Czechoslovakian Wolfdog or Slovakian Vlcak
By Claudia Bensimoun
If you’re like most of us, you’re passionate about wolves and hybrid wolf breeds, and the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog or Slovakian Vlcak is at the top of our list. This hybrid breed is a mix between a Carpathian wolf and a German Shepherd, making it an incredibly rare breed that you won’t find without some serious searching. A first-generation (F1) Czechoslovakia Wolfdog is a German Shepherd and Carpathian wolf hybrid.
As you may have guessed, this hybrid breed doesn’t bark like other dogs. The AKC adds that although some Czechoslovakian Vlcaks do bark, most Vlcaks have to be taught to bark. They also generally love water and snow and are an excellent choice for tracking or trailing sport/work or as a companion for active owners who enjoy outdoor activities such as biking, running, or hiking.
The handsome Slovakian Wolfdog, also known as the Slovakian Vlcak, has a lineage that can be traced back to 1955 to an experiment conducted in Slovakia. The experiment entailed breeding working German Shepherd dogs with Carpathian wolves.
Other ” commercial” wolfdog breeds include the Saarloos Wolfdog, the Lupo Italiano, the Kunming Wolfdog, the American Wolfdog, and the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, which were created by the deliberate crossing of wolf-like or ancient breeds (e.g., the German Shepherd, the Siberian Husky, and the Alaskan Malamute) with wild wolves. The American Kennel Club (AKC) adds that the Czechoslovakian Vlcak (CSV) is a primitive canine that resembles a wolf.
A 2018 study published in BMC Genomics discusses the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog. The researchers analyzed a panel of 170k Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms with a combination of multivariate, Bayesian, and outlier gene approaches to examine the genome-wide diversity and inbreeding levels in a recent wolf x dog cross-breed the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog.
The study adds that CWDs appeared highly differentiated from all the other analyzed breeds and well-distinguished from both parental populations.
The researchers added that they could identify more than 300 genes with an excess of wolf ancestry and more than 2000 genes with an excess of dog ancestry in Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs compared to random expectations. Here’s the takeaway from the study:
- Key wolf-like genes identified were mainly related to body size and shape traits.
- Two wolf-excess genes were detected: ASTN2 and ENO1, which were described in the human genome to be adjacent to loci putatively responsible for bone and cartilage tissue production and that were earlier found to be under selection in European wolves.
- Some of the other wolf-like genes identified in this study included a prominent nasal bridge, narrow face, short ears, narrow and small mouth, pointed chin, strong facial musculature, and robust paws and bones.
- Other differences were associated with communication and behavior.
The researchers also found that the CSV demonstrated peculiar behavior that is well known also in Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs, where mothers kill their offspring shortly after parturition has often been observed.
CRHBP, coding for Corticotropin Releasing Hormone Binding Protein, is a gene expressed during pregnancy and found in the Cech Wolfdog. The researchers in this study also found behavioral differences in the brain that included two genes, TGIF1 and CNTN5, as well as the gene TMEM132D via oligodendrocyte differentiation.
They also identified several dog-like genes playing essential roles in learning and memory processes, such as OXT, which can affect canine cognition, tolerance, adaptation, and maternal behavior, in vision and hearing abilities, such as PCDH15, and in the regulation of circadian rhythms, body weight and digestion, such as NOCT, which could be crucial in adapting the physiological activity of CWDs to that of their human owners.
Genes related to this wolfdog’s sociability included COMT, a gene involved in dopamine catalysis and in regulating aggressive behaviors and attention in many breeds. For more on other dog-related genes in immune functions and coat coloration, including the variations in ASIP, found to be under selection also in ancient Asian dog breeds, please visit BMC Genomics.
The Czech wolfdog was initially used to work on the border as patrol dogs in Czech in the 1950s. Not only is this breed handsome and smart, but the CSV can work in harsh environments and are much more independent than other breeds.
The Slovakian Wolfdog is used in Europe and the United States for search and rescue, tracking, obedience, agility, drafting, herding, and working dog sports. This breed was bred for attack work for use in special military operations by the Slovak special forces.
