The Cesky Fousek; also called the Bohemian Wire-haired Pointing Griffon, the Czech Coarse-haired Pointer, the Slovakian Wire-haired Pointer, and the Rough-coated Bohemian Pointer is a member of the Water Dog type. Of aristocratic heritage, water dogs have enjoyed a long and noble history and have been a valuable hunting companion in Europe for centuries, and remains such into modern times.
In the land that is presently known as the Czech Republic, an ancient kingdom called the Kingdom of Bohemia existed. It is here that the Cesky Fousek breed would see its genesis. Ancient pictures have been found depicting the Bohemian Wire-haired Pointer and by the Middle Ages, the Kingdom of Bohemia possessed a hunting dog then known as the Bohemian Water Dog. In these times, the Bohemian King and the Emperor of Rome were one and the same. The young ruler, Charles IV was educated by a man named Vilem Zajic. Zajic wrote a letter that would be an early reference to the Cesky Fousek breed. He wrote: “In 1348, the Emperor Charles IV gave as a present to Markgraff Ludwig von Bradenburg a number of able hunting dogs called Canis Bohemicus”.
In these early times, the Canis Bohemicus was the only wire-haired hunting dog in Europe, and it is therefore thought that the breed may have been the creator of this canine type. A later reference to the early Cesky Fousek type was made around 1724, in a book titled Der Vollkommene Teutsche [Deutsche] Jager (“The Complete German Hunter”). This two-volume encyclopedia was written by Johann Friedrich von Flemming, and describes a type of dog, not necessarily a specific breed when it mentions a rough-haired pointer from Bohemia that was used for work performed primarily in the water.
Although references to a dog from Bohemia, with rough hair and a particular talent for water work have been seen throughout history, the Cesky Fousek breed is not clearly identified until 1883, when Josef Vilem Cerny wrote his six-volume set Huntsmanship-Handbook for Hunters and Hunting Friends. Cerny describes a Czech rough-haired dog and identifies it as being particularly, a pointer. This is the first reference of this kind that is made of the Cesky Fousek. Cerny would call the dog, in his book, the “Cesky Ohar”.
The word “Fousek” was not used until three years later, when it is found in a Czech registry of purebred dogs. At that time, rough-haired pointing dogs were called Fouseks. The word Fousek is derived from “fousy” meaning facial hair/whiskers and is a reference to the breed’s physical appearance. Later that year, a group of hunters and breeders of the rough-haired pointer from Bohemia would form a club for the breed. They would call it the “Society for Rough-Haired Pointer-Cesky Fousek-of the Czech kingdom based in Pisek”. This would be the first use of the combined name Cesky Fousek.
Much inbreeding took place among hunting dogs at this time; therefore the early Cesky Fousek breed was more a type than a purebred line of dog. Despite this fact, the breed was highly valued by hunters in its homeland, as well as hunters in the surrounding countries of Austria and Germany. Overtime, the Cesky Fousek would become a popular hunting companion throughout Europe. Prior to World War I (WW I), the Cesky Fousek was the mostly commonly used wirehaired pointing dog in the region of Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic.
In the early part of the 20th century, WW I broke out and the political upheaval proved to be excessively violent in Eastern Europe. By the end of the war, in 1918, the Austro-Hungarian Empire would be destroyed, and the nation of Czechoslovakia would be born. The Cesky Fousek, like many dog breeds, would become nearly extinct by the end of the war. Although the Cesky Fousek was in a dire situation, there were still those hunters who fancied the breed and attempted a revival of the Cesky Fousek. In 1924, the “Association for the Wirehaired Pointer Cesky Fousek” was formed by these breed enthusiasts with the intent of restoring the Cesky Fousek breed and preventing it from becoming lost to history forever.
