The Slovak Cuvac is a Slovak breed of dog, bred for use as a livestock guard dog. This mountain dog—also known as Slovensky Cuvac, Slovak Chuvach, Tatransky Cuvac and Slovensky Kuvac—is closely related to the Hungarian Kuvasz. The alternate German and English spelling Tchouvatch reflects the pronunciation: chew-votch. The breed is recognised under sponsorship from Slovakia by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale with the name Slovenský čuvač. Despite the multiple renderings in English, these refer to only one breed. The United Kennel Club in the US uses the English version of the name Slovak Cuvac.
History Slovak sheep farming has a very old tradition. The Slovak Cuvac, together with mountain sheep, the Hucul horse, and typical inhabitants of the mountains, formed the fundamental economic preconditions for the utilization of pastures for cattle. The inhabitants of the Slovak mountains were mostly free people who defended the frontiers and paid duties in sheep's cheese. The institution of these people was called "Valassky Opasok" and its center, until the abolition of serfdom, was Košice. The members of this shepherd military system did their service on mountain meadows with their companions - the hearty white dog called the Slovak Cuvac. A good watchdog, guard, shepherd and companion, the dog proved itself also in watching cattle, turkeys, and other domestic animals - as well as its master's household. Holiday makers and visitors to the mountains and spas took to this breed and began to carry it to the lowlands.The Slovensky Cuvac is used on sheep farms and mountain ridges as well as homes and frontiers. He is boundlessly loyal and stout hearted. He resists every enemy - bears and wolves included. According to the time honored shepherd's tradition, he is always bred in white to be discernible from the beasts of the night. This breed has been well documented as far back as the 17th century. However, as wolves slowly began to disappear from European mountains and modern herding practices were instituted, the Cuvac was faced with the prospect of being seen as a relic of the past. What few specimens were left in the 1950s were bred carelessly. Credit for reviving the breed and fixing characteristics is due Dr. Antonin Hruza, in cooperation with the veterinary school of Brno. The registered breeding of the Slovensky Cuvac was established in Czechoslovakia by Professor Antonin Hruza from the Veterinary Faculty in Brno on June 4, 1929. The Club of the Breeders of Slovak Cuvac was established in 1933 and a written standard was established and approved in 1964 Dr. V. Kurz). The basic breeding material came from the vicinity of Liptovska Luzna, Kokava and Vychodna as well as from Rachov in the Carpathians.
Description The body of Slovak Cuvac is slightly longer than higher. Strong and straight ridge goes - way to lower back - a little bit sloped. Strong square butt is slightly sloped, too. Low-placed tail is worn hanging, reaching hock joints. Chest reaching to elbow joint and chest's width can compared to circa one quarter of scapula's height. Ribs are good rounded and achieving long back. Belly and flanks are slightly pulled. Long scapulas are slant laid. Slovak cuvac has straight legs placed vertically to body and good angled. Front paws are compact, rounded, good closed, back paws are a little bit longer. Neck is as long as head. Wide and elongate skull is a little bit arched, but top of the head is flat. With side view are straight line of top of the head and straight line of nose's ridge parallel. Stop is well apparent. Supraorbital arcs are marked, frontal groove is flat. Wide and heavy mouth is slightly narrowed to top of the nose and is a little bit shorter than skull. Lips fit tightly. Ears are high placed, reclined and fitted tightly to head. Ear points are rounded. Eyes are oval shaped with caps fitting closely, straight placed at the head. Cuvac has scissors occlusion. Fur is dense and rich, centre parting at the ridge is not allowed. Covering hair, which is constituted by hair with 5-15 cm length, completely covering shorter, dense and soft undercoat. Male dogs have collar around the neck. Fur is pure white. Yellowish tinge by ears is permissible, but not desirable. Eyes are brown. Muzzle, lips edges and eyelids, alike paw pads, are black.
Appearance The breed is an animal of imposing stature. It has a large head, half of which is taken up by the nasal canal. It has strong jaws, with a scissors bite. The oval-shaped eyes are dark and lively. The ears are long and hanging while carried on the sides of the head. The tail is thickly furred, and it hangs down when the dog is at rest. The coat is completely white, and the hair can be as much as 4 inches (10 cm) long.
Height and weight The height for males can be as much as 28 inches (70 cm), while females at the most are 26 inches (65 cm) in height. The weight for males ranges 77 to 99 pounds and the weight for females is 66 to 88 pounds.
Temperament The dog is known for its hardy constitution, sturdy frame and shaggy white coat. Its frame is massive, and his temperament is naturally lively, watchful, undaunted and alert. These dogs thrive best in an environment of a large family, children and livestock to care for. Farms and ranches make the best homes. These dogs are natural guard dogs. They are gentle and loyal with their family and possessions.
Care Regular grooming keeps the white coat clean and attractive, and furniture free of white "mohair". The annual shed of dense underwool requires vigorous brushing and bathing sessions in the Spring.