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What is a Barak?
Barak is a rare breed of wirehair (coarsehair)
eastern scenthound from Bosnia. A Barak is larger than a Beagle and smaller than a
Dalmatian, to whom he is probably related. Barak hair is somewhat longer than a
wire dachshund's, but not as long as an Otterhound's. Barak Colouring is
particular distinctive, it is a combination of metal-gray with pale tan markings.
Sometimes, in the grass and distant, a Barak may appear green. Other
colours in Barak sometimes occur - white markings, or pale yellow all over, but those
are undesired. The most notable characteristic of the breed is that they
are extremely hardy, able to withstand all weather conditions and capable
of running for hours or days, if required.
What kind of grooming does it need?
This is one of the most natural of the natural breeds.
The judges would probably frown if one as much as brushes a dog near the show ring.
(Although, the matted up dogs are disqualified). The hair is not
too long so that it needs very little care, traditionally the "brushing" of a sort was done by
making dogs run through thistles which were then digitally (using fingers) removed. With this breed,
much more time must be spent outdoors than at the gooming table. None of the owners for sure even
own a grooming table.
What's this about "Eastern scenthounds"?
The usual picture that pops up in the one's mind
on the cue word "scenthound", is a sad face with enormous drooping
ears, red weeping eyes, sometimes short legs and often untrainable
characters. These characteristics go with the hounds of Britain, France and
Switzerland, while those of Germany, Austria and further east and south are quite
different. (There are also Italian dogs of somewhat middle-ish type.) The Eastern dogs
are trainable, have close fitting eyelids, only two breeds are
short-legged, and their ears are longish, but not pendulous and not so
prone to ear diseases. Dalmatian is the best known and widest spread
dog of this group, although it is only exceptionally used in hunting. The pictures of
Baraks from the beginning of 19th century show ears very much like
Dalmatian's, but today those have been through selection a trifle lenghtened.
What about the registration?
Barak is registrable with the FCI - No. 155
b (jan15 1973) as "Chien courant de Bosnie a poil dur". Both parents
ought to be registered, have passed conformation and field test in order to register a litter,
and, in Croatia, the pups are inspected by one of the senior club members.
Other organizations may be have less requirements, or impose additional ones.
What is the situation today?
There is now around 300-350 of these hounds
left, most of them in Bosnia and Croatia. This may mean both "is" and
"is not" enough for a viable population, depending of how seriously will the
breeders take to their doings. Establishing a population outside Bosnia,
Croatia and Slovenia, preferably in another FCI country, would help a lot.
Two unfortunate details are most threatening
at the moment: 1. - many dogs are exported to Italy, where they are
neither exhibited nor bred from and 2. - The rules for attaining a status of
breeding bitch or a dog at stud are very strict and selective, and the prices for the
pups rarely cover the cost of showing and competing only. Many owners
therefore do not want to spend their good money, and thus either breed unregistered
puppies, or do not breed at all. Needles to say, the laxing of the rules (they
include a field working test) would allow for a "softening" of
the breed. It is of utmost importance that these dogs retain their
working abilities and do not become mere show puppets.
Are Baraks trainable?
Yes, the hunting methods in continental Europe,
where areas set aside for hunting are not all that vast,
require a well-trained hound. They have to respond to comands even
when quite distant to the trainer, and they also have to learn which game
to abstain from (in French: créancer). For instance, the test obligatory
for the championship title includes
abstaining from chasing deer.
Do Baraks make good pets?
Yes, although they are primarily a working
breed, they make excellent pets. They are family - oriented, learn
easiyly to make friends with other animals, including cats, horses, and even
get along well with more agressive dogs. However, as with a many other dynamic breed,
some requirements have to be fulfilled, notably, the dog has to have
enough exercise (and I do mean enough! The other dog's quarter-an-hour-a-day
is by no means satisfactory,
think more along one-day-once-a-week) and also some basic obedience,
in order not to run across the street after a cat (very dangerous, not only to
the cat, but regarding traffic accidents).
Are Baraks good guard dogs?
Not in general, though some individuals may do as
alarm dogs, which is somewhat different. Scenthounds are supposed to work with,
not against people and other dogs strange to them. They have to be able to adapt to pack
conditions, and this means that they will easily make friends, with unknown
people as well as with other dogs, and even other animals (cats, for instance).
What to look for in a puppy?
General soundness of conformation is before any outstanding features,
as there are not any extremes in this dog. However, some care must be made to
inspect the hair structure: while a fluffy or curly pup may or may not outgrow it's coat,
the pup with the correct hair will retain the same hair quality as adult for sure. If there
is enough space for the pups to run, and there should be in a good environment for a kennel of this
breed, choose the most lively and noisiest one that runs the fartherst out (and does not
necessarily seem to be the most obedient one).
How to obtain a Barak?
or fax to Hrvatski Kinoloski Savez at +38541426448. The price of a
2-months old puppy is about 200$ (transportation cost not included);
you should make certain that the breeder had applied for the
registration. When he/she does, the puppies are tattoed. Older dogs with
show results are around 1200 DM,
that is some 700 $.
EBarak links page
FBarak main info page
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I'll try to answer all relevant questions
- pertaining standard, breeding, training etc.