Though the association’s intentions were good, there were very few specimens of the Cesky Fousek left to breed, and these few remaining dogs were scattered throughout the region. Also, many new hunting dogs had been brought to the area during the war; these dogs included such breeds as the English pointers and setters, as well as the German Short-haired Pointer. The influx of these talented breeds relegated the native Cesky Fousek to a second class status among the hunters of the day. This did not, however, sway the association from their purpose, and its members continued to fight for the Cesky Fousek’s survival and the restoration to its former glory. In 1931, the association created a new breed standard and began a focused breeding program, but by 1939, war had broken out again in Europe.
The Second World War (WW II) would also prove devastating to the noble dog breeds of Europe, and although the Cesky Fousek seemed on the road to recovery, it would once again be brought almost to extinction. Through perseverance, the association for the Cesky Fousek breed had been maintained through the war years and once the war had ceased, its members began again to revive the breeding program for the Cesky Fousek. New guidelines had been enacted for members of the association and the Cesky Fousek could now be bred and kept only for and by hunters. The breeders’ main focus was the retention of the hunting talents and abilities of the Cesky Fousek breed, as well as the pleasing temperament and characteristics of the breed.
Despite the association’s earlier efforts, the Cesky Fousek’s population was still low at this time. The genetic base was also quite limited and the association allowed for some inbreeding of the Cesky Fousek with similar type dogs such as the German Short-haired and Wire-haired Pointers. This inbreeding was allowed to occur only for a short time, just long enough to assist in reestablishing a strong foundation stock to breed. The association members discontinued the use of other dogs in the Cesky Fousek breeding program because its goal was to create and maintain a purebred line of the Cesky Fousek.
Breeding requirements were tightened and maintained. Hunting tests were given to dogs being considered for breeding, and only the dogs meeting these strict requirements were allowed to be bred in order to produce a strong line of Cesky Fouseks. Careful records were being kept at this time, in a genealogical register, of the breeding of the Cesky Fousek.
In 1957, Czechoslovakia joined the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). The association sought to receive full breed recognition for the Cesky Fousek at this time. The requirement was that the association be able to provide documentation of a minimum of three generations of Cesky Fousek that were “clean” lines, meaning no foreign blood had been introduced in those generations. The stud book of the association was therefore closed and breeding of only pure Cesky Fouseks occurred. There was resistance from the German Kennel Club (VDH), of the Cesky Fousek’s recognition as a unique breed as the VDH claimed that the breed was genetically identical to the Stichelhaar breed. But, despite the difficulties that the Cesky Fousek faced, a new breed standard was written and approved by the FCI in 1958.
The FCI formally recognized the Cesky Fousek as a unique and specific breed in 1964, after the association had met all the breeding requirements for a purebred dog line and an in-depth report of the Cesky Fousek breed’s origins was reviewed. The Cesky Fousek was well liked throughout Europe at this time, but especially so in its homeland and was even given the honor of being represented on postage stamps being issued in that country in 1965, and again in 1973.
Today, the breed continues to thrive in its native Czech Republic, and in many other countries. Currently, breeders for the Cesky Fousek can be found in Slovakia, Austria, Germany, France, Holland, the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand. The Cesky Fousek is still represented by a strong and vibrant breed club in its native homeland, and New Zealand has its own Cesky Fousek breed club. The Cesky Fousek gained further recognition in 1996 when it was recognized as a unique breed by the United Kennel Club (UKC). The Cesky Fousek is the second most popular hunting dog in the region of its homeland and annually, 500-600 Cesky Fousek pups are born in the Czech Republic as well as many more that are born throughout the world.
The Cesky Fousek has a noble and strong look, built for power and endurance. It has been described as a handsome breed with a distinctive appearance. A medium-sized dog, the Cesky Fousek breed presents a noticeable difference in size between its male and female members. The male dogs (Cesky Fousek) stand 24 to 26 inches at the withers and weigh approximately 62-75 lbs, while the female dogs (Ceska Fouska) measures 23 to 24 inches at the withers and weighs 49-62 lbs. The Cesky Fousek possesses the debonair facial furnishings that are common to the wirehaired breeds, making it appear dignified and intelligent.
