Věra Suková a Helena Suková

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Prague Ratter Jerry History

Origin: Czech Republic
Classification after and if included in the F.C.I.: Group 9 - Companion dogs

History:

Historically popular breed the PRAGUE RATTER (PRAZSKY KRYSARIK) used to grace the royal palaces already in the middle Ages. With the cultural, social and economic changes, opinions, tastes and fashions change as well. These changes are also reflected in the development and popularity of different dog breeds. The interest in some breeds grows and diminishes of others during times. The Prague Ratter breed once enjoyed immense popularity, even though it never got internationally recognized, and then became almost completely forgotten.

The decision to revive this breed faced a very difficult task and was considered very carefully and for a very long time. Some articles were studied of the late, once well known cynologists such as Otto Karlik, Theodor Rotter, vet Frantisek Dvoracek and many others which had been published in specialist journals and cynological periodicals in the 1920s, 1930s and later years. Also information gathered by the popular science publicist Emil Jech from Roztoky near Prague was studied. It was he who had discovered and confirmed the existence of the Prague Ratter and brought forward indisputable evidence that this breed was around during Bohemian Prince Vladislav II's time.

As the breed is really so old, it is practically impossible to trace its early beginnings. However, the Polish chronicler Galla Anonym wrote that the Polish king Boleslav II The Brave (1058 -1080) became fond of the Ratter. He had two of them and they came from Bohemia (the Czech lands). The chronicle says: "Not only Polish blood but also purely Slavonic blood, donated blood, circulates in the veins of our dogs". As the king of Poland valued this gift, we can presume that it was a royal gift from prince Vratislav II.

Also the French historian Jules Michelet mentioned in his work "Histoire de France" three ratting dogs that came from the Czech lands. He clearly talks about a living gift which the Czech king Karel IV (who also bore the title of Emperor of Rome) presented to the French king Charles V during his visit to France in the autumn of 1377. In early September of 1380 the dying Charles V bequeathed two of these dogs to his twelve-year-old son Charles VI.

The story goes that King Vaclav IV (1378 - 1419) used to take his favourite Ratter to the "U krale Brabantskeho" pub which he liked to visit secretly.

Professor Weiss in his works talks about the past centuries and pays particular attention to the reign of Emperor Rudolf II. Quote: "Rudolf II (1576 - 1611) always found comfort and clear mind amidst his hounds and ratters. From the original four ratters he bred to number eighteen which was an excellent example of his breeding efforts".

The little Ratter was often present at noble banquets of other royalties. From the early history of the Czech lands (Bohemia) the Ratter was adorned by the courts of Czech princes and kings and was often given as a gift to other European rulers. From the royal palaces it then spread to the general public society.

The tragic defeat in the battle on the White Mountain resulted in the decline of Czech political, cultural and social life for next three centuries. This period in Czech history also meant the departure from glory for the Prague Ratter. The Prague Castle (the base of the Czech rulers) started to lose its significance and the Ratter began to leave the heights of the Castle walls to live and suffer together with the ordinary folk people for future centuries.

The genes of the breed survived to the present day. The first tries to take an interest and attempt to set up a breeding programme and gather documentation came from leading canine experts such as Theodor Rotter and Otakar Karlik. They failed because the chosen dogs did not have the six generation pedigrees which were at that time a mandatory for registration. At the same time the history played its role as well in slowing down everything around the regeneration of our breed. Hitler was rising to power in neighbouring Germany and in 1938 he invaded the Czechoslovak Republic. Later on in the fifties Theodor Rotter lost all his property including all his paperwork relating to the Ratter. The will to rejuvenate the breed had been gone as well. The attempt to revive the Prague Ratter breed was repeated again in the eighties. This time it was a success. The Prague Ratter is here to stay. We must not forget the late Mr. Jan Findejs who played a leading role in this pursuit.

Ideal height at withers / weight: 20 - 23 cm / 2,6 kg

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