LEAPS OF KNOWLEDGE
‘Ratja’ takes a vertical jump to try and hear or see the fleeing rabbit.
LEAPS OF KNOWLEDGE
THE IBIZAN HOUND
I n Spring 2012, I traveled to Mallorca to deliver a puppy of my breeding to a local breeder and hunter, Toni des Clos, an adventure that was described in my article in the previous issue of Sighthound Review . A generous host, Toni arranged for my traveling companion, Erica Kasper, and me to fulfill a dream: watching the ca eivissenc —as the Ibizan Hound is called in its homeland—hunt in the purest traditional way in its original terrain. Toni is a proud steward of rural Mallorcan traditions; his family has been hunting with Ibizans for generations. We went out with seasoned hunting packs; first, Toni’s pack of four, and then with his friend Tomeu Roca’s larger pack of seven to eight. Tomeu’s dogs won the national hunting championship in 2011, and Toni’s “Dama” and “Clenxa” won an island pairs competition, suggesting that we were in for an unfor- gettable experience, which Erica Kasper has captured in her wonderful photographs. To improve my understanding of what I saw in the field, I drew heavily from the description of the breed’s unique hunting style in the 1987 book, Ca Eivissenc: L’Alternativa , by Miquel Elena Rossello and Charles Camberoque. Those desiring an original, authoritative account are directed to that matchless source. Many are familiar with the spectacular leaping so important to this breed’s hunting style, but there are some perhaps less dramatic aspects that are just as important. Ibizans are primitive hunting hounds, appropriately placed in that category under the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). They detect, capture, and retrieve rabbits to hand with little substantial interaction with the huntsmen. In the United States, the Ibizan Hound is placed in the Hound Group and described as a Sighthound, which is not the same thing as being a Sighthound in the sense of a coursing hound, although they do share significant traits. The terrain, which the rabbit has perfectly adapted to, is varied and challenging: stands of trees, dense vegetation, and stone walls; remnants of a bygone time, interspersed with rugged, semi-open areas at best.
BY TEDDY BURKE ARBECA IBIZAN HOUNDS
PHOTOS BY ERICA KASPER
Reprinted from Sighthound Review with permission from the publisher.
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MARCH 2022 | 229
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