The Ibizan hound, called podenco ibicenco or ca eivissenc is the island’s native dog, having arrived in Ibiza sometime around the 8th century BCE when the Phoenicians first settled there, and it is recovering its popularity today, thanks to its independent and loyal nature. These hounds are believed to have originated in Ancient Egypt, with traces of this type of dog found in the art and paintings of that era and even in the remains of animals, which were extremely similar to the breed we see today. Faithful, intelligent and extremely affectionate, although somewhat timid, the Ibizan hound resembles the Persian Saluki, which has been recorded as the oldest breed known to man, with an eight-thousand-year history and lineage. Experts assure us that these hounds have retained the same morphological, functional and psychological characteristics intact since that time, due to the isolation that is characteristic of any island race, which makes it the oldest dog breed in the world. This marks it out from other podenco hounds, such as the Andalusian or Portuguese hounds which have developed more modern features.
The Ibizan hound is an athletic and elegant dog, of average height with a smooth soft coat and it is an ideal working dog, which can be used for herding, or just as an excellent domestic pet. The Ibizan hound is also a fine hunter, and is particularly expert in hunting rabbits, thanks to its impeccable sense of hearing. It is also a hound with eyesight vastly superior to most other breeds. Its skill in these pursuits appears to derive from the fact that the Phoenicians treated it as both a domestic pet and also to accompany them on hunting trips, although other theories also point to the possibility that when they left the island these dogs were obliged to fend for themselves by hunting.
There are currently several not-for-profit organisations that are working to ensure the continuance of the Ibizan hound on the island. The Ibiza Cuatro Patas Association and Can Dog rescue and rehabilitate these hounds when they are found running wild so that they can be adopted on the island as well as beyond its shores.
Despite being one of the most neglected breeds, because once they are no longer useful for hunting, they are frequently discarded and abandoned, they are not at all aggressive and always ready to give and receive love and affection. They are particularly sensitive to moods and feelings and so the Ibizan hound is a great pet for children, a perfect companion for long walks, and your hound will be attentive to your mood at all times, making this breed an ideal lifelong companion.