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The Cesky Terrier is a small purebred from the Czech Republic who was originally bred to be a hunting dog to hunt vermin working in dog packs. It was also known as the Cesk Terier or Bohemian Terrier. Today it is mostly a companion dog valued for its affectionate nature, its devotion and for being easy to look after. It is also a lot more relaxed than most other terrier breeds. It does well in shows for agility, tracking, earthdog trials, obedience, is a good watch and guard dog and is used successfully as a therapy dog.
|The Cesky Terrier Dog at A Glance|
|Other names||Czesky Terrier, Cesk Teriér, Bohemian Terrier|
|Average weight||13 to 23 pounds|
|Average height||10 to 13 inches|
|Life span||12 to 15 years|
|Coat type||Silky, soft, long|
|Hypoallergenic||Yes – for some it can be|
|Color||Charcoal, grey, platinum, black, brown, yellow, white|
|Popularity||Not popular – ranked 184th by the AKC|
|Intelligence||Good – about average|
|Tolerance to heat||Good – can live in warm to hot climates but nothing too hot|
|Tolerance to cold||Good – can also live in cooler climates but not extreme|
|Shedding||Low – hardly any hair left around the home, if any|
|Drooling||Low – not a breed prone to drool or slobber|
|Obesity||High – gains weight easily, monitor its food and exercise|
|Grooming/brushing||High maintenance – needs regular brushing|
|Barking||Occasional – some barking will happen|
|Exercise needs||Moderate – needs some activity but not high needs|
|Trainability||Moderately hard – can be stubborn|
|Friendliness||Good but socialization is needed|
|Good first dog||Good but experienced owners will find it easier|
|Good family pet||Excellent with socialization|
|Good with children||Good but need socialization, better with older kids|
|Good with other dogs||Moderate – socialization is essential, can be aggressive with other dogs|
|Good with other pets||Good but needs socialization|
|Good with strangers||Good but needs socialization and supervision when making introductions|
|Good apartment dog||Excellent due to size|
|Handles alone time well||Good – can be left alone for short periods|
|Health issues||Quite a healthy breed, some issues might include Scotty Cramp, eye problems, hip dysplasia and patellar luxation|
|Medical expenses||$460 a year for basic health care and pet insurance|
|Food expenses||$145 a year for treats and a good quality dry dog food|
|Miscellaneous expenses||$535 a year for basic training, grooming, license, toys and miscellaneous items|
|Average annual expenses||$1140 as a starting figure|
|Cost to purchase||$1,500|
|Rescue organizations||Several including The American Cesky Terrier Fanciers Association, Inc|
|Biting Statistics||None reported|
The Cesky Terrier’s Beginnings
The Cesky Terrier is quite a new breed, developed in the 1940s and officially created in 1948 by Frantisek Horak in the Czech Republic, then called Czechoslovakia. Horak was a breeder but not a scientist. He worked as a research assistant though for many years at the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. It is understood it was bred from crossing the Sealyham Terrier, Scottish Terrier and perhaps the Dandie Dinmont. The intent was to create a dog that was excellent at hunting vermin and could get into their den to do so without becoming trapped there. It was therefore developed to be narrow and was successfully used to hunt vermin to their dens like rats and to hunt animals like foxes in the Bohemia forests.
As the country was a communist regime at the time, the attraction his breed brought to him via mail actually got him into trouble with the secret police. 1963 Horak received FCI recognition for the breed. In the 1980s breeders decided since the Cesky at that time no longer looked like the dogs that had originally been bred by Horak, it needed to be crossed again with the Sealyham Terriers. It has since become one of the Czech Republic’s national breeds of dog and has been featured on stamps there, as well as being shown in popular culture in films, on TV and in literature. Horak himself died in 1997.
New Lease on Life
The Cesky Terrier came to the US in 1987 and to this day remains a rare breed there, as it is worldwide. In fact it is one of the most rare dog breeds around. In 1988 the Cesky Terrier Club of America was formed but progress was slow and in the early 1990s there were still only 150 dogs in the US. It was not until 2004 that the numbers made it eligible for foundation status with the AKC, and then it received full recognition recently in 2011. A parent club helped with that called the American Cesky Terrier Fanciers Association. Today it is ranked 184th in popularity by the AKC.
