The Breed History
Like the Pharaoh hound, these dogs are ancient and originate in Egypt. First records date to about 3100 BC. Like the Pharaoh hound, the claim is that this dog is the source for the image of Anubis, the canine deity that watches over the souls of the departed. From Egypt, the Phoenicians took these dogs to the Mediterranean Isle of Ibiza, one of the Balearic Islands off of Spain by about 800 BC. The breed became extinct in Egypt. They were common also in mainland Spain. First American imports date to the year 1956. AKC registry first accepted this breed in 1979.
Breeding for Function
As Pharaoh's dogs, they were keen hunting partners and companions. They hunted by both sight and sound. Later, in the Isle of Ibiza, they were selected based on their rabbit hunting ability, and also for their ability to be sustained on a small amount of food. They were valued as watchdogs. Good sturdy constitution and physical health is highly valued, so breeding programs selected only the most vigorous specimens. Today, they are often shown in tracking, obedience and lure coursing and are valued as companion dogs.
Height at Withers: female 22.5-26" (57-66 cm), male 23.5-27.5" (60-70 cm).
Weight: females 45 lb (20.5 kg), males 50 lb (22.5 kg).
Coat: Two types of coat exist-short and wirehaired. The latter may carry a prominent moustache, though the coat is still only 1.5-3" (3.5-7.5 cm) in length. White, red, or a mixture of the two is accepted. A red color varies from deep rich red to light yellow-red.
Longevity: 11-14 years
Points of Conformation: Very chiseled and lithe, these strong athletic dogs are noted for their large pricked up pointed ears and greyhound-type stature. Muscle mass is lean. The head is shaped like a long cone with a minimal stop, they possess a prominent occipital protuberance, and no facial wrinkles are present. Nose and lip margins are flesh colored and the nose is prominent. The long, slender neck is slightly arched, the topline is level with a gradual drop off to the tail at the croup. The thorax is moderately deep, breastbone prominent, and ribs only slightly sprung. The abdomen is well tucked up, and the thin, low-set tail reaches to the tarsus and may be curved, ring or saber shaped. The tail is carried high while in action. Limbs are straight and long, fine-boned, and the hare-type feet have thick pads and white nails. Characteristically, there is lots of interdigital hair. The gait is springy, fairly high, and appears effortless. This breed has the ability to jump high and wide, and is as fast as any sight hounds. The eyes are small, oblique and amber to caramel in color. The ears may rest folded when the dog is relaxed. Front dewclaws may be removed.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed characteristics include: Active, enjoy human companionship, good with children and other dogs, stable temperament, loyal, high trainability, aloof with strangers, alarm barker, groom themselves like a cat, off leash in a fenced enclosure only; can jump up to 6' so fence should be sturdy and high. Good trainability, adaptable, high exercise needs, but low activity around the house. Low grooming needs, good in country or city settings.
Normal Physiologic Variations
Sight hounds have lower normal ranges for T4 and T3 concentrations compared to other breeds.
Anesthesia: Sight hounds require particular attention during anesthesia. Their lean body conformation with high surface-areato- volume ratio predisposes them to hypothermia during anesthesia. Impaired biotransformation of drugs by the liver results in prolonged recovery from barbiturate and thiobarbiturate intravenous anesthetics. Propofol, and ketamine/diazepam combination are recommended induction agents.
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. OFA reports 2.8% affected.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. Too few Ibizan Hounds have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. Too few Ibizan Hounds have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Axonal Dystrophy: A rare, fatal, autosomal recessive disorder, causing an uncoordinated, spastic gait. Affected dogs initially present between five and sixteen weeks of age with a lack of balance, spasticity, and weaving, often worse in the hind limbs. Some dogs have stressful episodes manifested by high fever, recumbency, stiffening of the limbs, and seizures. Variable progression of clinical signs necessitates euthanasia by 5 to 24 months of age. The disorder is caused by a dying off of neurons in the spinal cord and brain. No genetic test is available.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. 6.3% positive for thyroid autoantibodies based on testing at Michigan State University. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%).
Persistent Pupillary Membranes: Strands of fetal remnant connecting; iris to iris, cornea, lens, or involving sheets of tissue. The later three forms can impair vision, and dogs affected with these forms should not be bred. Identified in 6.09% of Ibizan Hounds CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Cataracts: Nuclear intermediate and punctate cataracts predominate in the breed. Identified in 3.91% of Ibizan Hounds CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. CERF does not recommend breeding any Ibizan Hound with a cataract.
Allergies: Inhalant or food allergy. Presents with pruritis (itching) and pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots). Reported as a problem in the breed on the IHCUS website.
Idiopathic Epilepsy (Inherited Seizures): Generalized or partial seizures. Control with anti-seizure medication. Reported as a problem in the breed on the IHCUS website. Unknown mode of inheritance.
Retinal Dysplasia: Focal retinal dysplasia/folds are recognized in the breed. Can casue retinal detachment and blindness. Reported in 1.30% of Ibizan Hounds CERF-examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Deafness: Congenital deafness can be unilateral of bilateral. Diagnosed by BAER testing. Reported to occur in the breed by Strain, and the IHCUS.
Brachygnathism, Cardiomyopathy, Elongated Soft Palate, Oligodontia, Polydontia, and Prognathism are reported.
Isolated Case Studies
Arteriovenous Fistula: A nine-year-old male Ibizan hound had a network of large tortuous pulsating blood vessels on the prepuce that enlarged gradually over a five month period.
Tests of Genotype: none
Tests of Phenotype: CHIC Certification: Required testing includes hip radiographs, CERF eye examination, brainstem audio-evoked response (BAER) test for deafness, and thyroid profile including autoantibodies. (See CHIC website; www.caninehealthinfo.org). Recommend elbow radiographs, patella evaluation, and cardiac evaluation.
- Breed name synonyms: Galgo Hound, Ibizan, Podenco Ibicenco, Ca Ebisenc, Balaeric Dog, Charnique (Fr.).
- Registries: AKC-P, UKC-P, CKC, KCGB (Kennel Club of Great Britain), ANKC (Australian National Kennel Club), NKC (National Kennel Club).
- AKC rank (year 2008): 134 (146 dogs registered)
- Internet resources: Ibizan Hound Club of the United States: www.ihcus.org
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