Any dog with “wolf” in its title is destined to be a big one. The Czech Wolfdog is no exception to the rule.
This beautiful beast was first created back in 1955 by a curious dog breeder. They were an attempt to create a tamer version of the Carpathian Grey Wolf… an attempt that everyone can agree was partial madness.
Let us quickly point out that, while large, the Czech Wolfdog isn’t a patch on the Irish Wolfhound. The former is lean, muscle-bound, and close to the earth. The latter is larger than life and is a giant breed.
Nevertheless, the resultant breed retained the clever quick wits of the wolf, while assuming the adaptable reliability for your everyday German Shepherd Dog. What emerged was part predator, part guard dog, and fully fleecy to stay warm in those cold climates.
This is a lean dog with high muscle mass and a thick double coat. Generally, the Czech Wolfdog is used as an agility dog, as a hunter’s companion, and for sports and tracking. It has seen popularity in both the USA and in Europe, or wherever temperatures tend to drop below freezing.
What is a Czech Wolfdog?
Widely regarded as a wilder version of the beloved German Shepherd that makes up one of this breed’s parents, the Czech Wolfdog is a stealthy dog. They are lean, agile, and alert. These characteristics have led them to find success in a guarding role. If you plan to use yours as such, don’t forget to properly alert visitors to your property with signage.
In 1955, a scientist named Karel Hartl was working in the military kennels in Czechoslovakia. In a military experiment, it was theorized that crossbreeding the local Carpathian Grey Wolves with tamer dog breeds of other colors, could allow for great strides in military dog use.
By 1958, one scientist’s dream had become a reality, in the form of a litter born to a female wolf and a male GSD. These puppies were selectively bred with other German Shepherd Dogs when they were fully grown. By the fourth generation, it is thought that only a little over 6% of the blood and genetic material belongs to the wolf.
Nevertheless, that 6% has some incredible benefits. When compared to similar dogs without the wolf breeding, they performed better in stamina, scent hunting, visual hunting, they could hear better and even run faster. Importantly, the Czech Wolfdog has a far higher life expectancy than either of its predecessors.
As of 2012, there were fewer than four hundred of these beautiful beasts left in the Czech Republic. Some 200 are born every year in Italy, however, and the Czech Wolfdog enjoys popularity wherever the weather is cold, and the work is hard. If your Czech Wolfdog is going to be a working dog, it is worth investing in some warning patches and a good, safe harness.
The Czech Wolfdog Dog Breed: Quick Facts
Average height: At least 26 inches or taller
Average weight: At least 66lbs or heavier
Average lifespan: 11-16 years
Origin: The Czech Republic
Alternative name: Czechoslovak Vlcak
Czech Wolfdog Characteristics:
- Occasionally temperamental
What’s the Difference Between a German Shepherd Dog and a Czech Wolfdog?
The GSD is a parent breed to the Czech Wolfdog. They are two different, distinctive breeds. The Wolfdog shares around 6% (or greater) of their genetic material with the wild wolves of Czechoslovakia.
This injection of wolf blood means these dogs are genetically closer to the wilder wolves than other breeds are. It allows them to retain the physical endurance characteristics of the wolf, without compromising that GSD bloodline.
If you aren’t sure of your dog’s bloodline, you can pick up doggy DNA tests to check on their ancestry. This should tell you how much wolf’s blood your Czech Wolfdog has.
Are Czech Wolfdogs Native to the Czech Republic?
Not any longer. At one point, the Czech Wolfdog was only available as a military dog. Nowadays, however, it is available in lots of areas across Europe. It has recently seen a surge in popularity in the USA, in the UK, and even in Italy and other European countries, where more are born than in Czech itself every year.
Most Common Czech Wolfdog Mixed Breeds
As a dog with such handsome genetics, it is only reasonable that the Czech Wolfdog is crossed with other breeds. It’s good health, thick coat, and quick wits, all make it a great dog for cross breeding purposes.
The German Shepherd Dog
By far the most common of other dog breeds crossed with the Czech Wolfdog, is the German Shepherd. Although a parent breed, these dogs are bred with the Wolfdog right down through the generations. It is thought that 5th generation crosses of this type have barely any wolf blood left in them.
A German Shepherd and Czech Wolfdog crossed puppy is closer to a GSD than it is the wolf. To crossbreed these two, you are essentially breeding the wolf out of the bloodline. The Czech Wolfdog should be bred for no more than 4 generations as a result.
The GSD is one of a handful of shepherd type breeds. They are known to be excellent in obedience classes, fantastic military and guard dogs, and will even be your bodyguard. Don’t forget the rubberized tactical dog vest if you are putting them to work in the military.
German Shepherd Dog Breed Stats:
Average Height: Up to 26 inches
Average Weight: Up to 90 lbs.
