ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog: Loyal, Purposive, and Wild

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog lying
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Are you a fan of Game of Thrones? If so, chances are you can’t help but fall in love with the dire wolves. Perhaps you wished you could have a dire wolf that would make you feel like Arya Stark. Well, this might not just be a pipe dream for you. The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog looks a lot like the dire Wolves in the Game of Thrones, and this dog is as loyal as they come.

The Czech Wolfdog looks wild and untamable but do not let appearances fool you. The dog can be quite docile, and it’s a very loyal breed. This dog is part-wolf. They are known for their stamina just like a wolf and has the personality of a German Shepherd.

They will get along well with your children, and you can be assured they will make great guard dogs, as they are very suspicious of strangers. The wolf part of the dog should not intimidate you, as the dog is not aggressive unless provoked.

In this guide, we give elaborate information on this dog’s history, care needs, features, temperament, and other essential information so that you will know if this is the right breed for you. After you’ve read this article, you will know how to treat your Czech Wolfdog if you choose to get one. If you have one in your home, the information here will help you better care for your amazing dog.

Breed Characteristics

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog playing with a stick

  • Adaptability: High; the dog is well suited for both warm and cold climates

  • Trainability: Moderately Hard; this is an intelligent dog, but training might need your attention and patience as this dog is independent, gets bored quickly, and might adamantly refuse to do some of the tasks you tell them to do

  • Health and Grooming: Moderate; the dog will shed heavily twice a year. Expect to vacuum your house during the shedding season. However, bathing is not usually necessary as the dog is odorless and very clean

  • All Around Friendliness: Average; this breed is known to be very good with children. However, the dog might not get along well with other home pets including cats. Males are also known to be aggressive toward other smaller dogs in the home

  • Exercise Needs: High; This dog needs plenty of daily exercises and open space. You will need to take them on daily walks

Dog Breed GroupWorking Dogs
HeightMales: 26 inches average; there is no upper limit
Females: 24 inches average; there is no upper limit
WeightMales: 57 pounds average; there is no upper limit
Females: 44 pounds average; there is no upper limit
Lifespan12-16 years

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is a tall and light dog that looks like a wolf. These dogs will attract attention wherever they appear due to their distinguished appearance. The dog is a result of a cross between a German Shepherd and an actual wolf. The breed is also commonly referred to as the Vlcak, CSVs, or the Wolfdog for those who might find it hard to pronounce the name.

The build, head, and face of this dog are similar to that of a wolf, and so is the hair that is usually grey with a white mask. The Wolfdog’s minimum height is 26 inches for the males and 24 inches for the females. The Wolfdog has no upper limit in height.

This Wolfdog is very active, brave, and has a lot of stamina. With a harmonious and light movement, Wolfdogs are known for their speed and accurate sense of direction. This dog’s amber eyes will size you up with a confident look. They are suspicious of strangers but will not attack without reason. They are also known to be very versatile and will be comfortable in different conditions.

Another interesting fact about these dogs is that most of them do not bark and are known to make different wolf-like vocalizations including howling and growling. Most trainers actually train the dogs to bark which is not very easy as they consider barking as a secondary form of communication.

Most of them will be comfortable and playful with children especially when raised with them. However, it is important for the children to be taught how to treat pets respectfully as the Wolfdog will not tolerate rough play.

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog requires specialized training and care and is most suited for an experienced dog owner. The dog is known to be independent and not very eager to please. They will only learn a task that they consider necessary to perform.

They are also known to get easily bored and will refuse to perform repetitive tasks. They are also selective when it comes to obeying commands. This means that a trainer of this dog will have to be patient and dedicated. The trainer or owner should also maintain a dominant position over the dog as the dog will not obey those they see as lower in rank.

See Also: Easiest Dogs to Train

This is a working breed and needs more than one hour of daily physical exercise. They also need a yard to play and roam freely. A low maintenance breed, the dog does not need professional grooming. You only need to brush their coats occasionally. These dogs are clean and quite odorless.

They shed regularly throughout the year but will shed heavily during their two seasonal shedding. During their heavy shedding, they will replace their coat and will leave a trail of hair everywhere.

