Czechoslovakian Vlcak (Czechoslovakian Wolfdog): Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog was created using the Carpathian wolf.

Getty Images 

The Czechoslovakian Vlcak (Czechoslovakian Wolfdog) is a primitive dog breed that was developed in the 1950s using German Shepherd Dogs and Carpathian wolves. The breed is also known as the Ceskoslovensky Vlciak (in Slovakia) and the Ceskoslovensky Vlcak (in the Czech Republic).

According to its breed standard (the written description of the ideal breed specimen), the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog should resemble a wolf in its body shape, movement, coat texture, coat color, and facial markings. Interestingly, although the breed can bark, many are very quiet.

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is beautiful, loyal and hardworking, but also independent, dominant and high energy. It is a challenging breed to own and not recommended for the novice dog owner.

The breed forms tight bonds with its immediate family but is inherently suspicious of strangers. Although Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs can do well with gentle children in its own family when raised together and properly supervised, the breed is not known for being friendly with strange children.

These dogs may have high prey drive (the instinct to chase and kill smaller animals), so they aren’t recommended for households with cats or other small pets. 

Breed Overview

Group: AKC Foundation Stock Service

Weight: 44 to 57 pounds

Height: 23.5 to 25.5 inches tall at the shoulder

Coat: Straight and close double coat. The undercoat is immense in winter and sparse in summer.

Color: Yellowish-gray to silver-gray with a light mask on the face.

Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years

Characteristics of the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog

Affection Level Medium
Friendliness Low
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Low
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level High
Trainability Medium
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Low
Amount of Shedding High

History of the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog breed was the byproduct of an experiment. From 1955 to 1965, in what was then the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, a man named Karel Hartl sought to breed wolves and German Shepherd Dogs for the Border Guard. Using German Shepherds and Carpathian wolves, Hartl meticulously planned breedings.

After each first wolf-dog breeding, subsequent breedings of the resulting puppies were between hybrids and dogs only—no more wolf blood was introduced. The resulting progeny were studied to examine the hybrid dogs’ physical and temperament traits, including tenacity, capacity for training, stamina, and more. Dogs that were three and four generations removed from the initial wolf-dog breedings (called F3 and F4, respectively) were used as army service dogs. 

Once the experiment ended, other breeders got their hands on the hybrid dogs and further refined them to solidify desirable traits, using a few more wolves along the way. In 1982, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog received official recognition from the Club of Breeders, with 43 puppies entered in the main Pedigree Register in Prague that year. Since 1983, no wolves have been used in Czechoslovakian Wolfdog breedings. 

In 2001, the Czechoslovakian Vlcak was recorded in the American Kennel Club (AKC) Foundation Stock Service. The breed will be assigned to the Working Group when it achieves full recognition. In 2006, the breed was fully recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC). 

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
The ideal Czechoslovakian Wolfdog should resemble a wolf in looks and movement. Getty Images 

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog Care

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog’s coat is easy to care for. It’s naturally weather-resistant, has very little doggie odor, and dirt brushes right out. Although Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs shed heavily year-round, they experience dramatic shedding twice a year (known as “dropping coat” or “blowing coat”).

The double coat looks dramatically different according to the season. In winter, the undercoat becomes extremely thick, and, in summer, the undercoat is much sparser. Regardless of the season, frequent brushing can help manage shedding hair.

Other than brushing, occasional baths and weekly nail trimming keep the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog looking beautiful. Peek inside the ears weekly, and clean them out with a pet-safe ear cleaner when necessary. 

Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs are extremely intelligent and capable of learning almost anything, but unlike many breeds, they are not push-button dogs that will simply do what you want them to.

Training methods must be tailored to the breed’s primitive and independent nature. Positive, reward-based methods can be successful, but avoid too much repetition, which will bore the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog.

This breed is naturally wary of strangers, and, without proper socialization, this innate wariness can go into overdrive. Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs require copious daily exercise and ample mental stimulation.

They are great working dogs and can also excel in competitive dog sports. In the right hands, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog will shine, but due to the breed’s nature and high needs, it’s best left to the very experienced dog owner. 

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog puppy
Czechoslovakian Wolfdog puppies require extensive socialization. Getty Images 
Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs are extremely athletic. Getty Images 

Common Health Problems

In general, this is a healthy and robust breed. However, the Czechoslovakian Vlcak Club of America, the parent club for the breed in the United States, recommends that all Czechoslovakian Wolfdog have certain health testing performed prior to breeding.

These include screening for:

They should receive eye certification exams via the OFA Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER, previously called “CERF” exams). 

Diet and Nutrition

Highly active and athletic, many Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs expend a lot of energy. Working dogs and canine athletes require high-quality, calorie-dense performance diets. If you’re not sure what or how much to feed, ask your breeder or veterinarian for a recommendation.

That said, Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs are meant to be lean, so be sure not to overfeed, especially for less-active dogs.

Feeding measured meals twice a day rather than free feeding (leaving food out all day) will help to avoid too much weight gain. Excess weight can contribute to health problems like hip dysplasia and diabetes. 

Pros
  • Intelligent and loyal

  • Hardworking and athletic 

  • Beautiful wolf-like appearance

Cons
  • Requires an expert-level owner

  • Needs extensive socialization 

  • Requires lots of exercise

Where to Adopt or Buy Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs

If you have your heart set on a Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs puppy, be prepared to wait. According to the Czechoslovakian Vlcak Club of America, there were only about 200 of the breed living in the United States as of 2018. Rarely, some adult Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs might find their way into rescue. The club maintains a list of recognized breeders as well as any adoptable dogs on its website. 

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

If you like the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, you might also like these breeds: 

Otherwise, check out all of our other dog breed articles to help you find the perfect dog for you and your family.