The Czech Shepherd
When looking for candidates for personal protection training, a history of security work within the breed stands out as a strong indicator. While not all dogs of any particular breed will show all of the attributes the breed is known for, knowing that a dogs ancestors were successfully trained and deployed to do the kind of work you want done is a good place to start.
Among German shepherds, there are five different varieties, all bred for specific traits. Today’s American German Shepherds are frequently descended from show dog lines, and may not have the herding and security instincts as strongly as some of their cousins. They are often bred more for appearance. They make excellent family pets, but often lack the temperament and focus needed for serious security work.
A little smaller than their German cousins, the Czech Shepherd is a strong and intelligent breed. Unlike some shepherds, with bloodlines leaning more toward appearance, shape and coat color, Czechs are still primarily bred as working dogs, making them an ideal candidate for training as protection dogs.
The Czech shepherd was first recognized in Czechoslovakia, (now recognized as two separate countries, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia) Prior to the Communist era ending in 1986 these dogs were commonly found patrolling the Chzech borders as guard dogs.
Unlike many breeds, the Chzech shepherd can be traced back to its origins in a single Army kennel in 1955. Here, the Czech army worked to produce a dog specific to their needs for border patrol, and other security uses. All of today’s Czech shepherds descend from this single bloodline, making the breed very consistent in appearance and temperament.
To start their strain, Czech Army dog breeders selected stock from East Germany. They were looking for very specific characteristics. They wanted calm dogs that wouldn’t balk at stressful situations, with more masculine demeanor, and to make them more intimidating, they selected animals with dark coats.
Today, there is very little difference, genetically, between Czech Shepherds and the most common DDR German Shepherd line. Some basic differences include, a slightly lighter coloration than the dogs originating from the former East Germany, the Czech bloodline is also larger and stronger than the original DDR lines.
Czech shepherds are also on the large size for German Shepherds, ranging up to close to 90 pounds. They are full grown at about 12 months. Since they were bred for working conditions, and not show, appearance is not as important in conforming to the breed.
At Precision K9 the Czech is well regarded for its keen intelligence and ease of training. With border security in their blood, dogs that show the personality traits for security work, often take to it quickly, almost instinctively. Their playful personalities, when not under command, also makes them a great companion animal, ideal for family protection dogs.
Easy to train, many first time trainers even have a lot of success with Czechs. This lends itself to professional training making them a pleasure to work with. When training these dogs their energy needs are important. They require 30 to 60 minutes of active exercise daily, making them ideal for families with large yards, or properties.