Dog Breed 101: What is a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog?

Last Updated on

Also known as Czechoslovakian Vlcak (pronounced as /chek-uh-sluh-vah-kee-n/ /vul-chak/), this wolfdog is a highly intelligent and wildly captivating breed.

If you’re not familiar with the name, it also goes by Ceskoslovensky Vlciak, Slovak or Czech Wolfdog, and abbreviations such as CSWD, CSW, and CSV. For those who are looking for a descendant of the Carpathian wolf, read on to learn more about this unique canine.

The origin story of the Czech Wolfdog

It all started with an experiment conducted by Ing. Karel Hartl in Czechoslovakia around 1955. The Carpathian grey wolves were initially bred with a working line of German Shepherds to create a breed that has the trainability and temperament of GSDs and the stamina and physical build of a Carpathian Wolf.

By 1958, a male German Shepherd named Cezar and a female wolf named Brita had their first hybrids. These pups resembled the wolf in terms of behavior and appearance, and their upbringing was challenging.

Once the first generation offsprings turned adults, they were crossed with GSDs again in an attempt to bring down the wolf-blood percentage to 6.25%.

The fourth-generation crossbreeds were a success as they were able to go under training with a standard course. They excel in navigation skills and service performance and finish a 100km route in endurance tests.

Were Czechoslovakian Vlcaks used in the military?

Yes. In fact, they were engineered as attack dogs by the Czechoslovak special forces commandos for military operations. Although the CSW is originally bred as a working border patrol, the breed’s independence and versatility are just outstanding.

They were even later used for Schutzhund-sport, herding, agility, tracking, hunting, search and rescue, as well as agility and drafting in the US and Europe.

A Czechoslovakian Wolfdog with its owner
Is the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog recognized by kennel clubs or organizations?

The breed has the Czechoslovakian Vlcak Club of America and is part of the Foundation Stock Service of AKC.

Czech Vlciak was recognized in 1982 as the national breed of Czechoslovakia. The breed was presented by Frantisek Rosik through the Slovakian Breed Club (formerly known as Club of Breeders of Czechoslovakian Wolfdog).

Aside from the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), this breed is also recognized by the American Canine Registry (ACR), American Pet Registry, Inc. (APRI), Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA), and North American Purebred Registry, Inc. (NAPR).

Meeting the parental breeds of the Ceskoslovensky Vlciak

Before we dig further on what this wolfdog is like when it comes to its physical traits and personality, let’s see what makes this breed.

We mentioned that they came from crossbreeding Carpathian wolves and German Shepherds, but it’s best to know what the CSV can inherit from these two.

The quirky yet capable German Shepherd

One of the Czech Wolfdog's parents, the German Shepherd

GSDs are one of those breeds that can be an all-around-dog. You’d see them as family pets, show dogs, and as working canines. You can definitely count on their agility, efficiency, and intelligence.

German Shepherds have erect ears and a long snout that makes them look like a wolf. They have a sleek and robust built, and they can grow up to 25 inches (65 cm) in height and be as heavy as 88 lbs (40 kg).

It may be common to see this beautiful critter in black and tan, but they’re also available in all black, all white, liver, gray, black and cream, black and red, black and silver, blue, and sable.

When it comes to the German Shepherd’s temperament, they’re very loving and loyal. They may have this fierce aura about them that serves well whenever they’re doing police work, but they’re just confident.

They’d be great at guarding their family and home. One thing you might notice with a GSD is that it may get attached to one person. You can take this as a training opportunity, which is easy to do for this breed. But they also get separation anxiety.

The wild Carpathian grey wolf

The other parent of the Czech Vlcak, the Carpathian wolf

You may also call the common wolf as the Eurasian wolf or Middle Russian forest wolf.

A Eurasian wolf has a narrow head that tapers gradually to its nose. They have perky ears that are quite close to each other.

Like the German Shepherd, they also have a slender body. They have long legs and a tail that’s not covered with much fur.

These grey wolves that are native to Europe and some parts of the former Soviet Union are the largest kind found in the West or Old World. They can weigh an average of 86 lbs (39 kg), but the unusual ones can be as massive as 174 lbs (79 kg).

