"Ibizan hound hereditary health and longevity
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"Ibizan hound hereditary health and longevity

Dogs
Health & Safety

The Ibizan hound is a relatively uncommon dog breed within the UK, but is much more common on the island of Ibiza, from which they originate. They are most commonly seen in a smooth haired coat, but a wirehaired variant can also be seen. A third variant, sometimes known as the longhaired Ibizan hound can also occasionally be found, but this is generally considered to be a variant of the wirehaired dog.

The Ibizan hound is a lean, agile and elegant looking dog, which is athletic and lively as well as graceful. They are also relatively hardy and considered to be a robust, rugged breed. They have large, pointed ears that are one of the main identifying factors of the breed, with a long neck and lightweight build. Dogs of the breed can stand up to 29” tall at the withers and weigh up to 29kg, with male dogs tending to be larger than females. The coat of the dog can be seen in red and white patched colouration.

If you are considering buying an Ibizan hound, it is important to find out as much as you can about these unusual dogs before committing to a purchase. This includes researching the average longevity and hereditary health of the breed as a whole, which we will cover in more detail in this article.

Ibizan hound lifespan

The average longevity of the Ibizan hound breed as a whole is 12-14 years, which is towards the top of the average for all dog breeds of a similar size. This reflects the fact that the Ibizan hound is generally considered to be a robust, healthy dog breed that is not particularly prone to developing a wide range of potential problems.

Conformation considerations

  • Dogs of the breed that have a lot of white in their coats, particularly around the head, have an elevated propensity to hereditary deafness.
  • The chest of the breed is both deep and narrow, placing the bred at risk of developing bloat, or GDV. This condition causes the stomach to fill with gas and potentially twist over on itself, and requires prompt treatment to ensure that the dog survives.
  • The shape of the eyes of the dog makes them slightly prone to deformations of the corners, called medial canthal syndrome. This causes the tear ducts of the eyes to overflow and not lubricate the eyes properly.
  • The lightweight legs of the breed and their tendency to be fairly fast on their feet also means that care should be taken to avoid fractures and injuries to the legs.

Genetic diversity

The coefficient of inbreeding statistic for the Ibizan hound is zero, indicating that the breed is not considered to be at risk of hereditary defects or health problems caused by inbreeding. Few other pedigree dog breeds have a zero percentage figure, and generally, a figure of 6.25% or below is considered to be healthy and appropriate.

Health testing for the Ibizan hound

Because the breed is one that produces a small but significant number of deaf dogs, Ibizan hound breed organisations recommend BAER testing for deafness. This test can help breeders to determine the level of hearing acuity within their own breed lines, in order to make an informed decision as to whether or not their dogs are viable candidates for breeding.

Other health issues

Overall, the Ibizan hound is one of the most fit and healthy of all pedigree dog breeds, and is not considered to be particularly at risk of developing a wide range of hereditary health problems. However, a small number of problems have been found to occur within the Ibizan hound breed pool as a whole, and that have a hereditary element to them.

Currently no health screening programmes are widely used for the breed, but potential owners should be aware of the possibility of dogs of the breed developing the following conditions:

  • Epilepsy, with epileptic dogs often being able to live normal lives with medication, but known epileptic dogs should not be used for breeding.
  • Atopy, a skin condition caused by a hypersensitivity to certain protein particles, including pollen. This condition leads to intense itching of the skin and obsessive scratching.
  • The breed as a whole also has a slightly higher than normal propensity to developing allergies to other substances, and may require a hypoallergenic diet to counteract this.
  • Cataracts, particularly in old age.
  • Retinal dysplasia, another condition of the eye.
  • The breed is also considered to be sensitive to a common type of veterinary anaesthetics, called barbiturates, and so veterinary surgeons are advised to use different drugs when treating dogs of the breed.

As the Ibizan hound is relatively uncommon within the UK, not all veterinary surgeons are aware of this sensitivity, and owners of dogs of the breed are advised to draw the attention of their vet to this issue when seeking treatment.

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