4) Bohemian Mountain Dog
Český horský pes or the Bohemian Mountain Dog is the youngest and probably the least common of the Czech original dog breeds. It was bred in the late 1970s as a mountain dog and is an excellent companion for the outdoors. Despite its imposing look, it has a very friendly nature and is extremely devoted to its owners.
The Bohemian Mountain Dog originated in Czechoslovakia in the late 1970s. At the time, there was a growing interest in sledding, but the breeds available in the country were completely unsuitable for that purpose.
The first litter of puppies, the result of a crossbreed between the Slovak Cuvac and the Alaskan, was born in August 1977. In 1984 the Bohemian Mountain Dog was officially recognized as an original Czech breed.
It is recognizable for its sturdy body, a big brown-coloured head and a thick coat, says breeder Vladimíra Tichá:
“It usually has a white and yellow or white and black coat and it is quite a big, powerful dog. It is very devoted to its owner and it is an excellent guard dog.
“If you live in a secluded area somewhere in the mountains and you have this dog, you don't have to worry about being robbed, because it will keep an eye on things.”
Despite their large size, Bohemian Mountain Dogs are very affectionate and surprisingly good around children. Nevertheless, they need a lot of exercise and should be ideally kept outside all year round.
Vladimíra Tichá again:
“It is an extremely hardy breed, I know a postman in the Giant Mountains who used to have one and the dog carried his mail for him.
“It is a breed for harsh environments, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for someone who lives in a heated apartment building.”
The Bohemian Mountain Dog enjoyed its heyday in the 1990s, but nowadays, there are only around 200 of these dogs registered in the Czech Republic.
According to Vladimíra Tichá, they are mostly kept as pets, but they are also used as avalanche rescue dogs and some of them are still trained for the original purpose, which is dog sledding:
“I was recently in the mountains with my husband and we were sitting in a restaurant where there were pictures of a Czech mountain dog. The owner showed us a chronicle of his expedition to Baikal with Czech mountain dogs.
“It was 40 degrees below zero there and while most of the breeds that are commonly used as sled dogs could hardly walk at all, our Czech Mountain Dog left them all behind.”
Unlike most of the other Czech dog breeds, the Bohemian Mountain Dog is not recognised by the International Canine Federation and is barely known outside the country’s borders.
Nevertheless, it has its steady group of supporters, who are united in the Bohemian Mountain Dog club, holding regular exhibitions and competitions and otherwise promoting this little-known original Czech dog breed.