The Podenco Ibicenco, also known as “Ibizan Hound” in English-speaking countries, “Ca Eivissencs” in Catalonia, and “Balearic Laufhund” in German-speaking countries, belongs to FCI group 5 of the top archetype and has the FCI number 89/ 5.7.
Its origin lies on the Spanish Balearic island of Ibiza, to which it also owes its name. The breed standard provides for a shoulder height of 56 to 74 cm, the weight should be between 19 and 25 kg. The Podenco Ibicenco comes in two different breeds, shorthaired or wirehaired.
The shorthaired type has a dense and hard coat, with a light brushing on the hind legs and under the tail being permissible. The Wirehaired’s coat is harsh and coarse, about 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7 cm) long and longer on the back, hind legs, and tail. In addition, this breed has a beard that is as lush as possible. In inbreeding, the two hair types are equal. Colors include solid red or lion, solid white, or, more commonly, combinations with white, either piebald or Irish pattern.
The common white blaze on the head between the ears is called the “ax mark” and is probably considered a particularly desirable trait based on ancient traditions. The Podenco Ibicenco has been known in its present form on the island of Ibiza and on the neighboring island of Formentera eight miles to the south for over 5000 years.
At that time, ancient Middle Eastern prick-eared dogs, which are also the ancestors of the “Pharaoh Hound”, were brought by merchant ships to the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea off the southern coast of Spain. The dominance of the traits of the ancestors was so strong that, despite the isolated location, these two independently bred breeds still resemble each other very much after several centuries.
It is said in some places that the Podenco Ibicenco rode on Hannibal’s elephants when he invaded Italy. Since the ruler of Carthage was born in Ibiza, this story is not entirely improbable. The Podenco Ibicenco was used in Ibiza as an excellent hunting dog for hunting rabbits, chickens, and even big game.
Since several males do not work together and prefer to fight instead, one hunts with a single dog or with several females and one male. The dogs were held in high esteem on the barren island, as they made a not inconsiderable contribution to the diet of the inhabitants. Because the owners could not afford to raise multiple puppies, the weaker puppies and most of the males drowned in the sea.
The survivors were very robust and well adapted to the rough terrain of their homeland. In addition, they could easily be fed on a few fish heads, and occasionally they would also be given a piece of goat meat or game that they had hunted for themselves.
These dogs were also known in the Spanish coastal province of Catalonia and the French province of Roussillon. Since the Podenco Ibicenco hunts silently, it became the favorite dog of French poachers, who called it “Charnique” or “Change”.
However, because of these illegal activities, this breed was then banned from France. Until the middle of the 20th century, the Podenco Ibicenco was only known as a very simple hunting dog. But then the well-known canine authority and judge of Spain, Dona Maria Dolores Olives de Cotonera from Barcelona, also known as “Marquesa de Belgida”, set the goal of saving this endangered breed.
At her kennel in Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, she bred first-class specimens that made her famous throughout Spain and the European continent. When a breeding program with Podenco Ibicencos also started in America, she personally made sure that only excellent dogs were exported there.
Very soon the Podenco Ibicenco could be found all over the world as a house dog, at exhibitions, at greyhound races, and at coursing competitions. In 1958 an Egyptian special commission came to Ibiza and Formentera to examine the breed more closely and to take some specimens back to Egypt. This is how the Podenco Ibicenco returned to its original home after more than 5000 years. In 1979, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the Podenco Ibicenco as a separate breed.
Podenco Ibicenco Essence
Extremely tough and agile, these dogs can leap six to eight feet from a standing position and are capable of leaping great distances in width and height. The top speed measured when running straight ahead was 64.4 km/h. When hunting, the Podenco Ibicenco uses both smell and, with its large ears, sound, as well as sight.
They can track their prey in the open field as well as in the undergrowth and jump over almost any kind of obstacle. If it loses sight of its prey, it stands upright on its hind legs to rediscover the game. Rifles are almost superfluous when a Podenco Ibicenco is hunting for food for its owner. It pursues its prey, catches it, and then snaps its neck. Then he obediently fetches the catch to the hunter.
According to our ideas, this independent hunter is quite difficult to keep. It requires a patient, understanding upbringing, which, however, requires consistency.