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Belgrade Terrier

Quite rare and fairly unknown even in Serbia, the Belgrade Terrier has existed in various forms and under different names since ancient times, when it belonged to the common pariah group of Balkan dogs, heavily influenced by the Greek Alopekis. During the Middle Ages, it was bred as a ratter and small game hunting dog, but was considered to be just a regional variant of the Balkan Terrier. Many specialized working strains of the Balkan Terrier existed, commonly associated with and named after the regions in which they were bred and by the end of the 19th century, the three surviving types could still be found, these being the Bosnian Jamar, Voivodina Pacovan and the Serbian Rupar. The latter served as a foundation for the development of the modern Belgrade Terrier breed. Wanting to create a tenacious vermin killer that could also be used to chase down badgers and foxes, as well as to go after them and confront them in their underground dens, many Serbian hunters decided to breed the most resilient and driven specimens of their Rupars with some imported hunting breeds, such as a variety of working Austrian and German hounds and terriers. Before the 1st World War, the Serbian Mountain Hound, the Taurunum Dogge and the Bosnian Jamar were used in the breeding as well, but by the early 1930's, the ideal type was established and the Belgrade Terrier was on its way to become fully standardized. Unfortunately, the WW2 and the Nazi occupation put an end to these efforts and the Beogradski Terijer breed never fully recovered.

Not many pure specimens survived the difficult war years, but in the early 1960's some hunting enthusiasts decided to revive the breed through a steady influx of the Deutscher Jagdterrier blood and also through crosses with the Bosnian Barak and the increasingly popular Dachshund. However, this new incarnation of the Belgrade Terrier never really caught on and has remained very rare to this day. Over the course of the next 20 years, a small number of breeders from Belgrade reportedly decided to develop a calmer and more attractive version of the breed, so they introduced Basset Hounds, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels and Poodles into their bloodlines, effectively creating a handsome and friendly small companion breed, rarely used as a hunter, but primarily as an urban pet. To this day, the breed hasn't been standardized and a wide variety of sizes and appearances still exist. Even the name "Belgrade Terrier" can be misleading, because nowadays many people use it to describe the Zemunac, as well as some other breeds, both pure and unpure. The modern variety of the Belgrade Terrier no longer posesses its traditional highly driven and serious personality, but is instead a playful and obedient pet, loving of children and tolerant of other dogs. Some authorities don't even consider it to be a terrier anymore, but the popular name remains. It should be noted that even presently, there are quite a few working terriers of the old Rupar type found in Serbia, but they aren't really taken seriously in their native land and are mostly random-bred dogs, primarily used for hunting duties and as rural watchdogs.

In appearance similar to a smaller Basset Hound or some heavier Dachshunds and Beagles, the Belgrade Terrier is a lively breed, but not as agile as the original variety. Fairly massive and deep-chested, it has a slightly elongated back and short sturdy legs. The head is elegant and round, with a hound-like muzzle and well-developed jaws. The ears are carried low, although they aren't as long as those of the Basset Hound. Most dogs have short smooth coats, but there are also wire-haired and long-coated examples to be found.

The preferred colouring is fawn with a black "saddle" on the back and white markings on the legs, chest and stomach, although many other colours exist, both solid and piebald. Sizes can vary, but the ideal height is around 12 inches.

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