6) The Czech terrier
The Cesky terrier, sometimes known as the Czech terrier or Bohemian terrier, is a small, agile dog, weighing in at no more than 10 kg. Even though it was created by inbreeding three related individuals, nowadays it is a very healthy and robust breed. It was internationally recognized by the International Canine Federation (FCI) in 1963.
“The Cesky terrier is every bit a Czech. It's a bit lazy and terribly greedy, so it tends to gain weight easily. It is a friendly dog that does not shed, which is why it is also suitable for an apartment. But it is not a dog for 50 kilometre trips, it has short limbs so its legs would probably hurt after a hike that long.”
Those are the words of expert Vladimíra Tichá, breeder, vet and cynologist, who says she personally likes Czech terriers very much.
This breed of dog was created in the late 1940s by František Horák, the man who was also the founder of last week’s dog breed, the Czech spotted dog. By crossing a male Sealyham terrier with a female Scottish terrier, Horák aimed to create a short-legged, easily trainable hunting dog with drop ears.
After years of work, he managed to breed a dog with a maximum height of 29 cm at the withers and a much calmer nature than most terriers. Compared to other types of terrier, the breed is one of the most mild-mannered. Vladimíra Tichá elaborates:
“There is no aggression in the Czech terrier. I have been a judge at dog shows for over 40 years and I can’t remember any of them ever growling at me or there ever being any kind of aggression problem.”
The Czech terrier doesn’t shed so its coat must be groomed regularly, otherwise it starts to get very long, matted, and smelly. Czech terriers are very loyal to their owners and the whole family, including children, but are somewhat distrustful and wary of strangers. They don’t tend to fight with other dogs and get along well with them in a household. They are easily trained and, like their ancestors, have an aptitude for the work of a hunting dog, although they are rarely used for hunting nowadays, having turned into more of a companion or pet. Vladimíra Tichá again:
“The Czech terrier really has the working skills of a hunting dog. I know a breeder who uses it for hunting wild boar and to search for shot game, it's that kind of dog. Today, however, it is moving more into the category of a companion or family pet. But a few people still do hunting usability tests with them or use them to exercise hunting rights.”
The Czech terrier may lack the temperament of other terriers, but it certainly doesn’t lack the ability to make its owners happy.
“I know a lady who did training for disabled people with a Czech terrier. The female dog learnt to take off her disabled owner’s socks and put on her gloves, give her mobile phone to her, and open the refrigerator. You can teach a Czech terrier anything.”
The Czech Terrier is one of the rarest dog breeds in the world, ranking 185th in popularity among 197 dog breeds in 2022. The exact number of them worldwide is unknown; however, the American Kennel Club says there are about 600 in the US.
The breed is now recognized by all of the major kennel clubs in the English-speaking world. It was first imported to the US by a group of enthusiasts in the 1980s. They formed the Cesky Terrier Club of America in January 1988. As interest grew, the breed became eligible to join the American Kennel Club Foundation Stock Service Program from 2004, allowing it to compete in AKC Earthdog tests.
The breed first arrived in the UK in 1989 and was recognised by the UK Kennel Club in 1990. In 2000 it gained rare breed status. It has since competed successfully in UK dog show competitions.