The Dog You See Today
This is a small dog weighing 13 to 23 pounds and standing 10 to 13 inches tall. It has short legs and dewclaws can be removed or not, a somewhat long body, is muscled and rectangular in shape and has a similar appearance to the Sealyham Terrier. It has a tail that is left natural and is around 7 to 8 inches in length and it sometimes has a white collar or tip on it. Its coat is soft, silky, long and somewhat wavy. When born the colors tend to be more browns, black and tan and black but as it ages the color can change or fade. Around 2 to 3 years old it sets into something grey, charcoal and platinum with markings that can be black, white, yellow or coffee.
The Cesky Terrier’s head is wedge shaped and is between 7 to 8 inches long. It has a black or liver colored nose, almond shaped, medium sized brown eyes and ears that are triangular, set high and fold or drop forwards. It has facial hair including eyebrows, a mustache and a bushy beard.
The Inner Cesky Terrier
Ceskys are great watchdogs, it is a very alert breed so should it hear something, it will bark to let you know. It is not a frequent barker but it does bark occasionally. As it does also have some moderate protective instincts and it is a brave and courageous breed it is also likely to act to defend you, the family and its territory, the home. New owners could own this dog if you are prepared to put in some work and learn about the breed beforehand, but given it is a terrier and therefore does have a tendency towards being feisty, stubborn and bold, experience does help. It is worth noting though that out of all the terrier breeds the Cesky is thought to be one of the most mild mannered.
In a good home with the right owners who are clearly the pack leaders this is a playful yet calm, patient and sweet dog. It is full of life and joy, it is very loyal and it is also intelligent. It can be anything from reserved to fairly friendly with strangers and it enjoys being social and people giving it lots of attention. It travels well too so you can opt to take it with you on your travels as while it is fine being left alone for short periods, longer ones are going to be harder for it. It is a sensitive dog so needs owners with patience who are not overly harsh, loud and it will not respond well to physical punishments.
Living with a Cesky Terrier
What will training look like?
Training a Cesky Terrier is going to take some patience, consistency, perseverance and a strong will. They can be difficult to train and this is where if you are experienced it will really help prepare you for what is needed. This dog has a mind of its own and needs their trainer and owner to be clearly in charge, to set rules they stick to and to keep it in check when it tries to manipulate you. Thankfully training this terrier is not as challenging as training other breeds of terrier but it still can be a tough dog so be firm. Use positive methods, offer it praise, encourage it and use treats to motivate. Make sure that along with basic obedience training you also ensure it starts socialization early on. It is important it is exposed to different sounds, places, animals, people and such. This will help make sure any caution it has does not turn to suspicion or aggression. It will also mean you are more able to trust it and that as it grows into an adult is is a happier and better adjusted dog.
How active is the Cesky Terrier?
Ceskys can be kept in an apartment, they are small enough and calm enough inside, as long as it gets enough time taken out for walks and activity. It can be happy without access to a yard though of course having one is a bonus as it does like to explore and often has it nose close to the ground. It needs a moderate amount of activity, it is a fairly active dog. It should have a couple of walks a day at least and they should be about 20 minutes of brisk walking each. Keep it on a leash as it will run off if it can. Along with that you can take it to wooded areas, open areas, dog parks and such where it can have safe time off leash and running and playing fun games with you. Along with that physical activity this intelligent dog should have daily mental stimulation too. Training, puzzle toys, trial work would all fulfill this need.
Caring for the Cesky Terrier
If you own a Cesky Terrier you will have to be willing to commit to some time daily to its maintenance and grooming needs. It does need a lot of care, its coat is long and it needs a trim regularly and it needs brushing daily as it tangles and collects dirt and debris. If you are keeping it as a show dog it needs even more care and time. Most show terriers are stripped but the Cesky can be clipped. The extra hair in the pads of the feet need to be removed as does the hair in the ears. It is a low shedding dog so there will not be a lot of hair around the home. Only give it a bath as it needs one as doing it too often can lead to the natural oils in its skin drying out which can cause skin problems. As it has facial hair after it eats or drinks it will likely need a wipe down.
