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Living with an Ibizan Hound:

Puppyhood and General Care

Although the Ibizan Hound has flourished for thousands of years under harsh conditions, most Humane Societies and organizations overseeing the welfare of the United States' pet population find the traditional living environment of the breed unacceptable, even illegal in this country. An unheated barn, excessive crating, isolation by tying out, parasite-infested soil and drinking water will not produce a healthy, well-socialized pet. As the desired function of the breed changes in our modern society, so do the environmental needs. The following discussion assumes that the Ibizan Hound is raised as a pet, rather than livestock.


A Magical Time of Growth

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wpeF.jpg (3959 bytes) A great deal of research and literature is available on puppy developmental stages and care.  Some of the most accessible information has been written by Clarence Pfaffenberger, Jack and Wendy Volhard, Drs. Michael Fox and Ian Dunbar. Assuming that the pup has been bred by a conscientious breeder, he will have received gradually increasing, supervised interaction with littermates, the dam, and the outside world.
Traditionally pups are placed in their new homes between the ages of 8 to 12 weeks.  Coincidentally, the first fear imprint period is between 8 to 10 weeks. Stimulation and socialization is very important during this time, as research shows that the number of brain cells actually increase in puppies undergoing gentle training at this age. A knowledgeable breeder who keeps the pup until the 12th week is a treasure, as the pup receives appropriate stimulation, but avoids any inadvertent trauma associated with this first fear period. wpe11.jpg (4565 bytes)
wpe16.jpg (6733 bytes) During the first two years of life, the pup is very busy. At 12-16 weeks he is learning his place in the pack hierarchy, usually by challenging for position. Firm, consistent methods to "alpha-betize" yourself and family members above the pup are crucial. Structuring his environment to minimize dangers and damage is also critical. Crating should be introduced, all free play should be supervised, daily grooming and gentle training should be introduced at this time. Take advantage of this imprinting period to teach the recall, well before the flight period at about 16 weeks.
At 4-6 months the pup begins to test the rules as he teeters on the edge of adolescence. Provide him with ample chew toys to ease him (and you) through teething. Continue to patiently and consistently work with him to teach basic manners. Great training books written by experts such as Carol Lea Benjamin are available to help you structure the puppy's environment during this time. A good puppy kindergarten can also be helpful. It is strongly advised that the puppy not be kenneled or banned from the house, nor should he be confined to a crate more than 3 hours a day (except at night). puprun.jpg (12208 bytes)
pupdig.jpg (5291 bytes) Though the pup may seem willful at this age, he is learning behaviors that will shape the rest of his (and your) life. Patience, gentleness, and consistency at this age reap huge rewards later on. Between 6-14 months your puppy will experience the onset of sexual maturity, with hormonal fluctuations and a second fear imprint period. For many, this is a smooth transition. Continue maintaining a patient, consistent pattern of expectation and reward. If your pup is not breeding stock, be sure to spay or neuter.



Care of the Ibizan Hound:

general considerations

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  • A naturally clean breed, Ibizan Hounds require little in the way of grooming, though they do shed. From puppyhood they should be touched and handled so that grooming is a peaceful activity occurring regularly. Nails should be clipped or ground bi-weekly, teeth scaled monthly or brushed daily. The Ibizan Hound will accept all this without complaint if it is part of a normal routine.
  • Like most sighthound breeds, Ibizan Hounds are extremely sensitive to certain drugs. They should never be given Barbiturate anesthetics,  Rompun, or Halothane. Most veterinarians are aware of this and choose to use Isoflurane gas as an anesthetic agent. Check with your own veterinarian for your dog's safety. If Acepromazine is given, the animal should be monitored carefully.  Since sighthounds are more reactive to anesthesia, the minimal amount of drug should be used for induction. Ideal surgical monitoring should include presurgical bloodwork to assess liver and kidney function, an EKG and apnea monitor, an IV drip, plus a technician to monitor the dog's status.
  • Ibizan Hounds are also sensitive to pesticides. The safest flea control program is one using a low-level pyrethrin-based formula. Remember that some of the "natural" or "herbal" formulas can contain toxic chemicals, and if used, should be administered cautiously.
  • Researchers are discovering that different breeds seem to have different dietary protein and fat requirements: what is optimal for a Malamute can cause problems for an Ibizan or Saluki. Generally, for an Ibizan Hound, values for total diet should be:
  • fat 10-18%
  • protein 21-28%

with puppies receiving the high end. Protein over 28% can lead to skin and gut allergy-type responses ranging from mild to life-threatening. Read labels carefully; there are high-quality foods available outside of these parameters, and Ibizan Hounds do not do well on them.  On the other hand, there even more good quality foods that fall within this range. Some breeders feed their adult dogs puppy food for the higher fat content with no ill effects. Check with your breeder when making decisions about diet for your Ibizan Hound.

  • During adolescence the male dog may develop a poor appetite. His appearance may look rather alarming due to thinness, but it is important not to bribe him or accustom him to elaborately-prepared meals or hand-feeding, as this perpetuates his disinterest in his regular food.
  • Exercise and conditioning enhance the quality of our lives with our pets, and this also is true of the Ibizan Hound. Exercise is an excellent way to tone down the busy activity of the young dog, and condition the adult well into old age. Please see Canine Sports for some excellent reference material on how to develop a routine appropriate for you and the life stage of your dog.
  • Because of low body fat stores, it is important to provide your Ibizan Hound with a well-padded bed or crate. Initial training for sits and downs should be done on soft surfaces (a reluctance to lie down on command usually is not a reflection of dominance, but of discomfort). For the same reason, he should be provided with an appropriate blanket or coat during cold weather.


Suggested Resources for the Puppy Owner:




    Sites to check out:


   Most Important Resource of all:

  • Stay in touch with your breeder