Average Lifespan: Between 10 and 12 years
The Carpathian Shepherd Dog
Over in Romania, there is a breed of dog that is best suited to mountain life. It has the rounded head and long fur coat of the St. Bernard’s. It has the wolf-like jaw and hindquarters that show it to be a lithe, adaptable beast.
Another dog best suited to the cold, this large-sized breed, the true parentage of the Carpathian Shepherd Dog is not known. What we do know is that they have similar mastiff features to their suspected ancestors, the Lupomulossoids.
What we do know for sure is that these dogs and the Carpathian Grey Wolf were once native to the same mountain ranges. It is likely that interbreeding occurred, which would have helped the Carpathian Shepherd dog to retain some of its wolf-like features.
These dogs are also known as Romanian Shepherd Dogs. They are still used by natives of cold mountain ranges in this part of eastern Europe, as working dogs. Remember that your dog could use an extra layer if it is out working at cold temperatures.
The Carpathian Shepherd Dog Breed Stats:
Average Height: Between 25 and 30 inches
Average Weight: Between 30 and 50 kilos
Average Lifespan: Between 11 and 14 years
The Husky and Carpathian Grey Wolf Cross
Some believe that the Czech Wolfdog is the result of a husky (that’s the white husky, not the red dog breed) crossed with a Carpathian Grey Wolf. Of course, we have already established that the cross is between the German Shepherd Dog and the wolf… But that hasn’t stopped eager breeders from giving it a go.
When you cross a husky and a wolf you get a pack focused animal with a seriously independent streak. This type of Wolfdog is hazardous and prone to aggression by many different countries.
If someone tries to sell you a Husky/Wolf cross, be very careful. You may be buying an illegal breed. They can be stubborn and difficult to train. Obedience classes and further training are needed to get the best from this breed.
Why would they bother to cross such a bad breed mix together? To create a fighting dog, to make them bigger, better, and stronger than other dogs. For too long, the breed we choose has been used as a status symbol. It is time we set out to change all of that.
The Husky/Carpathian Grey Wolf Cross Stats:
Average Height: 26 – 32 inches tall
Average Weight: 70-130 lbs. in weight
Average Lifespan: 12-16 years
Enter the Tamaskan, the Siberian Husky crossed with a grey wolf, crossed with a German Shepherd Dog. The Tamaskan isn’t quite as large as its component breeds, but is just as adorable. It retains the rounded snout of the husky, adds the wolfen flanks and legs, and combines it with a GSD’s ears, tail, and even coloring.
The Tamaskan comes in red and white, depending on which type of husky they have been crossed with. They can also be black, grey, or silver. They look a lot like a rounded, fuller, less lean version of the wolf we think of in fairy stories. Best of all, their eyes can come in that wolf-yellow reserved for wild animals.
The Tamaskan is a playful dog breed that keeps the loyal loving nature of a devoted GSD. It also has the wild streak that both a husky and a wolf have. It makes a natural next step in the breeding process when bringing the husky/wolf cross into accepted society. If you have this breed and want to burn off some energy, this dog agility course set for your home is perfect.
Tamaskan Dog Breed Stats:
Average Height: 24 – 28 inches
Average Weight: 51 – 99 lbs.
Average Lifespan: 14-15 years
The East Siberian Laika
Another of the breeds descended from wolves is the East Siberian Laika. Although not a crossbreed of the GSD or the Carpathian Grey Wolf, this is a group of dog species out of Siberia that was only recently found to have been descended from wolves.
The East Siberian Laika was only recognized as a separated breed as of 1947. They have pointed ears just like wolves but take their curled tail from the Laika genus. This tail shape is shared with other Spitz-type dog breeds such as the Chow Chow, Alaskan Malamute, and the Pomeranian dog breeds.
Any type of wolf dog should be handled with care. They are pack dogs who work best with a group to protect – but they will be ferocious in that protection. The East Siberian Laika is a hunting breed that is happiest tracking its meal through mountain ranges in minus temperatures.
If your intention is to keep it in a one-bedroom apartment, you aren’t going to be fair to the dog. Train them well and you will have a loyal, loving animal on your hands.
East Siberian Laika Dog Breed Stats:
Average Height: 22 – 25 inches tall
Average Weight: 40 – 50 lbs. in weight
Average Lifespan: 10-15 years
The Saarloos Wolfdog
This hardy breed is what happens when you cross a German Shepherd Dog with a Eurasian Grey Wolf. The result is a leaner, greyer GSD, or a slightly broader, smaller wolf. They aren’t full crosses of the Czech Wolfdog with a GSD, but they do retain the same breeding statistics… I.e. that the farther the pups are bred with German Shepherd Dogs, the less wolf is in the hound.
This breed tends to be long-legged and small-bodied. They keep the GSD crease between the eyes, but sport less fur. They were first bred around 1935 by a Dutch dog breeder named Leendert Saarloos. He wanted to create a breed that was one-quarter wolf. The Saarloos Wolfdog is the result of this breeding and is now a recognized breed.