Main Highlights

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog walking together

  • This dog is also referred to as the Sloval Wolfdog, the Czech Wolfdog, CSV, Wolfdog, or the Ceskoslovensky Vlcak.

  • The Wolfdog is the result of a crossbreeding between the German Shepherd and the Carpathian Wolf.

  • It is the national dog of the Czech Republic which is also their place of origin.

  • The Wolfdog is very active at night and is known to be nocturnal just like a wolf.

  • This is a loyal dog that is reserved and might not seek human affection.

  • Known for their perfect sense of direction and tracking ability.

  • It is an active breed that requires daily exercises and loves the outdoors.

  • This is a dog that uses other methods of communication other than barking such as howls and growls among others.

  • This is an intelligent dog that can be difficult to train as they require motivation or purpose to perform a task.

  • They also get bored if commanded to do repetitive tasks and will require an experienced owner and trainer who is very patient and determined.

  • They are highly suspicious of strangers and protective of their territory which makes them great guard dogs.

  • They are friendly to children especially if brought up with them.

  • These dogs have a high prey drive and do not get along with other pets in the home and can also be aggressive to other small-sized dogs.

  • A clean and odorless dog, they have two seasonal shedding seasons during which they shed a lot of hair.

  • Not the best dog for first-time dog owners or those who live in an apartment.

  • Unlike most domestic dogs, the Wolfdog’s breeding is seasonal, and most of the puppies are born in winter. The littler size is made up of 4 to 8 puppies.

Breed History

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog head

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is a breed that was developed in 1958 as a result of an experimental crossing between the German Shepherd and the Carpathian Wolf. Engineer Karel Hartl originally developed the dog as part of a military breeding program in the 1950s.

The aim of the experiment was to come up with a breed that would be easy to train, have the temperament and the pack mentality of the German Shepherd, and the strength and endurance of a wolf.

The breeding program went on for a few years, as it was difficult to find a male German Shepherd who could mate with a wolf. The breeding was well documented. The result was the Vlcak.

The first successful mating between the two breeds was between a German Shepherd named Cesar, and a Carpathian Wolf referred to as Brita. Hartl later crossed the wolf in a second mating with a German Shepherd called Kurt and later did a third mating between a wolf called Argo and a German Shepherd called Astra. The litter of puppies from these three mating formed the foundation for a new breed: the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog.

The dogs were created to be used in the military, by police, and were even used in border patrol. However, today they are popularly used for search and rescue, herding, hunting, obedience, tracking, and as companions for active owners.

The hybrid is also more resistant to common dog diseases. Their good health, versatility, and overall bravery have made the dog popular in the Czech Republic and the neighboring countries.

For many years, the registration of this breed by canine authorities in the Czech Republic was resisted, but the Czechoslovakian Kennel Club did agree to recognize the breed in 1982. The canine authorities also kept a registry of the breed’s puppies, and in 1991, there were more than 1552 of them.

At the end of the 20th century, this dog’s popularity increased especially in countries that neighbor the Czech Republic such as in Italy, Slovakia, and Germany. It is believed that their population in the US might be more than 100. The UKC recognized the dog on the 1st of July 2006. Today they are recognized as the national dogs of Czechoslovakia.

Size

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog standing together

The minimum accepted height and weight of a male Czechoslovakian Wolfdog are 26 inches and 57 pounds respectively while the female minimum are 24 inches and 44 pounds respectively. The dog does not have an upper limit in terms of height or weight.

Most of the dog’s physical features resemble those of a wolf’s, but they do have a broader skull and stronger bone. The dog’s head is used to determine their sex as males have large and wider heads while the females’ are smaller and more feminine.

The dog has a rectangular frame, and they are taller than they are long. The ears are short, rectangular, and they stand upright. Their set amber eyes might not look directly at you, but the dog is very much aware of their surroundings as they are very attentive.

The dog’s muzzle is longer than the skull; the nose is black and oval-shaped. The dog has a complete set of 42 teeth that are strong with scissor shapes. The chest is flat and large while the back slightly curved and the belly drawn in.

