A patriotic Czech dog celebrates its 80th birthday

08-07-2004

They say that dogs take on the qualities of their owners and vice-versa, and some might say that the following two breeds conform to stereotype. The German "Drahthund" - the wire haired pointing dog - is a dog that loves the hunt, enthusiastically chasing its prey through the forest; its close Czech relative - the Bohemian wire-haired pointing dog, or "Cesky fousek", is a much quieter, more restrained breed, and favours caution before diving into the woods. The fousek is also one of Europe's oldest breeds, in all probability going back to the Middle Ages. This week the Cesky Fousek Breeders' Club is celebrating its 80th anniversary, and the 40th anniversary of the breed being fully recognized internationally. The club's president, Dr Jaromir Dostal, spoke to David Vaughan.

Cesky fousek, photo: Pleple2000, Creative Commons 3.0Cesky fousek, photo: Pleple2000, Creative Commons 3.0 "It is very close to the German wire-haired pointing dog, but the main difference is in its character. The German wire-haired pointing dog prefers to hunt for itself - it loves to hunt. But the Cesky fousek hunts for his master. He keeps very close contact to his master and is willing to work for him, but in our country we would like to add a little bit more of the eagerness of the German wire-haired pointing dog to our breed."

And do you think that there's an element of a Czech national characteristic in the Cesky fousek?

"The Cesky fousek is typically Czech. It is a breed created in the Middle Ages. Historical documents from the castle Karlstejn say that it was bred by noble families in the Kingdom of Bohemia at least in the 14th century, and that noble families and kings used to give very efficient hunting dogs called the "Canis Bohemicus" as a present to masters around Europe in different kingdoms. Therefore we like to believe that the Cesky fousek is the original wire-haired pointing dog breed in the world."

So it's a very old breed, but the Club of Cesky Fousek Breeders actually wasn't founded until eighty years ago.

Cesky fousek, photo: Srinayan Puppala, Creative Commons 2.0Cesky fousek, photo: Srinayan Puppala, Creative Commons 2.0 "Yes, in fact it was the third foundation of the club. The first was in 1896, when the Czech Kingdom was part of the Austrian Monarchy, and the club was cancelled because it refused to use the German language as the official one. The second was in 1912, but the work of the club was very limited due to the First World War. Therefore, when the Czechoslovak Republic was founded in 1918, hunters in our country decided to form a Cesky fousek club."

So the Bohemian wire-haired pointing dog is in a way a symbol of Czech patriotism as well?

"Yes, it is a distinct breed because of the way it hunts."

And how many Cesky fouseks do you have?

"[laughs] I have just two females, that's all."

08-07-2004

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