The Color of Lion

There has always been much confusion over the lion color mentioned in the various Ibizan Hound standards over the years. Far too many people think that the beautiful lighter golden reds are the lion color.

The rich chestnut reds and lighter reds are not lion. Actually I have never seen a true lion color Ibizan Hound in the United States. The true lion color is seen in some of the other Pondenco breeds, usually accompanied by a black nose and eye rims.

You will see this color in some of the mixed Ibizans in the Balearics. Usually with the dark noses and eyes. One has only to examine a lion, carefully albeit, to see that their coat is a sandy brown, not reddish. It must be clear that the Ibizan is red, not brown.

True Lion
True Lion color

In the past most Ibizan Hound standards called for red, or lion, or white in any combination, of red and white, lion and white or white predominating . Even allowing for solid colors. But the standards always had the disclaimer that red was preferred to lion.

In the late eighties their was an unfortunate move to simplify all AKC standards. Several important specific breed traits were deleted or changed. Even though I have been deeply involved in Ibizans since 1973 I was incapacitated due to health reasons during these changes.

The standard now reads that no preference is given to red over lion. I don't believe anyone is purposefully breeding for true lion color. The current FCI standard for the Ibizan Hound actually states that lion is barely acceptable in the wire coat and unacceptable in the smooth.

Light red Ibizan
Light red Ibizan, not lion

Perhaps this is a non issue since we do not seem to have lion color in the United States except that fanciers keep referring to their lighter red dogs as lion. They perhaps believe these dogs would be unacceptable in Spain. This is not the case as these dogs are shades of red. There should be no other preference in color. Darker red is not necessarily more valued that lighter red. No specific markings or lack thereof are given preference.

The wire coat reflects light differently making wires sometimes look lighter in color. I do think it would be inadvisable to keep breeding extremely pale reds to each other as we are already working with a recessive color. I certainly would not throw out the pale red dogs just because of color. There was a famous imported dog from England named Tawny Lion, he was a chestnut red.

Nan, 2011