Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets?

Posted by: cassadee7

Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/11/11 11:36 PM

I admit I am not very up on GSD genetics, but have read some on here about Czech lines. But I sort of get the impression that a Czech dog is often a "lot of dog" for the average owner, and that it is even more important that these dogs have jobs and are managed correctly. Less forgiving, perhaps, of owner mistakes. Am I wrong here?

I ask because I got into a discussion about a particular dog today. This is a male Czech dog about a year maybe 18 months old who people got as a pet from a "DDR/Czech" breeder. they didn't want him for sports or activities; they wanted a pretty black sable. So they got this dog, I don't know much about his socialization or training, but he is a handful, has attacked and bitten other dogs, actually went after a toddler trying to bite her at one point, and must be muzzled to go out anywhere. He is very obviously fearful; when I saw him in a park setting he was cowering in his muzzle and prong behind his owner, ears down, loooking around very nervously. I hear they want to rehome him. I know this kind of thing can happen with ANY GSD (or dog for that matter) but the discussion was, that Czech lines are really not suited to be JUST pets. (Maybe some would argue no GSDSs are, really... but are Czech dogs being placed in pet-only homes a disaster waiting to happen? would you recommend a Czech dog to a family like this?
Posted by: elisabeth

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 01:42 AM

I will only speak of the dog that I have lived with.. Zefra is 5 months old (almost) and is A LOT of dog already.

She is extremely high drive/high energy, low-medium thresholds, will go a zillion miles per hour until she is told to stop (crated) and is super mouthy.

With that said - she has superb nerves, an awesome outgoing personality and a temperament to die for.

She is very intense though, always living life to the fullest and funnest.

She can also be very serious, when she wants something, she will let you know and becomes very determined to get her own way if she thinks you are being unfair... lol.

Not sure if that is the line she is from or just her.

I will say that I have a fondness for the Czech lines as they just seem more "real" than the other dogs I have met. They seem hardier in personality/temperament and seem to have more of an attitude... lol..

Zefra is being worked in a few different venues; schutzhund, agility and soon fly ball with herding in the cards later on as well.

I KNOW she would not do well in a pet only home, she needs the outlet. She needs something to keep her busy in both mind and body. I can easily see her go nuts if she just sat around and went for a walk or two once per day with no real mental stimulation or challenge.

BUT.. lol... she does live with me, my sister and the cats and of course Stark in a high rise apartment in the middle of the city and regularly interacts with kids, elderly and other dogs. She is great with all of them.
Posted by: Grakira

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 07:49 AM

I think it totally depends.

I have two dogs that are primarily Czech/DDR. In fact, they are related by 8 dogs in the last 5 generations.

Kira is a high drive, high energy female. I always laughed when people mentioned they had a dog that wouldn't sleep unless crated...then I got Kira! Her work ethic is amazing, she is great (although reserved) in all situations. She is insanely happy dog. There is nothing I can do that really tires her out.

Then, there is Vigo. When working with the breeder (same as Kira's), I told her I wanted a laid back pup. I got one! He is the perfect house dog and a bum. We often laugh about how lazy he is. If he doesn't get a nap during the day, he is too lazy to train in the evenings. Truly the only time he even remotely acts like Kira is when he just gets up and has to poop! Seriously! :P He's a dark sable...which was an added bonus in my book. He is not as stable in temperament as her, probably my fault as I got very sick right after I got him and socialization wasn't enough.

My other dog, who is Czech and W.German working lines, falls right in the middle of Kira and Vigo...except Grace is the sweetest, most lovey dog ever smile
Posted by: GSDElsa

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 08:45 AM

Originally Posted By: cassadee7
This is a male Czech dog about a year maybe 18 months old who people got as a pet from a "DDR/Czech" breeder. they didn't want him for sports or activities; they wanted a pretty black sable.


I think what you said says it all. Pretty black sable. And let me guess, that's what the breeder markets to as well??

I personally think that it might be *slightly* easier to get a dog that shouldn't be in a pet home with DDR and Czech. Think about it--these dogs were not even AVAILABLE out side the East Bloc until after the wall fell. Then suddenly they were...and no one had one lick of experience with the bloodlines AT ALL. And these were not dogs being bred for stability around kids...they were being bred, well, the be border patrol dogs. I doubt there was a single one going home to sleep with their handler's kids in bed that night. They were being thrown together like a new fad. Lot's of bad breeding happened and I think lots of bad dogs were born.

