A group of Cesky Terriers from Van Bodasca Kennel
Pronounced CHESS –kee and sometimes referred to as
the Czech or Bohemian Terrier, the Cesky Terrier is a big-hearted dog
in a small package. Extremely devoted, small enough for apartment
living and athletic enough for an active family, Cesky Terriers fit in
well in most environments, as long as they can be with the people they
love. They are naturally fond of children and generally get along well
with other pets, especially if raised with them.
In the world of dogs, the Cesky Terrier is a relative newcomer. The
breed was developed by Czechoslovakian geneticist Frantisek Horak. A
breeder of Scottish and Sealyham Terriers, Mr. Horak set out to create
a terrier suited to hunting in his native country. He sought to
combine the best attributes of the Scottie and Sealy and produce a
terrier that could go to ground, fit in burrows too small for its
parent breeds and which had a disposition suitable to hunting in
groups. Mr. Horak also wanted an easy-keeper with
natural ears and tail.
In 1949, Mr. Horak began developing the Cesky Terrier by crossing a
Scottie bitch with a Sealyham dog. In the years that followed, he
worked to set the characteristics he was looking for: a smaller chest
circumference, good hunting instincts but with a milder disposition
than most terriers, a build well-suited for digging and endurance, and
a grooming style that was easy to maintain. Hence the Cesky is never
hand stripped like many terriers, but rather is groomed with clippers.
The Cesky coat should be soft and silky, not wiry, which was
accomplished through selection of breeding stock and through clipping.
The breed was recognized by the FCI in 1963. Sadly Mr. Horak passed
away in 1996, but in his lifetime he had the joy of watching his
fuzzy-faced creation become the darling of the Czech Republic. In its
homeland, the Cesky Terrier is a much beloved national treasure and
has been featured on postage stamps, in artwork and literature, on TV
and in movies, and even on several specially painted buses.
This hand painted bus by artist Oldrich Dufek,
commemorates the Cesky, a beloved breed in the Czech Republic
The Cesky Terrier in the US
With only about 300 dogs in the country today, the
Cesky is still a relatively undiscovered treasure in the US. The first
imports arrived in the US in the latter half of the 1980’s. Most of
the original imports were from DeSchalkjes Kennels in Holland. Since
then a number of dogs have been imported from the Czech Republic,
Sweden, Norway, Germany, Canada, Finland and the UK, as US breeders
work to continually increase and diversify the gene pool.
Currently the Cesky is not recognized by AKC, but is
registered in the U.S. with AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS). As
more and more people discover their winning ways, the Cesky Terrier is
steadily gaining popularity.
Cesky Terriers are being actively shown in rare
breed conformation classes, obedience competition and recently in
Earthdog events and agility. This should increase, as a recent AKC
decision will soon allow FSS dogs to compete in obedience and agility
at AKC events.
owned and shown by Roswitha Wick Right: Newthatch Flyaway, aka "Whizz"
doing agility with style
The American Cesky Terrier Club, a US national breed
club, is working diligently with the AKC to achieve recognition of the
Cesky Terrier. The Cesky Terrier was recently recognized by the
Canadian Kennel Club, and US fanciers are hopeful that AKC recognition
will follow in the not-too-distant future.
Living with a Cesky Terrier
Unique in appearance and character, the Cesky has a
style all its own. While the Cesky retains its hunting instincts, it
is most beloved today as a family pet, a job for which it is ideally
The Cesky is a decidedly different terrier: very
soft-tempered, surprisingly obedient and anxious to please. The Cesky
Terrier is an extremely devoted and loving companion who enjoys adults
and children. Most also enjoy the company of other dogs and usually
get along well with other pets.
The kind and
gentle expression of the Cesky Terrier
The adult Cesky is generally a mellow dog indoors,
content to curl up on the couch next to the person they love. Often
reserved with strangers, the Cesky bonds deeply with its family and
hates to miss out on anything. Expect to have a furry friend waiting
for you on the bathmat when you emerge from the shower, heading for
the door when he hears you get your keys, and in the middle of
whatever is going on at the moment.
Cesky Terriers tend to love everyone in the family,
but often reserve their deepest devotion for one person. They have
good memories and once they decide they like someone, they remember
that person always.
Despite their couch-potato tendencies, Cesky
Terriers come to life when there’s an opportunity to play. They seem
to have an affinity for the comedic, and will occasionally give you
cause to ponder whether there may be a monkey somewhere under all that
one told these two that window seat is for cats.
For a small, short-legged dog, they are surprisingly
substantial and athletic. They will happily hike, fetch, swim… you
name the activity and your Cesky is game if it’s an opportunity to
be with you.
As puppies, Cesky Terriers abound with impish charm.
They are born black, and lighten to varying shades of grey as they
mature. While each individual is unique, Cesky pups tend to be full of
themselves, very busy and into everything.
what can I get into next?
We all have our weaknesses, and for most Cesky
Terriers, that weakness is food. They love to eat, and food-stealing
and begging are particularly difficult habits to break as a result.
Their love of eating often does not stop at food items, so never leave
a Cesky unattended with most dog toys. Even most of the toys labelled
"indestructible" are fair game for a Cesky.
Is a Cesky Right For You?
If you are looking for a loving companion to be a
true member of your family, then a Cesky Terrier might well fit the
bill. There are a few things to consider.
- Because of its tendency to be wary of strangers,
early socialization is important.
- You must be wiling to make a commitment to
grooming. Although the Cesky does not shed, it does require
regular combing to keep the coat mat-free, and unless you are
handy with clippers, will require professional grooming.
- The Cesky is an indoor dog that needs and thrives
on human companionship.
- Still a relatively rare breed in the US, Cesky
puppies are not abundant, so you may have to wait a while to find
your perfect companion.
- Once you do find your perfect puppy, you will
likely never again be able to leave your midnight snack
If you can meet these basic requirements, you will
be repaid many times over by this loyal, comical and unique little
dog. For those that enjoy the terrier look, ingenuity and character,
but prefer a little less independence and intensity, the charming
Cesky could be the best of all worlds.
[ The Charming Cesky ] [ Breed Profile ] [ Cesky Terrier Breed Standard Tutorial ] [ Tips for a Good Start ] [ Male or Female? ] [ Housebreaking and Use of Crates ] [ Grooming Your Cesky Terrier ] [ Feeding Your Cesky Terrier ] [ Health and Veterinary Care ] [ Links ]