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Bohemian Shepherd

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Bohemian Shepherd

The Bohemian Shepherd is a Czechoslovakian dog breed, bred originally to be a sheepdog and to be a guard dog, it is now recognized nationally in the Czech Republic but not by any other major kennel club. It is known by a number of other names such as Chodský pes, Czech Sheepdog, Bohemian Herder, Chodenhund, Bohemian Sheepdog, Czech Sheepdogm and Czec Herder. It is a medium sized dog with a life span of 12 to 15 years, it is active, agile, alert, stable and friendly so makes a great family dog too.

The Bohemian Shepherd at A Glance
Name Bohemian Shepherd
Other names Chodský pes, Czech Sheepdog, Bohemian Herder, Chodenhund, Bohemian Sheepdog, Czech Sheepdogm, Czec Herder
Nicknames None
Origin Czech Republic
Average size Medium
Average weight 35 to 55 pounds
Average height 19 to 22 inches
Life span 12 to 15 years
Coat type Long, thick, and coarse outer coat – short and soft undercoat
Hypoallergenic No
Color Black and Tan
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence High – bright dog
Tolerance to heat Moderate to good – can handle some heat but nothing too hot
Tolerance to cold Very good to excellent – can handle harsh cold climates
Shedding Heavy – a lot of hair will be around the home
Drooling Average – will be some drool but not excessive
Obesity Average – measure food and make sure it gets enough exercise
Grooming/brushing Average – brush a couple of times a week
Barking Low – does not bark often
Exercise needs Fairly high – will need plenty of activity
Trainability Easy to train
Friendliness Good with socialization
Good first dog Very good
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization – may try to herd them
Good with other dogs Good to very good – would love another dog as a companion but socialization and supervision needed with strange dogs
Good with other pets Good - if properly socialized
Good with strangers Good to very good with socialization
Good apartment dog Moderate to good – is better off in a house with a yard
Handles alone time well Low – does not like to be left alone for long periods
Health issues Fairly healthy but some issues include Hip/elbow dysplasia, eye problems, chronic ear infection, bloat
Medical expenses $460 a year for pet insurance and basic health care
Food expenses $145 a year for high quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $240 a year for basic training, license, toys and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $845 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $900
Rescue organizations None breed specific – look to local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported
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The Bohemian Shepherd's Beginnings

The Bohemian Shepherd called by the Czech people Chodsky pes was developed in and around the Chod region in the Kingdom of Bohemia and the local people there called Chodove used it as a versatile working dog. It is believed to date back to the 1300s, but could be even older than that. It has been a guard dog of the Bohemian southwestern borders, a sheepdog and a companion over the years. Around the 1500s breeders began to breed them more professionally making it a lot older than the German Shepherd.

During these early years not much is known about their development as records were not kept by breeders at all. While other shepherd dogs like the German, Dutch and Belgian are more well known than this one, this is the oldest of them all. Up until the world wars the breed was doing okay but the two world wars had an impact on its numbers and the breed was facing difficulty. There then followed a period of time under communist rule where dog breeding was not at all a high priority.

New Lease on Life

In 1984, when the strict communist rule had relaxed, a modern breeding program was started to help revive the breed. It ran up until 2009 and thanks to the breeders working together about 3500 puppies were born and registered. During the time Mr Kurz sent pictures to Mr Findejs of native breeds that needed saving, and Mr Findejs was especially interested in the Bohemian Shepherd. In 1982 an article was written about the breed in a dog journal and owners of the dog responded wanting to revive the breed. A registry was started and the first litter was registered in 1985.

In 1991 the Bohemian Shepherd Lover's Club was started to protect and promote the breed. Over time Czech people became more aware of the breed and wanted to own one and its numbers and popularity improved. The recovery was a slow process but it has become known for being a hard worker and a great family dog. Its numbers are still fairly low but it is established, though it is not known much outside of its home country. The Czech scout badges have the symbol of the dog on them. It is used as a service dog, a therapy dog, a police and military dog and in search and rescue. It also does well in doggy sports like agility and schutzhund. It is not recognized by the AKC or any other large breed registry.

The Dog You See Today

The Bohemian Shepherd is a medium sized dog weighing 35 to 55 pounds and standing 19 to 22 inches tall. It is often confused with a smaller German Shepherd or a cross of one. It is longer than it is tall and is compact, with a mostly straight back. It is sturdily built but looks bigger than it is due to its coat thickness and length. It is lithe and its tail is fairly long and is held with a slight curve to it, or straight out. Most puppies look the same and do not start to look individual until around 6 months when the coat changes color.

That coat is double, the under is soft and short and the outer is coarse, medium to long and thick, developed to deal with harsh weather. On the face, the front of the legs and top of the head the coat is smooth and short. It is longest on the thighs, neck, back and tail. Some have a frill around the face and a lot of hair around the ears. Common colors are black and tan, some white markings can happen. The dog's head is wedge shaped with a flat skull and a muzzle that is almost as long as the skull. Its width is moderate and it tapers to a black nose. The lips are tight fitting and it has powerful jaws. Its eyes are almond shaped, medium sized and brown. The ears are set high, small to medium, pointed and face forward.

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The Inner Bohemian Shepherd

Temperament

The Bohemian Shepherd is best suited to active people who are capable of being good leaders. It is an energetic, hard working dog and it is alert so makes a great watchdog. It will bark to alert you to an intruder and its protective instincts means it will also act to defend you, its home and itself. It is a stable dog that is affectionate with its friends and family and loyal too. With strangers it is more aloof and remains reserved until it knows whether they are a threat or not.

