“In order to distinguish him from wild animals in the night, he is only bred in white.”
So the saying goes about the Slovensky Cuvac dog. And it describes this breed with accuracy. A docile companion, commanding shepherd, loyal member of the pack, and fierce protector of his flock.
The rough mountain life and interesting history of the Cuvacs gave them a charisma that’s hard to resist. Their cuddly and beautiful appearance also helped in popularizing this breed. However, it has a strong personality that’ll only match a few owners’ temperaments.
If you’re considering getting a Cuvac, then read this article through to the end. It’s the complete guide to the Slovensky Cuvac dog.
Also Read: Large Dog Breeds List A-Z with Pictures
The Origins of the Slovensky Cuvac Dogs
These dogs have a long and colorful history. They’re believed to be descendants of the prehistoric Arctic Wolves. They lived around the Slovak mountains for hundreds of years. Inhabiting the Balkans, Caucasus, Pyrenees, Tatra, and the Alps.
Cuvacs lived with warrior nomadic people around cattle and livestock for hundreds of years. And around the 17th century, these tribes engaged with the lowland people in trade and commerce. That’s when the Slovensky Cuvack started gaining public recognition.
Recognition From International Organizations
Slovensky Cuvacs maintained the purity of their lineage for centuries. This had to do with the geography of the highlands they inhabited, as well as the historic developments that took place in that part of the world.
After World War II, this breed faced a threat for the first time. The herding activities that dominated the area for the longest time suddenly changed. And the farmers were no longer dependent on Cuvacs for shepherding their cattle.
A veterinarian doctor, Antonin Hruza, realized that threat and acted quickly. He established a breeding program, and at the same time, wrote the standards that preserved the main attributes of Slovensky Cuvac dogs.
The Slovensky Cuvac breed gained international recognition in 1969. Currently, it’s also credited in the American Canine Association (ACA), America’s Pet Registry (APR), Continental Kennel Club (CKC), Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), in addition to several other reputed organizations.
Appearance of the Cuvac
The slovensky Cuvacs are large, well-proportioned dogs, that are a tad longer than they’re high. They look amicable and sweet with their snow-white coats and dark brown eyes. This comes in sharp contrast with similar guard dogs who look seriously intimidating, like Beaucerons and Boxers.
The adult male Cuvac stands at 24-27 inches high, with an average weight of 79-97 pounds. Females are a bit smaller, reach a full height of 21-25 inches, and have a healthy weight of 68-82 pounds.
Their heads are among their most prominent features. They have large heads and wide pronounced mouths. Their ears are connected close to the top and hang around the head. As for the tail, it complements that docile-dog look by its hairy, unthreatening, lower placement.
The Slovensky Cuvac dogs’ coats are absolutely majestic. Their undercoats are about half as long as they top coats, which could grow to about 4 inches long. They have way dense parts around their necks and backs, which also contribute to the unique appearance of a Cuvac.
There aren’t that many dogs that share a close physical resemblance with Slovensky Cuvac. With the exception of the Hungarian Kuvasz, which shares a similar origin story as the Cuvac. They also have some commonalities with the Great Pyrenees and Tornjaks.
Understanding the Cuvac’s Temperament
A robust watchdog, with a long historic lineage herding in the mountains, is expected to show some admirable traits.
Alert but Cool
Being a descendent of prehistoric arctic wolves, gave the Slovensky Cuvac more than the beautiful white coat. These dogs are super alert and attentive to the slightest movement that goes on around them. But still, they would keep their cool and think deeply about every step.
The Leader of the pack
They establish themselves as alphas with ease, as they have the perfect combination of strength and intelligence. That definitely served them well in their days of shepherding cattle and sheep.
It’s even part of their name – Cuvac means protector. The Slovensky Cuvac dogs are superb watchdogs with unparalleled loyalty to their owners. They treat all the family members, young and old, as their own tribe. This warmth doesn’t extend fully to strangers though.
Wary of Strangers
They’re wary of those they aren’t familiar with, and in some situations, might show aggressive behavior. They need to be supervised by a dominant owner to keep them from expressing that unease around strangers.
Cuvac are lively dogs that are easily stimulated by the hustle and bustle of a large household. And if they’re kept in a backyard, they might get too excited by the street sounds. The only thing that’ll keep inside the yard is a strong high fence. Otherwise, they’d jump out and see for themselves what’s going on outside!
These dogs are perfect companions and guard dogs. Provided they get the right kind of owner and live with a big family in a spacious place. Farmlife is still among the best ways to keep a Cuvac happy.
Training a Cuvac
A Cuvac wouldn’t give love and respect unless it’s earned. If you want to train a guard dog with a long lineage in herding on mountain slopes, then you’d better be up to the task.