The head of the Cesky Fousek is carried high and is slender and long; angular with a domed skull and a modest stop. It appears square in shape when viewed in profile due to the whiskers and sideburns it possesses. The Cesky Fousek’s ears are wide at the base but narrow gently into rounded tips that lie close to the dog’s cheeks. The eyes are set deep in the face with eyelids that fit tight and fully encase the eyes, the lids are gray/black in color. The colors of the Cesky Fousek’s almondAmong experts, the use of Almonds, or Almond derived products in pet food appears to have been met with mixed reviews. While some feel that there is no issue and that the .... shaped eyes are dark amber or dark chestnut; they display a kind, bright, and somewhat solemn expression. The muzzle is slightly arched at the bridge, long, and tapers gently toward a dark brown nose that possesses wide and sensitive nostrils. The Cesky Fousek’s lips are well-developed, with the top lips hanging slightly over the bottom. The jaws are powerful and muscular, with teeth that are spaced evenly apart and meet in a scissors bite.
The neck is moderately long and set high on the Cesky Fousek’s withers. It displays strong muscles and a slight arch. The neck leads into strongly sloping shoulder blades and straight forelegs. The sloping back is squat but firm. The Cesky Fousek’s body is well developed, possessing a deep chest that reaches to the dog’s elbows with an oval ribcage with well sprung ribs and protruding sternum. Viewed from the front, the chest displays a lyre shape. The croup slopes reasonably and the loin is short, but wide and vaulted. The belly is only slightly tucked; this is to assist the dog in movement and should add leanness to the dog’s overall appearance. The hindquarter displays a long pelvis, with good angulations shown in the back legs. The upper thighs are wide, with lean hocks and short pasterns. The tail is set high, and gracefully continues the level appearance of the topline. Traditionally, the Cesky Fousek sports a docked tail. Being a water dog, the Cesky Fousek has webbed toes that are well arched. The dog’s pads are substantial and coarse, and should be fully pigmented. The overall appearance of the foot should be that of denseness and a spoon shaped. Toenails should be gray or black in color. When the dog is alert, the Cesky Fousek stands tall on its feet.
The Cesky Fousek breed sports a double coat, which is common among Water Dogs. The supple undercoat is short and thick, while the outer-coat is snug and harsh, growing to about one to one and a half inches in length. Certain areas of the Cesky Fousek’s body may display even longer guard hairs that are straight and very coarse to the touch; these areas are the topline, flanks, shoulders, and fore-chest. The back of the Cesky Fousek’s legs have a feathering of longer hair than the front of the legs. The hair on the dog’s head is short in area like the skull, forehead, cheeks, and ears. The breed possesses a signature coat feature; the moustache and beard that it has become known for. The Cesky Fousek is named for this feature as it displays long, soft hair around the lips and chin, as well as long eyebrows that are bristly and point upward. The Cesky Fousek’s coat may come in a variety of colors; including dark roan with or without brown spots, brown with white markings on the chest and legs, or solid brown.
The Cesky Fousek has a long and successful history as a hunting dog. A multi-purpose breed, this gundog has accompanied hunters in the region of the modern Czech Republic for centuries. As such, the Cesky Fousek works the fields with skill and joy even to this day. The Cesky Fousek was bred to be a pointer and a superb hunting companion. Because of the intense training the breed has received throughout its development, the Cesky Fousek is a loyal companion, ready and willing to spend countless hours in the field at its master’s side. It is capable of covering vast areas in a short period of time, and the dog is a patient and talented hunter.
The Cesky Fousek is eager to please its master and is easy to guide. Training this breed is somewhat effortless as the breed is a natural hunter and possesses a gentle and pleasing temperament. A hardworking breed, the Cesky Fousek will follow its master’s command without hesitation regardless of how demanding it may be. The Cesky Fousek is a loyal friend to its master, as well as a protective companion. The Cesky Fousek is joyful and welcoming, with an upbeat and energetic attitude. The Cesky Fousek is a good companion to children, as its loyal and protective nature to its master will also be shown to all members of the dog’s family. The Cesky Fousek is a very social breed and must have the companionship of humans continually in order for the dog to reach its full potential. They can suffer from separation anxiety if this basic need is not met.
