So, how did I, not a hunter and family owning no dog, end up breeding Bosnian Hounds?
Well, there is one breed from theese farout places that is well described in all of the aforementioned types of books, an that breed is the Dalmatian. Now, strangely enough, I am a Dalmatian too. Quite purebred. I also learned to read some English while I was still a kid, so I knew about the looks of the breed an was on the lookout for them whenever I visited Dalmatia (that was generally a couple of months during summer holydays). I saw no Dalmatians at all untill unto mid-sixties, but there were some white or mostly-white dogs that resembled the pictures of Dalmatians, only they had no spots on them. Naturally, I, knowing already that the colour of Dals was due to the T- dominant gene, assumed that these were same but showing recessive lack of spots. Fact is, these dogs were another FCI recognized breed, Istrian hounds, but English books naturally did not describe any FCI breed from some farout place like that, so I did not know untill much later, when I got hold of some Croatian dog magazines, usually available only to kennel club members (you can see the vitious circle at work here). Then I found out that there are several breeds of simylar type, some smooth some rough, mostly defined by their colouring (posavac is orange with some white, istrian is white with a little orange, tricolor is tricolor etc.) and one day a dog and a bitch fell into my lap that had grizzly-gray-ochre wiry hair and it turned out these were the bosnian hounds - Cezar and Lara, the first Baraks that I ever had. Or saw, for they were not common even in those days before the Bosnian war; now they've become rare and endangered. Lara was reported to be a cross between Barak and a wirehair Istrian, and abandoned by her owner who came to live in Zagreb and found out that hunting with hounds is banned around this city (the law is pretty simple - no hunting with hounds where there are deer) - so she was taken to the first Croatian dog sanctuary that was then being organized by Marija Randic, a pensioned scoolteacher. Cezar had been salvaged from Primošten, a small Dalmatian town, by Boris Papandopulo, the then greatest Croatian living composer, where he took him from people who kept him tied up on a very short chain for all his short puppy life - when I got him he was 5 months old and could not walk or trot without his hind legs bump into his front ones (it did not show in canter and did not prevent him going on his own “expeditions”). I never saw something like that before or after. It took a whole year walking on sharp stones to correct this fault, but afterwards he walked fine. Luck had it that I was at that time also engaged in dog rescue, so I bought off both dogs (Mr Pandpulo was a very old man then and was not really able to keep Cezar, as the family had a Peke already, but he wanted to place him with someone who can care properly for such type of dog; if you had a chance to hear his music... I guess no wonder he took liking to a hound) for a small sum which went to the sanctuary; and that was the beginning. I could have registered both of them, the stud book was open untill Cezar was two years old and Lara three, but I was not qute happy with all their features (ear shape, and funny walk that I mentioned), so that I did not want their genes into the pool before being tested; Later when I saw much inferior specimen being shown I was sorry, so that I eventually bred them and to these days I have some of their descendants. The characteristic of that line is excellent hair, not quite perfect ears, perfect nose and endurance. I am not wishing for the opening of the stud book for one reason: the genes of Baraks are dominant, i.e. crosses of Barak with everything else hound look like a Barak, with the other traits - short hair, unwanted color, apearing in third or subsequent generations. Well in my line I had some dogs with much too much white, so I believe that a wirehair Istrian has indeed been one of the ancestors. Why was I keeping this unregisterd line? Why, it was very likely that because of the war the need would arise for infusion of new genes (“new blood”) and I was keeping something ready. As it happened, there are now no more dogs of this line available for breeding, but this experience was waluable in that it helped to find out what the genotype is. There are other unregistered Baraks out there, and interestingly enough they all have imperfect ears - ears shaped like a Dalmatian, not quite those round hound shape. Those same ears can be seen on old photos of Baraks and now it seems obvious that most owners simply thougt at the time “my dog does not look perfect, look at those ears” and did not register his dog. Today's unregistered Baraks have inherited this characteristic that made their ancestors undesirable for registration! Thus my advice is to: breed the unregistered bitches to sires with longest and most penduluos ears, bar all else. Do not breed to unregistered sires (why would one?) unless it is an exceptional working dog - considering that working characteristic must be well preserved in non-show specimen, othervise they would not be there. Some days we will have tests to prove homozigotousy or heterozygotousy (is there some easier word to describe this?) and the problem of excluding crosses from being registered will be solved.