Who Is the Alfa?
The owner or trainer of a Slovensky Cuvac should be able to show firmness and kindness simultaneously. Starting a relationship with the Cuvac in its early years raises the odds that it would grow into an obedient adult. It also helps if the owner has some training experience with similarly large dog breeds.
Training as Watchdogs
These dogs don’t need much training in how to keep their flock and home safe. They’re naturally wary of strangers, and the slightest sounds alert them. They’re courageous enough to jump into action once they detect any threats at all.
Socializing a Cuvac
The required training is often in socializing them. They need to know their exact standing in the family. And essentially to understand that they can’t exhibit their dominant traits around the house. They could easily become aggressive around neighbors, other animals, or even children they aren’t familiar with.
Managing the Cuvac’s Protective Instincts
Muting that aggression is often hard, especially as it contradicts with their natural instincts to protect. However, early training and living around plenty of people often teaches them how to be well behaved in different settings. The dominance and vigilance of their owners also keeps them in line.
The Cuvac’s Activity Level
Slovensky Cuvacs have tremendous energy and drive. Keeping them in an enclosed space like an apartment or small backyard could make them out of sorts. These large dogs have the mountain slopes inside their genetic build, and they’re not likely to change that anytime soon.
If a Cuvac happens to live in the confinements of limited space, then it’ll need daily exercise for hours on end.
While some apartment dogs are content with indoor toys, the Cuvac might find them slightly amusing. These dogs need much more movement than the typical dog would.
Cuvacs also love it when the family is festive. They’ll share the fun by jumping about and running in circles around their human friends. And if the festivities include food, like a backyard BBQ, then they’ll expect a good portion of that too. After all, these dogs see themselves as worthy family members.
Dietary Requirements of a Cuvac
A large muscular dog with a high activity level certainly needs plenty of food. And it needs to be of a good quality as well. So it should give the dog a suitable amount of proteins and nutrients, in addition to the energy Cuvacs need to fuel their active lifestyles.
There are several types of commercially available dog foods that’ll suit the Cuvac dogs’ nutritional requirements. These dogs are generally healthy, so you wouldn’t need to select special foods for them. Just make sure that the food you choose matches their age and developmental stage.
What Should Puppy and Adult Cuvacs Eat?
Slovensky Cuvac puppies grow up quickly, and so they’ll need puppy dog food that caters to that.
Adult dogs are quite active; thus the carbohydrate content of their high energy food could be a bit more than a sedentary dog. And if they start overeating or becoming chubby, you can go back to the high-protein dog food variety.
Should Aging Dogs Get the Same Food?
Aging dogs of almost all breeds lose much of their abilities and start suffering from various health issues. Choosing the right type of dry food for aging dogs alleviates their problems and keeps them in a relatively good state.
Are there Special Foods to Enhance Coat Appearance?
You could also choose dog food rich in vitamins and minerals that enhance the natural richness of the dog’s coat. And if you want to go a step further, you might want to add omega-3 supplements to your dog’s meals. All this should be approved by a vet for optimal results.
What About Dog Treats?
Treats should be fine in fair amounts. They’d undoubtedly come in handy while you’re training the headstrong Cuvac! However, keep the treats consumptions as low as you can. It tends to pile up the pounds around the dog’s belly. Well, balance is always good.
Can You Give Your Cuvac Homemade Food?
Homemade food is also good for the Slovenskys, as long as the vet approves of it. They actually like the variety of flavors and richness of textures that come with a domestic menu. As for the dog’s water, it’s highly important to keep a Cuvac well hydrated at all times.
Grooming the Cuvac
Grooming Cuvacs should cover the following:
- Taking care of its coat
- Weekly bathing
- Trimming its nail
- Removing excess hair
- Checking its ears
- Cleaning its teeth
Here’s what you need to do to keep your Cuvac in good shape.
Slovensky Cuvac dogs have a rich coat that should be well maintained to keep it in good form. With all the activity that these dogs have on a daily basis, they’re bound to pick up some dirt. And being that white, it would certainly show.
You can give your Cuvac a weekly bath with a mild shampoo. Some owners prefer a whitening shampoo to add some luster to that pristine white coat. You could also use the scented types that leave your dog with a fresh smell, or the ones with skin conditioners.
After that, you’d need to comb your dog’s hair. This might take a while, as the Cuvacs’ undercoat is rather wooly and gets easily tangled. A metal comb should help with loosening up the coiled hair.
This is especially important in the springtime when the Cuvacs start shedding. A brush would add the final touches, so your dog would look all princely and well-groomed. And it would also help with disposing of the hair that’s routinely being shed. This also decreases the amount of dog hair on your carpet and upholstery.
