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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know there must be a few of you on here ...is there anything you can tell me about this breed that I don't know? I've done a lot of research but have no real life experience w them, so first hand experience is welcome.

I've officially decided on a breeder and am on the waiting list for a puppy next fall! I was thinking about rescuing one from Spain, but it looks like it's going to be a little cheaper to buy one from a breeder, so that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to make the 6 hour drive to meet the breeder and her dogs at the end of September/beginning of October. I'm super psyched about the whole thing. I've been wanting one of these dogs for years.

I'd really love to get as much information as I can about the breed. Like can I really NEVER let him/her off the leash, ever? Even once we've solidified recall in an open area like a beach where I can't lose track of him/her? (We have a local dog beach and go up north to our private beach every summer) Obviously I would never let him/her off leash near any areas where he/she could ever possibly get out of my sight, but is it really an "absolutely not ever in any situation" thing or does it depend on the individual dog?
And any general information about the breed you may have. Thanks so much in advance!
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One of the women who comes to our lure coursing has three Ibizan hounds. She says they are escape artists, independent, with no recall -- unless they happen to feel like it. One of hers has gotten loose and killed a chicken whilst at lure coursing practice. They look like lovely dogs, but apparently beneath that calm, quiet exterior they are plotting mischief all the time. :)

That is all I know.

Edited to add: the dogs are offleash when they run the lure course, but the field is enclosed (except when they happen to jump the barrier), and someone is waiting for them at the end of the course. Nonetheless, they (like most dogs) periodically dodge capture to cavort around the field. If you want a Sighthound of any kind, I strongly recommend that you never let them offleash in an unenclosed area, and that the barrier be a minimum of 6 feet. There may be some Sighthounds that won't run off if given half a chance, but from what I'm told by people who've raised them for decades, they are few and far between.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've heard they're prone to having poor recall ...of course I like to think that if I work incredibly hard on it from an early age we may be able to develop it into something halfway decent. I may be wrong. I've also heard about the tendency to escape, jump fences mainly. Fortunately where I am/will be living for the foreseeable future has a 6' fence around the backyard, so that's good. I also know they're independent, which is what worries me a touch, as that sometimes equals hard to train. This breeder assures me her dogs are trainable though, which is SO important to me, so I hope she's right.
Thanks for all the information!
Keep it coming, anyone.
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I've heard they're prone to having poor recall ...of course I like to think that if I work incredibly hard on it from an early age we may be able to develop it into something halfway decent.
You might. At the lure coursing practice I see Greyhounds, Whippets, Salukis, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Afghans, Ibizans, Borzois, etc. and they all are caught usually pretty easily (one of the Afghans actually comes back to the gate), but then the area is enclosed and most of the dogs are pretty familiar with it. It seems that as a rule, Independece + Running talent = "you can't catch me!". None of the owners have ever said they're comfortable enough with their dog's recall to let their dogs off-leash. These people have been raising Sighthounds for decades, so I'd trust them.

I also know they're independent, which is what worries me a touch, as that sometimes equals hard to train. This breeder assures me her dogs are trainable though, which is SO important to me, so I hope she's right.
It's not so much that they're untrainable, they can learn things really quickly if they want to. I'm not sure how a trainer can claim her dogs are (guaranteed?) trainable; our lure coursing hosts are currently raising 7 Afghans, and they are very different in the ways they respond to training. It's very individualistic.

Anyway, although my dog isn't a Sighthound per se, he has a lot of Sighthound attributes, so I'd suggest incorporating a lot of movement into your training, and keeping the sessions short. Boone will refuse treats if he gets bored with the training - (ie: repeating something more than 3 times) and the other Sighthound owners I've talked to are familiar with that. BF's dog Tara, on the other hand, will repeat as long as I've got treats in hand. But Sighthounds will learn, as long as you adjust your technique to account for their desire for movement and their independence and essential disinterest in really working hard (other than running at top speed, of course).

Also, from talking to others, my impression is that Salukis are relatively easily trained, Ibizans are the most difficult and Afghans fall somewhere between.
 

