Kuvasz has been treasured in Hungary as a livestock guardian and protective companion since the 1400s. The history of the Kuvasz dog breed is shrouded in mystery. Some experts believe that the breed originated in Asia more than 5,000 years ago, while others think the breed is descended from Tibetan Mastiffs imported into Hungary.
The Kuvaszok (the plural of Kuvasz) stand 24 to 30 inches tall and weigh between 70 and 110 pounds. The head is long, the eyes are slanted, and the ears are small, triangular, and dropped. The tail is long. The white coat has a wooly undercoat and a long outer coat that is shorter on the face, lower legs, and feet. The coat should be brushed or combed twice weekly. When the dog is shedding, the thick undercoat should be thoroughly brushed every other day.
The Kuvasz dog breed is active, bright, and curious. Walks are great, as they provide opportunities for socialization. But these dogs also need more vigorous exercise in the form of a jog, game of catch, or training session on the agility course. A young Kuvasz who does not get enough exercise will get into trouble.
Early training and socialization in a puppy kindergarten class is recommended for all Kuvasz puppies. Training can be a challenge, as Kuvaszok dogs are intelligent but can also be independent and stubborn. Training should be structured and firm to help establish the owner as a leader, yet also fun enough to keep the dog interested. Early socialization is needed to balance the breed’s natural protective instincts. An undersocialized dog may be shy and fearful.
The Kuvasz breed needs an experienced dog owner—a person who can be a leader. He also needs someone who enjoys a canine shadow and who will spend time with him. Kuvaszok are not happy spending hours alone. A Kuvasz is great with the family’s children but will not tolerate rough play from visitors. Health concerns include hip dysplasia, eye disorders, and thyroid disease.
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My mother had a pair of Kuvaszok, a male and a female. The male almost killed the man who worked for her and who had been around the dog for over a year. He escaped the attack when the dog knocked him over the couch and he was able to get out a nearby door. He sustained a baseball size swelling from the bite on his forearm and a dark purple bruise the size of a dinner plate on his stomach. The dog was destroyed.
A cuddly white fluffball as a puppy, the Kuvasz matures into a bold, spirited dog, determined to protect those who are dear to him.
This rugged breed deserves a roomy home with a spacious, securely fenced yard in the suburbs or country, for he feels compelled to announce every strange person and sound, and his deep bark may disturb the neighbors, especially at night when he is most vigilant.
He is content with daily walks and regular opportunities to stretch out for a romp, but he does play hard and needs room to amble about and patrol his territory.
Kuvasz are polite with accepted strangers, but rather suspicious and discriminating in making new friends. This breed needs early and ongoing socialization if his territorial instincts are to remain under control.
With the children in his own family, Kuvasz are gentle and patient, but may become concerned and overprotective when neighborhood kids join in. Similarly, he may be amiable with the pets in his own family, yet think nothing of eradicating trespassing animals.
As a livestock guardian, it is part of this breed’s genetic makeup to lead. You must establish yourself as the alpha (number one) so that he will turn the decision-making over to you. This can be a difficult task for first-time dog owners or those with passive personalities who can’t take charge.