The snow-white Kuvasz is Hungary’s majestic guardian of flocks and companion of kings. A working dog of impressive size and strength, the imposing and thickly coated Kuvasz is a beautiful, smart, profoundly loyal, but challenging breed.
Imposing, impressive, majestic, massive, mighty, pick the adjective you like best, they all apply to the Kuvasz (pronounced KOO-vahz; the plural is Kuvaszok, pronounced KOO-vah-sock). This snow-white livestock guardian of luxuriant coat can stand as high as 30 inches at the shoulder, and weigh between 70 and 110 pounds. Despite their size and strength, Kuvs are quick-moving, nimble-footed protectors when meeting a threat. The breed’s fans say that the elegantly proportioned head ‘is considered to be the most beautiful part of the Kuvasz.
Kuvaszok came to Hungary in the Middle Ages, but it’s thought their lineage goes back to ancient Turkey and Tibet. As livestock guardians, they had the patience to keep a close eye on their flock for days on end, and also the courage to take on wolves or armed rustlers when duty called. Their prowess eventually came to the attention of Hungarian nobles. It’s said that King Matthais I, whose court was beset by intrigue and treachery, trusted his Kuvaszok more than his palace guards.
Temperament: Fearless / Sweet / Loyal
Height: 26-30 inches
Weight: 70-115 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
The Kuvasz is a healthy breed overall, and responsible breeders will screen their stock for health conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia, autoimmune thyroiditis, patellar luxation, cardiac conditions, and progressive retinal atrophy. No ethical breeder will object to questions regarding health testing results of their breeding stock. Large and deep-chested breeds can develop bloat, a sudden, life-threatening distention of the stomach that can be accompanied by twisting. Owners should learn what signs to look out for and what to do should they occur.
The Kuvasz has a double coat, consisting of guard hair and fine undercoat. His coat is very easy to care for, needing only weekly brushing to remove debris and reduce shedding. Beyond that, an occasional bath will keep him clean and looking his best. His nails should be trimmed every month or so if not worn down naturally, as overly long nails can cause him discomfort.
Having been developed as a strong, active working dog, the Kuvasz requires daily activity for his health and happiness. A fenced yard is essential for this large and agile dog. Adequate and controlled exercise is a necessity for the rapidly growing Kuvasz puppy.
The Kuvasz possesses keen intelligence and determination and is extremely devoted to his family. While these qualities make them wonderful companions, they can also challenge the novice dog owner. Early socialization and puppy training classes are a must for the Kuvasz puppy. Training a Kuvasz takes patience, as this independent breed matures slowly. Sensistive problem-solvers, Kuvasz do not respond well to harsh or repetitive training techniques. The Kuvasz was bred to guard livestock, and he is a natural guardian and will protect family, house, and property.
The Kuvasz should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. Like many large dogs, the Kuvasz can develop bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), where the stomach distends and twists. The causes of bloat aren’t fully understood, but experts agree that multiple, small meals per day and preventing vigorous exercise around mealtimes may help reduce the chances of it happening.