The Ibizan Hound’s gentle and calm demeanor is often compared to that of a deer. It is an ancient breed, and they are often found depicted in artifacts dating back to when the pharaohs ruled Egypt. Along with their sleek and athletic build, a rosy colored nose and large, pointed ears are dead giveaways for the breed, as well.
The Ibizan Hound’s 5000-year lineage makes it one of the oldest breeds alive today. Remains of this dog or its ancestral breed have been found in the tombs of Pharaohs dating all the way back to 3100 B.C. They were taken to the Balearic Islands in 800 B.C. and preserved as a pure breed for over 2,000 years. In Spain, the Ibizan Hounds were further specialized as rabbit hunters, particularly on rugged, rocky terrain. They are sometimes referred to as “Hannibal’s dogs” for having accompanied the ancient general across the Alps. For this reason, the first pair of Ibizan Hounds brought to the U.S. for breeding were named Hannibal and Tanit, after the Phoenician goddess.
Light skin, sleek design, and big pointed ears make the Ibizan Hound quickly recognizable. They carry the air of ancient nobility, with a pure lineage dating back as early as 3400 B.C. or before. Bred to be refined hunters, they have the same grace and instinct that they did in ancient Egypt.
The unique, rosy-colored nose, eye rims, and lips make this breed stand apart from other sighthounds. Their coats come in three options: solid red, solid white, or a combination of both.
If the Greyhound is an Olympic sprinter, then the Ibizan Hound is the high-jumper. Able to leap huge heights from a standing position, these agile dogs are wonderful coursers.
Graceful and surprisingly strong, the Ibizan Hound is clearly a powerful hunter. At home, they dogs have a serene aura that some say is akin to deer, and they make loving and affectionate companions. Carrying many of the traits of traditional sighthounds, they cannot be trusted off-leash in an open area. If they see something that they want to chase, they will go after it swiftly.
Ibizan Hounds require a high-quality dog food that is age-appropriate—whether it’s commercially manufactured or homemade (with a veterinarian’s supervision and approval). As with any dog, it’s important to monitor the amount of food and treats that you give your Ibizan Hound, especially since some dogs can be prone to gaining weight as they age. Your veterinarian is always a good source to help provide you with appropriate nutrition and feeding guidelines.
Ibizan Hounds require consistent grooming, including regular ear cleanings. Their coats should be brushed weekly, and they should be bathed on a somewhat regular schedule. Their nails are also very fast growing, so having an electric trimmer will help keep them in check.
All dogs require regular dental care, including at-home teeth brushing and professional dental cleanings, and the Ibizan Hound is no exception. Maintaining good dental hygiene is important for their overall long-term health.
This natural-born hunter needs plenty of intense exercise to stay happy and healthy. Ibizan Hounds can clear a six-foot fence, and should be kept in a well-secured area when off-leash. Their appetite for chasing prey actually makes them an excellent running companion for any jogger seeking company.
Loyal and loving, the Ibizan Hound makes an excellent family pet. These dogs take well to almost all forms of training. The breed may be wary of strangers, but they adore their family and are generally friendly and out-going. They make wonderful sport hounds for any of the various dog competitions ranging from coursing to obedience.
Reviewed July 26, 2020 by Cindy Elston, DVM, MPH