Old Croatian Sighthound
The Old Croatian Sighthound, regionally known as the hrt, is a breed of dog from Croatia. Originally developed as a sighthound, the greyhound-like breed was almost exterminated during Croatia's time as part of Yugoslavia; however, its continued existence was confirmed in December 2008.
This recent (Bauer & Lemo, December 2008) report containing a record of a preserved nucleus of a regional Old World sighthound, the hrt, or Old Croatian sighthound, is a notable cynological and veterinary contribution to sighthound history. It is one more confirmation of the mechanism behind the extinction of sighthound varieties, where the loss of "aristocratic", landed hunting rights (pursued mainly by horse, and hound) gave place to "universal", licensed hunting rights (pursued mainly on foot, by gun) which tended to literally outlaw sighthounds. Sighthounds, which by definition require large open tracts of land, became an object of suspected poaching, and were often actively persecuted. Consequently the regional and national varieties, which for ages had been prolific across Europe, were eradicated or allowed to die out. The Chort, Magyar Agar and Chart, for example escaped this fate, the Frisian sighthound did not. Where national breed and Kennel Clubs actively encouraged sighthound studbooks, and where a strong coursing culture was present sighthounds such as the Galgo survived. In some cases, as with the latter, and as Bauer and Lemo report in connection with the hrt, regional sighthound identity could be compromised by crosses to Greyhounds or other breeds.
The type is of greyhound-conformation with rose-ears, short-coated, predominantly white body color, with black, or dark brown to yellowish spotting. Males reaching 60–70 cm in height, females 5–10 cm shorter. Historically the breed has been confirmed as a sighthound through its use in coursing, and preserved to the present day with occasional cross-breeding with English Greyhounds, other sighthounds and other breeds.
Notes and references
- "The origin and evolution of Dalmatian and relation with other Croatian native breeds of dog", Bauer M., & Lemo N. 2008. Revue de Médecine Véterinaire 159(12):618-623. At the beginning of the 1980s, a group of greyhound-like dogs were discovered owing to the effort of Šandor Horvat, a renowned Croatian cynologist, in Orašje, now Croatian enclave in east Bosnian Posavina, Bosnia and Herzegovina. ... For as long as they can remember, the inhabitants of Orašje and surrounding villages had raised these dogs, popularly known as hrti (greyhounds) for races organized on the occasion of parish feast. ... Besides racing, these dogs were also used in hunting, primarily hare, which they spotted by sight, caught in run and brought to the owner. As greyhound hunting was banned in former Yugoslavia, ... hunters and veterinarians from the area were obliged to kill these dogs as hunting-ground pests.'