Ibizan Hounds

Nicknamed Beezer, the Ibizan Hound is probably closely related to the Pharaoh Hound. He originated on Spain’s Balearic Islands (Ibiza being one of them) where he was used to hunt rabbits. Today, this medium-size sighthound, weighing 45 to 50 pounds, still has a strong instinct to run and chase. He stands out for his large, erect ears and pink nose. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering acquiring one of these dogs.

Traits, Personality and Behavior

He may look proud and exotic, but the Ibizan Hound 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. And forget about an underground electronic fence that gives a shock when the dog crosses it. He'll blow right through that without a second thought.

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 his 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, no doubt from the sheer excitement of the chase.

With strangers, the Ibizan Hound is reserved and can even 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 families with 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.

Because it's attention, 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 the action 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 or don't receive much attention from their 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. And don't let them outside together. They may be best buds indoors, but the instinct to chase and kill a running cat outdoors 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, and never outdoors. He isn't built to withstand cold weather, and besides, he loves his people. It's an unhappy Ibizan Hound who is relegated to the backyard with little or no human companionship.

Health Issues Common to Ibizan Hounds

All purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are 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 her lines.

Ibizan Hounds have some health conditions that can be a concern, especially if you aren't cautious about whom you buy from. They include hip dysplasia, autoimmune thyroiditis, seizures, deafness, certain eye disorders and allergies. Not all of these conditions can be tested for, and some, such as seizures, often do not appear until later in life.

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. 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 Program.

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. You can check CHIC's website to see if a breeder's dogs have these certifications.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Hip Dysplasia Low $1,500-$6,000
Deafness Medium $100-$300

5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Ibizan Hound Puppy

Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. The best source for a breeder referral listing is the website of the Ibizan Hound Club of the United States.

Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health and behavior problems in Ibizan Hounds aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an older dog, most of them can be ruled out. In addition, Ibizan Hounds can live as long as 16 years, so an adult dog will still be a part of your family for a long time to come.

Puppy or adult, take your Ibizan Hound to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You're more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to housetrain puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Pet Insurance for Ibizan Hounds

Pet insurance for Ibizan Hounds costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Ibizan Hounds are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace dog insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Ibizan Hounds are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Ibizan Hound is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.