Diversity of type

Ibizan Podenco
Ibizan Podenco - by Buzzini

Two recent things brought this subject of diversity to mind. First being my revisiting the report of the first breed match of the original American Ibizan Hound club in 1974, and the second being the recent Ibizan Hound Club of the United States National Specialty. One could observe from the first that there was a range of types within the breed. Much has to do with the geographic origin of the individual dogs, dogs from mainland Spain often being larger, more robust, dogs from Ibiza often being more rustic and plebeian, more compact, dogs from Mallorca being more tall and sinewy. This is a broad generalization as certainly dogs of a range of types come from all locations. The first match shows us many Ibizans bred from dogs first imported by the Seoanes. These Ibizans were less elegant, more similar to the Portuguese Podencos. Yet they are very much Ibizans. There were also taller more leggy dogs even then. I believe history has shown our breed to be naturally diverse. Larger, heavier dogs work the hunt one way, leggy leapers another, littler ones can get in the tight places. The various topography of Spain and the Balearics also assert selection of type. Rough brushy country, rocky hills, or more open fields calls for slightly different anatomy. Then there is the selection made by the breeders. Breeders make choices as to interpretation of the standard. The standard is the blue print of each breed. But the standard has some room for these various interpretations. If all breeders saw things in exactly the same way we would all be getting into the same difficulties. Then we would not have anywhere to go to for corrections. Certainly dogs should fit the standard and that is why the standard must give a true clear vision of the perimeters of the breed.

French Engraving
Old French Engraving

Pictures from the Specialty this year show a wonderful array of types. Each one of us may believe we have the best, perhaps the only correct type. The Ibizan Hound should be lithe and racey, never cumbersome and bulky, it should fit within the limitations of size, allowing for slight divergences. Remember this is a hunter of rabbits. How fine is fine? How elegant is elegant? How big are big ears? Such visions have some leeway for interpretation. It is important to keep an open mind and appreciate the wonderful diversity that the Ibizan Hound has to offer. To loose any type would be a great detriment to the breed. We have many new imports from Spain and Europe that bring new choices to the breeder and exhibitor. After many years in this breed I believe type has much improved in general and more avenues have opened for breeders to choose from.

Ibizan Podenco
Popular Dogs magazine 1972 (click image to enlarge)
Nan, 2011