Amberlithe Ibizans - For the long run
Conformation and Structure

Understanding the Ibizan Hound Topline

There appears to be a misunderstanding among some that the Ibizan Hound has a flat topline.

The current AKC Ibizan Hound standard reads Neck, Topline, Body and then proceeds to describe such. Herein lies a source of confusion because in describing the topline it begins at the line of the neck, which is described as “The neck is long, slender, slightly arched and strong. The topline, from ears to tail, is smooth and flowing.” This does not describe a straight line. Unfortunately our current standard does not address the profile line of the withers. The old Spanish standard just states “the withers are high.” There should be a rise above the withers that supports the longer spires of the backbone. This is the area of muscle attachment for strong well laid back shoulders. Next is the back. The back is only that hand span behind the withers and in front of the loin. “The back is level and straight”, this does not mean the topline is level, like a table top. Unfortunately the standard then goes on to describe the body, the brisket, chest, ribs and then returns to the line of the loin and the croup which are also part of the topline. There should be a slight arch over the loin. The old Spanish standard clearly states “loins are arched.” The Ibizan Hound is a galloping, jumping athletic rabbit hunter. It should not have a flat under muscled loin. The Ibizan is only slightly longer than it is tall. A long straight topline is counterproductive to the function of the breed. Ibizan Hounds in coursing condition have a well muscled, but never bulky loin. The croup is slightly sloping and the long tail is set on low. The carriage of the tail also enhances the topline. The tail can be carried high or low, and in the shape of a saber, sickle or open ring.. No preference. The tail should not curl within itself or lay on the back. The purpose of the tail in hunting is to indicate the intensity of the hunt. The tail telegraphs to the hunter how close the rabbit is. Tail carriage is not just a fashion statement. When in a show stack, most Ibizans let the tail hang. This tail should reach at least to the hock, preferably longer. Old Spanish standards called for passing the tail between the hind legs to reach the spine. This spoke of both condition of the dog and tail length. The tail is an extension of the topline. One fine point now lost to the present standard was the slight backward sweep of the ear in profile. This makes for that lovely flowing line from ears to tail tip.

Breeders, fanciers, and judges alike will benefit from watching the many wonderful videos taken of Ibizans hunting in their native Spain. I remember the first time I saw this. It really opened my eyes to the reasons for the beautiful shape of the Ibizan. The Ibizan was bred to hunt all day on extremely rough conditions. The Ibizan is shaped by function. Its many unique characteristics have purpose. No other breed of dog makes such spectacular leaps. Anything that compromises this ability is a detriment to the heritage of the Ibizan.

Author: Nan, 2011

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