“It’s a what?”, is usually the response I get when I tell someone what breed my dog is. And that’s when I’ve given them the English translation. When they guess, they come up with an Irish Wolfhound as a suggestion. Which would be about right for colour and coat-type – but wrong on size, since my dog is much smaller than an Irish Wolfhound.
Really, my dog is a Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer or SRHP for short. Why am I writing about this on a site called JustWeims? Well, there is a very strong Weimaraner connection, as you might guess.
The dog sure does look like a wire-haired Weimaraner. In fact, between the 1950s and 1975, it was known as just that – a wire-haired Weimaraner – in its native Slovakia.
And, just as the long-haired Weimaraner and the short-haired can be bred together because they are considered to be the same breed, so could the wire-haired be bred with them – in Slovakia.
In 1975, the German Weimaraner Club heard about these goings-on in Slovakia and decided it didn’t approve. They cast the wire-haired Weimaraner out forever into the non-Weimaraner wilderness. Ok, not quite. They just said that it wasn’t a Weimaraner and they couldn’t go calling themselves any sort of Weimaraner. The inter-breeding stuff had to stop.
So then they became a separate breed, the Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer. They became an FCI registered breed in 1983.
But you can see, from the way they look, that they have a lot of Weimaraner in them. No doubt partly because of that breeding that went on between 1950 and 1975, but also because the Weimaraner is one of the foundations for the breed.
Unlike many dog breeds, you see, we can be sure about how the SRHP developed because it has evolved so recently and under the strict control of breed wardens in Slovakia.
The breed was developed in the 1950s in Slovakia, in a breeding programme overseen by a man named Koloman Slimák. The intention was to create the most versatile of versatile breeds, which would be able to hunt equally well on land, in water and in woodland, to point strongly and to retrieve all species of game. Since winters are pretty harsh in Slovakia, the dog also had to be hardy to the cold.
To achieve this end, the breed club in Slovakia used the hardest-hunting Weimaraners, Cesky-Fouseks and German Wirehaired Pointers (Deutsch-Drahthaars). The intention was to use the best of each of these breeds to create ‘the best of the best’. Some other breeds were added into the mix too, including the Pudelpointer and (it is rumoured) the German Shorthaired Pointer.
Although this sounds like some sort of a dog-breeding soup, it’s important to remember that all breeding was overseen by the breed wardens of the breed club and only dogs of sound temperament and excellent hunting ability were included in the breeding programme. They just happened to come from several different breeds. Imagine if you had a license to create, from scratch, your ideal versatile dog. Pretty dreamy, huh?
Oh, and although most of them do look like wirehaired Weimaraners, they don’t all look like that. Some look more like German Wirehaired Pointers and are known as ‘roans’.
As for what they are like… Well, pretty much everyone will have their own opinions on this one, but I believe that, no matter how much of the Weimaraner’s looks they have inherited, they are nothing like a Weimaraner in personality.
In their seeking of affection and petting from everyone they come across, they are labrador-like in being outgoing towards strangers.
They have a fabulous temperament and I have never seen any aggression from a SRHP.
They are, however, very vocal, making all sorts of strange vocal noises when playing and they are a little prone to whining and barking when frustrated. This is not a dog for someone who wants complete silence.
To sum up, I’d say they are clowns. There is something very comical about the SRHP, mixed with bags of natural working ability and heaps of affection.
What’s not to love?
Photos courtesy and © Jo Silverman and Michal Urban.
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