Maintaining Standard Size

When I first considered writing about size in Ibizan Hounds, I thought this would be simple. Just breed and show the prescribed size by our standard, 23-1/2 to 27-1/2 inches for dogs and 22-1/2 to 26 inches for bitches. "Sizes slightly over on under the norms are not to be regarded as demerits when other qualities are good". I came up with more questions than answers. So why is a 27-inch dog or a 25-inch bitch considered too small to special? Why do judges often bypass the moderate-sized dogs in favor of greatly oversized individuals? Why are we rewarding or even seeking out the over-standard dogs? Why are we throwing out the in-standard smaller dogs? This does not mean a larger dog should be rejected. Oversize is just a fault to be considered in proportion to the deviation from the standard. Keeping control of size through our breeding programs, not breeding the largest to the largest would be a start.

In my thirty-five years of involvement with Ibizan Hounds I have seldom seen many Ibizans approaching the lower end of the standard. Many bloodlines carry a considerable range. This would probably be most useful in having Ibizans that would excel in different aspects of the hunt. Little agile ones, big fast high jumpers, etc.

No matter the size the Ibizan should have the same basic balance. There is no excuse for the smaller ones to be low on leg. The dog taken out of context with no way to judge size should have similar conformation. If elegant Whippets and graceful Italian Greyhounds can be bred, then we as breeders should be able to breed elegant in-standard size Ibizans.

Things are getting out of control when the in-standard size dogs look like Whippets in the Greyhound ring. When did the top of the standard become the bottom?

In the past history of the Ibizan in Spain and the Balearics the environment and function shaped the breed. Certainly dogs are now fed differently and this can affect growth. The Ibizan is meant to hunt in very rough and rugged territory. A lithe agile body is required to perform the wonderful leaps and bounds that are the hallmark of our breed. It is a daunting task to artificially select and preserve the wonderful unique qualities possessed by the Ibizan. Dogs appear to be genetically very opportunistic and they can morph into new shapes given different environments and selection. Even if we were to use the Ibizan to hunt rabbits in the United States we would create a different breed if we chose the most successful hunters. Different topography, different rabbits!

Ours is an ancient and most unique breed. It is not our mission to change the Ibizan into the biggest thing in the hound group. Attention must be paid to quality. There are many beautiful in-standard size dogs out there. They won't win if you don't show them. I never want to see measuring in or measuring out with the Ibizan added to our standard as with some other breeds. We have considerable latitude with respect to size. Let us appreciate the whole spectrum of the Ibizan and keep our breed a breed of moderate size.

Nan, 2007