In the last few years, genetic testing has shown that this breed has more in common with a wolf than it does with another dog breed. This distinctive feature makes it one of the wildest looking dog breeds that we have today. They can be mouthy, so be sure to give them plenty of things to chew or be willing to risk your own furniture.
The Saarloos Wolfdog Breed Stats:
Average Height: 25 – 30 inches tall
Average Weight: 70-95 lbs. in weight
Average Lifespan: 10-12 years old
Bred to be a more wolf-like version of an Alaskan Malamute, the DNA testing of the Utonagan actually revealed the surprise of the GSD. That’s right – the dog we have always thought was a close descendent of the wolf has more in common with the German Shepherd Dog.
This Wolf Dog was bred in the 1980s by internationally famed breeder Edwina Harrison. She reportedly mixed five breeds in total to come up with a dog that looked more like a wolf than the wolves themselves do.
What resulted was a playful, friendly dog that loves the outdoor life. They are never happier than when playing in the snow or when faithfully spending the day working at your side. A Utonagan is strong-willed but graceful, scoring highly in agility tests.
This dog breed sports the main of the Malamute, the length of fur of the GSD, the eyes, ears, and snout of a wolf, and the love you can only ever find in big brown puppy eyes.
The Utonagan Dog Breed Stats:
Average Height: 24 – 35 inches
Average Weight: 60 – 110 lbs.
Average Lifespan: 11-15 years
German Shepherd Husky
This gorgeous dog breed features the hairy, loving, loyal genetics of the GSD, crossed with the lively, pack focused, working dog nature of the Husky. Whether White or Siberian, when you cross these two breeds you end up with a large dog that will defend its humans until the death.
It is this ferocious loyalty that makes the German Shepherd and Husky cross such a popular guard dog. Specifically, this breed makes a good pack guard dog. This affable large breed is as playful as it is alert, so they are being bred more and more commonly as companion dogs.
The German Shepherd Husky is a lively breed that needs an active lifestyle. Although the GSD nature can be shy and calming, the Husky side usually outweighs this – and particularly in puppyhood. You may want to look into crate or cage training to stop them from destroying a small home.
You shouldn’t have one of these dogs if you don’t have an active lifestyle or a big back yard.
German Shepherd Husky Stats:
Average Height: 20-26 inches
Average Weight: 35 – 90 lbs.
Average Lifespan: 10-15 years
The Alaskan Shepherd
When you mix a German Shepherd dog with the Alaskan Malamute, you get a similar type of dog to that of the Husky cross. This breed isn’t as agile, are closer to the ground, and retain the large paws of the GSD breed.
This is a great cross, since both dogs have a similar stance and shape. The resulting offspring gains the strength, stamina, and endurance of the Malamute, but the patience, loyalty, and companionship, of the GSD. They are strongly considered to be pack dogs who shouldn’t be kept alone, much like both of their parent breeds.
The Alaskan Shepherd is as comfortable pulling a sled as it is in the back yard. They really ought to be kept active though. Some GSD’s can be prone to obesity, so make sure a yard dog has plenty to do (Here’s a Spring Pole for inspiration!)
Alaskan Shepherd Dog Breed Stats:
Average Height: 20 – 29 inches
Average Weight: 60 – 135 lbs.
Average Lifespan: 10 – 13 years
The Wolf Poodle
It is almost beggar’s belief, but you do have poodle crosses with grey wolves. These mixes are a medium to large poodle that retains all their hardy genes. The early history of the poodle is such that they had a wide, diverse gene pool which was only separated into type at the end of the 19th century. Up until this point, the poodle was the name given to any common French street dog.
As a result, the hardy mix of poodle genetics alongside the hardy, self-reliant, endurance and stamina building raw power of the Irish Wolfhound, males for a curious blend. You have a dog that is simultaneously loving and independent, with a nature not unlike that of the tribal dog, who would have hung around on the edges of the village, seeking scraps.
Be warned that the Wolf Poodle will get big and need entertainment. If you can keep them occupied, you can keep them at home.
Wolf Poodle Stats:
Average Height: 18 – 23 inches
Average Weight: 35 – 75 lbs.
Average Lifespan: 12 – 16 years
The Final Say on Czech Wolfdog Mix Breed Dogs
The Wolfdog world is a relatively small one, and in it, the Czech stands like a lion. There are few that have the quick-witted capabilities of the wolf, and fewer still more closely related. This is an ideal companion for the hunter, the ranger, or the crop farmer out in the fields all day long.
However, if you intend to keep your dog at home with you by day, we advise something a little smaller. Similarly, the Czech Wolfdog shouldn’t be the first dog you ever own. They will be headstrong and difficult for inexperienced owners. Often, the biggest, most beautiful breeds are.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.