The Hunt Shapes the Hound

Every detail of the conformation of the Ibizan was shaped by its purpose, to hunt rabbits in thick cover in Spain. First of all the Ibizan Hound must be lithe and light bodied. The unique jumping style of hunting demands such. The Ibizan Hound can leap to great heights from a standstill. They appear to hover because they pull up their legs at the peak of the jump. Elbows sometimes beyond the topline. This is not what one normally sees in a jumping dog. A ponderous heavy bodied dog could not do this. Also, this breed is a marathon hunter. It does not run at a great burst of speed and then tire. The flat sinewy muscles sustain the hunt. A dog wildly over standard size would be handicapped.

Head is long and narrow, but with some wedge shape. This befits the streamlined and somewhat narrow body and allows the dog to catch up the rabbit on the fly. The large rhomboid ears catch the rustle of rabbits in the thick cover. Large upright ears capture sound best and help to cool the dog in its strenuous endeavors.

The long slender arched neck is not a fashion statement. The alert dog carries its head high for reconnaissance. They will even leap and hover to get a view of the illusive rabbit. They will of course put the head low for scenting. But once the rabbit is heard or seen, the other senses take over. When prey is sighted the Ibizan Hound gives voice. They work as a team, and this helps keep them informed of the rabbit's whereabouts. The great flexibility allows the dogs to dive on their prey.

The chest is deep, but not extremely so. The body is keel shaped. Ribs are only slightly sprung. The entire dog is aerodynamic. The shoulder is laid back to allow for reach, but the upper arm is more upright. Not dropping straight from the shoulder but angled back a bit and still well in front of the deepest part of the chest. This front assembly allows for the light lifting movement. Lifting legs high but never in wasted movement. Not a hackney. This prancing movement allow for precise placement of feet and quick turning ability. They hunt in extreme brushy situations. Of course hindquarters should have a good bend to the stifle and hock, but not extreme. The hindquarters must be able to gather and spring. Muscle is flat and sinewy for this purpose.

The long low set tail is a rudder in running and a beacon to the rest of the pack and the human hunter. The tail has a life of its own when a rabbit is discovered. A tail tightly curled over one hip will not function so. Otherwise, no position of the tail is preferred in the trot.

The long hare foot makes for speed and can spread a bit when stopping fast, or climbing the rocky slopes. It must be strong with deep pads.

The easygoing temperament is important in a team player like the Ibizan Hound and makes for a wonderful companion and getting along with other pets.

Color of red and white in any combination shows up well in the field, many Spanish hunters have mostly white dogs. No color is better than another.

Every detail of the standard makes for the unique qualities of this most unique of breed. We don't have the hunt here, and it must be the same terrain and the same prey that shapes the Ibizan Hound in Spain. We must be vigilant to maintain these aspects given to us in trust.

Nan, 2013