The Slovakians wanted to create a breed that would be similar to the working German Shepherd in temperament and trainability, and that also would have the same pack mentality and combine that with the strength, stamina, and physical build of the Carpathian wolf.
The Slovakian Wolfdog was recognized as a national dog breed in 1982 in Slovakia. The Federation Cynologique International (FCI)The first Gen. pups from the experiment looked like wolves in appearance and behavior, and the training was difficult.
When these pups reached adulthood, they were bred with German Shepherds, which decreased the wolf genes or “wolf blood” by 6.25% in the 4th generation. The pups from the 3rd and 4th generations were more trainable and could participate in service performance.
These hybrid dogs were great with navigational skills, night sight, hearing, and sense of smell. These dogs also had more endurance and could complete distances of 100 km without being tired. Here’s the takeaway:
Characteristics of the Slovakian WolfDog
The build and coat of the Slovakian Wolfdog match those of wolves. The shoulder height is 26″ for males and 24″ for females. The body frame is rectangular, with the minimum weight in males, 57 lb, and in females, 44 lb. The Slovakian Wolfdog’s head matches its sex, with the eyes being amber and obliquely set. The short upright ears are triangular with teeth including 42 strong teeth. Here’s the takeaway:
- Straight spine with forward movement.
- The chest is large and flat and not barrel-shaped.
- A powerful belly that is drawn in.
- Short back that is slightly sloped.
- High-set tail
- Forelimbs are straight and narrow-set
- Paws are turned out a bit.
- The hind is powerful, strong, and muscular.
- The coat color is yellow-grey to silver-grey and has a light mask.
- The coat is thick and straight.
- Movement is light with a long stride.
The temperament of the Czech Wolfdog
- This breed develops a strong social relationship with its owner and family. They can live harmoniously with other animals in the same household, yet there may be problems with new pets that the Czech Wolfdog has yet to meet before.
- Czech Wolfdogs love to hunt, and this hunting instinct needs to be subdued during puppyhood to avoid other issues during adulthood.
- The Czech Wolfdog puppy and adult only do well if constantly socialized. Socialization needs to begin during puppyhood. This breed needs to get used to other people, animals, and different surroundings starting during early puppyhood to avoid aggressive behavior.
- This breed learns fast and is very playful. Training may be difficult, and owners need to motivate the Czech Shepherd. The Czech Shepherd follows trails quickly.
- The Czech Wolfdog is an independent dog breed.
- Barking is not natural for them. The Czech Shepherd uses other communication methods, such as body language, whines, and growls. Training this magnificent hybrid dog breed may take longer, but it’s worth all the effort!
For more on the genetic composition of the Slovakian Wolfdog, please visit:
FAQ’s Czechoslovakian Wolfdog or Slovakian Vlcak
Are Czech Wolfdogs good pets?
The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is a unique hybrid of a wolf and German Shepherd and has been around since the late 1950s. This breed is known for its intelligence and loyalty but does not make for a good family pet for families with children. This is a domineering breed with a very independent personality.
Czech Wolfdogs are not easily trainable; these dogs have high energy levels and require ample exercise and space to explore. So, it’s essential to consider whether or not you can provide consistent stimulation, positive training, and exercise to keep them occupied.
Moreover, they are highly sensitive to changes in their environment and need dedicated owners willing to put in the time and effort to train them properly.
Are wolfdogs smarter than other dogs?
Wolfdogs have outperformed domesticated breeds on some problem-solving and cognitive tests. While these tests have many variables, the intelligence of a wolfdog may be higher than that of a regular domestic dog due to their hybridized nature.
Wolfhound owners should consider this characteristic when deciding whether or not to bring one home, as they need plenty of mental stimulation and exercise to stay engaged and healthy. With dedication and proper training, wolfdogs can make highly intelligent best friends who will be loyal companions.
The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog – Everything You Need to Know
Video credit: AnimalWised
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