Slovak Cuvac vs Bisben - Breed Comparison | MyDogBreeds

Slovak Cuvac is originated from Slovakia but Bisben is originated from India. Slovak Cuvac may grow 6 cm / 2 inches shorter than Bisben. Slovak Cuvac may weigh 11 kg / 24 pounds lesser than Bisben. Both Slovak Cuvac and Bisben has almost same life span. Both Slovak Cuvac and Bisben has almost same litter size. Slovak Cuvac requires Moderate maintenance. But Bisben requires Low maintenance

Basic Information

Working dog
Working dog
Height Male:
59 - 70 cm
23 - 28 inches
50 - 76 cm
19 - 30 inches
Height Female:
59 - 70 cm
23 - 28 inches
48 - 74 cm
18 - 30 inches
Weight Male:
31 - 44 kg
68 - 98 pounds
18 - 55 kg
39 - 122 pounds
Weight Female:
31 - 44 kg
68 - 98 pounds
16 - 52 kg
35 - 115 pounds
Life Span:
11 - 14 Years
12 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
6 - 8
4 - 10
Large dog
Giant dog
Other Names:
Slovak Chuvach, Tatransky Cuvac
Bisben Sheepdog, Bisben Shepherd, Himalayan Bisben, Himalayan Bisben Sheepdog, Himalayan Bisben Shepherd, Himalayan Sheepdog, Himalayan Shepherd, Indian Sheepdog, and Indian Shepherd
Colors Available:
jet black, either solidly or with white markings on the feet and chest. Other commonly seen colors are tan, tricolor, and “wolf-color,” which probably means grey, brown, black, and/or various shades of sable.
Thick, medium length, wavy
long, wiry, coarse, harsh
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Docile, Energetic, Friendly, Gentle, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Quiet, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Aggressive, Courageous, Energetic, Independent, Intelligent, Stubborn
Moderate maintenance
Low maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:


slovak cuvacLooking quite a bit like the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, the Slovak Cuvac is a large dog that has served as a guard dog. The Slovensky Cuvac is still used on sheep farms as he isn’t afraid of wolves and bears and will take them on if needs be.

Records of this dog have been kept since the 17th century already, and when the breed started dying out, a certain Dr Antonin Hruza put in efforts to revive the dog.

The registered breeding of the Slovensky Cuvac was established in Czechoslovakia and a club for the dog was established in 1933. A written standard was established in 1964. The dog is not recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding this large herding dog said to come out of the Himalaya Mountains of Asia. The belief is that sheepdogs were crossed with wolves toward the end of the 18th century, but his origin is basically unknown. They are both herding dogs and guard dogs. Others theorize that rather than a wolf, the breed arose from the Mastif family. Still others claim that the Bisben is not a breed at all but rather a “landrace”. A landrace is an animal group that is only found to exist in the local area or is bred locally for a specific reason, while a breed is developed intentionally and from a select purebred with pedigree. The Bisben may be a landrace since it is very popular in India but hardly known anywhere else. What is known is that the Brisben was in existence at the end of the 1700’s and its job was to protect and herd livestock. There are three main theories about the origin of the Bisben. They are, in no particular order:

1. The Bisben was developed by mixing several different Himalayan and Indian Sheepdogs with wolves. The wolf population in the Himalayas and in India live in very close proximity to dogs and people and this population is quite large. These Tibetan and Indian wolves are known to be smaller, more comfortable with people and less aggressive than wolves from other parts of the world.

2. The Bisben was developed by mixing local sheep herding dogs with the Tibetan Mastiff. This gave the breed its protective nature and its large size according to this theory.

3. The Bisben was developed by mixing local dogs with the ones the British, Portuguese and French imported to the India subcontinent.

There is a fourth theory as well and it combines all three of these, supposing that the Bisben is a product of crossing local dogs with wolves, Tibetan Mastiffs and European dogs.

