There are various pieces of advice we would give when acquiring a Prague Ratter puppy.
It is advisable to purchase a puppy from a trusted source. Pet shops, although being closer, are not any cheaper for this reason and neither do they provide the necessary guarantees as they do not tend to be breeders of every breed and therefore depend on third parties in order to be able sell their animals.
As far as breeders are concerned we recommend looking for one who offers guarantees, confidence and security. A breeder who focusses on two or three breeds is always better than multi-breeders (who breed many different breeds) as the former tend to be specialists in the breeds they are selling and therefore much more knowledgeable about them.
Finally, remember that you are acquiring an animal, that is to say a living being which will be with you for many years to come. Think about it carefully, look at its needs and the time you will be able to dedicate to your new companion. Whether you will be able to travel with or provide all the love and affection these little animals need. They ALWAYS GIVE THEIR LOVE SELFLESSLY. Don’t do them any harm..
If you finally decide to get a puppy, on the BASIC CARE page there is very interesting information on the care you should take so that your dog develops healthily and happily and has a very long life.
The Prague Ratter is one of the breeds indigenous to a country to which references go back a very long way. Bred to hunt rats, they became very popular in mediaeval Bohemia thanks to the ease with which they could get into nests of rats (hence their name) and they were much easier to train than cats. We all know know that rats reproduce very easily with many offspring in each litter which in turn become fertile within a few months, eventually becoming an infestation. Everyone also knows that the bubonic plague or Black Death, which according to some studies killed a third (others say half) the population of Europe in the Middle Ages, between 50 and 80 million people, and also devastated India, China, Mongolia etc. was due to the bacteria yersinia pestis and was transmitted by the fleas that lived on the rats. In addition, rats transmit many other disease such as rabies, typhus and hantavirus, not just through their bite but also through contact with their excretions (in the past they would nest in granaries, which were warm and dry places, and a result the grain became contaminated).
Quiet, loving and submissive by nature, but above all very intelligent, Prague Ratters used to live together with the hounds and other hunting dogs, finding a place in the hearts of the children and nursemaids due to their size and temperament.
The first mention of this breed appears in the chronicles of Eginhard (also known as Einhart) who lived from 770 to 840 AD and is celebrated for his biography of Charlemagne as well as for being one of the tutors of his grandson Lothair, son of Louis the Pious. In his chronicles he records the gift from a prince of Bohemia to Charlemagne as a gesture of goodwill as in 791 he was trying to conquer the territory currently known as Bohemia.
In addition, mentioned in the chronicles of Gallus Anonymous the oldest chronicler from Poland, is a breed of dog of Slavic origin, very similar to the Miniature Pinscher, but smaller which was living in the kennels of King Bolesław II the Generous who reigned between 1058 and 1079.
In the History of France the Prague Ratter is also cited as a gift from Charles IV of Bohemia to Charles V during his visit to France in 1377. Or subsequently Wenceslas IV, who reigned between1363 and 1419 and always took along his favourite Prague Ratter, in spite of the criticism by the priests for his “undignified taste”.
Later on it is known that the emperor Rudolf II (1576-1611) who was educated for 8 years in Madrid, more specifically in El Escorial, under the tutelage of his uncle Philip II, grandson (on his mother’s side) of emperor Charles I of Spain, and therefore great-great grandson of the Catholic Monarchs, had up to 18 specimens and used to retreat to meditate (he had quite a few mental health problems) accompanied by his hunting dogs and 4 of his Prague Ratters. By the way, for Rudolph II the easiest language to speak was Castellano and he was a great fan of dabbling in alchemy.
Although according to the website www.prazsky-krysarik.cz, from where I obtained much of the information provided here, there are paintings of the imperial court in which this breed appears, I have not been able to find any pictures. The next time I visit the Czech Republic I will make more of an effort to look for one.
As you can see it really is a very old breed, though it became a little lost a little in history, which is why particularly in Spain it did not start to be become known and popular until the beginning of this millennium.
