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Ron Willbie, Animal Photography
Nicknamed Beezer, the Ibizan Hound originated on Spain’s Balearic Islands (Ibiza being one of them) where he was used to hunt rabbits. He stands out for his large, erect ears and pink nose.
The Ibizan’s resemblance to depictions of the Egyptian dog god Anubis is one of the reasons he is often thought to be an ancient breed.
He may look proud and exotic, but the Ibizan Hound also has an affectionate, silly side. It’s helpful to have a sense of humor if you’re going to live with him. Variously alert, playful, and friendly, he thinks for himself, steals food whenever and wherever it’s available, chases prey at every opportunity, and can flat-foot jump a five-foot fence. Plan on increasing the height of your fence to six or more feet if you want to keep him contained. Forget about an underground electronic fence that gives a shock when the dog crosses it. He may blow right through it.
The Ibizan Hound’s athleticism makes him a natural at agility and lure coursing, and he can also do well in obedience, rally, and tracking. He’ll enjoy regular exercise of 20 to 30 minutes daily, on leash, plus free play in a well-fenced yard. Once those needs are met, he’ll be happy to lounge on your furniture, preferably in a sunny spot, rousing to bark only if someone comes to the door. He also barks when running, mostly from the sheer excitement of the chase.
With strangers, the Ibizan Hound is reserved and can be shy if not socialized early and often. He can be a good choice for families with older children but may be too rambunctious for toddlers.
The Ibizan Hound comes in two coat types: smooth and wire. Both are easy to groom, requiring only a weekly brushing to remove dead hairs. Bathe only if he’s dirty, and trim nails, brush teeth, and clean the ears regularly.
The Ibizan Hound enjoys training as long as he’s having a good time. Use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play, and food rewards, and keep training sessions short. He hates repetition, especially when he already knows what's being requested. Like most dogs, Ibizan Hounds can become bored when left to their own devices. They can easily become noisy or destructive if they don’t have other dogs to keep them company and don’t receive much attention from people.
Sighthounds are attracted by movement, and the Ibizan Hound will happily chase cats and other small furry animals. If he is brought up with them from an early age, though, he can live amicably with cats or small dogs. Even so, it’s best to supervise them when they’re together and to separate them when you’re not home. Don’t let them outside together. They may be best buds indoors, but the instinct to chase and kill a running cat may be too strong for the dog to overcome.
With his sleek, streamlined body, it goes without saying that the Ibizan Hound needs to live in the house, preferably with access to soft furniture or bedding. He isn’t built to withstand cold weather, and besides, he loves his people.
For a long time it was thought that the Ibizan Hound was an ancient breed, but the advent of DNA studies has shown that he’s a much more recent creation. He comes from the Spanish island of Ibiza where he’s popular as a rabbit hunter. In Spain, Ibizans often hunt in tandem with ferrets, nabbing the rabbit after the ferret flushes him from his den.
The Ibizan Hound was first introduced to the United States in 1956 by Colonel and Mrs. Consuelo Seoane. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1979. Today the Ibizan is a well-kept secret, ranking 151st among the dogs registered by the AKC. Television viewers got an eyeful of the breed in 2003 and 2004 when Ch. Luxor’s Playmate of the Year (nicknamed Bunny) won the Hound Group at the Westminster Kennel Club show.
It’s a good thing the Ibizan is sweet and affectionate: It saves him from trouble after he swipes that steak thawing on the counter. This independent-minded hound will take any opportunity to steal food, ignore you if he’s chasing something interesting, and sprawl across your sofa once he has satisfied his desires to eat and run.
The sharply intelligent Ibizan loves his family, but he’s not one to wear his heart on his sleeve. He’ll know where you are and what you’re doing, but don’t expect him to follow you around. He has his own agenda and, for his purposes, it’s probably best that you are not too involved.
Count on him to alert you to people approaching your home but not necessarily to do anything to ward them away. He may not be aggressive toward strangers, though he doesn’t make friends all that easily. Think of him as a courteous, aristocratic Spaniard who considers himself your equal, if not your better. In the same vein, he gets along well with other dogs, and if brought up with them he can learn to appreciate the company of cats. Outdoor cats and other furry critters should beware.
The Ibizan might show a proud face to outsiders, but with his family he can be sweet and silly. He enjoys playtime, especially if you throw some stuffed animals for him to “kill” or give him something good to chew. He will also be happy to share the sofa with you while you watch TV or read. Children are his pals when he’s brought up with them, but an Ibizan who is new to the loud shrieks and quick movements of kids may need a bit of adjustment.
Don’t think that the Ibizan will remain in your yard unless you have a solid fence at least six feet tall. Ibizans snicker at shorter fences or underground electronics. He doesn’t have excessive exercise needs, but a chance to run flat-out several times a week in a securely fenced area will be much appreciated, as will regular walks on leash. He is highly athletic and excels in dog sports such as lure coursing and agility.
As a sighthound, the Ibizan is an independent thinker. It’s not in his heritage to work closely under human direction. It was his job to make his own decisions when hunting his prey. He still has that same frame of mind today. This is a dog with a sensitive nature, so harsh words are likely to backfire. To get and keep his attention, you have to make it worth his while. Use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise and food rewards to make sure his attention doesn’t wander.
Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. Even at eight weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Don't wait until he is six months old to begin training, or you will have a more headstrong dog to deal with. Get him to puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, so you can start building a strong working relationship, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed. Invite people to your home as well so he becomes accustomed to visitors.
Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see the puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know your lifestyle and personality. Whatever you want from an Ibizan Hound, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit disease. Run from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed has no known problems, or who keeps puppies isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur.
In Ibizan Hounds, potential health problems include hip dysplasia; hypothyroidism, a common hormonal disease in dogs in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroxin hormone; epilepsy, a seizure disorder; deafness; certain eye disorders; and allergies.
Not all of these conditions can be tested for or are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for genetic defects and deemed healthy for breeding. That’s where health registries come in.
The Ibizan Hound Club of America, which is the American Kennel Club parent organization for the breed in the United States, participates in the Canine Health Information Center, a health database. For an Ibizan Hound to achieve CHIC certification, he must have OFA or PennHIP certification for hips, an OFA thyroid evaluation, an OFA hearing evaluation based on the BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response) test, and an eye clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation.
Breeders must agree to have all test results -- positive or negative -- published in the CHIC database. A dog need not receive good or even passing scores on the evaluations to obtain a CHIC number, so CHIC registration alone is not proof of soundness or absence of disease, but all test results are posted on the CHIC website and can be accessed by anyone who wants to check the health of a puppy’s parents.
At a minimum, ask the breeder to show evidence that both parents have been certified free of eye disease by a veterinary ophthalmologist and have a hip evaluation of excellent, good, or fair from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. If the breeder tells you tests aren't necessary because they've never had problems in her lines, the dogs have been "vet checked," or offers any other excuses for skimping on the genetic testing of their dogs, walk away immediately.
Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas. A puppy can develop one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live a good life. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and what they died of.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping an Ibizan Hound at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier dog for life.
The Ibizan has a short, smooth coat or a wirehaired coat. In both cases, he is a neat dog who tends to clean himself pretty thoroughly. Nonetheless, he still requires some grooming assistance.
The shorthaired Ibizan is easy to groom with weekly brushing. Go over his coat with a rubber curry brush or hound mitt to remove dead hair. The coat sheds very little, and brushing will help ensure that any loose hairs go onto the brush and not your floor, furniture, or clothing. The wirehaired Ibizan’s coat breaks off and sheds a little more than the smooth coat. Brush it weekly as well. An occasional bath as needed will keep your Ibizan clean.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed -- usually every week or two. Remember that sighthounds are sensitive about having their feet handled. Be careful not to accidentally cut into the quick — the blood vessel that feeds the nail — because your Ibizan will remember and put up a fight the next time you want to trim. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Whether you want to go with a breeder or get your dog from a shelter or rescue, here are some things to keep in mind.
Finding a quality breeder is a great way to find the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out as many problems as possible. He or she is more interested in placing pups in the right homes than making big bucks. Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or who promote the dogs as being “good with kids.”
Reputable breeders will welcome your questions about temperament, health clearances, and what the dogs are like to live with. They will come right back at you with questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you plan to provide. A good breeder can tell you about the history of the breed, explain why one puppy is considered pet quality while another is not, and discuss what health problems affect the breed and the steps were taken to avoid them. A breeder should want to be a resource for you throughout your dog’s life.
Look for more information about the Ibizan Hound and start your search for a good breeder at the website of the Ibizan Hound Club of the United States. Choose a breeder who has agreed to abide by the IHCUS’s code of ethics, which prohibits the sale of puppies to or through pet stores and calls for the breeder to check dogs for health problems before breeding them.
Avoid breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will clear. Breeders who offer puppies at one price “with papers” and at a lower price “without papers” are unethical. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include over availability, multiple litters on the premises, a choice of any puppy, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
The cost of an Ibizan Hound puppy varies depending on the breeder’s locale, whether the pup is male or female, what titles his parents have, and whether he is best suited for the show ring or a pet home. The puppy you buy should have been raised in a clean home environment, from parents with health clearances and conformation (show), and, ideally, working titles to prove that they are good specimens of the breed. Puppies should be temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confident start in life.
Before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Ibizan Hound might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort. An adult may already have some training and will probably be less active, destructive, and demanding than a puppy. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health and you can find adults through breeders or shelters. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through breeders, ask them about purchasing a retired show dog or if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home. If you want to adopt a dog, read the advice below on how to do that.
There are many great options available if you want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or breed rescue organization. Here is how to get started.
1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder.com and Adopt-a-Pet.com can have you searching for a Ibizan Hound in your area in no time flat. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Ibizan Hounds available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some local newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review.
Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Ibizan Hound. That includes vets, dog walkers, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Breed Rescue
Most people who love Ibizan Hounds love all Ibizan Hounds. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless dogs. The Ibizan Hound Club of America’s Rescue Network can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family. You can also search online for other Ibizan Hound rescues in your area.
The great thing about breed rescue groups is that they tend to be very upfront about any health conditions the dogs may have and are a valuable resource for advice. They also often offer fostering opportunities so, with training, you could bring a Ibizan Hound home with you to see what the experience is like.
4. Key Questions to Ask
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a dog. These include:
What is his energy level?
How is he around other animals?
How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors, and children?
What is his personality like?
What is his age?
Is he housetrained?
Has he ever bitten or hurt anyone that they know of?
Are there any known health issues?
Wherever you acquire your Ibizan Hound, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Puppy or adult, take your Ibizan Hound to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
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