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Breed -

Around From 
Original Country/Kingdom 

Bohemian shepherd

Herding and Guarding
Bohemia - Now Slovakia/Poland/Ukraine

Breed History

Bohemian shepherd

A  herding dog and guard dog, indigenous to the Chod region (around Domažlice) of southwest Bohemia.  Chronicles written during the reign of Břetislav I indicate that the Chodové were known to be accompanied by an especially faithful dog. During the reign of King Ottokar II of Bohemia (1253-1278), the Kingdom of Bohemia recruited the Chodové from ethnic enclaves within the western Carpathian Mountains region near the borders of today's Slovakia, Poland, and southwestern Ukraine.

These communities were relocated to serve as border patrol along the borders between Bohemia and Bavaria. It is not known if it is the same dog that accompanied the Chodové during relocation or if the breed was developed soon afterwards. However period drawings indicate it was a small, long-haired shepherd dog with prick ears. The breed quickly became indispensable to the Chodové, aiding them in border patrols but also herding and tracking game. By 1325, the King of Bohemia, John of Luxembourg, acknowledged as a condition of their relocation and border protection, the ancestral Chodové were granted significant privileges that differentiated them from other subjects, including the right to own large dogs forbidden to ordinary Bohemian peasantry.

The Bohemian shepherd would continue to be associated with the Chodové even after their agreement with the Kingdom of Bohemia was declared void in 1695. J.A. Gabriel, writing about the Chodové in 1864, described the local people as “Psohlavci” (Czech: Dog-heads) as their pennon featured the silhouette of a Bohemian sheepdog with a longer coat at the neck. Alois Jirásek, writing in his 1884 novel “Psohlavci” concerning the Chodové revolt of 1695, used a Bohemian shepherd as a flag symbol for them. Writer Jindřich Šimon Baar wrote of “Chodští dogs” from the Sumava region in 1923, describing them as "balanced and tenacious dogs used for guarding and protecting and rounding up cattle.

Following the aftermath of World War II, the breed nearly disappeared. A small group of enthusiasts submitted a proposal in 1948 to get the Chod dog recognized by the FCI; however there were some disagreements on a breed standard and efforts were soon put aside.

In 1984, International FCI judge Jan Findejs and cynology expert Dr. Vilém Kurz partnered to reestablish the Bohemian Shepherd. Advertisements were placed in local Czech newspapers searching for Bohemian shepherds with a handful of owners coming forward. Dogs were assessed and compared with preserved documentation, written materials and period drawings. The main goal was to raise healthy dogs with good temperaments. In 1985, the first litter was born to this program. In 2000, the studbook was closed to previously unregistered dogs. There are currently 7300 registered Bohemian Shepherds.

Despite their appearances, there is no evidence to suggest they are related to German Shepherd dogs

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