Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer

Gemma Gaitskell
Dr Gemma Gaitskell (BVetMed MSc MRCVS, Royal Veterinary College, London)
 
Photo of adult Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer
Ing. Urban Michal / Wikipedia.org

The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer is an extremely modern breed that was created in the 1950’s in Slovakia by crossing the German Wirehaired Pointer, Český Fousek and the Weimaraner. The breed was established in an attempt to create an excellent all round gundog that could track, point and retrieve on land and in water. Today, the Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer is used predominantly as a working dog and in its native Slovakia all registered breeding dogs must have participated in working trials, making it popular with gundog enthusiasts. Physically, it is of a sturdy build but not heavy, large in size and should have great stamina.

The breed is an excellent worker, and its eagerness to please make it extremely amenable to training. The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer has a rough coat that does not shed but requires weekly brushing to keep it in good condition. The breed is affectionate and generally good with children, although its size and energetic nature mean it should be supervised around small children. The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer has high energy levels and needs an active lifestyle, ideally in a rural environment.

About & History

The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer is a recently developed breed belonging to the gundog group that was established by crossing the German Wirehaired Pointer with the Czech Pointer or Český Fousek. Later on Weimaraner blood was introduced to the breed, significantly influencing the coat colour of the breed. There are several variations of its name in English that can lead to confusion but it is also known as the Slovensky Hrubosrsky Stavac in its native Slovakia.

The breed was developed by Koloman Slimak in the 1950’s after World War II who aimed to create a dog that was capable of tracking, pointing, retrieving on land and in water for a wide range of prey from birds to deer that possessed great stamina. The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer first arrived in the UK during the late 1990’s. More recently, additional Weimaraner blood has been introduced in addition to Pudelpointer blood. The breed is a working breed and is most often kept by working gundog enthusiasts, although they can also fit into an active companion dog environment. In its native Slovakia, all registered dogs used for breeding must have passed working hunting trials and as most dogs in other countries are imported this means they remain close to their working roots.

Appearance

Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer Large Photo

Just two colours are permitted for registration of the Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer with the UK Kennel Club. These are both variations of the silvery colour from its ancestor the Weimaraner:

  • Grey
  • Grey Roan

The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer should be sturdy, but retain a degree of elegance and nobility. The breed should measure between 57 and 64 cm at the withers and the length of the body should be slightly more than the height to the withers. The neck is carried high and should be muscular and attached at the highest point of the withers. The shoulders should be equally strong, leading to straight clean front legs. The breed should have a wide, oval chest that is reasonably long. The back should be straight and strong with plenty of muscle and a slight slope towards the hind end, which should be broad. The back legs should continue to give an equal sense of strength and power to the rest of the body.

The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer should have a reasonably broad, rectangular shaped head, where the skull and the muzzle are roughly the same length. The jaws should be even and straight and teeth should be properly developed, forming a scissor bite. The eyes should be amber in colour, almond shaped and deep set with an intelligent gleam to them. Puppies and young dogs have a bluish colour to their eyes, but this changes with age. The breeds ears should be broad at the base and fold over to rest on the cheeks.

The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer should have a well-balanced lively movement, capable of covering distance. The breed should choose to work at the gallop.

Character & Temperament

The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer is a hard and versatile worker that is renowned for its loyal nature and eagerness to please. The breed does not tend to suffer from separation anxiety, although as with any dog, should not be expected to entertain itself at home alone for extended periods of time.

The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer is not commonly kept as a pet but it is affectionate and generally gets on well with children, although it can be energetic and boisterous so should be supervised around younger children. The breed’s size means it may look imposing but it is not typically kept for the purpose of guarding.

Trainability

Photo of Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer puppy
Monique Gidding / Flickr.com

The breed is well-known for being eager to please and easy to train. This means training recall is usually relatively easy if dogs have sufficient exercise. House training is not normally difficult with the breed if it has regular access to a garden or a well-established walking routine.

The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer enjoys having a purpose and therefore excels in working environments, either as a gundog or in dog sports, which also keep it busy and channels its energy, with consistent training from an early age.

Health

The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer usually lives between 10 to 12 years of age. The UK Kennel Club strongly recommends that breeders participate in the hip dysplasia scheme:

  • Hip Dysplasia – This condition affects many breeds of dog and is caused when the hip joint or joints develop abnormally when a dog is growing. This abnormal development often means a dog will suffer from joint pain when it is older. To check for the condition, dogs over a year old should have their hips x-rayed and evaluated by an expert who will assign a ‘score’ to the radiographs. The lower this score the fewer the signs of hip dysplasia are present and the less likely the dog is to suffer from the symptoms later on. Although hip dysplasia is caused by a genetic component, environmental factors can also influence its development.

The relatively small gene pool means breed can also suffer from several other health problems:

  • Dental Problems – The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer can be prone to several different dental problems. These include undershot and overshot jaws, missing teeth, teeth which fail to erupt, wrongly aligned jaws and teeth and craniomandibular osteopathy that affects the bones of the skull.
  • Metaphyseal Osteopathy – This condition is sometimes also known as hypertrophic osteodystropy and affects fast growing large breed dogs. The growth plates in the bones are affected and become inflamed and swollen. The condition is extremely painful and can lead to other complications, but treatment usually revolves around correcting any nutritional deficiencies, limiting exercise and providing pain relief.
  • Discospondylitis – This condition occurs when the vertebrae and discs in the spine become infected. It usually occurs as the result of the spread of infection from elsewhere and it is thought that immune system function plays a part. Clinical signs include back and neck pain.
  • Steroid Responsive Meningitis Arteritis (SRMA) – SRMA is thought to be immune-mediated and causes neck and spinal pain which comes and goes. It is treated, as the name suggests, using steroids.
  • Idiopathic Epilepsy – Epilepsy causes seizures. Idiopathic is a word used when all other causes have been ruled out and the cause is unknown.
  • Skin and Coat Conditions – The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer can be affected by atopic dermatitis where things normally found in the environment can act as allergens and cause an allergic reaction. There is no cure and treatment revolves around managing the condition, as well as possible and providing relief if necessary using medication. Other coat conditions that can affect the breed include seasonal flank alopecia and colour dilution alopecia, both of which cause hairloss.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer is principally a working breed and this means that it requires an active lifestyle. Around an hour and a half of walking a day is necessary to keep dogs happy and as much of this time as is possible should be spent off the lead to give dogs the option of running freely and playing if they so wish. The breeds exercise requirements mean that is best suited to a country home with an active family who can provide of plenty of physical activity.

Grooming

The Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer does not shed its coat but there can be a wide variation of coat types within examples of the breed, ranging from broken and extremely wiry to softer and furry, but still rough. The coat should be double coated and the outer coat should reach around 4cm in length – although this is shorter and denser around the head and ears. The breed, however, does not require any trimming or professional grooming and can be kept smart and clean with weekly brushing at home.

Famous Slovakian Rough Haired Pointers

The short history of the Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer means there are currently no really well-known examples of the breed. There is, however, a Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer worth following on Instagram called Rollo. His two best mates are a wire-haired dachshund called Komi and a smooth-haired dachshund called Knoet and the three of them make quite the adorable (albeit troublesome) trio.

Cross-Breeds

There are no popular Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer cross-breeds, probably due in part to its recent development and very breeding for a specific working ability.

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