1.5 euros coin 2017 Lithuania – Hound and Zemaitukas
Composition: Cu/Ni alloy
Diameter (mm): 27.50
Weight (g): 11.10
Mintage: 25,000 pcs
To be issued on 21.07.2017
Some say that dogs became human companions 10–12 thousand years ago, others indicate that it may have been as much as 30 thousand years. The evolution of people’s daily lives and needs greatly affected the outward appearance of dogs. Hundreds of new and cherished breeds are striking in their differences and characteristics. Each breed was created so as to have an assistant, a companion in different spheres of life. For hunting, one of mankind’s oldest occupations, various specialised dog breeds were created: greyhounds, bloodhounds, terriers, setters. Many of these breeds are archaic. Among the unique, ancient breeds used for hunting is the Lithuanian hound, the skalikas, a dog that thousands of years ago accompanied our ancestors to big-game hunts. The Second Lithuanian
Statute (1566) indicates 11 breeds of hunting dogs, of which quite a few were Lithuanian hounds. Since the modern understanding of breeds is a rather new phenomenon, in the beginning (as early as the 19th c.) three differently-sized hounds were described as living in our lands. However, they were all of the same colour – black with brown spots –and differed only in their size. Since Lithuanian
hounds were used only in hunting hoofed animals, only one breed has held out to present days.
The žemaitukas (pl. žemaitukai) is the only ancient Lithuanian horse breed to have been preserved
to the present day. This is attributable to the horse’s multiple abilities: it was a steed for Lithuanian warriors or harnessed to a plough, cart, or even an elegant carriage. The žemaitukas is a vigorous, undemanding and tough horse with a strong physique. Nowadays, horse breeders classify it as a saddle pony; it successfully competes in various sporting events.
Even though žemaitukai have been widespread across Lithuania for a very long time, and not until 500 years ago, when they were finally recognised, bringing round apt descriptions of their unique characteristics, did any of written records of their breed existed. Because of their unique characteristics, žemaitukai were used in Lithuania and beyond – although a small horse, its stamina and excellent physique amazed many. Famed Lithuanian animal breeder Romanas Žebenka described the žemaitukas as ‘a small, sturdy-built horse with very strong legs. It has a good trot, a well-formed front part. Its head is small, profile straight and forehead broad. Small, constantly moving ears and large, lively eyes give its expression an air of intelligence. The neck is relatively
short, finely arched, strong – this is especially true for stallions’