Off the Leash

The secrets of Europe’s best-behaved pets

By Jason Hang and Maki Yazawa

Walking down the streets of Prague for the first time, try to count the number of dogs you pass. It’s likely that you will shortly become exhausted because nearly half of the Czech population owns a dog. According to some estimates, the residents of Prague have more dogs as pets than anywhere else in the world. Hop on the tram or stroll into a local restaurant and you are likely to find further evidence, as small and large breeds alike sit patiently beside their human companions.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Czech dogs is not their abundance, but instead their obedience. Many owners forgo the use of leashes, confident that their well-trained pooches will trail passively behind them.  And to the surprise of many American passersby, this actually happens!  Unlike that of dogs raised in the US, this type of behavior is rather common and expected of Czech hounds.

As Spring flowers begin to bloom, more and more owners have begun to venture out from the comfort of their homes with their dogs in tow. While you may be inclined to stop and pet the numerous dogs you pass, you should know, petting a stranger’s dog is deemed impolite, so ask before you touch!

My partner Maki and I took to the streets and parks to chronicle just a few of the various types of dogs residing in Prague.

Jason Hang is in the NYU Class of 2015, majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication.  His hometown is Lexington, Massachusetts. 

Maki Yazawa is in the NYU Class of 2015, majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication.  Her hometown is Weston, Florida.

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Categories: Culture, Spring 2013 Issue Number 2

Author:The Prague Wandering

The Prague Wandering is an NYU based study abroad webzine- the only one of its kind. It focuses on issues in contemporary Czech culture and the city of Prague, exploring beyond the study abroad bubble.

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