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I would not count on recall with a sighthound. Look at any greyhound rescue's website, they all say the same thing, you cannot trust a greyhound off leash and recall is never going to be enough. Sure, work on recall, but don't let your dog off leash.

As for training, sighthounds aren't biddable like GSDs or retrievers, they are, however, trainable. Any animal is trainable. If you aren't already familiar with clicker training, I highly encourage you to watch kikopup and Zak George. Heck, even if you are familiar with it, you should watch them, they're great at what they do.
 

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I would caution you about being completely secure about having a 6 foot fence. Ibizans have been known to jump those as well. They are very springy little things. J
And the main problem with training sighthounds in general is that you have to do it on their terms to an extent, and they do NOT respond well to a lot of harsh reprimands. That includes both physical and verbal.
You need to find what they want in order to get them to do anything. They're kind of like cats. Lol. :)
And I would never trust recall 100%. Though it does depend on the dog and the location.

I look forward to pictures in the future!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the info! I really love reading all this, all stuff I need to learn.
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I am no sight hound expert but I do have two of them. I don't think I will ever really be interested in owning a dog from one of the other dog groups again.

That being said they are the WORST puppies. Seriously they are so naughty. A sight hound puppy will get in more trouble in half an hour than a collie puppy will in a whole day.

They are little land sharks, they are thieves, and they do everything on their own terms. They are very very smart but it is not the kind of smarts that works with you. More so it is the smarts that work against you as they find different ways to amuse themselves.

You commonly hear stories about finding them on the counters, on the table, and it is not unheard of to hear stories about finding them on top of the fridge!

Oh and they think they can fly and will fling themselves from heights that will give you heart attacks on a daily basis.

I love them so much! just be prepared for the unexpected. Also I would never really trust mine off leash - They might come back 90 times out of a 100 - then one of those 10 times ...get hit by that car they did not see as they chase a squirrel.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the additional information.
@Dia, it is not that the breeder is guaranteeing the dogs she produces are trainable, it's that she says the dogs she has now are for the most part trainable, including my future puppy's parents.
I will not being letting him/her off leash anytime in the first year or so of his/her life, that's for sure. After that I will just have to see how much I trust the individual dog, and it would only be on the beach certainly. Though one of the lure coursing clubs not too far from me actually does some of their coursing in an extremely large open unfenced area so ...I'm sure it's possible for sighthounds to have recall.
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My afghans will follow me around the dog park if I start walking away from the benches and they will come back when called, but I still would never trust them off leash. If there's nothing of interest around then it wouldn't be a problem, but the second a suicidal bunny runs past there is no way they would be coming back.

With lure coursing most dogs don't have an issue being caught once the lure stops. The few dogs that try to run off stop and come back once they realize no one else is chasing or playing with them.

With regard to fences, 6ft is nothing to a large sighthound. What we've found amongst the Afghan community is that dogs will test a fence or wall that they can't see through, most just seem curious to know what's on the other side. Open fencing, like chain link or wrought iron, regardless of its height, never seems to be tested.

Every Ibizan I've met has been exactly as Dia described, beneath the calm exterior they're plotting mischief all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I'm prepared for the mischief plotting!
I am a little worried now that he/she will want to jump the fence as its a very solid thing, no way to see through it at all. Do you think it would be wise to go for a female (and therefore much smaller) dog so she may not be as able to jump the fence? Or is that over thinking it and 4" and 20lbs won't make a difference and she would probably be capable of jumping the fence anyway?
Also I should probably note that I will probably be letting him/her off leash at my parents' house from time to time to work on recall. They have 5 open (aside from buildings and fences, no wooded areas) acres very far away from any busy roads. I'll work on recall at the park too. I just don't feel the backyard is a very reliable place to work on recall past puppyhood.
Thanks so much for all the info guys! Keep it coming!
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I wouldn't necessarily go for a female for that reason. They are just as springy if not even more so to my (limited) knowledge. And they are completely capable! I know that female greyhounds are more likely to jump than males. But as long as they are supervised in the back yard and not left alone I wouldn't worry to awful much. though if you are still worried or if your pup proves to have an issue with jumping fences later, you could build a lean in on the top of your fencing to help prevent an escape.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Okay, I will not worry about going for a female for that reason then. I rent, so I don't think building anything on the fence would be an option, but maybe, we'll see. My roommate's Rhodesian Ridgeback where I used to live was a fence jumper, and it was no big deal because we lived in a super rural area and he just jumped into another area of the property so we'd just retrieve him. However, directly on the other side of the fence where I live now is a pretty busy road, so I'm rather concerned about it.
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You can always ask and if the owners aren't extremely appearence focused you can use something very temporary like thin plastic construction fencing or something similar. Or wire fencing that is not very noticable.

