The Cesky Terrier is a relatively new breed that originated in Czechoslovakia in the middle of the 20th century as a result of the efforts of one man with quite an interesting background. Frantisek Horak was born in June of 1909 at the castle Karlova Koruna in Chlumec, an area of Czechoslovakia known for its lovely palomino Isabela horses. Young Frantisek wanted to study and breed horses from a very young age. His parents let him start breeding dogs when he was nine. He ended up focusing on Scottish Terriers and Sealyham Terriers. When Horak grew up, he worked for many years as a geneticist at the Academy of Science in Prague. By the late 1930s, Horak was well-established as a breeder of Scotties and Sealys under the kennel name “Lovu Zdar,” which translates as “successful hunter.” He began breeding horses in 1945, after World War II ended. Horak developed two distinct dog breeds during his career: the Cesky Terrier (originally called the Bohemian Terrier) and the Czech Piebald Dog (originally called Horak’s Labor Dog). He maintained his interest in both dog and horse breeding and genetics throughout his life.
In the early 1940s, he became interested in developing a lighter, more low-slung terrier that was especially well-adapted to “going to ground” and entering the narrow tunnels and burrows of small game that inhabited the Bohemian forests. He thought that crossing a Scottish Terrier with a Sealyham Terrier might produce the ideal hunting dog for his local terrain. He liked the Sealy’s dropped ears and the Scotty’s darker color. However, he felt that those breeds had become too large to hunt successfully below ground. He wanted a dog with a narrower chest, a smaller head, longer legs, a softer coat and a slightly more aggressive hunting attitude, yet he still wanted a dog that was reliable and easy to handle. In 1949, once World War II ended, he bred one of his female Scotties with a male Sealyham. One puppy from that litter survived. Horak started hunting him when he was old enough, with promising results. Unfortunately, the young dog was killed in a hunting accident in 1950.
Undaunted, Horak bred a male Sealyham named Buganier Urguelle to a female Scotty named Scotch Rose. This pairing produced six first-generation Cesky puppies. Horak kept meticulous records of all of his breedings and started a private registry to track the development of his new hunting terrier. The Cesky Terrier is still actively used to hunt fox, rabbit, duck, pheasant and boar. It is used as a tracker, watchdog and guardian and is an increasing presence in the conformation ring. It also is gaining a following as a companion and family dog.
The Bohemian Terrier was recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1963. Its name was changed to the Cesky Terrier shortly thereafter. In the early-to-mid-1980s, with the FCI’s permission, Horak crossed some of his Cesky Terriers back to Sealyhams, to broaden the breed’s gene pool. Despite a Communist ban on exporting Ceskys out of Czechoslovakia, the breed became popular in other parts of the world. The Cesky Terrier first arrived in North America in the late 1980s. The breed was acknowledged by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1993. It has been recorded in the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service since 1996. It was approved for competition in AKC Earthdog events as of January 1, 2004. In October 2007, the American Cesky Terrier Fanciers Association was recognized as the Parent Club for the breed. Ceskys were accepted into the AKC’s Miscellaneous Class in July 2008. Cesky Terriers have been eligible to compete in all AKC events since June 2011, as a member of the Terrier Group. The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) accepted the Cesky Terrier for full registration in January of 2011.
Cesky Terriers on average live between 12 and 15 years. Breed health predispositions may include hip dysplasia and a metabolic disorder known as Scottie Cramp or Wobbly Scottie.