Carpathian grey wolves have a short and coarse coat with a light brown to brownish-orange color.

What does a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog look like?

A Czechoslovakian Wolfdog sitting on the grass

As you can see from this image, they are reminiscent of a wolf, especially when it comes to their build and coat.

Czech Wolfdogs seem to have a mask and they have amber eyes that are small and slanting and upright ears that look triangular. As per the FCI or breed standard, they have a black and oval-shaped nose, a pincer or scissor bite.

They have a rectangular body frame, a flat and broad chest, and a slightly sloped back.

Size and weight of a Czechoslovakian wolfdog

An average-sized Ceskoslovensky Vlcak can have a height of 24 to 26 inches (61 to 66 cm) and weigh between 44 to 57 lbs (20 to 26 kg).

You might be wondering if you can have this dog live in an apartment. The good news is, they’d be okay living in any home as they’re only moderately active indoors. As long as they get sufficient exercise, then it will not be a problem. But they’re recommended to be placed in a house that has a large yard.

In this video, there are a few Czechoslovakian Vlcaks enjoying playtime at the dog park. You can see how they enjoy the space and how big they are being near other canine breeds:

The Czech Wolfdog’s coat and color

CSV’s have a straight hair that consists of an undercoat and topcoat. They have this incredibly rugged look with their color ranging from different shades of gray – yellowish-gray to silver-gray.

Light hair or white is noticeable on their neck, chest, and underside. But some of this breed have patches of black fur that is common with German Shepherds.

And Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs do shed. Therefore, they are not hypoallergenic. They blow their coat twice a year, which we’ll talk more about later in a bit.

Behavioral traits and temperament of the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog

This versatile pooch may be considered quite a handful, but it’s one affectionate dog.

Thanks to the characteristic inherited from German Shepherds, the Czech Vlcak tend to develop strong social relationships. Yes, plural, because they’d bond not just with one human, but the whole family!

Do you have another pet at home, and you’re considering to get this breed? As with most canines, they can learn to adjust and live with other domestic animals. While it’s still a pup, it’s crucial that you subdue the Ceskoslovensky Vlciak’s prey drive or passion for hunting.

If there’s a smaller dog or cat than a Slovak Wolfdog, keep him on a leash or fenced enclosures just to be safe. CSVs still have “wolf blood.” so we should always take this into consideration.

Some may say that these wolfdogs are great with kids, but they’re not like other canine pets. Never disregard that they have this unpredictability in them, and they’re even considered as one of the most dangerous dog breeds – that includes their German Shepherd parent.

Can you train a Czechoslovakian Vlcak?

They may be a primitive breed that exudes dominance, but they can be trained. It will require patience and consistency from the right owner.

Just watch Sky do basic obedience commands:

Czech Wolfdogs are playful and easy to train. If you want one as a pet, there may be occasional barking. It’s not something to worry about because it’s unnatural for them to bark. Most of them have to be taught to do it. They do have various ways to express themselves, such as whining and grunts.

Most people may find that as a good trait, and this breed has admirable senses. Their behavior is strictly purposeful, so even if they’re high-spirited, it’s vital that you motivate your Czechoslovakian Vlcak.

Do that and partner it up with their trainability, and you’d get to see how CSWDs can cooperate and work in a pack, as well as perform in canine sports and jobs.

Handling wolfdogs may require more compared to other canines, but once appropriately trained, they can even successfully excel as Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs, too.

This four-legged dog is an excellent choice as a companion for active owners. You’d see him beside you while running, biking, or hiking. There are endurance tests that have been taken, and the longest one is 100 km (60 miles) run in 8hours.

Fair warning, though. Like other highly intelligent breeds, this one wouldn’t be bothered to do repetitive tasks. CSVs easily get bored, so you need to give incentives like treats. If possible, you can use the Slovak Wolfdog’s love for the water and snow when training him.

Caring for a Czech-Shepherd Wolfdog

Aspiring pet owners of this wolfy fido will love how fairly low maintenance they are.

