The Czech Working Line German Shepherd, is one of the 5 lines of the German Shepherd breed.
We listed and summarised the other lines in our guide on the different German Shepherd types.
Before we jump into this guide on the Czech Working line GSD, let’s get something explained first.
When we describe any line of German Shepherd in a specific guide or across the website, it is a description/profile of the the original dogs in that line.
The reality is that breeding is not as heavily regulated or strict in most parts of the world now, so it’s becoming increasingly possible you can be sold a particular line of GSD with diluted and different characteristics to the original line.
Some programs in modern times are even breeding to produce lines with new or different characteristics.
It’s also very possible to have an Czech Working line GSD from strong working line bloodlines, who doesn’t have a strong drive to work, but thrives around people and is extremely sociable and loveable.
We explained how and why this is possible in our guide on East German working line German Shepherds, but essentially, it comes down to genetics, and what genes your particular dog inherits from the full range of DNA in it’s family tree.
The best chance of having a Czech GSD that closely matches the physical and mental profile of the original Czechs, is to have a very strong bloodline of strictly regulated Czech German Shepherd breeding. Check the ancestry of the dog and history of the breeding program to make sure this is the case.
For the purest Czech GSDs, you usually have to pay extremely good money.
1) Czech German Shepherd Bloodlines
All current lines of German Shepherds were bred from the first officially registered German Shepherd – Horand von Grafrath.
A German man named Max von Stephanitz saw Horand at a dog show and thought he possessed all the desirable features to become the ‘ideal working dog’, and in particular as a herding type breed of dog.
Max purchased this dog who became a sire for the foundation breeding stock..
This dog along with the regional/native shepherd dogs in Germany – the Thuringian, the Wurttemberg sheep dog and the Swabian service dog are where all modern day German Shepherds can trace their DNA back to.
In 1901 the German Shepherd was registered as a breed.
From this original Alsatian DNA, the lines of Alsatians were developed by different breeders in different parts of the world – starting in Germany/Europe, and branching out the US and Canada primarily.
There are two types of lines of GSD (German Shepherd Dog) – working and show lines.
Show lines were mainly bred for their appearance in the US, and had to have appearance plus other traits in Europe such as certified hips and elbows, stable temperament and working ability.
Working lines were bred specifically to have a good working ability in different fields and areas – but were originally bred in Germany to work in army and police reinforcement.
Modern working dogs usually display ability in IPO, agility, tracking, military, police, protection, patrol, rescue, therapy, entertainment and much more!
The 5 types and lines of purebred or full breed German Shepherds are:
- North American and Canadian Show Line German Shepherds
- West German Show Line German Shepherds
- East German/DDR Working Line German Shepherds
- West German Working Line German Shepherds
- Czech Working Line German Shepherds
In the modern day, German Shepherds can be bred across the lines, and even with other breeds.
If you want to be absolutely sure of the lineage of your dog, ask for a family tree or bloodline of your dog which traces the dog’s ancestry and specific bloodlines.
2) Czech German Shepherd History
We now know where the Czech German Shepherd main bloodlines come from.
But, when, where, why and how did the Czech lines come about from the main bloodlines? Who originally bred them, and what happened?
Czech German Shepherds have similar origins to, and are sometimes even referred to as the East German Working Line/DDR German Shepherd.
In fact, they are sometimes referred to as the DDR/Czech German Shepherd. The Czech German Shepherd is not a DDR GSD though.
After WWII, Czechoslovakia shared a border with East Germany.
Like the East Germany German Shepherd, Czech German Shepherds experienced isolated breeding in 1955 restricted to the border stations on the Czech/German border.
The first lot of Czech GSD’s were thought to have been bred from remnants of the East German working line German Shepherd line and local Czech dogs – this could explain why they look similar.
They were owned by the Czechoslovakian Army’s border patrol, or Pohranicni Straze.
Czech German Shepherds were bred to pass health standards and display superior working ability, specifically, patrolling the the Czech border on Germany and Austria, apprehending people and protecting their military owners at all costs.
There was definitely a focus on border patrolling and protection/defence for the Czech GSDs.
You can read more about the history of the Czech German Shepherd bloodline here.
3) Czech German Shepherd Bloodlines Chart
Von Ultimate put together a really cool free bloodline chart which traces the Czech and DDR bloodlines back to their Thuringian type descendants.
You can view he Czech German Shepherd bloodline chart here.
It’s also really interesting to look at Jinopo’s stud dogs page which has a family tree map, pedigree history and the stud’s line in pictures (click on that link under each stud’s description).
4) Czech German Shepherd Temperament
Czech German Shepherds display all the same high energy, drive, endurance, athleticism, and exercise/training requirements of East German Working Line/ DDR German Shepherds.
When thinking about the long, hard days of patrolling work, and intense military protection work they were bred for, these dogs had to have extreme focus, dedication, awareness and an edge or hardness to their temperament to fulfil their working duties.
They had the same ‘hard edge’ working ability the East German GSDs had to have.
5) Czech German Shepherd Physical Appearance and Traits
The Czech German Shepherd’s physical profile is very similar to East German/DDR German Shepherds – they have a strong working structure.
They compare most closely with the East German working line German Shepherds, and most differently to the American Show lines.