To conclude, it should be noted that during the more than 12 centuries in which references have been made to this breed, the usual colour has been black and tan, with the occasional mention of brown. However it appears that in the mid-16th century the Czech count Vilem Rozmberk even had a blue and tan variety. And after the Second World War harlequin ratters, i.e. with black and white patches, were bred, though currently this colour is not accepted by the Czech Canine Federation as a standard for this breed.
Finally I would like to thank Igor Hroznata Amadovic for his research work and the historical details contributing to the knowledge of this fantastic breed which my husband and I fell in love with more the 20 years ago, and to the Czech Canine Federation for its work in promoting awareness.
The Prague Ratter, known in Spanish as Ratonero de Praga or Ratero de Prague, or even by its Czech name Pražský krysařík, is a breed which has not yet been recognised by the FCI (World Canine Organisation) as a pedigree breed..
Bright and cheerful in character, the Prague Ratter is a small dog, one of the smallest breeds available on the market, that should never exceed 3 kilos in weight. It is a lively, affectionate dog with a certain wariness of strangers, but it is characterised above all by its tremendous intelligence, great sense of smell and its unconditional love of its human family..
It’s coat is short and smooth, with a square-shaped body, compact in structure. In spite of its short stature, it is very active, alert and full of life.
It is very important to remember that a Prague Ratter’s tail is never docked, in any country (this is typical of the Miniature Pinscher and you have to be very careful about the scams in relation to this).
HEIGHT AT THE WHITHERS (area of the back of the neck where the head ends and the front legs extend): Between 20 and 23 cm.
Its proportion in relation to body length is 1: 1.05 (can be longer in females)
WEIGHT: Between 1800 and 2600 kg (Rarely as much as 3 kilos).
However, although these measurements are seen as ideal, the general appearance of the dog is always much more important.
Description: Shorty, shiny, lies close to the body, dense, without bald patches. The head should be covered with a layer that is thinner and shorter than the body.
Coat colour: Only four varieties are accepted: black and tan, fawn, chocolate and merle. In the first two, the intensity can vary from yellow merle to red. The “tan” should be intense, deep, the more intense the colour, the more appreciated it is.
In the black and tan variety the tan colour should be located above the eyes, on the cheeks, the chest (forming two separate but similar triangles), on the backs of the front and hind legs, on the feet and root of the tail. The more intense the colours, the more precious the animal is.
However, although these measurements and a standards are seen as the ideal, the general appearance of the dog is always much more important.
FAULTS OF THE BREED:
Any deviation from the criteria mentioned above is seen as a fault and how seriously this should be taken into consideration is proportional to its extent. The possible effect on health and bad behaviour are also part of the standard.
Height over 23 cm and weight over 3 kilos. Asymmetrical bite, more yellow patches on the head and abdomen, triangles on the chest not separate, large white patch on the chest (more than 1 cm2), white marks on the feet, tail stays permanently coiled or slightly skewed to one side or permanently coiled downwards.
Nose without pigmentation.
CLack of tan markings on the head if they exist on the body
The Prague Ratter is a small-sized dog, in fact one of the smallest in the canine world and should never exceed 3 kg in weight.
One of its major characteristics is its intelligence, similar to that of a German Shepherd or Border Collie, but much easier to look after.
It is a lively, affectionate dog with a certain wariness of strangers, but it is characterised above all by its tremendous intelligence, great sense of smell and its unconditional love of its human family. And the person it likes to be petted and stroked by it considers to be the head of that family. It is also a little sensitive to the cold
This is a dog with square-shaped body and a compact structure. In spite of its short stature, it is very active, alert and full of life.
It has smooth, short and dense coat (the more you stroke it the glossier it will be) except for the head where there tends to be less. Caring for its coat does not require any effort. As it doesn’t have long hair there is no need to bathe it very often as it does not smell and this could damage its skin causing dandruff. One of the other advantages of having short hair is that the change in coat in winter and spring is hardly noticeable.
