The Farmer’s Eye Fattens the Calf
Every day, every meal you should scrutinize your dog’s condition and weight and then feed accordingly. The Ibizan is a leggy, sinewy, slender elegant creature. One look at its conformation and you know it is agile and fast. Fatten it up and you loose grace and endurance. The underweight Ibizan can appear almost skeletal. Adolescent or “sapling” youngsters can be a bit ribby without being underweight. The healthy weight for most Ibizans is to have the last three ribs slightly in evidence, not protruding. Usually there are at least three vertebrae visible along the top-line. Different bloodlines show these ribs and vertebrae to more or less degree. The same thing goes for hipbones. Some bloodlines have them more in evidence than others. Muscle should be strong and flat. Very typey, elegant hounds will really suffer in soundness if not kept in hard condition. This is a rustic, healthy breed that should glow with vigor.
Each Ibizan has its individual metabolic demands, sometimes vastly different even in littermates. One may require twice the calories as the other. Weather conditions and activity levels definitely play a role also. Males may go off food during a bitch’s heat cycle. It pays to fatten them up a little if you know when this is going to happen. Even if he never misses a meal, he may burn it up. Some unbred bitches become broody and chubby about the time they would have whelped. Keeping them lean helps lessen the hormonal symptoms of false pregnancies.
From my experience, healthy dogs eat. Thirty-six years in Ibizans have taught me that Ibizans do best on a high-protein, high-fat diet. I add raw or cooked meat to their meals when I can. My own Ibizans love fresh fruit and vegetables. They will dig up carrots, steal apples, and relish salads, (hold the onion and the grapes). At one time when I was milking goats, I used lots of milk and whey. Ibizans eat young tender grass with gusto. They will use the coarse stuff for an emetic.
It is gratifying to see that most Ibizans in the ring are in good lean working weight. Many have dual careers in field and show. Older Ibizans should also be kept trim. The heavier they get the lazier they become. We as caregivers must guard the elegance and athleticism that first attracted us to this breed.