What to Know About Ibizan Hounds

Medically Reviewed by Vanesa Farmer, DVM on June 20, 2022
6 min read

The Ibizan hound has a regal look fit for a pharaoh. That's appropriate, since Egyptian artifacts depict an almost identical dog. Breed historians believe that these dogs hunted with pharaohs before traveling to the island of Ibiza with the seafaring Phoenicians. Today, the Ibizans' combination of elegant good looks and a fun-loving personality may qualify them for a spot in your own royal family!

The Ibizan hound size is medium-large. Ibizans are smaller than a greyhound but larger than a similar breed, the pharaoh hound. The official standard of the American Kennel Club (AKC) states that they should be between 23½ to 27½ inches tall at the withers, with a weight of around 50 pounds. Female dogs may be smaller. Their body is lean and strong without appearing muscular. 

The Ibizan's narrow, sculptured head is topped by a pair of remarkable ears, which are both very large and somehow delicate. When on alert, an Ibizan's ears should be erect. The ears are very mobile, however, and can also point sideways or fold backward.

Ibizans can be smooth-coated or wirehaired. Their coat color is red, white, or a combination of the two. Per the breed standard, no color or pattern is preferable to others. The shades of red can vary from a light yellowish red to a deeper hue. The Ibizan's lips, eyelids, and nose are a rosy hue, and their eyes are amber. This blend of red, white, rose, and amber creates a very pleasing color palette.

The life span of Ibizans is similar to other dogs of similar size. They usually live from 11 to 14 years. 

The Ibizan hound temperament makes them excellent family pets. They are easygoing, affectionate, and trainable. Their athleticism will please you if you're looking for a jogging companion or a candidate for canine sports. 

Ibizans are natural hunters. Although they are often classified as sighthounds, Ibizans use sight, sound, and smell when hunting. They are trained to be silent in the field, the better to hear their prey. They only bark at the proper point in the chase. Their blazing speed helps them run down prey, and their leaping ability takes them over obstacles. They can hunt in almost any environment.

Ibizan hounds are low-maintenance except for their need for exercise. Here's what you need to know about caring for Ibizan hounds.

Exercise. Ibizans need a lot of exercise and should have two or three long walks a day. A fenced yard is great for them, but fences must be at least six feet high to keep Ibizans contained. They can leap six feet from a standstill. 

Lure coursing is another way to exercise Ibizan hounds and sharpen their senses, too. In this canine sport, dogs chase a plastic lure that travels much like a dog's natural prey might. 

Other AKC events for athletic dogs include Coursing Ability Test (CAT), Fast CAT, and Agility.

Coat care. Both short-haired and wirehaired Ibizans require little coat care, mostly brushing. If your Ibizan is the smooth-coated type, try using a grooming glove instead of a brush. Bathe your dog when a doggy odor gets strong. Even show dogs aren't trimmed, so you won't need a professional groomer. 

Feeding. Ibizans do well on any high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their life stage. Your veterinarian is your best source of information about feeding your dog. 

Protection against fleas and ticks. Fleas and ticks are both a nuisance and a health hazard. There are many products on the market to control these parasites. Ask your  veterinarian how to protect your Ibizan. 

Protection against wormsYour dog can get hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, or whipworms. Heartworm disease is life-threatening. Other worms are mostly a problem for puppies or dogs that are already sick. Talk to your vet about protecting your dog year-round.

Tooth care. Dental problems are a major health issue for dogs. Minimize dental problems by brushing your dog's teeth daily, using a toothpaste made for dogs.

Toenail care. Long toenails can cause a dog pain and create gait problems. Learn how to trim your dog's nails or let a groomer do it for you. 

Best home environment. Ibizans are adaptable dogs. As long as they get exercise, they are good indoors. They are quiet and love relaxing in a comfy bed. Ibizans get cold easily, though. If you live in a chilly or wet climate, your dog may need a coat.

Vet visits. Puppies will need to see a vet often for immunizations and health checks. After the first year, your dog will need an annual wellness check. Senior dogs may need to go twice a year.

Immunizations. All dogs should receive core vaccines. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends:

  • rabies
  • distemper
  • parvovirus
  • canine adenovirus-2 (hepatitis)

Some dogs need non-core vaccines. If your Ibizan is frequently outdoors, for instance, it could need a vaccine for Lyme disease. Ask your vet.

Ibizan hounds are generally healthy but are at risk for some genetic health conditions. Breeders should test their dogs for these conditions, although some puppies may still get sick. 

Potential conditions include:

  • Deafness: Dogs can lose their hearing in one or both ears.  
  • Loss of Vision: Ibizans are vulnerable to several genetic eye disorders. 
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis. This is the most common cause of primary hypothyroidism in dogs. 
  • Hip DysplasiaThis defect in the hip joint can lead to arthritis, which can cause pain and lameness. 

Ibizans may also get bloat, a condition in which the stomach overfills with air, gas, or food. It can reduce blood supply to vital organs. Bloat sometimes leads to a complication known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). GDV is a life-threatening condition in which the stomach twists after bloating and cuts off circulation. It requires emergency treatment. 

Owners say the Ibizan hound personality is loyal and affectionate. Many families love their "Beezers," but no one breed is right for every home. Before you decide whether an Ibizan is a good fit for your situation, consider the answers to these questions.

  • Are Ibizans good with children? Always supervise children around dogs. Ibizans are tolerant of young children, but their size and energy level can be a problem.
  •  Do they get along with other pets? Ibizans are even-tempered and get along well with other dogs. Because of their hunting instincts, though, they may not be a good choice for households with small pets like rabbits or guinea pigs.
  • Do they shed? Ibizans shed, but not excessively. 
  • Do they bark a lot? Ibizans can be quite vocal, but most don't bark excessively.
  • Do they drool a lot? They drool very little and in general are not messy dogs. 
  • Are they easy to train? Ibizans are smart and learn quickly unless the person working with them is heavy-handed. Ibizans are sensitive and need kindness to learn well. For best results, start socialization early.
  • Are they good watchdogs? Ibizans are reserved around strangers. They are moderately good watchdogs, as they are alert and will let you know if someone unknown comes on the scene.

No one is sure about the relationship between the large-eared dogs seen in Egyptian art and Ibizan hounds. It is fairly certain that Phoenicians took a liking to a similar strain of dogs, though, around the 8th or 9th century B.C. They carried the dogs to the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain, and the breed became well-established on the island of Ibiza.

The Ibizans used the dogs to hunt rabbits and small game and possibly deer, but they didn't always share their food, so the dogs often had to forage for themselves. Since the island couldn't support a large population of dogs, the citizens put weaker dogs out to sea or abandoned them on uninhabited islands. Truly, only the strong survived. 

Colonel and Mrs. Consuelo Seoane brought Ibizan hounds to the United States in 1956. By 1965, there were over 150 living in the U.S. Today, they are quite rare in the States. In 2021, they ranked 182nd out of 197 breeds in popularity.