As the years went on, there were a lot of people who learned the lines and started breeding them well. Then the actually breeders involved with the Pohranicni Straze kennel branched out and started their own kennels. But, those people breeding for the "pure Czech black sable still existed" and the bad breeding kept happening.
Posted by: Schnickle Fritz

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 10:18 AM

my question would be what kind of training has this teenager dog had?18 months is a difficult time even for the most well behaved working line gsd. although it could be "breeding", if this dog has had no training or socialization THAT would explain alot of this behaviour. if they rehome, i hope they talk to the breeder first. perhaps "they" can help. i think that most working line GSDs are not for folks that have not had them before and expect them to be "carpets"....

to answer your question ... i think you are right. for the most part i think they are too much dog for someone who wants a pet and who has only had "pets".
Posted by: Kayos

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 10:45 AM

I have no experience with this line at all and I must say I do no even feel like I have the experience for one sometimes.

I think Oksana's Anton is DDR/Czech and he is a super dog but she is also very experienced.
Posted by: cassadee7

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 12:34 PM

Oh is Anton part Czech? I will have to ask Oksana. He is very well behaved and biddable. I am sure the way a dog is raised has a lot to do with it. I always think 'high strung/high energy' when I hear Czech.
Posted by: elisabeth

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 01:10 PM

Shawn, Zefra is at 5 months old high drive/high energy BUT she is extremely biddable. She also has AMAZING focus and easily engages with her handler or whatever I throw at her (toys/food/play/praise). She was like this from day one. No matter what is going on around her, if you call her to you she will BEG for commands and is always trying to get us to engage with her. Not sure if that is the Czech aspect of her pedigree or just a really good dog. wink All of her siblings seem to possess it, Zefra more so than the others though.
Posted by: GSDElsa

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 01:20 PM

Originally Posted By: cassadee7
I always think 'high strung/high energy' when I hear Czech.


Actually, I think WGWL's are probably more known for this because a those lines have been more heavily focused on sport.......def not all, but more of a "reputation" than Czech.
Posted by: elisabeth

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 03:14 PM

I agree with Justine, I tend to think WGWL are more "high strung" than the Czech lines.. although, little Zeffie is proving my theory wrong... especially today... LMAO.
Posted by: Kamahi

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 03:36 PM

Jaeger was my only experience with a Czech dog, so I will give my opinion on what his temperament was like..

I think at least one of Jaeger's parents was 100% Czech, and the other was 50/50 DDR (Or West German working? Not sure. There's a possibility he was 100% Czech, but I'm not exactly certain)/Czech. I had him until he was almost 9 months old, and he was a LOT of dog. I was doing Schutzhund and plenty of obedience training with him though, planning on dock diving when the weather had gotten nicer, agility, and possibly herding as well. He definitely needed a job and plenty of exercise. (Though he always had a good off switch when he was in the house)

He got along great with strangers that I told him were ok (otherwise he would bark; this didn't start until he hit 8 months), their kids, and he basically ignored other dogs (as he got older). He was more of a people-oriented dog; he wanted nothing to do with dogs outside the family, and even then as he got older he preferred people (mainly me; he was definitely a one-person dog) over dogs. However, having said that, I worked on his training and socializing constantly. I could take him to crowded events and different places with people and dogs and he would be excellent.

He was also a very dominant dog, even at the young age of 8-9 months old. (This could have easily turned into a bad situation had I not understood pack behavior. For the average pet owner, say they had another dominant dog in the household or tried to bring another dominant dog into the household; it might have caused problems ending badly for all the dogs, and even the people, involved) The pack definitely respected him as "top dog." Even Kamahi. (This may also be because I chose the most dominant/confident puppy in the litter) He was always very serious, and acted more like a dog than a puppy when he was only 8 months old.

He used to bark at dogs when he was younger, which probably would have led to him becoming dog aggressive/reactive if I hadn't nipped it in the bud from the start. (distracted him with high-value treats whenever we would see a dog) Only when he hit 8 months old did he start acting more mature and he was much easier to take places.

So do I think Jaeger would have been a good dog for the "average pet owner"? No. He was a high energy/high prey drive dog, and he was also a very dominant dog that would constantly push his boundaries; if I had let him get away with it he would have ruled the house. (If it weren't for religiously practicing NILIF with him I think he would have thought he was "top dog" over the people too) He wouldn't have been the type of dog you could take on a short walk and then release into the dog park - just an example.


