If you’re a fan of shepherds, then you’ve probably already heard enough about the most common breeds. East German Shepherds, working lines, West German Shepherds, show lines . . . even American-bred variations have become tremendously popular in recent years.
One of the lesser-known breeds is the Czech German Shepherd. These dogs have an interesting history and their own unique traits, though many people consider them an offshoot—or even the same as—the East German breed.
In this article, we’ll describe their history, what makes them different, and explain whether or not they’ll be good for you depending on what you’re looking for in a dog.
Czech German Shepherd History
The Czech working line breed reaches as far back as communist Czechoslovakia, circa 1899. Much like they played an important part in working for the government 50 years later in Germany, these dogs were employed by the border control agency of the Czech Army.
The dog wasn’t really professionally bred until 1955, but even then, the Czech Army was still responsible for overseeing the breeding of the dog. They were primarily bred from the bloodlines of the East German dogs which were well-known as great work dogs that were fantastic for keeping troublesome people away.
Czech German Shepherds are extremely similar to East German Shepherds, considering they are bred from the same bloodlines and were originally bred to perform similar tasks. Furthermore, Czechoslovakia and East Germany were both a part of the Soviet Bloc.
There are a number of qualities that Czech shepherds display:
- They generally have similar faces compared to regular German Shepherds, with strong jaws, pointy ears, and dense heads.
- They grow as puppies until they’re about a year old.
- They have a heavy and dense look that makes them seem strong, like a bundle of muscle.
- Their jaws are exceptionally strong as they would use these to catch illegals when they were first being bread.
- They tend to have sable coats, which means that they can have varied fur. They may have little patches of beige or red near the feet. Their legs might be black, and they may have banded tips across the body. Sometimes they can appear all-black.
Czech Shepherd Temperament
Any kind of German Shepherd can be revered for its desirable temperament, and Czechoslovakian Shepherds are no different. They are highly smart, they have a lot of energy, they are loyal and they are generally eager to do a lot of different jobs.
While they may have originally been bred to be tough dogs made to catch criminals, nowadays they are bred to be much more approachable. These dogs make fantastic family animals and can be good with kids.
For the most part, they are calm and fun to be around. However, because they have so much energy, it’s important to make sure that you get them enough exercise otherwise they can become rowdy and disruptive.
Training and Schutzhund
Like other types, training this breed is relatively easy due to the dog's high intelligence and their impressive capacity for learning. They are generally eager to learn more things and revel in being able to perform well for their masters.
One of the best ways to train a working dog is through positive reinforcement. This is generally the case with any dog, any animal, or even any child. Rewarding good behavior with treats or affection is the best way to encourage more of the same behavior.
These dogs can be trained intensively through the program known as Schutzhund. Since the Czech breed is most similar to the Eastern German breed, who do fantastically at Schutzhund, there’s no reason that you couldn’t get your dog trained the same way.
Are They Just Rebranded East German Shepherds?
There are certainly a lot of similarities between these two breeds of dogs, but they are just that: two different breeds of dogs. There are a number of differences between them, some of the most apparent being:
- Czech shepherds are generally a bit lighter in color than their East German counterparts.
- Czech shepherds are usually a bit heavier, they’re a bit bigger, and they’re more muscular.
- Czech shepherds originated closer to the German/Czech border, whereas the East shepherd actually originated in East Germany and Russia.
Aside from that, the dogs are quite similar. They have similar temperaments, they look pretty similar, and they are just as loyal and intelligent and fierce.
If you’re thinking about getting a dog to help protect you and your family, or simply to be a companionable pet, a Czech German Shepherd is a great choice.
- R. Caniglia, E. Fabbri a.o., Wolf outside, dog inside? The genomic make-up of the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, BMC Genomics, 2018.
- V. Maglieri, E. Prato-Previde, Wolf-like or dog-like? A comparison of gazing behaviour across three dog breeds tested in their familiar environments, Royal Society Open Science, 2019.
© 2019 Sam Shepards
Antonio on August 07, 2020:
The Pohranicni Straze dogs(CZ Border Patrol) stem from 7 East German studs. Today those lines have been washed out. Most breed to the standard of the old CZ type but most have followed the trend and breed for sport.
Sam Shepards (author) from Europe on August 05, 2019:
Yes, there are some German Shepherd breed types or bloodlines that are considered different enough. West, East, Czech and American-bred variations of the German Shepherd. Often Czech and East German Shepherd are considered very similar. The Czech German Shepherd could be considered a subtype of the East German Shepherd. A new breed type is often defined by a couple of bloodlines that are specific to the variation which result in a somewhat different build, color and temperament. Of course, you get overlap between the breed and outliers in each breed.
Liz Westwood from UK on August 04, 2019:
I had not heard of this breed before, but it makes sense that different areas have slightly different breeds. The formation of Czechoslovakia, its history through World War II and then the communist era up until the formation of the Czech Republic is an interesting period of history.