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Breed History



The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog (also known in the USA and UK as Czechoslovakian Vlcak) is quite a young breed, coming from Czech and Slovak crossbreeding efforts, using the Carpathian Wolf and the German shepherd.

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog was born in the 1950s, from the mind of Ing Karel Hartl, (head of the canine border guards section of Libějovice) to improve the health, strength and toughness of the dogs used to guard borders, by inserting wolf blood into the breed. The main characteristics sought in these new subjects were a greater capability to learn and the necessary aptitudes to serve as a working dog; appearance and morphology were considered secondary to their resistance and their physical abilities.

In 1957, Ing Karel Hartl gave the “go ahead” to the project. Two types of German shepherds were selected, both fully meeting the required characteristics of good breeding specimens. The first dog was calm, obedient and well trained; the second was more aggressive, less obedient but also well trained. Both were grey and had already transmitted their genetic heritage many times.

The she-wolf Brita, who was one year old at this time, was brought to the Libějovice border guard’s kennel, z Pohraniční stráže, to be mated. However, while she was in heat, she remained hidden, causing the entire project to fail. In 1958, efforts were made to better manage the project and the heats of the wolf began on March 15th. On the thirteenth day of her heats, the first German shepherd was introduced in her pen. The wolf female remained near her kennel and as soon as he approached, she attacked him at the throat. The German Shepherd sadly ran towards the exit. The female attacked him one more time, even more vigorously, and tore a piece of skin as big as a palm of a hand off his flank. The first attempt of mating between the Carpathian she-wolf Brita and the first German Shepherd remained, therefore, unsuccessful.


A second try was made the next day with the second dog, Cézar z Brezového háje. From the moment they met, the she-wolf jumped on him, biting him fiercely; he stroke back immediately, biting her neck and shaking her, after what the she-wolf didn’t defend herself anymore and allowed him to mate. On May 26, 1958, after 61 days of gestation, the first generation of hybrids was born. Brita gave birth to five puppies, 1 male and 4 females, all weighing 90 grams less than German Shepherds puppies of the same age. The first generation of hybrids was much closer to the wolf than the dog. Behavioural traits inherited from the dog began to appear in later generations.

At six weeks old, the pups were removed from their mother. The anatomical and physiological differences between hybrids and both parents were examined in details, and their training potentials, endurance and tenacity were tested. Two hybrids were selected, Bessy and Bety z Pohraniční stráže, to be mated once again with unrelated German Shepherds. Puppies from this second generation could be educated as long as they were taken away from the kennel and weaned individually. F3 and F4 generation of Hybrids could be trained as well as German shepherds and used without difficulty by the army.

The she-wolf Brita was then mated with the German shepherd Kurt z Václavky, and gave birth to the second line of hybrids on May 21, 1960. Part of the production was sent to Malacky in Slovakia, to be tested for behaviour and endurance and then crossed with other German Shepherds.

In 1964 and 1965, the crossbreeding results and the direction taken for new research were published. At this time the idea was born to create a new breed, despite the almost hysterical reactions of some German Shepherd’s breeders.

The first Standard of the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog was written by the Ing. Karel Hartl in 1966. At this time, there were already four generations of the first line, from mating the she-wolf Brita and the German shepherd Cézar z Brezového háje, and two generations of the second line, descending from the same female (Brita) with the German Kurt Berger z Václavky. But the Svazarm (the army association at this time), and the Czechoslovak Union of Breeders of Small Animals (ČsSCHDZ), refused the application for registration of the breed in the studbook, due to a low number of subjects.

In 1968, a third line was born in the Czech countryside, in the Býchory police kennel, resulting from a cross between the wolf Argo and the female German shepherd Astra z SNB. The abbreviation “ČV” = Český vlčák (Czech wolfdog) then began to be used to describe those hybrids.