The tail is bushy and plush and will usually stand upwards when the dog is excited. The dog has muscular legs with the forelimbs being straight and ending in big paws. The dog’s movement is harmonious and light with long steps.

Personality and Character

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog running

This is a very active dog and is known to endure strenuous exercises. They require an active owner. The dog will prefer to be outside than to cuddle on the sofa.

They are known to be very loyal to their owners but also very suspicious of strangers. They are unlikely to attack without reason, but when attacked, they are very quick and agile. These characteristics make them great guard dogs.

Their versatility will see them endure harsh weather conditions and they are well suited for cold climates or snowy areas. These dogs have very good tracking ability and are always alert to their surroundings due to their strong senses. They are excellent at following trails and tracking.

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is an intelligent dog that can learn new concepts with ease. However, they require an experienced trainer or owner who can show leadership. These dogs will reciprocate by showing devotion and respect to such a trainer.

These dogs are never keen to please and will require a purpose or motivation to learn a new task. They are known to get bored if asked to repeat the same exercise and this requires patience and dedication from the trainer.

The dog is an independent breed who is comfortable in a pack without a human leader. This characteristic makes the dog a popular choice for military work. The dog does not bark often. For some Wolfdogs, barking is unnatural to them. However, they will use other ways to communicate such as howls, whines, or growls.

Similar to a wolf, the dog has a tendency to be nocturnal and can be very active at night. These dogs are very loyal to their owners, and their loyalty is so great that many breeders find it difficult or impossible to rehome them.

While they are likely to form a strong bond with their owner, the breed is not often openly affectionate and will be reserved even with their family members.

See Also: Top 10 Most Affectionate Dog Breeds

Health and Potential Problems

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog lying

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog displays the expected hybrid good health. They are unlikely to suffer from health conditions common to other dogs. However, they do suffer from some ailments including hip dysplasia that is very common in this breed among other conditions.

#1: Hip Dysplasia

This condition occurs when the ball on the hip socket joint does not sit correctly, causing the thighbone to be very loose in the socket. The two bones will be rubbing against each other during movement, which leads to further damage.

With time, the condition worsens, eventually leading to osteoarthritis. This condition is very common in large and medium-sized breeds such as the Czech Wolfdog.

The condition is genetic, and the dog is likely to have inherited it from their German Shepherd relatives that are known to suffer from this condition. It is best to have your Czech Wolfdog’s hips tested before mating or before adopting a new puppy.

See Also: Best Orthopedic Dog Bed

#2: Elbow Dysplasia

This is similar to hip dysplasia except in this case the elbow joint is the one affected. The condition can progress and lead to arthritis or lameness. The leading cause of this condition is genetic although that is not the only known cause.

Just like the hip dysplasia case, it is best to check your dog’s elbow before breeding to prevent the spread of the problem to other dogs. Treatment can be in the form of surgery or physiotherapy if the condition is still in its early stages.

#3: Degenerative Myelopathy

This is a fatal condition similar to ALS in humans. It causes progressive deterioration of the spinal code and leads to lameness in the dog’s hind legs.

The cause of the condition is unknown, but dogs that have two copies of the SOD1 faulty gene have been observed to suffer from the condition. The faulty gene is commonly found in German Shepherds, and most Czech Wolfdogs are likely to have inherited the genes from their German Shepherd relatives.

Breeders are advised to screen their dogs for the faulty gene before mating, as two dogs with the faulty genes will result in a puppy with this fatal condition.

#4: Pituitary Dwarfism

According to a research carried out in 2014 by the Utrecht University in the Netherlands, 21% of Czech Wolfdogs who appear to be healthy outwardly are actually carriers of a defective gene that causes pituitary dwarfism.

The gene referred to as LHX3 is commonly found in German Shepherds. It is most likely that the Wolfdogs got the gene from one of the early dogs used in the crossbreeding as there were no DNA testing then to check the existence of the gene in the dogs.

The condition will be characterized by slow growth in your dog. The dog will also have bulging eyes, a swollen abdomen, a body that is longer than normal, shorter legs, and a larger than normal head among other symptoms. The cause, although usually hereditary, can also be due to lack of the growth hormones produced by the pituitary gland. Treatment may require the replenishment of the missing hormones.