Oh, and I do want to add... Jaeger was not a bad dog at all - he was perfect for ME! Just not the average pet owner wink (I love working with a challenging dog, just like I own and ride a horse a trainer called "the most dangerous horse he's ever worked with" after she charged and reared at him in a round pen, and I'm the only person who can ride her)

Just like Elizabeth's Zefra (why I like Zefra so much wub wink ), he was very biddable, he was always very focused on me, even in heavily distracted areas, and he engaged with his handler (me) easily. Even when he rough-housed with the other dogs outside I could call him off chasing them and he would immediately stop what he was doing and come straight to me without looking back. He too had very solid nerves, an outgoing personality (when he was younger, around 2 months to 8 months, then he seemed to get more aloof), and to his family (and kids he met) he had such a sweet and loving personality. He had crazy prey drive, amazing ball drive, and a willingness to work/please that I hadn't seen in a dog before. wub

I miss him so much..:( Off to cry now.... teary
Posted by: cassadee7

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 03:49 PM

Sacha that is a very interesting story about Jaegar. And Liz... both of you guys, can you imagine if Zefra or Jaegar was put in a home with people who did NO sports and were inexperienced with GSDs?? Sacha you already ansswered this but Liz I am curious what you think Zefra would be like at a year if she was in a home where they just treated her like a pet, without all the work and training and effort you are putting into her?

Heck, I think if Saber was in a strictly "pet"/nonsport/nontraining home she would end up getting rehomed! She is awesome for me but she has so much energy, she is one who would only take one 15 minute nap a day if I didn't crate her. She will go from 6am to 11pm, including an hour dock diving, two 30 minute walks, an hour of OB, 3 or 4 20 minute fetch/play sessions in the yard, an hour to two hours at the dog park playing with other dogs and running... yet, she is always ready for more and never seems to get tired. She is very submissive though.
Posted by: Jasper&Loki

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 04:11 PM

I have a West German Showline and a Czech (working lines).

First, I am glad I started off with the WG SL, it gave me a taste of a GSD, with a nice on/off switch. His temperament is solid, however his nerves/temp aren't as solid as my Czech's.

I am no expert in bloodlines, training, etc, however I feel as if my Czech is more trust worthy about what he is thinking/feeling (in a situation), I guess you see is what you get, is what I mean.

I think Loki (Czech) is MORE forgiving to my mistakes. He is very hard, however if I don't make a big deal out of something, neither will he. I don't fear him around kids, strangers (biting or acting aggressive). However if he senses something, he will for sure let it be known. I lived in downtown setting, lots of drug dealers, shady people, he kept everything away (he has such a great sense, suspicious, aloof, usually it was how the people acted as to how he would determine a threat. He never took his sight off of anything.

I can put him on his back, grab his neck, twist him like a pretzel, and he won't react. I can do this with any of my dogs, IMO, it's just the way I raised them as puppies, not so much the bloodlines.

I socialized both dogs the same, sat at Target, in front of stores with cars, kids, men, etc. Socialized the most with children and men, no problems with either dog.

I think if you are dog savvy, patient, committed to training, and doing whats right for a dog, then you can be ok. I think any GSD requires this. I just think that if you know what your brining home, and it requires abit more, it's your responsibility to not let it fail.

Also, just watching the difference in play between my two boys, a worlds of difference. Loki plays to destroy his opponent, or whatever the target (very rough player). Jasper not so aggressive.

Jasper has a high/higher prey drive, Loki has a very high defense drive.

The other day 3 Coyotes started to approach at a distance. Neither backed down (I leashed them when I saw them). None of the Coyotes came forward to try and bait the dogs, however Loki wanted to rip them apart (just from what I observed). I feel very safe with both boys, even safer with Loki. I know it will always be my job to protect them smile (I carry a gun just in case, too much wildlife to let them get hurt).

The tv show K-9 Cops (was on for a season), they use the Czech bloodlines, they have the best K9 program in nation (from what I have read).

Note: I am not saying Czech is any better/worse then any other bloodlines :), I just prefer them.

I also raised him with tennis/chuck it balls, he has a tremendous ball drive, he would die for his balls. This helps out so much (a job, when we can't work).