It is very important to remember that a Prague Ratter’s tail is never docked, in any country, (this is typical of the Miniature Pinscher - currently it is totally prohibited- and you have to be very careful about the scams in relation to this there are many people selling Miniature Pinschers as Prague Ratters).
A very important aspect to take into account with regard to the character and behaviour of every dog is that just as important as what is inherent to the individual dog itself is what its owner teaches it. Let me explain: according to the study of canine aetiology, which is the field of biology that studies the behaviour of animals, there are dogs that are dominant, submissive, fearful, timid etc. This is down to its genes and its education. In our long experience more than 90% of the character of a dog comes from its education. That is why we dedicate so much time to it. And for their broader socialisation we let them play with our big dogs, our German Shepherds and our Doberman. You can see some videos at the following link:
Good care, with the maximum of consideration, the best food, exercise and hygiene makes for healthy dogs that live a long life. (I have some mothers that are 19 years old).
It is essential to be very clear about where you will acquire the puppy from so that it is with you for a long time and in perfect state of health
For this reason I want to set out some basic advice:
The first indication that a dog is completely healthy is that it is active, playful, has an appetite and its faeces are solid and compact. The moment anything is wrong with any of these points, it is important to contact your vet.
To prevent any health problems, both now and in the future, an effective vaccination plan is of the utmost importance. When the mothers are lactating they provide all the defences the puppies need. However, after 45 days, which is when they start to eat by themselves (although in our case they are kept with their mothers for as long as possible), it is recommended that they have their first vaccination which is called Puppy DP. This first vaccination starts immunity treatment against such serious diseases as parvovirosis and distemper
At 90 days Hepatavalente is given which a Polivalente booster. My advice is that for 15 days after this last vaccination your puppy should NOT be kept together with other dogs so as to avoid any possible infection, as adult dogs can be carriers of the disease without being affected by them.
Until a relatively short time ago these 3 vaccinations were carried only once during puppyhood, but because of the large numbers of dogs coming from breeders in Eastern Europe bringing major illnesses and very severe forms of the aforementioned diseases with them it is recommended from the age of 1 year they are given the Polivalente vaccination every 3 or 4 years as recent studies by the “American Animal Hospital Association” show that an immunity memory exists for many vaccines, so that if they are vaccinated every year, the immune system will eventually be become imbalanced. In any event your trusted vet is the best professional for follow-up and advice.
Before each vaccination internal parasite treatment must be carried out. There is a wide range of products available on the market and your vet will tell you what is best for your puppy and how long beforehand it has to be taken.
At present vaccination against rabies is obligatory in Spain. This is given annually with the first inoculation taking place at the age of 4 months when the puppy is already immunised against all the diseases described above. According to current legislation this is when the puppy has to be microchipped.
It is also important to remember that if your dog has to spend time in kennels, some vets recommend vaccination against Bortedalla (kennel cough) to avoid possible infection. The best person to consult about this is your own trusted vet
Another important point that shouldn’t be overlooked is CANINE LEISHMANIASIS, a disease transmitted by females of specific type of “mosquito” known as the sandfly or black fly.
The world of parasites is complex and interesting and can cause our dogs serious problems if we do not keep an eye out for them, though they are easily avoidable.
A distinction is made between 2 types of parasite - internal and external parasites.
These are essentially produced in the digestive system of dogs and cause various health problems.
Internal parasites develop for many reasons: change of water, contact with other dogs, contact with water in the streets etc.
It is recommended to treat parasites in adult dogs every three months though this depends on the variety of the parasite treatment chosen and also the product, as there is currently a wide range of treatments available.
The most common external parasites are fleas and ticks, which tend to be more abundant as the good weather starts. Although both occur, in rainy years fleas are more frequent and in dry years ticks.
There are a great many products on the market which help to keep these unpleasant parasites well away from our pets.
DISEASES AND THEIR SYMPTOMS
The previously described diseases against which we vaccinate our puppies exhibit the following symptoms.PARVOVIRUS
Also known as PARVO, this is a very contagious viral disease which affects the intestines and red blood cells of dogs. It can end a dog’s life in just a few days.