Dogs’ nails should be trimmed routinely with good quality nail clippers. Otherwise, they become bothersome as the dog walks on tile or wood. And if left too long, they could curl or catch in carpets, possibly hurting the dog.
Trimming a large dog’s nails might not be the easiest thing, but it’s necessary. The last resort if the dog is too resistive, is taking it to the vet.
As you go through the dog’s nails, look at the hair on its paws and between its footpads. This extra hair also needs cutting or trimming. This fluff often collects dirt and germs, and could easily cause an infection. Thus, it’s best to keep things neat down there.
An essential part of grooming is looking inside the dog’s ears and cleaning them. A weekly check and cleanup should be sufficient. And if you notice anything out of the ordinary, you can contact the vet right away.
The Teeth and Gums
Keeping a dog’s teeth healthy is key to its overall wellbeing. Dental care for canines is quite similar to what humans do. Simply. brush its teeth frequently. And to get good results and full-cooperation from your dog, it’s best to start early with brush training. Teach your puppy early on that this is a normal grooming activity.
Health Concerns and Life Expectancy of Cuvacs
Slovensky Cuvac dogs are normally a strapping, healthy breed. It’s actually a rare occurrence to hear that dogs from that species are suffering from hereditary ailments. But when that happens, it’s often related to their joints.
Few cases of hip and elbow dysplasia were reported. But the rate is much too low to be of concern to owners. This is great news for anyone who keeps a Cuvac of course.
Where Did the Good Genes Come From?
It’s probably due to the fact that this is a naturally strong breed, a wide gene pool constantly strengthened that. It’s admirable that this breed maintained the appearance and general trails of its members, to the point that one can’t mistake a Cuvac for another breed.
It’s a historic situation where there was a large number of these dogs, running about in a limited geographic area. They hardly came into contact with other breeds, and there was a sufficiently large community of them to pass on the strongest genes.
Slovensky Cuvacs often live a long healthy life and stay fully active for around 11-13 years. Good nutrition, living in a caring place, and having a dependable owner, would make them happy years.
Living Arrangements of a Cuvac
The best place to keep a Slovensky Cuvac dog would be similar to where it came from. Freshly crisp air, highlands, pastures, a pack to belong to, and a flock to take care of. That should be the happiest place on earth for a Cuvac.
Farms and Country Houses
The next best thing is a farm or a country house, where there’s a large family and plenty of hustle and bustle.
The open space, natural availability of other animals, and the usually large number of people coming and going, are all big positives for a Cuvac. On top of that, having a territory to protect and watch over gives this faithful dog meaning and purpose.
A Townhouse With a Backyard
Going a step down would be keeping a Cuvac in a townhouse with a backyard. That would be limiting to the vivacious almost-wild dog, but still manageable.
You could add some smart adaptations to your backyard to make it more suitable for a Cuvac.
A necessary installation would be a high fence, that’s hard to climb or push. Cuvacs would be taunted by the street sounds and might very well jump up to investigate these noises. It’s all part of being a diligent watchdog and devoted protector.
As for the Cuvac’s love for activity and being constantly on the move, you can set up a few outdoor toys that’ll keep your dog engaged and stimulated.
Living in an Apartment
Apartment living isn’t the perfect option for Slovensky Cuvac dogs. They’re much too outdoorsy for that. But, you can still get resourceful and make its life in that confined space pleasant.
Take your dog out on daily walks, runs, and hikes. And if you can get a home treadmill for dogs, that should use up your Cuvac’s excess energy.
There’s also the matter of your dog’s social skills. Cuvacs are known to be uneasy around strangers, which is a typical behavior for watchdogs. Also, they are strong-willed and easily exhibit dominance. That’s why they’d require extra socializing if they’re going to live around that many neighbors and frequent crowded streets.
Slovensky Cuvac dogs are an incredible breed that’s beautiful, loyal, and fierce. This unique set of characteristics is hard to find, and so precious to have around you.
Cuvacs aren’t demanding dogs, as they’re generally healthy and low maintenance. They shed profusely in spring, so you’d need to tend to their grooming a bit more at these times. Apart from that, there’s just the regular grooming and nutrition you’d provide for any other breed.
To keep a Cuvac happy, you’d need to give it plenty of free space. They’re not cut out for limitations. It’s a lively dog that needs to be constantly on the move, and to experience life as a guard dog.
Slovensky Cuvacs aren’t for the faint of heart. They’re courageous alphas that wouldn’t just bestow their affections. You’d have to earn their love, loyalty, and respect. And once you do, you’d get a faithful friend for life.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.