Kuvasz Guide

Working Dog Breeds

The kuvasz is a large dog, slightly longer than tall, and medium-boned. It is not bulky, but instead light-footed, with a free, easy gait. The breed's combination of power and agility stems from its versatile roots as a guardian, hunter and herder. Its double coat is medium-coarse, ranging from wavy to straight.

Despite its sweet looks, the kuvasz is a tough protector, fearlessly defending its family or home. It is gentle with and protective of children in its own family, but it may misinterpret a child's rough-and-tumble games with other children as attacks on its child. It is reserved with strangers and may be aggressive toward strange dogs; however, it tends to be very gentle with other pets and livestock. It is devoted and loyal but not very demonstrative. Some can be domineering.

AKC RANKING 128

FAMILY livestock dog, sheepdog, flockguard

AREA OF ORIGIN Hungary

DATE OF ORIGIN Middle Ages

ORIGINAL FUNCTION guardian, hunting large game

TODAY'S FUNCTION sheep guardian, security

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 28-30 Weight: 100-115

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 26-28 Weight: 70-90

OTHER NAME Hungarian kuvasz

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs High

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Somewhat affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Shy

Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Very protective

Grooming needs Moderate maintenance

Cold tolerance High tolerance

Heat tolerance Low tolerance

The kuvasz needs daily exercise and enjoys a long walk or good run in a safe area. It especially enjoys cold weather and can live outdoors in temperate to cool climates. It does best when allowed access to both house and yard. Its coat needs brushing one or two times weekly, more often during heavy shedding periods.
• Major concerns: CHD, OCD
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: panosteitis, HOD
• Suggested tests: hip
• Life span: 9 – 12 years
Although considered a Hungarian breed, the kuvasz has its roots in giant dogs of Tibet. It came to Hungary from Tibet by way of Turkey. Nor is its name Hungarian, but probably a corruption of the Turkish kawasz, meaning armed guard of the nobility. At one time only those nobility in favor with the royal family were allowed to keep one. This is a very old breed; in the latter 15th century, the kuvasz was held in the highest esteem. Breedings were carefully planned and recorded, and the dogs were a fixture of most large Hungarian estates. They served as both guard and hunting dog, capable of defending the estate against marauders and of pulling down large game such as bear and wolf. King Matthias I was a special patron of the kuvasz, keeping a large kennel and doing much to improve the quality of the breed. In the succeeding centuries, the kuvasz gradually came into the hands of commoners, who found them to be capable livestock dogs. During this period, the name was corrupted to its present spelling, which ironically, translates as mongrel. Incidentally, the plural form of kuvasz is kuvaszok. The breed seriously declined as a result of two World Wars, but German stock formed a basis for the breed to continue through these hard times. Some dogs had also been imported to America in the 1930s. The AKC recognized the kuvasz in 1935.