I will be honest and say that Loki would be like Jack Nicholson in the Shining if he could get outlet grin
Posted by: GSDElsa

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 04:50 PM

Originally Posted By: cassadee7
can you imagine if Zefra or Jaegar was put in a home with people who did NO sports and were inexperienced with GSDs??

That is a little apples to oranges, though. Elizabeth WANTED a SchH prospect...she wasn't looking for a pet. I think there are puppies in litters in any lines that can get people into trouble (or at least a good litter). Zefra never should have gone into a pet home, but maybe one of her sisters is perfect for that.
Posted by: elisabeth

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 05:40 PM

Justine is right (how many times have I said that today? Don't get use to it Justine! wink Just kidding!).

Zefra was never even a contender for a pet home. There were three females who were all front runners for working homes out of a litter of seven.

Four of her siblings went to active pet homes, who had GSD experience I believe or at least most of them did.

The other three pups were held back until about 12.5-13 weeks old because my breeder wanted more time to assess the litter and really see what these pups were about. At about 12.5 weeks, it was clear-clear that Zefra was coming here with me to be worked in schH and a few other areas. I was an active working home (multiple venues but main focus was SchH), had GSD experience and WANTED the high drive, high energy, intense working girl. Zefra was never a "laid back" dog/puppy, from the moment she was born she was a little crazy (in a good way..lol).

The other female is still with my breeder but I believe is being put up for sale because although she has great nerve, an amazing temperament she is a bit softer and lower in drive than Zefra. She would make a great pet dog to a person or family wanting to do sports for fun or a very active lifestyle (that includes the dog of course).

Zefra would not do well in a 'train once a week, go for a spin around the block or play ball in the back yard once per day' home. She needs mental and physical stimulation to tire her out. I can imagine she would become destructive if left to her own devices and not properly exercised (mentally and physically). She is also VERY rough, not just in a rough puppy play kind of way, she is just a rough girl. I allow her to play with older dogs (who are good with pups and careful of their own weight) because she overwhelms most pups her age.

For an example, my friend who has a half sibling to Lies's Pan has a 15 week old, primarily WGWL pup. It's a male and probably medium to high drive, well Zefra and this pup can NOT play together because she overwhelms him. She is too rough with him, just "too much" for the poor boy. When you put Zefra and this pup out on the field next to one another in terms of drive her pup looks mellow (which he is not). Same with energy level, Zefra is always "on" and "ready" to work, she does settle in the house well but is always "ready". Like right now she and Stark are laying at my feet but if I get up or move, she is JUMPING up and grabbing a ball and shoving it at me or offering behaviours to get a reward. She has this natural focused heel and will follow me from room to room giving me a nice fuss.. lol. As you can imagine, she is my dream dog.. LMAO.

If Zefra was left in a pet home, and not properly worked (mentally and physically) I can see her becoming aggressive due to frustration. This type of life was never an option for Zefra (thank goodness for responsible breeders!) so it really is like comparing oranges to apples.

My friends pup would do really well in a pet home, or active home and I don't think would have any problems in that role or in that type of lifestyle. Zefra.. no way.

Is one dog better than the other? No. I guess it has to do with what YOU want and can live with.

I like my dogs with a little edge and who are intense and a little more "real". I wanted the high drive dog, with sound nerve and a perfect temperament and who had low-medium thresholds AND high energy. I got everything I wanted. Most people look at Zefra and think she is an unruly mess of a puppy... but then they go home and throw the ball in the back yard for their Golden Retrievers and I bring my wild, crazy, intense mess to the field and she shines. smile
Posted by: BlackGSD

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 07:50 PM

Kathy and Shawn, Anton is all DDR. Siren is DDR and Czech.
Posted by: cassadee7

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 09/12/11 09:18 PM

Originally Posted By: BlackGSD
Kathy and Shawn, Anton is all DDR. Siren is DDR and Czech.


Ah okay! How do you think Siren's Czech genes affect her behavior/temperament?

Interesting what you guys are saying. It sounds like perhaps these folks (the original ones I mentioned) either did not socialize or train their dog enough, or perhaps they just got to pick their pup based on color or some other criteria without really knowing what they were getting (mismatch).
Posted by: Cliff

Re: Are Czech dogs more likely to have issues as pets? - 11/18/11 04:20 PM

You can never make a general judgement on a line or type of GS unless you have seen many many of them and start to see a pattern of like behavoir. JMO