Meet the Breed: The Kuvasz

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Overview:

  • Height: 26"- 30”
  • Weight: 70- 115 pounds
  • Historical function: Flock guardian
  • Modern function: Flock and estate guardian
  • AKC classification: Working

Physical Characteristics:

The Kuvasz is a large white or cream-colored flock guardian that is fearless, loyal and protective. The coat is dense, double,  and odorless. The texture can be wavy or straight. They have a ruff of fur around the neck that extends to the chest. Though the coat is light, the Kuvasz's hide pigmentation is dark, with the nose, lips, and eye rims being black. The dark brown eyes are almond shaped and wide set. The body is medium boned and is slightly longer than it is tall.

History of the Breed:

Like its cousin the Komondor, the Kuvasz was useful as a light-colored flock guard, easily distinguished from predators. The Komondor, however, was used in the lower elevations with drier climates of Hungary, and the Kuvasz was used in the wet pastures of the higher mountains. Later, during the 15th Century, the Kuvasz became highly prized as a royal guard and puppies were often given to visiting dignitaries as a gift. By the end of World War II, nearly all the Kuvaszok (the plural form of Kuvasz) in Hungary had been killed by German and Soviet soldiers due to the fierce a reputation for protecting their families. Some reports indicate there were as few as twelve Kuvaszok left in Hungary. Since then, thanks to dedicated breeders Kuvaszok have returned to safe numbers though with a limited gene pool.

Temperament:

The Kuvasz is not the breed for a first-time dog owner. Because of their high intelligence, protectiveness, and independence, firm obedience training and socialization are required by an experienced handler. As a flock guard, they were bred to independently evaluate potential threats and take action, which can make training difficult. Even though they will quickly understand a command, if the person issuing it isn't respected by the dog, they probably will not obey. This breed will fiercely defend his people and territory. If raised from a young age with children and well-socialized, they can be trusted as a good family companion; however, newly introduced children should be monitored with the Kuvasz in case the dog determines roughhousing is a threat to their charges.

  • Best suited for: A job as a livestock guard. If used for this purpose, the dog needs to live and bond with the flock. If used as a family companion, it needs training and extensive socialization with experienced handlers from a young age.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog prefers cooler climates. Becomes very uncomfortable in hot, humid weather. Can live outdoors either in a secure, large fenced yard or with livestock.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care coat simply needs weekly brushing. Bathe rarely to keep the self-cleaning properties of the coat intact. Sheds seasonally in cold climates and regularly in warmer climates.
  • Exercise needs: If not used as an active flock guardian, this dog needs a daily long, brisk, walk or jog. This breed needs to be taught to heel with the handler walking in front to keep dominance in check.
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip dysplasia.

Breed Club Links: Kuvasz Club of America

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: For teaching this dog to heel during walks, we recommend the EzyDog Mongrel Dog Leash for stress-free training sessions with this or any large, powerful dog.

Have any stories about a Kuvasz? Please share!

This entry was posted by Mary.
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