Kuvasz (pronunciation Koo-Vahz) is a Hungarian dog breed that is believed to have been around since the time of the Huns. The plural of Kuvasz is Kuvaszok; a Turkish word that suggests that the breed may have actually originated in the Middle East. So Hungary is just an adoptive home for the Kuvasz although it is counted as one of the Hungarian dog breeds like the Komondor, Puli, Pumi, etc.
Find out whether the Kuvasz is a good addition to your family…
Cool facts about the Kuvasz
- The word Kuvasz is Turkish for ‘safe keeper’.
- Records show that these dogs may have originated in Tibet.
- While some people believe that the Kuvasz traveled with the Huns, others are certain that these sheepdogs came with to Europe with Turkish shepherds.
- The 15th-century ruler, King Matthias I, loved his Kuvaszok so much that it was believed he trusted them more than he trusted people. He maintained extensive kennels and encouraged the breeding of fine specimens. He even gifted Kuvaszok puppies to dignitaries. The general public was not allowed to own Kuvaszok until the controls regarding their ownership were made less strict. King Matthias raised Kuvaszok for different jobs including personal protectors, estate guardians, and even as hunting dogs to hunt wild boar.
- At one point, the Kuvasz was used as a war dog for the cavalry.
- Kuvaszok are related to Pyrenees Mountain dog breed and often compared to them. They also may have the blood of the Polish Tatra and the Slovak Cuvac.
- Following the Second World War, only 12 Kuvaszok remained. The Hungarian government then took efforts to breed them using nonpedigree Kuvasz along with German Kuvasz, Polish Tatra, and Cuvac breeds.
- The AKC initially accepted the Kuvasz breed in 1931 but since their numbers were low, there was difficulty in maintaining breed standards. Finally, they readmitted the Kuvasz in 1974 when a new breed standard was re-written.
- Males 28-30 inches and 100-115 lb
- Females 26-28 inches and 70-90 lb.
Compared to other livestock guard dogs, Kuvaszok appear leaner and lithe. They are medium boned dogs. A Kuvasz bred in North America is slightly larger than that bred in Hungary. The beautiful almond-shaped eyes of Kuvasz are its most outstanding feature. Another important feature is the Kuvasz’s beautiful wavy/undulant coat that is usually white in color with coarse outer hair and an undercoat that sheds heavily twice a year.
Kuvasz vs. the Great Pyrenees
Kuvasz and Great Pyrenees are often confused for each other. Both have white coats and are more or less of the same size. The Kuvaszok may have a bit of Pyrenees blood in their ancestry. After WWII, Kuvaszok greatly dwindled in numbers. By 1901, Germany had started breeding the Kuvasz but these dogs looked a little different than their Hungarian counterparts. The German Kuvasz looked more like the Great Pyrenees dogs. Later, the breed standard was re-written. In Europe, many countries breed the Kuvasz so the German type which looks like the Pyrenees, no longer exists.
Kuvasz is pure white with no distinct markings; Great Pyrenees tend to have slight reddish, tan, or gray markings on their fur. Size-wise, the Pyrenees is slightly bigger.
This is a bold, obedient, and gentle dog. It is outstanding as a sheepdog and is known to have even stopped bear and wolf attacks. In some parts of Hungary, they are even used to protect horses and cattle. Kuvaszok are independent dogs that need proper training, handling, and socialization. They have moderate energy and variable reactivity. It is best if a Kuvasz has a firm, experienced dog owner.
Being human-oriented, family dogs, the loyal Kuvasz are excellent as a watchdog. They are wary of strangers. They will guard kids well but you must always supervise young children around them; after all, this dog won’t take too kindly to rough play.
Kuvaszok need a fenced yard, early socialization, and short training sessions. They are active, fast, and agile dogs but they display different levels of reactivity that depend on the breeder. If you are looking for a livestock guardian dog, work closely with a Kuvasz breeder who breeds working dogs and exposes them to work with farm stock right from puppyhood. This way; you can get the right Kuvasz for your needs.
Where to find a Kuvasz
The best place to search for a Kuvasz puppy is through a breeder. Kuvasz Club of America can also help you find top Kuvaszok breeders. A reputed breeder or a breed rescue should be the only places to find your puppy. When it comes to selecting a good Kuvasz puppy, temperament should be above all else. What makes a puppy lovable and livable with is his temperament. If the pup’s parents or grandparents are known to be snappy or aggressive, then you certainly want to steer clear of these traits. The average price of a purebred Kuvasz puppy is about $1200 to $1500.
Training your Kuvasz
Kuvaszok tend to have an independent streak which can make training difficult. Start early, be consistent, and keep the sessions short. That is the success of training your Kuvasz. If needed, seek help of a dog obedience class near you. You can also work with your puppy’s breeder in the first few months to house train your pet.
Kuvasz need moderate exercise in puppyhood and you can increase the activity levels as he grows. Short walks at a moderate pace along with playtime in a fenced yard are ideal for Kuvasz. Never overdo exercise, especially for overweight dogs, as that can exert his joints.
At first glance, due to the Kuvasz’s thick coat, it may appear as if this dog needs a lot of grooming. In reality; the coat takes care of itself. However, it can still do with a round of brushing or combing once in a while. You also needn’t bathe him too much; the waterproof coat does not accumulate too much dirt or odor. Remember: this breed was developed to spend most of its time outdoors in order to protect livestock. Introduce your young Kuvasz puppy to nail-clipping early on so that he won’t trouble you too much in his adulthood.
Being large, deep-chested dogs, Kuvasz is at a risk for developing bloat. Read about ways in which you can prevent this condition. They are also prone to developing cruciate ligament injury in the hind legs. Fortunately for Kuvasz owners, this is a fairly healthy breed. Their average lifespan is 10-12 years with some Kuvaszok living up to 14 years.