Care Features

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog walking on grass

This dog has high exercise needs and stamina, especially in their puppyhood and adolescence. They are not suited for an apartment or indoor life. They need daily exercises that can be in the form of long walks, swims, hikes, runs, or play. They are well suited to an environment that has a large fenced yard.

However, these dogs can be escape artists, and it is best to check that your home security is tight to prevent the dog from escaping or attacking small animals in unfenced areas. They will usually roam for long distances if allowed to go out.

See Also: How to Keep Your Dog From Running Away

The Wolfdog loves the outdoors. They make great hiking and jogging companions. Failure to give your dog adequate exercise will result in unwanted behaviors such as aggression and increased howling, which can lead to noise complaints from the neighbors.

The CSV has an independent and dominant personality, and you must make time to train him or her at an early age. Training will help them excel in different activities and will subdue their prey drive at an early age. However, this dog is not recommended for first-time owners, as they need a strong leader who is ready to invest a lot of time and patience in training the dog.

Your Czechoslovakian Wolfdog must be socialized at an early age to get used to different surroundings. This will help them understand how they are supposed to behave in a domestic and public setting. Socialization will also help the dog live peacefully with other pets and prevent the dog from chasing small animals in the home due to their high prey drive.

Feeding Schedule

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog puppy sitting on snow

A raw diet is preferred for this dog. The food should be grain free and have raw supplements. The food should also have enough proteins and nutrients.

See Also: Best Raw Dog Food

You can get breed-specific food from different dog food companies. Working with your vet will also help you to know the quality of food you should give to your dog depending on their size and activity levels.

Generally, a healthy, medium-sized Czechoslovakian Wolfdog will require two to three quality meals daily. The dog should always have clean, fresh water at all times.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog sitting alone

The coloring of the Wolfdog is like that of a wolf, and the accepted colors of this breed include yellowish grey to silver grey, grey, with a light mask. The fur on the dog’s coat is straight and very thick.

This dog does not require any professional grooming. You only need to regularly brush the dog’s coat to keep it in perfect condition. The dog is odorless, very clean, and the water-resistant coat will naturally clean itself of any dirt or mud.

You will not need to bath the dog often. However, it is best to be prepared during their shedding seasons as they do shed very heavily and you will need to vacuum your house, as hair will be found everywhere. You also need to brush your dog’s coat during the shedding season constantly.

The fast-growing nails of the dog should also be trimmed regularly to avoid overgrowth. You also need to constantly check the dog’s ears and clean them to avoid infection and wax buildup. The dog’s teeth should also be brushed at least twice a week.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

The dog is known to be friendly to children especially if brought up with them. However, they are untrustworthy when left with other animals and pets and might not be the best dog to have in a family with multiple pets.

The dog will chase smaller animals around the house. They are also very unpredictable and might occasionally bite the small animals even if they seem fine at first. The Wolfdog cannot be trusted with small household pets including cats, raccoons, and even small dogs due to their high prey drive.

The Wolfdog forms strict social hierarchies with other dogs, and it is best to keep the dog with a member of the opposite sex of the same breed.

Just like other dogs, it is best to socialize the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog in their early years to help them get used to different surroundings and situations. Intense socialization is needed for this dog so that they can exist alongside other animals and people.

See Also: Dog Aggression Training

Wrap Up

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog standing in the field

If you are an experienced dog owner, you will enjoy the company of the Czech Wolfdog. This loyal companion will protect you and your territory with their life. They will also keep you on your toes with their high exercise needs.

However, the dog is not for everyone, and they are not recommended for first-time dog owners since they require a leader of the pack who will teach them to listen and follow.

Additionally, they are not the best dog for apartment owners due to their high exercise needs. However, if you are ready to make it work with this dog, they will not disappoint and will be your loyal companion to death.

What do you think about the Czech Wolfdog? Is this the right breed for you? Do you have any experience with this dog? Please share your comments and insights on this dog with us in the comment section below! If you can’t get enough of wolf-like dog breeds, check out this article we have that covers all about them!

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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