Regardless of their origins, the Bisben grew into one of the most respected animals in the Southern Himalayas. Their assistance to the shepherds of the area was unquestioned and irreplaceable. They were touch enough to herd flocks of goats or sheep across several treacherous and unstable mountain passes. The environment in which these dogs worked when herding is one of the harshest environments on the face of the earth. Temperatures were dangerously cold, altitudes dangerously high and the terrain just plain dangerous. Many deadly large predators live there as well. This included tigers, Asiatic black bears, golden eagles, Himalayan brown bears, snow leopards, fox, dholes, wolves, and small cats. The Bisben had to be able to fight off all of these predators. In addition to these herding and protecting duties, the Bisben was also known throughout the region as an excellent hunting dog. They are capable to this day of hunting large prey such as antelope or deer. They are equally comfortable hunting alone or in a pack. He has grown into one of the most popular hunting dogs in all of India.

The Himalayas, being so rugged and treacherous, were inaccessible to most of India for many centuries and the Brisben was unknown as well. Through the British imperialist expansion across all of the Indian subcontinent, the lowlands people were connected to the highlands and mountain people for the first time. This also meant that the Brisben was no longer unknown. The entire country began to appreciate the dog for its protection and herding of livestock, as well as a companion animal who would protect its owner and family as well. As India continues to grow the popularity of the Brisben grows as well and its numbers increase regularly. The breed, if it is a breed, remains an Indian secret. They have migrated to the countries around India, but their number are small. It is only in India that they are revered and prosper. They are not present in any great numbers in Europe, North America, Japan, or most of Asia.

Whether or not the Bisben becomes a recognized breed depends upon those who own and fancy them. Most Bisbens are bred to only other Bisbens in an effort to purify the breed. However, few dogs have pedigrees and the practice of breeding the Brisben to other breeds and mixed breed to acquire specific characteristics continues to this day. It is unlikely that the Bisben will ever be a purebred dog. It is quite variable in how it looks depending upon what the breeding line of the individual dog actually is. Does it look like a wolf? Does it look like a larger version of a local or European dog? There will always be these questions around the Bisben. Is it a breed or a landrace?


slovak cuvac puppyThis is a large dog standing at between 59 and 70cm in height and weighing between 31 and 44kg.

The neck is broad and has quite a bit of fur around it. The head is large, the eyes dark brown, the double coat is white and thick and medium length. The eyes are brown, the ears medium length and floppy and the tail long and furry.

He has well-muscled limbs and is fairly agile for such a large dog.


This is a robust dog, used to spending time outdoors keeping watch over livestock. When he is invited into the home, he is gentle and well behaved, more so when he has been trained and socialized.

He is loving and loyal towards his human family and will get on well with children in the home. He isn’t the brightest dog but you can still have him trained.

As mentioned in the previous section the appearance of the Brisban can vary greatly from one dog to another based on the individual dogs’ ancestry. Breed or landrace, the Brisban breeding line is not very pure. Therefore, appearance can vary greatly from what is described here and there is no standard by which to measure the Brisban. Most are distinctly large animals, being as tall as the European mountain dogs – the Newfoundland or the Bernese Mountain Dog, Swiss Mountain Dog. St. Bernard and Great Pyrenees. Reports are that it is perhaps the largest dog in India. At least it is one of the largest dogs in India. The Bisben is said by some to be a large, bulky, husky dog while others claim it to be tall and athletic, leaner than the Mastiff bred. Again, there is disagreement on the size and shape of the Bisben’s head with some claiming it is massively square like a Mastiff while others say the head is long and like that of a wolf not a Mastiff. The long hair of the Bisben and its confusing heritage may be the cause. They are most often black but might also be found to be tricolor, tan and “wolf-color” or brown, grey, shades of sable and black. No matter how it looks, this is a dog that was designed to work in the harshest conditions known and their physical appearance should make that abundantly clear.

Health Problems

slovak cuvac dogThis is a healthy dog breed, but as with many large dogs, hip dysplasia is a threat. Hip dysplasia is always reason for concern as the condition can reduce a dog’s quality of life.

It is distressing seeing your once active pet becoming reluctant to play and move around.

Canine hip dysplasia is a common skeletal condition. It can strike any size dog but is more prevalent with large dogs. The ball and socket of the hip doesn’t fit properly and deterioration sets in resulting in loss of function of the joint.

