Friday, September 30, 2016

The Cesky Terrier: Another Failed Breed

The Cesky terrier was created by a
 Czechoslovakian dog breeder with an experise in the genetics of inherited coat colors and types, the Cesky terrier was recognized by the FCI in 1963.

Frantisek Horak supposedly wanted to breed a working terrier that did not quarrel with other terriers, but in fact this was largely an excuse. After all, plenty of working terriers already existed, and very few ever fought in the field -- why breed a new type of dog?

The real story is that Horak's had fallen in love with an essentially non-working breed -- the Scottish Terrier -- after seeing one on the cover of a magazine in 1928. After getting his first scottie in 1932, he quickly discovered the dog was really too big and too short in the body for fox settes, and often too quarelsome with other terriers in the field to boot.

Instead, of moving on to a more suitable working terrier breed, or being happy with just a companion dog, Horak decided to cross-breed his Scottie with a Sealyham with the idea that the resulting dog would be sized-down a bit, and be a little less fiery to boot.

Truly this was a bizarre cross! After all, if you were really interested in creating a better working dog, why would you cross two breeds that no longer worked?

And if you were trying to breed a smaller dog, why would you cross two breeds of dog that were already too big?

Though the Sealyham might once have been a working dog, by 1949 (when Horak created his first cross) that was no longer the case. Even Jocelyn Lucas had given up on the Sealyham, crossing his own stock with Norfolk terriers in another futile attempt to size down the dog.

What Horak got out of the Scotties-Sealyham cross was a dog that was low to the ground, but not every light.

Though not as fiery in temperament as a Scottie, the coat of the Cesk terrier is entirely unsuited to work -- a walking mop of soft silky hair that would be a disaster going through brambles, mud, rock and dirt.

Horak hunted his Cesky terriers to gun but also did some digging, though he seems to be among the last Cesky terrier owner to do so. Today some Cesky terrier web sites talk about artificial earth dog trials, but none talk about actual work in the field. Ironically, the dog also appears to be getting too big, with the breed clubs moving to soften limits on weight to allow dogs that weigh well over 20 pounds.

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