The Cesky Terrier is a ‘modern’ breed, created by the Czech geneticist Frantisek Horak using a Sealyham Terrier dog and a Scottie bitch, with the intention of producing a working terrier that could hunt in a pack without quarrelling and which would also be suitable to live as a family dog.
After the Second World War, in 1949, Horak mated a Scottie bitch to a Sealyham dog, producing the first Cesky terrier which he named Adam Lovu Zdar. He was the type that Horak was trying to produce, with drop ears and a soft coat, and smaller and more agile than either of the parent breeds so that he would be more suited to going to ground after prey. However, Adam was sadly accidentally shot by a hunter in 1950, so Horak had to start again with his experiment. By this time the original Sealyham used had died, so Horak used his son Burganier Urquelle, putting him to the Scottie bitch Scotch Rose, and this produced 6 puppies which were the start of the Cesky Terrier as it is today.
In 1959 this new breed was recognised by the Czechoslovakian Kennel Club, and it was subsequently also recognised in 1963 by the FCI, the governing body for dogs on the Continent.
Cesky Terriers are now becoming popular as family pets and show dogs in many countries throughout the world, due to their charming character and amenable disposition as well as their glamorous good looks, although in the Czech Republic they are also still used for working, as terriers that go to ground after foxes, badgers, rabbits etc and they are also used to track wild boar which they then surround and hold at bay for their owners to shoot.
The first Cesky Terriers to reach the UK were imported during the early 1990’s, and they now have an enthusiastic following in this country. They came off the Imported Register in 2000 but remain a Rare Breed here, meaning that they do not gain Challenge Certificates at shows, and cannot therefore become champions in this country at present.
Despite its working background the Cesky Terrier makes an excellent family pet, having a very loving, affectionate disposition, particularly with his owners, although he can sometimes be reserved towards strangers until he gets to know them. He should never be snappy or aggressive, however, unlike some other working terrier breeds. He has an affinity with children, especially if introduced to them when young, and is also excellent with disabled people towards whom he naturally shows gentleness and consideration, and he can live peaceably with other animals, particularly when allowed to meet these while he is still young. He is a sociable, non quarrelsome little dog who loves to live with other dogs, particularly those of his own breed, while at the same time being very people-orientated, and though he can have a stubborn streak he is generally quite easy to train, often to a high standard of obedience – there are several Cesky Terriers competing in Obedience, and also in Agility, another sport in which this delightful breed excels due to their suppleness and enthusiasm. There are also many Cesky Terriers who hold the Kennel Club Good Citizen award from Bronze right up to Gold level. He is also, of course, a superlative show dog, where his glamorous coat, showy movement, and good looks catch the eye of judges and spectators alike.
This is not a breed that likes to be kennelled, much preferring to live in the house with his family and being allowed to join in all their activities, particularly when these involve a ride in a car! When separated from his beloved owner(s) he can become noisy and sometimes destructive from boredom and distress, so he is not a breed for full time workers unless satisfactory arrangements can be made for day care for him.
The Cesky Terrier is quite a small dog, measuring no more than 11˝” at the shoulder, though he is relatively heavy for his size, weighing up to 10kg at maturity. On the whole he can be given almost any dog food to eat, but seems to do well on complete food, and he does not require large quantities of food – in fact a careful eye should be kept on his waistline to avoid him becoming overweight!
He will take as little or as much exercise as you are prepared to give him, so long as he has a garden where he can run off his excess energy, but he does love a good off lead walk, preferably daily, and despite his small stature he has boundless stamina and enthusiasm for life.
For those buying a Cesky Terrier puppy, it should be emphasised that an ongoing program of socialisation is essential for this breed from babyhood right up to adulthood, to ensure that he becomes and remains confident and outgoing.
The Cesky Terrier’s coat requires regular attention to keep it looking at its best. He sports a long “skirt” and leggings, with a bushy beard and eyebrows, with the hair on the back and sides of his body being clipped, also the upper parts of both hind and front legs, tail and ears are clipped short. A thorough grooming at least every couple of days is the ideal, and he will require clipping approximately every 6-8 weeks to keep his smart, glamorous looks. Having a soft silky coat, the Cesky is never hand stripped as are many other terrier breeds. This is a non-shedding breed so is suitable to live with people who suffer from allergies so long as he is regularly groomed to prevent matting of his coat. The coat of a show dog should be encouraged to grow, but a pet Cesky can have the longer parts of the coat trimmed for ease of maintenance.
The Cesky Terrier can be any shade of grey, ranging from very pale silver grey through to dark charcoal, and can very rarely also be brown. Puppies are born black in the grey variety, and the final coat colour can often take two or more years to develop. The skin should always be well pigmented even in the pale grey dogs. White markings up to a maximum of 20% are allowed on the chest, with occasionally a white collar or tail tip. Youngsters often show some brindling both on the body and in the longer parts of the coat, but this should disappear by the time the dogs is 2 years old.
The Cesky Terrier is normally a very robust, healthy breed, which does not suffer from genetic health problems as some other breeds do. As he is descended from the Sealyham Terrier, which can suffer from PLL (Primary Lens Luxation), a genetically based eye problem, you should ensure that you buy a puppy only from parents who both have clear eye test certificates.
In the past some Cesky Terriers showed signs of having the genetic problem known as Scottie Cramp, which affects the movement of the hind legs but does not cause any pain to the dog, but in recent years this has been virtually eliminated from the breed in the U.K.
As with many other breeds nowadays, some Cesky Terriers can fall prey to various cancers and to heart problems as they get older, so it is wise to maintain a healthy lifestyle and strict weight control for your Cesky Terrier throughout its life.
You can normally expect your Cesky Terrier to live to at least 12 years or so, with many going on to live happy and active lives well past that age.