3) Bohemian Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon
The Český Fousek or Bohemian Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon was originally bred in the Czech Republic as a hunting dog. It is wirehaired and has the appearance of having a beard and mustache. A versatile pointer, Český Fousek has the qualities needed to hunt in the field, in the water and in the forest. These dogs are easy to train and very devoted to their owners.
The Bohemian wire-haired Pointing Griffon was first purebred during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, although the first mention of dogs similar to the Český Fousek can be found in the time of Charles IV, who bred them as hunting dogs. From around this time there are also references to the sale of these dogs to the regions of present-day Germany or Poland, but also much further afield, so it is likely that Pointers of European origin also have the genes of the original Český Fousek. The Bohemian wire-haired Pointing Griffon is considered one of the oldest breeds of Pointers in Europe. Vladimíra Tichá says the dog is both affectionate and hardworking, but is definitely not suited to an urban environment because it needs lots of space and exercise.
"Český Fousek is a dog for the Czech countryside. Many people may not fancy them as pets. But the fact is that they are hunting dogs, incredibly hardworking and persistent. When I think of this breed I always see them on a farm or a gamekeeper's lodge; a wise and affectionate bearded dog lying under the table. That’s how it used to be"
The breed nearly died out in WWI when food was scarce but thanks to enthusiasts it was saved and its breeding continues to this day. Today it is a common breed in the Czech Republic and its popularity is growing abroad as well. There are 114 breeding males in the country and 250 breeding females. And 400 to 600 puppies are registered each year.
The females are much smaller than males, but both sexes are equally talented in the field and adaptable to all types of terrain. Although Český Fousek was originally bred as a hunting dog only a fraction of them actually serve this purpose today. While they need a lot of exercise, they are also lovable and affectionate family pets who are surprisingly good around children.
“Český Fousek is a very manageable dog with a kind nature, without any tendency to aggression or to fight with other dogs. This pointer may look a little bit like a mutt, but it is not true, it is an intelligent breed. It has what is called a three-tier coat, which is extremely hardy and makes it easy for the breed to tolerate being outside in a pen or kennel. The dog will be fine there, but it also likes being around people. And they love children. I'm surprised the breed hasn't been discovered by canistherapists yet, in view of their kind nature and friendliness to people.”
Given their versatility and lovable traits, why are there not more of these dogs around? Vladimira Tichá again:
“As new breeds are being imported, the original ones are being pushed out. This is also true of the Český Fousek breed. Nowadays we have various other types of Pointers, there are a lot of Hungarian and shorthaired Pointers, which people fancy as pets. This is not the case with Český Fousek. This is not a breed that’s prone to being in fashion. But it has a firm place among professional breeders.”