He is the terrier with a difference. Actually, many differences. Discover six interesting facts about the national dog of the Czech Republic, the delightful Cesky (pronounced chess-kee) Terrier.
One man’s vision
The Cesky Terrier owes his creation to the dream of one man, the geneticist and sportsman Frantisek Horak. In 1932 Horak obtained his first Scottish Terrier in what was the former Czechoslovakia. He admired the breed’s prey drive but sought a less aggressive hunter that could work in a pack with a less quarrelsome attitude. He eventually encountered Sealyham Terriers and wondered if the Scottie and Sealy could be mated together to produce a more cooperative working dog. According to the American Cesky Terrier Fanciers Association, the breed’s national parent club, Horak did his first Scottish Terrier-Sealyham Terrier breeding in 1949. He persevered for a decade, keeping the best from each litter to create his perfect hunter, which he described as “small, slim and elegant.” By 1959 he was entering dog shows and began the process of registering his new breed in the Czechoslovakian Register with the official name of Cesky Terrier. The breed was recognized in 1963 by the FCI, the world dog registry, and admitted to the American Kennel Club in 2011.
The Cesky Terrier was developed to be a well-muscled, short-legged hunting terrier with natural drop ears and a natural, undocked tail. The breed is longer than it is tall. And whereas most dogs have a level back (or topline), the Cesky has a slight, distinctive rise behind the shoulders, over the loin and rump.
Clipped, not stripped
Most terrier breeds have a hard, wiry coat that purists insist must be stripped by hand to maintain that harsh texture. The Cesky Terrier has a long, fine, slightly wavy coat with a silky gloss. The breed is groomed with scissors or by clipping. The hair on the face is not clipped, thus forming a full beard. The hair on the upper side of the neck, the shoulders and back is kept short, while the hair on the lower parts of the legs, and under the chest and belly is not clipped.
Taking a shine to the little gray dog
Nearly all Cesky Terrier puppies are born black, but by maturity turn a uniform gray color in shades ranging from a dark charcoal to a shimmering, platinum silver. The breed standard also recognizes a light coffee brown color but few are ever seen. Brown puppies would be born a dark chocolate color and then lighten as they age.
Mellow for a terrier
Frantisek Horak’s goal was to develop a calmer, more biddable breed of terrier. This he accomplished. While the Cesky is a determined little hunter, the breed standard emphasizes his “non-aggressive, pleasant and cheerful” temperament, with a “calm and kind disposition.” The Cesky is a discerning little dog, loving with his people but somewhat reserved toward strangers.
Rarest of the rare
The Cesky Terrier is developing a small following in this country but for now remains a rarity. The Cesky currently ranks 185th in AKC breed registrations out of the 195 recognized breeds.
Top photograph: Tierfotoagentur | Alamy Stock Photo