Understanding the Ibizan Hound Topline
There appears to be a misunderstanding among some that the Ibizan Hound has
a flat topline.
The current AKC Ibizan Hound standard reads Neck, Topline, Body
and then proceeds to describe such. Herein lies a source of confusion
because in describing the topline it begins at the line of the neck,
which is described as
The neck is long, slender, slightly arched and strong. The topline,
from ears to tail, is smooth and flowing.
This does not describe a straight line. Unfortunately our current standard
does not address the profile line of the withers. The old Spanish standard
the withers are high.
There should be a rise above the withers that supports the longer spires
of the backbone. This is the area of muscle attachment for strong well
laid back shoulders. Next is the back. The back is only that hand span
behind the withers and in front of the loin.
The back is level and straight
this does not mean the topline is level, like a table top. Unfortunately
the standard then goes on to describe the body, the brisket, chest, ribs
and then returns to the line of the loin and the croup which are also
part of the topline. There should be a slight arch over the loin. The old
Spanish standard clearly states
loins are arched.
The Ibizan Hound is a galloping, jumping athletic rabbit hunter. It should
not have a flat under muscled loin. The Ibizan is only slightly longer
than it is tall. A long straight topline is counterproductive to the function
of the breed. Ibizan Hounds in coursing condition have a well muscled, but
never bulky loin. The croup is slightly sloping and the long tail is set on
low. The carriage of the tail also enhances the topline. The tail can be
carried high or low, and in the shape of a saber, sickle or open ring...
No preference. The tail should not curl within itself or lay on the back.
The purpose of the tail in hunting is to indicate the intensity of the hunt.
The tail telegraphs to the hunter how close the rabbit is. Tail carriage
is not just a fashion statement. When in a show stack, most Ibizans let
the tail hang. This tail should reach at least to the hock, preferably
longer. Old Spanish standards called for passing the tail between the hind
legs to reach the spine. This spoke of both condition of the dog and tail
length. The tail is an extension of the topline. One fine point now lost
to the present standard was the slight backward sweep of the ear in profile.
This makes for that lovely flowing line from ears to tail tip.
Breeders, fanciers, and judges alike will benefit from watching the many
wonderful videos taken of Ibizans hunting in their native Spain. I remember
the first time I saw this. It really opened my eyes to the reasons for the
beautiful shape of the Ibizan. The Ibizan was bred to hunt all day on extremely
rough conditions. The Ibizan is shaped by function. Its many unique characteristics
have purpose. No other breed of dog makes such spectacular leaps. Anything that
compromises this ability is a detriment to the heritage of the Ibizan.