In the 1970s, most of the hybrids were sent to new kennels near Malacky, in Slovakia. These kennels belonged to the Bratislava border guards section. The decision to transfer the best genitors was dictated by the need to protect them, as much as possible, from the “iron curtain” of the critical years that followed the “Prague Spring” (Czechoslovakia Invasion by Russian army and its allies). That way, breeders could ensure that they were no under military pressure and could be devoted to establish the morphological characteristics of this new breed. The Vice Commander of these kennels, Major František Rosik, took over the program in collaboration with Karel Hartl, and greatly contributed to the development of the breed in Slovakia.

A third Wolf, Šarik, was also mated with an F3 female Xela z Pohraniční stráže, as well as with a CV female Urta z Pohraniční stráže, in 1974.

The name Český vlčák / ČV (Czech Wolfdog) was gradually changed to Československý Vlčák / ČsV (Czechoslovakian Wolfdog), and that’s under this name that the breed was recorded.

In 1981, after a strong discussion, the Czechoslovak Union of breeders of Small Animals (ČsSCHDZ) allowed the foundation of a club and the registration of the breed in the studbook.

The Club of Czechoslovakian Wolfdog’s breeders, which headquarter is in Prague, was founded in Brno in March 20, 1982. The Club represented the entire Czechoslovakia and was a member of the Czechoslovak Union of breeders. The constituent Assembly also approved the name of the breed, “Ceskoslovenský Vlcak” (Czechoslovakian Wolfdog), and mandated a Council to confirm its ability to reproduce as well as establish their criteria and create a breeding program. Major František Rosik was appointed Director of the Council, and Colonel Ing Karel Hartl Senior Advisor. Later came the Slovak branch of the Club, with many more dogs from the military kennels; by law, they therefore had a right to a larger number of members. The same year, the first 43 puppies were registered in the Czech studbook. Between 1982 and 1991, 1552 puppies were registered.

Later, the Slovaks breeders, with the support of the Club Director, decided to ignore the breeding program established by the Senior Advisor, and in the first two years (1982-1983) they increased the number of subject by 77% and that, with a single genitor: Rep z Pohraniční stráže F3 (born in border guards kennel). After that, in 5 years 90% of the subjects were parents with this dog and 83% in close connection to him.

Maintaining the natural structure of the breed and avoiding to damage its genetic heritage was difficult for Czech breeders, who had very few subjects at their disposal. A new crossbreeding at the Libejovice kennel, between the German shepherd Bojar von Schottenhof and the she-wolf Lejdi (from Hluboka zoo) was therefore used to reduce inbreeding of the herd. It was the last Wolf contribution in the genetic heritage of the breed. Their puppies were born on April 26, 1983. Kazan z Pohraniční stráže (F1), selected in that litter, was used from 1985, on 3 different females, giving birth to 20 direct descendants.

In June 13, 1989, in Helsinki, the breed Standard was approved by the FCI and was published by its secretariat under the number 332 in April 28, 1994. This proposal was presented by the representatives of Czechoslovakia, which remains, despite the split, the country of origin of the breed, of which it officially carries the name: Československý Vlčák (Czechoslovakian Wolfdog).

After the split of Czechoslovakia into two independent states, on January 1st, 1993, the existence of one unique breed club had no meaning. The Club of Czechoslovakian Wolfdog’s breeders therefore decided, in January 23rd, 1993, at the Bratislava assembly, to split into two independent groups who would support the breeding of the breed in each country. By mutual agreement, the responsibility for maintaining the breed was assigned to Slovakia in July 4, 1993. Despite this, since any change in the Standard must be approved by the country of origin, namely Czechoslovakia, only an agreement between the two republics could allow such a review.

In June 6, 1999 the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog was definitively recognized by the FCI.

In summary, for 25 years, four wolves (Brita, Argo, Šarik and Lejdy) and various German shepherds have contributed to the development of the breed. Today, the use of wolves’ blood in breeding is totally unauthorized



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