It should have it teeth brushed two to three times a week at least. The ears should be checked for ear infection once a week, and then given a wipe clean without inserting anything into it. Use an ear cleanser solution for dogs, or a damp cloth. Its nails need to be clipped if they get too long. This can be done by you if you know about dog nails, or leave it to the professional groomer. Dog nails have nerves and blood vessels in the lower part so if you cut into it or even just nick it, there is a lot of bleeding and it hurts your dog a lot.
This dog needs about ¾ to 1½ cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals. It does like its food and it will try to get more however it can, begging, digging in the trash, getting onto the counter and so on! Make sure you track the food it eats to avoid obesity. How much exactly each Cesky needs can vary based on things like its age, health, size, metabolism and activity level. Please note this breed is prone to swallowing things that are not actually edible which means more visits to a vet.
How is the Cesky Terrier with children and other animals?
With good owners who are pack leaders and when also raised with them, Cesky Terriers can get along very well with children. They enjoy having play mates, can be energetic together, and love to explore things together too. Make sure children are taught how to play and stroke dogs in a kind and safe manner. With other pets it should be friendly too apart from when the animal is small and rodent like, which will be sure to trigger its prey instincts. It gets along well with other dogs being not as dog aggressive as other terriers.
What Might Go Wrong?
The Cesky has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years and is a generally healthy breed though there are a few issues to be aware of. Some can develop Scottie Cramp Syndrome and other issues can include hip dysplasia, heart problems, patella luxation, eye problems and thyroid problems.
When looking at reports of dog attacks against people over the last 35 years in Canada and the US there is no mention of the Cesky Terrier. Keep in mind though that it is a rare dog in North America which makes it less likely to be involved. It is a terrier and they can be feisty. It is also a fact that any dog can have incidents of aggression or just plain bad days where they overreact to something. Some can just do more damage than others due to size and power. In general this is not a dog to be worried about as long as you have it trained, socialized and it gets enough mental and physical stimulation and enough attention. It is still possible for something to trigger it, but it is a lot less likely.
Your Pup’s Price Tag
A Cesky Terrier puppy will cost about $1500 from a good breeder of pet quality dogs. For something of show standards from top breeders this goes up to several thousand. Its price reflects the fact it is rare and hard to find especially in the US where you can compare less than 100 Cesky puppies being born to over 60,000 Golden Retrievers! Finding a Cesky in a rescue or shelter is quite unlikely, but it is possible and there may be crosses. Shelter dogs run from $50 to $400, comes with medical needs taken care of, and you get to feel great about giving it a new forever home! As difficult as it might be to get a Cesky do not feel tempted into buying from less than reputable places. Prices fluctuate widely, health cannot be guaranteed and these are places that are at best ignorant or at worst abusive towards the care of their dogs.
When you have your puppy or dog home there are some things you need to take care of, and some items it will need. The latter includes things like a crate, carrier, bowls, leash and collar which will cost around $200. Medical check ups and tests like a physical exam, blood tests, deworming, shots, micro chipping, spaying or neutering will cost around $270.
Annual costs will include things like food, grooming, training and of course medical concerns. Starting with food, if feeding it a good quality dry dog food (which is more nutritious and better for the dog) you can expect to spend $145 a year and that covers dog treats as well. Its medical basic needs like flea and tick prevention, vet check ups, vaccinations and pet insurance to cover emergencies and other health issues come to about $460 a year. Miscellaneous costs are about $535 a year and that will include things like license, basic training, grooming, miscellaneous items and toys. That gives a yearly total for the Cesky of $1140.
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The Cesky Terrier if you manage to find one is a great companion dog. It has the personality and spark that most terriers have, but it is a bit calmer, sweeter and a bit easier to control too! While it is a small dog and so is great for lap cuddles this dog is heavier or sturdier than you might think. It is also short legged so have some stools around in case it needs some help to hop up for its cuddles. This is a dog that does need some activity, if kept indoors all the time it will start to act out. It is also important to make sure it gets early socialization and training and regular grooming.
Featured Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
- The Cesky Terrier’s Beginnings
- New Lease on Life
- The Dog You See Today
- The Inner Cesky Terrier
- Living with a Cesky Terrier
- Caring for the Cesky Terrier
- How is the Cesky Terrier with children and other animals?
- What Might Go Wrong?
- Your Pup’s Price Tag