The Ibizan Hound can be traced back to approximately 3400 B.C. in ancient Egypt. Many artifacts found in tombs of pharaohs reinforce the existence of a royal dog closely resembling the modern Ibizan. Hemako of the First Dynasty (3100-2700 B.C.), Nevermat of the Fourth Dynasty (around 2600 B.C.), Tutankhamen of the Eighteenth Dynasty and the Ptolemies of the Thirtieth and final Dynasty, all have tombs containing evidence of the Ibizan’s ancient ancestry. According to one AKC publication, even “Cleopatra reportedly was an ardent devotee of the Galgo [Ibizan], and her reign was the twilight of the pharaohs’ time in Egypt.”
In the 8th or 9th century B.C. the Phoenicians, who were well-traveled Mediterranean traders, discovered a group of Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain, one of which was Ibiza. These early sea-traders brought the ancestors of the Ibizan Hound to those islands, which have been ruled by the Egytians, Chaldeans, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals and Arabs, among others. Today, the Balearic Islands are part of Spain. The Ibizan Hound led a difficult life on those islands for many centuries, as did the islanders. The conditions were harsh and food was scarce. The hounds earned their keep by hunting hare and other small game to supplement the island’s meager food resources. Only the strongest specimens survived.
In the 1950s, a well known Spanish dog judge and breeder, living a short distance from Ibiza on the island of Majorca, took a strong interest in the breed and started a large but selective breeding program. With her top-quality dogs and enthusiasm for the breed, she actively promoted Ibizan Hounds throughout Europe. They rapidly spread in popularity in Europe, North America and even in Egypt, their ancestral land.
The first pair of Ibizans, Hannibal (Stop) and Certera (Tanit), arrived in Rhode Island, USA, in the middle of 1956. Their first litter was whelped that fall, producing four males and four females which, together with several other imports, formed the foundation for the American Ibizan Hound. The breed has flourished in the United States as watchdogs, hunters, show dogs and companions. The Ibizan Hound Fanciers and Exhibitors of the United States organized in the mid-1970s, and eventually became known as The Ibizan Hound Club of the United States. The parent club is extremely stringent in regulating and preserving the traits of this unique breed, including its unparalleled temperament, superior health, strong structure and resilient nature. Today’s Ibizan Hound is a valued hunter, coursing dog, show dog and prized companion world-wide.
The Ibizan's average life expectancy is between 10 and 12 years. Breed health concerns may include allergies, cataracts, congenital deafness, medial canthal pocket syndrome and epilepsy.