This disease, which was first identified in 1978, is one of the most serious conditions that can affect a puppy and even if detected early it is very difficult for the dog to survive.
It attacks the digestive system as well as vital area of the circulatory system, reducing the red blood cell content in the blood until the heart is paralysed.
This disease tends to be transmitted in an oro-faecal manner, in other words it is expelled into the environment through the faeces and transmitted to a healthy dog through sniffing. The dog doesn’t have to sniff infected the excrement directly, just smelling the place where it is is sufficient. Even walking on a contaminated area can transport this disease. It also appears that the virus can remain at the infected site for up to 5 years if the area is not disinfected properly with products such as bleach. This is why it is so important that the puppies are properly vaccinated.
The symptoms are usually as follows:
- Severe diarrhoea, sometimes with blood in the faeces
- General weakness
- Listless dog that doesn’t want to eat
- Sad and depressed state
A dog affected with parvovirus usually exhibits symptoms between 24 and 48 hours after having been infected. Although many symptoms are very similar to other diseases, there is a detection kit on the market which with just one drop of excrement will confirm the disease so that hospitalisation and treatment can begin as soon as possible.DISTEMPER
Distemper, or Carré’s disease, is a multisystemic disease that affects the lungs, intestines and brain and is caused by a virus similar to that which causes measles in humans (the distemper virus belongs to the paramyxovirus family as does the measles virus). The initial symptoms include fever, nasal and ocular secretion and fatigue. It is also known as the disease of a thousand symptoms. It is very contagious and fatal in the majority of cases.
An infected dog can take from a few days to 3 weeks to exhibit symptoms.
The most prominent symptoms are:
Diarrhoea, occasionally with blood, vomiting, cough, sneezing or difficulty breathing. Mucous can be discharged which is sometimes like green phlegm. Fatigue, loss of appetite including stopping drinking, fever, dermatitis. Hardened pads of the paws.PARAINFLUENZA or BORDETELLA
A disease of the respiratory system through which the first part of the trachea becomes inflamed, with a dry cough and on occasions white phlegm. It is not fatal, and is similar to severe catarrh in humans.HEPATITIS
This is a viral disease affecting the liver, similar to the human form.LEPTOSPORPSIS
This disease is more common in hunting dogs or those that live outside than dogs kept in the house. It has various symptoms which include vomiting, diarrhoea and mouth ulcers.RABIES
An acute infectious viral disease of the central nervous system brought about by a rhabdovirus which causes acute encephalitis with a mortality rate of around 100% It is the oldest known zoonosis (disease transmitted from animals to humans).Although practically eradicated in Spain, there have been a few cases recently.
CANINE LEISHMANIASIS Also known as Leishmania, is a zoonotic type disease, i.e. it can be transmitted from animals to humans, by way of the bite of a female black fly or sand fly. It can affect humans as well as dogs and other animals, although there are some species that are carriers of the disease and do not develop it, as in the case of certain wild hares. Until very recently it was considered a fatal disease for dogs.
It is a disease characteristic of hot countries, such as Spain for example, with the greatest incidence in Andalucia, Extremadura, Madrid, Catalonia, the Mediterranean coast and Balearic Islands.
Although not all dogs bitten by the insect develop the disease (they can only under a series of specific circumstances, such as very deficient diet, immunological disease, or due to certain medications) it is very important to know the symptoms so as to be able to take the appropriate measures. These are:
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Loss of hair, particularly on the head, around the eyes and nose.
- Very painful skin lesions which usually start on the head and then extend over the entire body with chronic ulcerations.
- Ocular lesions, facial muscle atrophy, dry eyes and nose as well as ulceration on the tips of the ears.
- Fever, lameness, kidney failu...
As has been mentioned, until recently this was a fatal disease. Today, however, thanks to the advances in medicine, a dog infected with this disease can continue to live a normal live as long as it is given the necessary care. The best ways to prevent it are collars and pipettes, and though vaccines exist, there is still not a lot of experience.