Other names: Czechoslovakian Vlciak, Ceskoslovenský Vlciak
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The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is a hybrid breed that combines the natural traits of a native wolf with the tamer sides of a German Shepherd. It is a successful cross, albeit not yet fully calibrated- it requires further efforts in order to arrive at fully balanced specimens. This is an enduring, active dog, very attached to his family, but is used to communicate in a very different way to most other breeds- this is why he is not to be placed in all hands. It is important to know the breed’s characteristics inside out before deciding to adopt such an atypical dog as this one. His lupine aspect should not be the only criterion by which prospective owners choose him.
Key facts about the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
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Origins and history
In 1955, Karel Hartl, considered to be the breed’s ‘father’, crossed the German Shepherd and Carpathian she-wolf as an experiment. After several attempts, he managed to create a fixed, hybrid breed, which then started being recreated from 1965 onwards. In 1982, after several trials and tribulations, the wolfdog was official recognised as a national breed by Czechoslovakian breeders associations. Along with the Saarloos wolfdog, it is the only other wolfdog breed officially recognised by the FCI. The latter recognised the breed officially in 1999.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
Female : Between 24 and 26 in
Male : Between 26 and 28 in
Female : Between 44 and 55 lb
Male : Between 57 and 66 lb
The coat can range from a grey-yellow to silver grey. The mask is always light and other, lighter shades are present at the base of the neck and over the chest.
Type of coat
The coat is medium-long.
The topcoat is straight and lies flat. The coat adapts depending on the season: in the winter, the undercoat is abundant and becomes dominant to form a thick, cold-resistant layer.
The eyes are amber-coloured.
The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is a sturdy, medium-sized dog, with a rectangularly-shaped frame. His constitution, movements, appearance, coat, colour and mask resemble that of a wolf. The head, symmetrical and toned, is shaped like a blunt wedge. The eyes are small and almond-shaped, with adherent eyelids. The ears are upright, thin, triangular and short. The tail is set high but carried low. When the dog is excited, it usually curls into a saber shape.
Good to know
Having been created only quite recently, the breed’s personality traits are still far from being stabilised. The personalities tend to differ widely, depending on the breeder. In addition to this, many specimens are still too wary, aggressive and/or unpredictable. In fact, when it comes to breeders, future selection must be much more rigorous, and when it comes to prospective owners, a diligent rearing is key.
The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog tends to develop a very strong bond with his owner and with all of his family members. A pack dog by nature, he is very conscious of the importance of group life, and gets very attached to his adoptive family.
The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog loves playing and interacting with trusted people. Beware, however, as his principle means of communication is by way of ‘light biting’. It does tend to be difficult to channel certain pups, who might not always be fully aware of their strength.
The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog can be calm if he has had enough exercise, but he remains an active dog that require extensive care and goals to strive for.
The crossing of dog and wolf has not only resulted in his robustness and tenacity, it has also served to revive and reinforce some ancient, natural instincts- most notably those related to pack life. In this sense, the Czechoslovakian Dog is endowed with a very refined intelligence, which he applies to maintaining a stable, community life.
What’s more, if sufficiently trained, he can excel in many canine activities. This makes him a versatile dog with impressive qualities.
The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog’s predatory instinct is very evolved. It is advised not to further encourage this trait, and to limit this instinct (without trying to eradicate it completely) as early as from the Wolfdog’s first months, when he is still a pup.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Although he is less sensitive than his wolfdog cousin- the Saarloos- this slovak dog remains rather distant towards people he doesn’t know. Engaging with the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog before having been properly introduced in due time can turn out to be very dangerous.
These hybrid dogs are particularly independent and can function perfectly well on their own within their pack, meaning unassisted by Man. It is on account of the latter quality that they have been used in the army.
Having said this, their hyper-independence is softening and become more and more limited, owing to contemporary breeding which- while keeping the sought-after lupine aspect (resemblance to the wolf)- tends to select personality traits better adapted to today’s society.
Behaviour of the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
This dog is not predisposed to being solitary. As a general rule, he does not tolerate isolation or solitude in the least. A nearby, human or canine presence (of the same breed or other) is key for him to feel fully at peace.
It is indeed a very bad idea to adopt a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog on one’s own, especially if you are not at home much or if you work away from home during the day.
Easy to train / obedience
This dog’s particularly independent nature makes him a rather difficult pooch to train, in the sense that if he does not perceive the potential gains to the training sessions, he gets demotivated very quickly.
In fact, it is this kind of resistance that constitutes one of the owners’ main problems with this dog, as the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog tends not to want to repeat the same exercises over and over again.
You have to find the right source of motivation for this dog in order to be able to rear him in a smart and coherent way. As soon as a trusting relationship and partnership have been established between the master and his dog, the results can be remarkable.
Having said this, you should not expect an inborn propensity to obedience since, ultimately, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog will always follow the goals he has set exclusively himself.
Rather unusual and unique in their way of communicating, wolfdogs do not have a habit of barking: it is a completely unnatural gesture for them. You will never hear this breed bark.
Tendency to run away
His hunter instinct, coupled with his independence, do make this dog prone to running away, despite the strong attachment to his family. A trail could rapidly lead him far away from home, especially if the owner hasn’t provided him with enough stimulation in terms of physical, mental, social and even olfactive challenges.
This pack dog’s biggest enemy is loneliness, which could indeed lead him to becoming destructive, on account of feeling isolated from his group. Moreover, with (light) biting being his main means of communication, destructive mischief can be frequent, especially in the case of pups.
Greedy / Gluttony
Like many of his fellow dogs, this dog has quite the appetite. However, it is not by way of snacks that you will obtain his compliance with an order, for example. Snacks will not necessarily be a source of motivation to him, even if he is more than willing to taste them!
