appearance was admired, but he was seldom known as a pet companion dog. He was not recognized by the AKC until 1979 and is still considered as a rare breed.

In temperament, the Ibizan Hound is gentle and well-mannered. His loyalty to his family and moderately affectionate nature makes him a good companion dog who is independent and intelligent. His even temper and mellow disposition makes him easy to live with, but he is not suitable for apartment or city dwelling. He still retains strong hunting instincts and is a skilled jumper, making it difficult to keep him contained in a fenced yard when he catches an interesting scent. He is happier and better suited to a rural setting. He likes children and other pets, and is an alert watchdog, but lacks protection instincts. He’s a challenge in obedience training; it seems he has a mind of his own!

The Ibizan Hound comes in both smooth and wire coats, usually white and tan in color. His large pointed ears and alert eye expression indicates his clever intelligence. A medium-sized dog, he stands tall and graceful, much like a deer. As a sighthound, his sharp eyes fasten onto his prey; he barks along the trail to let the hunter know where he is. The Ibizan Hound is truly a patrician-looking dog, yet he enjoys playing and can be clownish and humorous, especially during puppyhood. Although he is not well known as a pet, those who do share their lives with him find him to be a wonderful companion dog.

It’s imperative to those who own and love Ibizan Hounds that he not become a “fad” dog simply because of his ancient heritage and regal appearance. He has a distinct purpose that leads back into antiquity and is worthy of the respect of mankind. His lean, muscular and striking appearance is very attractive, but he is not suitable for first-time dog owners, and particularly dislikes being left home alone for long periods. Today you’ll find the Ibizan Hound happily competing in lure coursing, agility trials, flyball contests and frisbee-chasing at which he excells with his gazelle-like grace and strength.

Most breeders and owners of Ibizan Hounds prefer to keep the breed fairly unknown except for owners who are very familiar with their needs and temperaments. Having existed virtually unchanged since antiquity, this hound, according to experts on the breed, should remain rare and completely unique among sighthounds.