They’re relatively clean that doesn’t have the typical wet dog smell that canine breeds have, but they do blow their coat. So, let’s talk about keeping your wild fur baby looking at its best.

How to groom a Ceskoslovensky Vlciak?

Thanks to its weather-resistant, double-coated coat, you only have to brush your wolfdog’s hair weekly. Doing so will help with the natural way of its fur cleaning itself of dirt by shedding.

You can give your pooch a bath every three months or when needed, but what most owners do is occasionally use dry shampoo to give their CSV a touch-up.

Since they have a thicker winter coat to help them adapt to the cold weather, which they have to shed during summer, these are the two seasons where you have to groom your Czech Vlcak more.

Daily brushing or combing during shedding seasons will help with blood circulation and distributing natural oils in their skin, but it also controls the amount of hair inside your house. Be prepared with a vacuum just to stay fur-free.

They have strong and fast-growing nails that should be trimmed regularly. Also, check the ears to prevent debris and wax buildup that may lead to infection.

Feeding: What do Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs eat?

Unlike the usual recommendation to feed dry kibbles or wet food to most breeds, the CSWD would thrive on a raw diet. Regular dog foods can be given occasionally just as a variety, but raw supplements should be added to it.

This video may be quite long, but it explains the benefits and a few tips on feeding your wolfdog a BARF diet:

If you do give your wolfdog some kibbles or canned food, you have to be very careful and make sure that it’s grain-free.

The rule that the amount of food you give to your pet should depend on his age, size, activity level, including health condition, still applies here. They are large canines that would need high-levels of proteins and nutrients.

In a sense, think of it as feeding a wild wolf. There’s an owner who shared what and how much food he gives his Slovak Wolfdog. On average, it’s about 1kg of raw food daily.

Giving him meat and bones, like chicken and beef with bone marrow, is something your wild doggo would enjoy because it’s what they were intended to eat, even if they have a GSD gene.

Avoid behavioral problems by exercising your Czech Vlcak

Dogs in the wild are known for their boundless energy, especially when they’re still young.

An hour up to 4 hours of exercise each day is sufficient. It would keep your Czechoslovakian Shepherd from undesirable behavior like marking territories, digging, trying to escape, while also keeping him healthy.

Letting your wolf pet stay indoors or turning him to enjoy himself out in the backyard wouldn’t be enough.

Go for activities that will stimulate him mentally and physically, like retrieving balls in the lake and flying discs. Absolutely anything meaningful that your beautiful wolf pup can devote himself.

Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs are healthy canines

A close-up photo of a Czechoslovakian Vlciak sitting on the ground

This marvelous hybrid is robust, but the Czech Vlciaks we have now are genetically more similar to GSDs than their Carpathian wolf parent. With that said, you’d have to take into consideration the health issues that German Shepherds may pass on to their offspring.

Some of the illnesses that you should watch out for when it comes to this breed are hip and elbow dysplasia, eye ailments like cataracts, Degenerative Myelopathy, thyroid problems, and diabetes.

Slovak Wolfdogs are incredibly healthy, but even there are cases that a pup is a product of accidental or irresponsible breeding.

You can ask a breeder the diseases that other wolfdogs had within the bloodline of the puppy you’re interested in. As per its parent club, the sire and dam should undergo testing for dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and CERF before breeding.

If you’ve heard of Pituitary Dwarfism in this breed, genetic tests are available. Other rare concerns are seizures, lens luxation, cardiac problems, and EPI.

Being hardy breeds, they have an average lifespan of 10 to 16 years.

Getting a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog

It’s easy to say you want a wolf hybrid of your own, but is it the right fit for you and your lifestyle? Would you be able to provide the proper training and environment for the wolfdog’s entire life with you?

But before you get your own wolfdog, you should know first if this breed is allowable in your state and your home if you’re renting.

Where are Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs legal and banned?

You can check out this website that has a list of US and international laws with regards to hybrids. Just select your state or country to find out what is and isn’t allowed in your location. This one focuses more on which states in America ban wolf dogs.

Laws continuously change, and they do differ in every state. Find out first what applies for wolf hybrids like the Czech Shepherd in your area.