This is an intelligent breed, it is also brave and has a lot of drive and determination. It has a patient side to it which is why it does well working as a service and therapy dog. It is not an aggressive breed and nor should it be especially nervous. It often is a working dog as well as a family companion and likes that role. It can form very close bonds with its family and makes a good dog even for new owners. It does not like to be left alone and can suffer from separation anxiety.

Living with a Bohemian Shepherd

What will training look like?

As intelligent dogs these are very capable at learning a number of things. It is easy to train and can take on a wide range of roles and working duties. It is eager to please and while experienced trainers will of course likely have quicker results, even new owners can successfully train them. There really is no excuse not to have well trained Bohemian Shepherd. Stay positive and motivate it with toys and rewards, treats, encouragement and praise. Be firm, stay confident and be consistent. All dogs need good leadership and to know that you are a strong pack leader. Make sure you start the training early, and that you also include socialization. Introduce it to different places, sounds, people, situations and animals so it learn appropriate responses.

How active is the Bohemian Shepherd ?

The Bohemian Shepherd was developed to work all day and to have endurance and stamina as well as agility. Expect to spend at least 45 to 60 minutes a day giving it the physical exercise it needs as well as the mental stimulation, probably more. It has a lot of energy and if it does not get enough it will become destructive, hyper active, loud and excitable. It should be with owners who are able and enjoy being active, especially if it is not being used as a working dog too. It can adapt to apartment living but is best in a home with a yard. It would be happy to join you for a jog, run or alongside your bicycle and then have activity weekends hiking with you and such.

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Caring for the Bohemian Shepherd

Grooming needs

While this dog does have a long coat its care is not excessive but there is some grooming and maintenance to do. It does shed a fairly heavy amount, and more so during seasonal times so brush two or three times a week normally and then daily when it gets heavier. Expect hair around the home and the need to clean that up daily. It will not need professional grooming and it should be bathed as needed. Do not use anything other than a dog shampoo to make sure you do not damage the natural oils in its skin that it needs.

Its nails should be clipped if they get too long though some times dogs can wear them down naturally if they have a lot of outside activity. Use a proper pair of dog nail clippers and make sure not to cut too far down where the quick of the nail is. Blood vessels and nerves there mean that nicks or cuts will not only actually hurt the dog it will also cause bleeding. Its teeth should be brushed two to three times a week at least. Then check its ears for infection signs like bad odor and irritation and give them a wipe clean using either a damp cloth or dog ear cleanser.

Feeding Time

The Bohemian Shepherd will eat about 2 to 4 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals. The amount can vary depending on its health, build, age, activity level and metabolism. Make sure it has access to water at all times and that it is changed as often as possible.

How is the Bohemian Shepherd with other animals and children?

The Bohemian Shepherd with good socialization and especially when raised with them is very good with children, it is gentle, patient, affectionate and will happily play with them. Being a herding dog though it will sometimes to herd them and that should be trained out of them. Make sure children are taught how to correctly interact and stroke the dogs. Some can get along fine with other pets with socialization but they do have a high prey drive and that can cause some issues in some cases. It gets on well with dogs it knows, and in fact would prefer to have another dog as a companion in the home, but take care when introducing strange dogs.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

The life span of the Bohemian Shepherd is about 12 to 15 years and it is considered to be a healthy breed generally though some issues include hip dysplasia, eye problems, ear infections and bloat.

Biting Statistics

The reports that look at 35 years of dogs attacking people and causing bodily harm in North America do not mention the Bohemian Shepherd, which is not surprising since they are extremely rare outside of their home country. This is not an aggressive breed though so should not be a huge problem, though there are no guarantees and any dog can have an off day. Ways to make sure your dog is as prepared as it can be are to socialize and train it, exercise and give it mental stimulation, feed it well and give it the love and attention it needs.

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Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Bohemian Shepherd puppy will cost you somewhere around $900 but finding a breeder outside of the Czech Republic is tough. Be prepared to have to go on a waiting list, make sure you do some homework to find trustworthy breeders and avoid backyard breeders, puppy mills or pet stores. Should you want something from a top breed of show dogs you are likely going to pay a lot more and wait longer. It is very unlikely you will find even a mixed Bohemian Shepherd in any local shelters. Should you still have a big heart and the realization that there are dogs local to you desperate for a home who will love you and be devoted to you, $50 to $400 are the usual rates for adoption fees.

Once you have a dog you are ready to bring home you need to have some items ready for it. A carrier, crate, collar and leash, bowls and so on for about $200. When you bring it home you should take it as soon as you can to a vet for a physical exam, vaccinations, blood tests, micro chipping, spaying or neutering and deworming. These will cost another $270.

Basic ongoing medical care will cost $460 a year for check ups, shots, flea and tick prevention and pet insurance. Feeding your dog a good quality dry dog food and dog treats will cost another $145 a year. Miscellaneous costs like license, basic training, toys and miscellaneous items cost another $240 a year. This gives an annual starting figure cost of $845.

Names

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The Bohemian Shepherd is a great dog, hard working, devoted, energetic, easy to train and with socialization good with children. It needs active owners, and does best when it has jobs or a role to play as well as being a valued companion. In the Czech Republic it is treasured for its stable, calm temperament and is used in many important roles such as rescue dog, therapy dog and many more. It also excels at canine sporting events.

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