Their general and original profile could be described as:
- dark pigmentation/saddle/coat – 60 to 70% black with 30 to 40% tan/red
- a large blocky head, and thicker paws
- thick chests
- hard edge working temperament, very athletic, intelligent and great stamina
- thick bone structure – more muscle and less fat than show lines
- straighter backs like the East German working lines (compared to show lines and American lines)
- More geared towards agility and protection for patrolling than East German lines
East German/DDR and Czech German Shepherd original breeding programs were known for their extremely strict discipline on health standards. Both Czech Alsatian parents had to have their hips certified (to clear them of hip dysplasia) before they were allowed to breed, had to be of a sound temperament, and had to possess great working ability.
In regards to our comment about the Czechs having straigher backs, please read our East German Working line GSD article where we explain this comment.
In addition to that, here are some articles that support the evolution of the German Shepherd back angling and the top line of the breed in general changing with deregulation of breeding into modern times:
6) Czech German Shepherd Colors
Czech German Shepherds are known for their dark pigmentation.
Compared to the show lines which might mostly be the bi-colors of black and tan or black and red, Czech German Shepherds are usually sable/agouti – which looks like small patches of tan, cream or red usually around the feet/legs, with black or banded tips over most of the body (giving a mostly dark appearance).
Some Czechs can be solid black an other color variations too.
7) Difference Between Czech Bred German Shepherds and East German Bred/DDR German Shepherds
As we mentioned above, the Czech German Shepherd and East German/DDR German Shepherd are different lines of the German Shepherd breed of dog.
They are very similar in a few aspects and factors though.
A few main differences between the two are:
- East German Working Line/DDR GSDs have breeding origins in East Germany, whereas Czech GSDs were originally bred on the Czech/German border (although the original dogs used to breed the Czech were thought to be a mix of East/DDR stock and Czech working dogs)
- East German DDR Alsatians are generally slightly darker than Czech Alsatians in the coat color, and their black colors are generally more solid compared to the Czech GSDs
- Czech Alsatians have a slightly bigger and thicker body build, and are slightly heavier than East DDR Alsatians (although this might not be the case depending on the breeder in modern times)
- Czechs were originally bred for a slightly different purpose to East/DDRs – more for patrolling the borders whereas East/DDRs were bred specifically for the time period in which East Germany had a military and they were almost neglected as a bloodline after the East/West German border fell
8) How Might A Good Breeder Breed Their Czech German Shepherds In Modern Times?
A good breeder will be experienced and might look to have the following features in their Czech German Shepherds:
- Versatile dog that can be utilised in a range of environments and situations
- Dark pigmentation
- Strong bones
- Solid Nerves
- Strong hunt, prey and defence drives
- Have puppies, and also more mature dogs available at different stages of age and training to choose from
- Have family dogs available, but also dogs available for specialised fields like protection, law enforcement, sport and dog competitions
9) Where To Buy or Adopt Czech German Shepherds
The most common way people buy a Czech German Shepherd is by contacting a specialised breeder either in the US, or more commonly in Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic – or places where there are experienced breeders with a history of breeding healthy and quality dogs.
We do not recommend specific breeders (you should always do your own due diligence), but two examples of breeders with in our opinion high quality breeding programs for Czechs (and other types of GSDs) are:
However, it is very possible to find an East German working line in a shelter or rescue centre – people may get them as puppies, and then abandon them when they start growing. This is sad but a reality.
You might make adopting a Czech GSD your first priority.
Here are some very helpful guides on considerations for breeders and rescues/shelters, and where to find good breeders and shelters/rescues:
- Things To Consider When Adopting or Rescuing A German Shepherd
- What To Look For When Buying A German Shepherd Puppy: Ethical Step By Step Guide
- Where To Find A German Shepherd Rescue or Shelter Near You
- Where To Find The Best German Shepherd Breeders Near You
10) How Much Do Czech German Shepherds Cost?
People can pay a lot of money for the Czech working line German Shepherds.
If the bloodline and characteristics of the dog are well maintained, and breeding has been well regulated, you can pay thousands of dollars for a puppy.
Some of the titled and trained dogs that have been already been trained you might pay tens of thousands of dollars for.
Many people will try to source a breeder in Germany, the Czech Republic or Slovakia where there are some very experienced breeding programs, and ship them over to their country of residence. Please be aware of the risks of animal and pet plane shipping if this is your intention.
There are Czech breeders in the US and places like Australia too.
As a comparison, for a standard black and tan show line type GSD, you might pay:
On average, you might pay anywhere from $500 to $1500 for a pet, or family dog type German Shepherd from a breeder.
For German Shepherds with pedigrees, papers, working titles, specific lines, and puppies who have a proven regulated breeding history – you can pay thousands of dollars.
Don’t get ripped off or buy from shady or unethical breeders – read this guide carefully.
When adopting a German Shepherd, you might pay anywhere from $50 to $500 – which covers adoption fees.
11) Importing A Czech German Shepherd – Checklist of Things To Consider
We wrote a guide about importing German Shepherds and dogs to your country from overseas.
We wrote about:
- International vs. Domestic Shipping
- Risks of shipping
- How to minimise the risk of shipping
- How to find a good breeder to import from
- What details to look for on a shipping page
- A checklist of things to consider about the shipping of your dog
12) Pictures and Images of Czech German Shepherd Dogs and Puppies
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