Wild animal hybrids are often surrounded by controversy since they’re potentially dangerous. They’re also unpredictable due to the mixing of feral DNA to tamed domestic dogs. Some of them aren’t considered to be suitable for a home environment.

Discussing this may seem over extensive, but it’s not. Wolf hybrids caused deaths, and this is why we can’t emphasize enough how crucial every factor is when owning a Czech Vlcak.

How much are Czechoslovakian wolfdog puppies?

Two gorgeous puppies of czechoslovakian wolfdog in winter
Even if the average litter size of Slovak Wolfdogs is about 4 to 8 pups, they are rare, which means they don’t come cheap. Expect to pay a price of $800 to $1500 for a puppy.

Breeders would have to recover from the cost of extensive health screenings before mating Czech Vlcaks and once the pups are born. The rarity of the breed means they also have to recoup for the travel expenses during the mating process.

Czechoslovakian Vlcak breeders

The CSVCA has a list of recognized kennels that you can take a look at for the availability of Ceskoslovensky Vlciak puppies.

There’s also Southern Breeze Wolf Ranch and BluSteel Wolfdogs. Don’t forget to interview breeders, meet the parental breeds, as well as the pup’s littermates. Be prepared in case you might need to travel in order to make sure that you will be bringing home a healthy puppy.

If you’re interested in a doggo, but there’s no available little pooch yet, don’t hesitate to sign up or reserve and show your interest.

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog rescues and adoption

Believe it or not, there are cases where people thought they’re up to the challenge of owning a wolf hybrid. Eventually, it turns out they’re not prepared for this breed at all and the wolfdogs end up in shelters. Other dogs were rescued and are waiting for their forever home.

Some of these wolfdogs don’t just have a German Shepherd and wolf blood. Some of them have a mix of Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, and other breeds.

Browse these websites and see if you have a place in your home and your heart for one of these CSVs:

Saarloos Wolfdog vs. Czechoslovakian Wolfdog

CSVs are mesmerizing, aren’t they? And there are plenty more wolf hybrids out there. But we decided to mention this one because it’s often compared to the Czech Vlciak.

Also known as the Saarloos Wolfhound, this wolf is also on the larger scale of the dog breed size. They’re larger than Czech Vlcaks with a weight of 79 to 90 lbs (36 to 41 kg) and a height of 24 to 29.5 inches (61 to 75 cm).

A Saarloo Wolfhound walking in the forest
source

Originating from Germany, this wolfdog is a mix between a German Shepherd and an ancient wolf called Canis lupus.

Saarloos’ are also herding and working dogs with a personality that’s proud and independent, but they’re devoted and reliable canines.

The Wolfhounds may live in a home with children and other pets, but like with CSWDs, supervision is needed. They’re energetic and trainable, which is crucial to tame its willful side to ensure obedience.

Another thing the Saarloos share with the Czech Wolfdog is that they both are prone to getting dysplasia. And this wolf hybrid tends to have a shorter life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.

Saarloos Wolfhound puppies have a price of $800 to $1,000. And like the Slovak Wolfdog, since they’re both wolf hybrids, are legal in some parts of the US.

Is a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog right for you?

Beautiful young Czechoslovakian wolfdog  pupppy in yellow flowers field at sunset spring day

We can help you answer this question by weighing in the pros and cons of this majestic canine.

Most people are amazed by dogs with a wolf-like appearance, but the CSWD isn’t just all looks, but they’re also highly intelligent. That means they are not recommended for those who don’t have experience owning a dog.

Slovak Wolfdogs require consistency, dedicated training, physical and mental stimulation, socialization, and an owner who knows how to be a leader. They differ from other domesticated breeds in terms of needs and temperament.

You also have to consider the cost of buying or adopting a wolfdog, as well as the amount of care it will need as you raise it as a pet.

But if you can handle a CSV, give it a sense of purpose, then you may have found the right canine companion. Do you love being active? Then you’ll enjoy a strong and energetic wolfdog beside you.

What do you think about the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog? Have you seen this wolf hybrid? Share your story with us by commenting below!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.