By Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz
Few are the breeds that can trace their exact origin back to an original breeding pair – the Cesky Terrier is one that can. The Cesky – pronounced, “chess-key” – was created in the Czech Republic by Frantisek Horak and is latest breed to join the Terrier Group. The breed’s silky silhouette will sparkle for the first time at Westminster with an entry of three.
Breeding a male Sealyham Terrier, Buganier Urquelle, to a Scottish Terrier bitch, Donka Lovu Zdar, Horak wanted to create a Czech dog to hunt in packs with other Ceskys above and below ground by tracking and digging. With strong prey instincts for vermin, rabbit, pheasant, duck, fox, and badger, the breed is also known as the Czech Terrier and Bohemian Terrier, and enjoys a prominent role in Czech culture today.
Charlene Ewen, president of the American Cesky Terrier Fanciers Association, owned Welsh and Cairn Terriers when she saw her first Cesky exhibited as a rare breed 19 years ago. “My father’s side of the family is from the Czech Republic, so right away I was intrigued,” Ewen said. “I liked the way the dog looked with an undocked tail, natural triangular-shaped drop ears, and a precisely clippered, rather than a hand-stripped, coat that’s meant to show off a well-muscled, slim outline.”
By age 3 or so, the adult Cesky’s distinctive soft, long, silky coat ranges in shades of gray from charcoal to platinum. Puppies are born black, or black and tan. “At dog shows it’s always fun to hear what people will say when they see a Cesky,” Ewen said. “Someone always asks, ‘Is that a gray Sealy or a Schnauzer?’”
At 10 to 13 inches in height at the withers and between 15 and 17 inches in length, the short- legged Cesky is longer than it is tall, with a ratio of 1.5 inches in length to 1 inch in height. The topline has a slight rise over the loin and rump.
Often reserved around strangers, this terrier, like most terriers, is intelligent, determined, active, and energetic. “Ceskys need exercise and I’ve never met one who doesn’t want to go after a tennis ball until he drops,” Ewen said.
The American Cesky Terrier Fanciers Association details what the breed is and is not at www.ceskyterrierfanciers.com.