Ibiza’s native dog the podenco

Did you know that Ibiza is home to one of the most distinctive breeds of dog in the world? The island’s native dog, the podenco Ibicenco is an ancient breed with a proud heritage. Bred to hunt, the podenco is now equally likely to be kept as a pet. Here are 15 important facts about striking podenco, and some things to consider if you are thinking of becoming the guardian of one.

  1. The podenco traces its heritage back to the Phoenicians, who brought ancestors of the breed to Ibiza as early as 700BC.
  2. It is believed the Phoenician dogs were related to the hunting hounds of ancient Egypt. Modern podencos look very much like drawings of dogs found in Egyptian tombs.
  3. Podencos are multi-sense hunters: they rely on sight, scent and keen hearing to track their prey.
  4. Podencos were mostly used in Ibiza to hunt rabbits.
  5. Podencos are terrific jumpers and can clear large obstacles from a standing leap.
  6. Podencos come in both smooth and wire coats, though the smooth is more common.
  7. Podencos are highly vocal and make excellent guard dogs.
  8. Podencos are dedicated hunters that will travel long and far in pursuit of quarry (don’t expect them to come when you call if they’re on the scent!)
  9. Podencos live 12-14 years on average.
  10. Podencos weigh 20 to 29 kg and stand 56 to 74 cm tall.
  11. Podencos are good-natured and child-friendly.
  12. Podencos were bred to hunt in pairs or packs, so are very cooperative and responsive.
  13. Podencos make great agility competitors, and compete in lure coursing and even dog racing.
  14. Podencos are usually a red and white, or fawn and white, with flesh-coloured noses and unmistakable upright ears.
  15. Podencos are, sadly, often abandoned or mistreated if no longer useful as hunters. Charities dedicated to rescue and education include Galgo Podenco Support and Podenco Post.

Podencos are splendid dogs and many need loving homes. Before you add one to your family, be sure you are prepared to give them a suitable home.

  • Podencos need plenty of exercise, a minimum of two 20-30 minute walks or, preferably, runs each day. They should be kept on lead, so be sure you or someone in your family is willing and able to give them the exercise they need.
  • Podencos are active and easily bored so you need to be able to spend time with them each day. You will need a secure yard with at least a two metre fence as their spring-like legs will make quick work of a small fence.
  • Think about other pets. Don’t get a podenco if you keep rabbits, guinea pigs, or other small fluffy creatures that look like prey.
  • As with any dog, a podenco will respond in kind to how you treat it. If you have the time, space and energy to provide a stimulating, loving environment they will reward you with great affection and loyalty.

About Cila Warncke

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