The Kuvasz is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. This large dog was a hunting companion of kings and everyday guardian.
They are white, thickly-coated, and independent. This is a highly intelligent dog, who was originally bred to guard livestock.
From there, they adapted to guarding property and family members. They are also very successful in many canine sports, including agility if trained right.
This is definitely not a breed for the first time dog owners, primarily due to Kuvasz’s size and independent mind.
Despite their giant size and enormous strength, Kuvaszok can be extremely gentle with children, but also quick to protect them, so supervising them is advised and keeping the dog on a leash when on a walk. They are also goofy when they want to.
The Kuvasz was recognized by the AKC in 1931 and is its 89th breed.
Real name: Kuvasz
Other names: Hungarian Kuvasz
Breed type: Working Dogs
Weight: 100-115 pounds (male), 70-90 pounds (female)
Height: 28-30 inches (male), 26-28 inches (female)
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Litter Size: 6-8 puppies
Coat: Coarse and wavy, with soft undercoat
Hungary is home to this breed since the Middle Ages, although many claim that the history of the breed is much longer, dating back to ancient Turkey and Tibet.
It assumed that they were bred to be livestock guardians, and evolved from there. These dogs were so powerful that they could easily spend an entire day guarding the flock and stay all night up, even fighting wolves if necessary.
They were all about doing their duties right and protecting their land, other animals, and their humans.
As it was the case during the Middle Ages, this breed came to the attention of Hungarian nobles.
Moreover, rumor has it that King Matthias I, whose court was beset by intrigue and treachery, trusted his Kuvaszok more than his palace guards.
Some dogs are just perfect guardians. Dog historians claim that Matthias used this breed even as war dogs.
Selective breeding of the Kuvasz as a breed began in the late 19th century.
At the same time, the breed’s standard went up. In 1934 it was accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.
Shockingly, by the end of World War II, nearly all the Kuvasz dogs in Hungary had been killed.
This breed had so strong reputation of protecting their family members, that soldiers couldn’t deal with these large dogs but killing them.
On the other hand, some German officers decided to take Kuvaszs’ with them home. After the Soviet invasion and the end of the war, the breed was nearly extinct in Hungary.
Moreover, after the war, it was revealed that less than 30% of Kuvasz were left within the Hungarian borders.
Luckily, responsible breeders and breed lovers stepped in and managed to save the breed from extinction.
As a result of near extinction, the genetic pool available to breeders was severely restricted. Therefore, they used other breeds to preserve Kuvasz, including the Great Pyrenees.
In Romania, law or a breed-specific legislation to be specific, demands that Kuvasz must be muzzled when in public places.
If you need more information on muzzles and dogs, how to use them, when and why, check here.
Kuvasz Physical Appearance
The Kuvasz is a dog of larger size, well-built and well-balanced. It’s standard for this breed to be white with no markings.
The Kuvasz is well-muscled, with strong legs, and a straight and broad back.
The loin is short and muscular. The forecast is well developed. The chest is deep with well-sprung ribs and a well tucked up stomach.
Shoulders are muscular and long, with medium-boned legs. The joints are dry and hard. Declaws shouldn’t be removed, and dark nails are preferred.
This dog has a double coat, and a coat that ranges from straight to quite wavy.
The head, ears, muzzle, and paws are covered with short and smooth hair. During the how time, they will lose a lot of their long coat.
Overall, Kuvasz is a large dog, slightly longer than tall. They aren’t as heavy as they appear to be, but they are strong. In general, Kuvasz is white, although shades may vary.
The coat is medium length and thick, and a double coat means more brushing in the shedding season.
They are white, not albinos, and should always have a good pigment on their nose, pads, and around the eyes.
In size, males can reach between 28 to 30 inches in height and about 115 pounds in weight.
Females are a bit smaller, but can still go up to 27 inches and 80 pounds.
Just like any other large breed, Kuvasz is slow to mature. They usually need two years to reach their full maturity.
Kuvasz are guarding dogs, and as such, they can be very suspicious of strangers and extremely protective of their family members and house are.
To prevent any type of accident, make sure that your friends and family are properly introduced to your Kuvasz.
Moreover, make sure that your Kuvasz knows how to behave when guests come and that everyone follows the house rules for your dog.