Very wary, near suspicious of people he doesn’t know, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog will not voluntarily confront a threat. However, his appearance alone may be enough to deter anyone who doesn’t know the breed from trespassing.
What’s more, since barking is not a natural reflex of his, he does not make a good ‘alarm dog’.
This breed has become very popular in recent years, and is very attractive on account of its wolflike aspect. However, this hybrid dog is not compatible with all types of owners. If a prospective owner is not available, works a lot, is often away and does not have much time or patience to devote to training and socialising their dog, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog clearly isn’t for them (and most other breeds wouldn’t be either, for that matter).
This dog is very particular- not only on account of his appearance, but mainly on account of his behaviour, which differs a lot compared to other breeds. It is indeed of utmost importance to become familiar with this hybrid, part-dog, part-wolf breed before deciding to adopt it.
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Czechoslovakian Wolfdog in a flat
Although his presence is becoming more and more common in urban environments, this breed is in no way made for living in a flat.
Even if he could get by with several daily outings to wide open spaces, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog must be able to express his full, shepherd and hunting dog potential as often as he can..
Country-dwelling (or, even better, mountain-dwelling) is more up his alley- in a house with a garden, for instance.
Nevertheless, whether he lives in the city or the countryside, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog pup needs to be exposed to a maximum of external stimuli throughout his developmental stage- the best option being that socialisation start as within the breeding site, which is why choosing the right breeder is of utmost importance.
Need for exercise / Sporty
Active and enduring, this dog is athletic and happily engages in various canine disciplines if the training process is consistent and coherent. He can express this potential through activities such as trailing, agility, obedience, sledge-hauling, cani-cross, etc.
This is why the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is better suited to dog owners who are experienced on the one hand, and fit and active on the other. Prospective owners must be ready to engage their dog in various activities.
Finally, whether athletic or not, the owners must commit to taking the dog out on walks several times a day- and this beyond the confines of a garden, to really stimulate him physically and socially, as well as to put his sense of smell to good use.
Very enduring, this hybrid dog can cross many kilometres without a problem, and this at impressive speed. Simple ‘walks around the block’ will therefore not be enough.
Travelling / easy to transport
Even if contemporary breeding and passionate breed enthusiasts have strived to improve this capacity, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog remains very sensitive, even anxious in the face of new and thereby unknown situations.
Of course, a proper socialisation and a good choice of puppy from a reputable breeder can help secure a even-tempered, adult dog, but transport and travel will still remain problematic at times, and will be a source of anxiety to the dog.
Czechoslovakian Wolfdog and cats
He can easily cohabitate with other animals, such as cats, if they are fully integrated into what he considers to be his family. When it comes to animals outside of the family circle however, that’s a whole other story: his predatory instinct could rapidly surface.
It is therefore necessary to expose the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog pup to various cross-species encounters from a very young age in order to rein his hunting instinct in.
Czechoslovakian Wolfdog and dogs
As is the case with cats, he is a good companion to fellow dogs that are part of what he considers his family. But you must be vigilant if he encounters a dog for the first time.
To wit, since this hybrid dog has a very different way of communicating to his fellow canines, the encounters can at times be frustrating since- even if they belong to the same species- the dogs may not always be capable of understanding one another.
Socialising of the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog pup towards all kinds of dogs will help avoid any potentially troublesome situations.
Czechoslovakian Wolfdog and children
A sense of family structure is something that this pack dog is naturally gifted with. He respects children as he would puppies, and recognises their privileged and fragile position. In this sense, this dog can integrate a family with children without a problem. He can be patient with them, but be careful not to push his buttons too much either.
Czechoslovakian Wolfdog and the elderly
This dog deserves experienced, dynamic and active dog owners. He is by no means made for a sedentary lifestyle, which is what many elderly people would sooner be able to provide.
The price of a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog varies depending on its origins, age, and sex. You have to count an average of £1500.
With regards to the monthly budget required to meet this dog’s physiological needs, you have to estimate an average of £50 per month.
Despite being very abundant, the maintenance of this dog’s coat is rather simple. Since he is not a big fan of grooming, and because he doesn’t particularly need it, this primitive dog will simply need to be brushed on a regular basis.
His eyes will also need to be checked regularly in order to avoid all risk of infection.
Hair loss during moulting seasons may be significant, and will require daily brushes to eliminate all residual dead hairs. But aside from these seasons, hair loss remains moderate.
Nutrition of the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
Daily portions will have to be adapted to this dog’s physical shape, age and health, as well as to his level of daily activity. A veterinary supervision is advised throughout the pup’s period of growth.
Even if premium-quality kibbles could be enough to satisfy this dog, he remains very primitive and will be more receptive to traditional nutrition (such as B.A.R.F or home-cooked food). Consulting a vet will also be preferable in this case, to have the prospective diet professionally validated.
It is also advised to give him two meals a day in order to prevent him from ingesting too much at once: a light meal in the morning, and a more substantial one in the evening. Elevated bowls can also be provided to facilitate digestion.
Health of the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
Life expectancy is 14 years on average.
Strong / robust
The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is a primitive dog, equipped with additional robustness due to his hybrid nature.
His lupine aspect allows him to adapt to various climates easily, even the hottest ones. Fresh water and a spot in the shade will nonetheless have to be made at his disposal throughout the summer.
Thanks to his coat, which transforms and thickens as winter approaches, this dog tolerates the cold and any related challenging weather very well.
Tendency to put on weight
A balanced diet, coupled with enough physical exercise will be enough to prevent any excessive weight gain on this dog’s part.
- Hip dysplasia
- Eye problems
- Degenerative myelopathy (paralysis of the hindquarters)