Though it might never be a serious issue. I'm sure the breeder will have advice for training against fence jumping while you are supervising your dog. Though I would never trust a potential jumper ALONE in a yard with anything less than 7-8 foot fencing.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I can supervise him/her(I'm truly hoping for a girl) no problem, but my roommate's dog would jump fences even when supervised, he just didn't like being in the yard. So that's what I worry about.
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If you are worried about that, I would try to make the backyard a great fun area for him/her. So maybe the pup won't be gung ho to try to escape the yard while you are there. Since all the fun is inside the yard!

Though expect that if you do any sports that teach/incourage jumping (agility etc) then expect there will be at least some jumping, though hopefully not over the fence!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I will definitely try to make the yard a fun place! I emailed the breeder and asked her opinion on male vs female dogs. I've heard female Ibizans can be more sharp/aloof, and males can take a joke better. Plus I didn't even think about the possibility that the Ibizan may be same sex aggressive, I know my dog may actually have a slight preference for other females, but that's not to say the new dog will feel the same way. So I'm not sure whether I'll end up going w male or female at this point, I'll definitely let the breeder decide though. She's been really busy and has been slow getting back to me recently but that's okay, I have over a year, I'm in no rush.
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I might get some backlash for this, but I had a Greyhound who I would let off leash in certain situations. He had a low prey drive for being a retired Greyhound and he was only off leash at the family farm and on hikes in the middle of nowhere. I was very lucky because Joe had a great recall and wasn't even interested in chasing chipmunks. I adopted him at the age of four though, so I have no experience with Sighthound puppies.

Check out "Never Say Never Greyhounds". Awesome blog with a woman who competes her Greys in agility and obedience. She talks a lot about Sighthounds and recall too.

Don't expect it, the chances of a good off leash Sighthound are much lower than that of a Herder or Retriever, but don't completely rule it out either.
 

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I will definitely try to make the yard a fun place! I emailed the breeder and asked her opinion on male vs female dogs. I've heard female Ibizans can be more sharp/aloof, and males can take a joke better. Plus I didn't even think about the possibility that the Ibizan may be same sex aggressive, I know my dog may actually have a slight preference for other females, but that's not to say the new dog will feel the same way. So I'm not sure whether I'll end up going w male or female at this point, I'll definitely let the breeder decide though. She's been really busy and has been slow getting back to me recently but that's okay, I have over a year, I'm in no rush.
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I have been interested in Ibizans and the other sight hounds for years and I've done a ton of research and know several breeders. We were going to get an Ibizan and we still might but I'm not sure if I want to deal with a dog that is so independent.

Hounds generally do not have same sex aggression because they were bred to hunt cooperatively in groups, although they do tend to like their own breed more than other breeds. My two females get along amazingly well and we've never had a fight.

Some other notes for your thread:
If you're worried about the backyard and jumping the fence, just keep a long line on the dog.

Ibizans are generally a little more independent that some of the others. They are a lot more like cats but that doesn't mean you can't teach a recall, etc. Any dog can be trained to do anything but you have to have a good reinforcement history.

My dogs can be off leash and they do come back but I've worked really hard on it for the past 4 years. I do a lot of "catch and release" games with them and all the training I do is some sort of fun game. Dealing with hounds is a lot like dealing with men, you have to make them think it's their idea. :p
 
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