They are great family dogs and love being part of family time and family activities.
This is why proper training and socialization is a must – a well-trained dog is a well-behaved dog.
True to his roots, Kuvasz may demonstrate some independent traits, which is why they need experienced dog owners who will use only positive reinforcement.
Just like humans, dogs are individual, and while city life may be perfect for one Kuvasz, a free-running area and livestock guarding may be the best option for others.
They can roam, and that usually happens until they learn their boundaries.
Living With Kuvasz
Kuvasz are guarding dogs, and as such, they are great protectors of family members. When raised as equal family members, your Kuvasz will be your home’s ultimate protection.
They could do fine with other pets if raised together from an early age.
If you miss training him right, you can expect destructive behavior, which can result in negative outcomes.
After all, this is a large dog and due to his size, he may need more apartment space and a backyard.
Having a Pomeranian in a city isn’t the same, as having a Kuvasz.
Some destructive habits that this breed may demonstrate include excessive barking and digging.
Some may even develop separation anxiety, which is why you should leave them alone for too long and frequently.
Just like any other breed, you should start training your Kuvasz from day one.
You cannot avoid training sessions with this breed. The only way to have a well-behaved Kuvasz is to train him properly.
If you need extra help with training, think about puppy classes.
Simply said, early socialization and puppy training classes are a must for the Kuvasz puppy.
If you are adopting a senior dog, make sure that you provide him a calm corner where he can rest and be alone when in need of alone time.
Teach your children how to behave around dogs and not to disturb them when they are near their bowl eatign or drinking, and while resting in their crate.
This breed, like any other, doesn’t respond well to harsh or repetitive training methods.
As a breed that was bred to guard livestock, the Kuvasz is a natural guardian and will protect, you, your family, and your property.
Even if you choose to visit a professional groomer, you will still have to deal with weekly brushing. The Kuvasz has a double coat.
This means that the body is covered with fine undercoat and guard hair that has to be brushed and removed regularly.
Make sure that you have the right grooming tools on hand and that you know which brush to use for your Kuvasz.
Brushing is practical because you get to remove debris and reduce shedding, and also serves as an emotional bonding experience between you and your dog.
The rest is regular grooming:
- Bath only when really needed, and with the right shampoo.
- Trim or grind nails month. Too long nails can create discomfort in your dog and create many health issues.
- Check eyes, gums, and ears regularly.
- Learn how to clean ears.
- Use parasite protection on time, follow through vaccination and provide regular check-ups.
The Kuvasz is a strong dog. They were developed to guard and spend days outside being active. Therefore, he will require activity to stay healthy and happy.
A fenced yard is a must for this agile dog, as well as long walks. When on a walk make sure that Kuvasz is on a leash all the time.
Do your research on dog psychology and know what are the situations that you should avoid.
Check the state’s regulations when it comes to muzzle wearing when in public. Provide at least two walks of 30 minutes per day.
The Kuvasz is a healthy breed overall, and responsible breeders will always scan the litter for health conditions, such as:
- Patellar luxation
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Cardiac conditions
- Autoimmune thyroiditis
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
You can easily recognize responsible breeders from unethical ones (those who run puppy mills), because responsible breeders will always present you medical documentation on the dog, show you the facilities and let you meet the dog’s parents.
As long as you provide high-quality food, clean water, and a supportive environment, your Kuvasz should be fine.
Regular veterinarian check-ups are a great way to monitor your dog’s health.
Once you get your Kuvasz you are directly responsible for his weight. Therefore, learn how much you should feed your dog, how much exercise he needs, and keep threats at a minimum.
Avoid giving too much food to your dog, if you dont want to deal with obesity in dogs.
Large dogs are always at risk of developing bloat, sudden, life-threatening distension of the stomach that can be accompanied by twisting.
Talk to your veterinarian on feeding style for your Kuvasz, and choose the bowl that fits the needs of large breeds.
The Bottom Line
The Kuvasz is a giant of a soft heart. Although this is a large breed, the Kuvasz is still easy to care for.
This can be an independent and aggressive breed which is why he needs an experienced dog owner.
Training is a must since early socialization is the only factor that can guarantee that you will have a well-behaved Kuvasz.
If you are ready to commit to serious training in the beginning, then the Kuvasz is for you.