You will need to get your dog to the vet who will perform a physical exam and discuss treatments to alleviate the pain your dog can experience.

Because he is not a purebred and is probably a land range, there have not been a lot of health studies done and written up on the Brisban. It is believed that the Bisben is for all practical purposes a healthy working dog. As long as the breeding practices are not compromised it should remain a healthy line. It is bred for temperament and work not for appearance and showmanship. Some problems that plague large dogs have been noted in the Bisben. These conditions include hip and elbow dysplasia; optical issues such as Entropion, Ectropion and cataracts; ear infections; and Demadex and Demodectic mange. Most of these conditions can be tested for either in DNA or early in a pup’s life and should be tested for by the breeder before a puppy is sold

Caring The Pet

slovak cuvac puppies◆The thick white hair will require regular grooming to keep it free from burrs and dirt. He sheds so this brushing will help him to look more groomed.

◆The nails should be trimmed regularly and the ears too should be checked for redness and infection. You’ll need to look inside his mouth too as a rotting tooth can cause havoc within his body. A rotten tooth can also cause him tremendous pain and he has no way of telling you this.

◆Have your pet spayed or neutered if you don’t want any puppies. This is better for your dog’s health in the long run too.

◆Your Slovak Cuvac is going to need a lot of exercise as they have always been used to roaming the mountains watching over livestock.

◆This is a big dog so if you buy commercially manufactured food, make sure its for large, energetic dogs. There are good commercially manufactured dog foods on the market – just make sure you buy the best one for your pet to enhance health and longevity.

Try and give him some home made food too. Healthy food which won’t jeopardise his digestion is boiled chicken, brown rice or pasta and spinach, sweet potatoes and carrots. These can all be chopped up and small portions mixed into the dry kibble twice a week as a treat.

Try and include some raw meat occasionally. Your dog will thank you for not giving him exotic people foods which can do lots of harm. Ensure there is always a bowl of fresh, cool water within his reach.

The Bisben is a large working dog that needs a lot of calories if you are keeping him busy. Do not let him get overweight. The Bisben should not be free fed but rather given two controlled portion meals per day.

Health issues

As previously mentioned, the Bison was developed with the harshest of conditions in mind and long hours of hard work. It is a healthy breed that is however prone to any of the issues that any large dog is prone to including dysplasia and mange and well as optical issues.

Exercise and games

The Bisben needs a lot of exercise as the breed is developed for hard work. Walks are essential but if you have more than one dog, pack walks are even better and pack time at the dog park or in a fenced yard is great. The Bison was bred to hunt in packs as well as alone and they love to play in packs. In any respect they need at least an hour of strong exercise daily. If they don’t get enough exercise, they can become aggressive, destructive and fearful. This could result in destructive activity, barking and excess excitability. They are not very happy in the city and thrive in the countryside.


slovak cuvac dogsYour playful Slovak Cuvac is an affectionate dog, wanting nothing more than to be totally involved in his family’s life.

He is social and loving and also makes an excellent watchdog. He’s a big dog so think carefully before you bring him into your home. Many dog owners like the look of a big dog and forget that it costs a lot of money to feed a big dog and to pay for vet fees.

This big dog is wanting to be part of your family and not just to be discarded when you find that he is costing you too much.

The Bisben was so important to the people of the Indian subcontinent because of her temperament. He is a loyal, productive and courageous worker who took care of her flocks, her family and her pack. They are devoted to their family and if raised with children will care for them as well. He is suspicious of strangers. They are territorial and great watchdogs. They can take on any large challenger if need be to protect what they consider to be theirs. They can be highly dog aggressive and must be socialized as a puppy. Do not mix them with strange, unknown animals as the Bisben might attempt to kill them. If he sees them as his “pack” he will love and protect them, but not if he does not know them. Take as much time as you need to introduce him to a new animal and do not leave them unsupervised. They are not easy to train as they are stubborn, intelligent, want to be dominant and is a problem solver. If he doesn’t want to learn something forget it – he won’t. You can still train them. It just takes time and patience.

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