The Slovak Cuvac has a rich history dating back centuries. Its origin traces back to the mountain regions of Slovakia where they were used primarily by shepherds for guarding livestock against predators, especially bears and wolves. The name Čuvač comes from the Slovak word čuvať, meaning to guard. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Cuvac is derived from Arctic wolves, whose pre-Ice Age remains have been preserved throughout Europe's glaciers and mountainous regions. In the mid-20th century, the breed was almost extinct due to the mechanization of the agricultural industry. However, Dr. Antonin Hruza from the Veterinary College in Brno helped to revive the breed in the 1960s. His efforts led to the Slovak Cuvac being officially recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1965.
Slovak Cuvacs are known to be generally healthy dogs, but as a larger breed they are at risk for developing orthopedic problems, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following specific conditions: hyperuricosoria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.
The Slovak Cuvac is known for its brave, protective nature. These dogs are very loyal to their families and tend to be reserved with strangers. They are intelligent, independent thinkers, which stems from their history as guardian dogs making decisions in the field. The breed has a thick double coat that is weather-resistant, making it well-suited for harsh mountain conditions. This makes them less suited to environments with high temperatures.
Despite their working history, they are also known to be affectionate and good with children, making them suitable for families. However, their strong guarding instincts mean they need thorough socialization from a young age to ensure they become well-rounded adults.
Their white coat was not only useful for distinguishing them from predators at night but also to blend in with the flock during the day to trick predators.
A Slovak Cuvac named "Bolf" was owned by the former Czechoslovak president Alexander Dubček, who was known for his liberal reforms during the Prague Spring in 1968.