František Horák's Cesky Terrier

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The Cesky Terrier [pronounced "chess-key" --Ed.] is still so rare that it is not automatically recognized, even by those who regard themselves as fairly well informed about the Terrier breeds. However, now that the breed has been accepted into the AKC Miscellaneous classes it will doubtless become better known throughout the United States.

Forget the Labradoodle or the Cockerpoo — this is the original “designer dog,” a deliberate crossing between two other Terriers to produce a new breed suited to a specific purpose. Indeed, probably the first thing that most people learn about the Cesky Terrier is that it originated with a cross between Scottish and Sealyham Terriers. This may be the only fact that is remembered — but for those who desire to learn more about this very attractive breed, it is a fact that is probably best forgotten, at least while the basics of breed type are grasped. The Cesky Terrier is not a gray Sealyham, nor is it a drop-eared Scottie, but is a breed that in its finer points has little resemblance to either.

However, let’s go back to the beginning, and that is something that is easy to do as, unlike most other breeds, the history of the Cesky is carefully recorded. A young and enthusiastic Czech called František Horák had started to breed and show Scottish Terriers under the Lovu zdar kennel name. Like most Czechs, he was a keen hunter and took his Scotties out into the Bohemian forest. He met with a like-minded young man who had Sealyham Terriers and the two would spend most of their free time out in the forest, comparing the attributes of their terriers in the field. At this time (the mid-1930s) Horák surmised that something between the two would be the ideal working terrier. He liked the darker color of his Scotties, but conceded that they could be dour and stubborn and were sometimes aggressive in company. The Sealyhams, in contrast, were much more ready to work as a pack, and he liked the drop ear — but not their light color. He was also aware that both breeds were becoming too big to work efficiently underground. Over the next decade there was little opportunity to put his ideas into practice, but all through the dark days of World War II he was making plans for the future. Indeed, he had the opportunity to acquire a couple of Sealyhams so that he could get to know the breed better.

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