The breed should be trained properly in order to maintain its health and happiness. Training should be performed in a firm but calm manner. The person training the dog should be confident and display strong leadership as well as consistency. There should be variety in the lessons being taught to the dog so that it does not get bored. If the training is begun early and done correctly, the Cesky Fousek will grow into an ideal hunting companion and a loyal and loving friend. The Cesky Fousek is also an agreeable companion to other dogs and most other pets as long as it is raised with the other pet beginning when it is young. Because of the breed’s strong prey drive, the dog should be supervised when in the company of smaller animals and should always be kept on a leash when being walked. The breed is also generally friendly with strangers but can be a bit reserved at first; proper socialization will ensure that the dog will behave pleasantly towards new friends into its adulthood.
Exercise is really important to the Cesky Fousek breed. The breed was raised to be a field worker and is accustomed therefore, to long hours of vigorous exercise. If the Cesky Fousek does not receive adequate physical stimulation and ample human companionship, the dog may become bored and nervous, causing destructive behavior in the breed as a form of expression. The Cesky Fousek requires excessive amounts of physical activity and is therefore recommended only to very active families. The dog is well suited to those that jog or hike regularly. Daily, the Cesky Fousek requires a long walk and plenty of time to run and play.
Due to the exercise requirements of the breed, the Cesky Fousek is not recommended for apartment living. The breed will do best when living in a moderately large household and must have a home with a large fenced-in yard. Ideally the fence should be tall, as the Cesky Fousek is known to escape and go in search of adventure when it is bored. The Cesky Fousek is also very vocal and may make itself a bother to those with neighbors living close by.
Overall, the Cesky Fousek is a pleasant housemate and a loyal, devoted companion to its family and friends. The breed is energetic, lively, and cheerful; ever eager to please its master. The Cesky Fousek loves to work in the field or play with its human companions every chance it can get. It requires vigorous activity and firm and consistent training, but with the proper attention, the Cesky Fousek can grow to be the ideal family companion and a reliable and trusted hunting partner.
The Cesky Fousek is a dog accustomed to working in the field, and is therefore a low-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming. The dog’s coat is relatively short and sheds only moderately. Brushing the coat regularly with a firm bristled brush will assist in removing any loose or dead hairs from the thick coat. The Cesky Fousek’s coat is naturally weather proof; therefore, the dog should not be bathed unless necessary as this bathing can strip the oils that provide this natural weatherproofing quality. Wiping the dog’s coat with a cloth or chamois will help to distribute the coat’s natural oils and make it shine.
The Cesky Fousek is often found working in the field as a hunter; if this is how you intend to exercise your dog, make sure the breed is properly dried after each excursion if it gets wet as they can be sensitive to excessively cold weather and should not catch a chill. Also, the feet should be checked and cared for regularly and toenails should be trimmed if not wearing down adequately on their own through use. The Cesky Fousek possesses hanging ears, and should be checked for excessive moisture, dirt, or infection in the ear area often. Any excess hair growing in the ear canal should be removed.
As with all dog breeds, attention should be paid to the dog’s diet and exercise requirements; as well as the care and grooming of its eyes, teeth, and nose areas to ensure cleanliness and prevent infection or other health concerns from developing.
The Cesky Fousek has been carefully bred for decades in order to ensure its health and hunting abilities. Due to this attention paid to the dog’s lineage, the Cesky Fousek has developed into a strong and hearty breed. There are no serious health issues currently recorded for the Cesky Fousek breed and these dogs live an average of 12-15 years. The Ceska Fouska often has a moderately sized litter of 5 to 7 pups. Although no serious conditions are recorded, the Cesky Fousek breed has been known to experience the following: