Hungarian Kuvasz

Hungarian Kuvasz
Hungarian Kuvasz pictures
Hungarian Kuvasz suitability

In my own words

I’m a large, white dog of great facial beauty, with luxuriant, medium-length coat and pleasing, athletic overall proportions. My almond-shaped eyes, black nose, and dense white fur make me an eye-catching breed. So does my size. I was bred to have white coats for reasons other than beauty: the colour helped shepherds distinguish their dogs from the wolves. The best description of me is by Valerie Eastman (1993), editor of the Kuvasz Fanciers of America, who states: "when I see a true Hungarian Kuvasz, I see a formidable fearless guard dog rugged as a wolf, as hard and beautiful as a rough diamond". I have been used for centuries as a guardian and therefore developed my protective instincts to great height. I posses a good spirit, keen intelligence, determination and courage due to what I was bred to once do.

As a livestock guardian, I was expected to work independent of man and had to depend upon my own intelligence to deal with situations of all types. This is a definite asset for my kind of working dog, but I must admit can be frustrating for the companion dog owner expecting me to fawn upon his or her every move. Because I wont. If you want that then please chose another breed. I’m not for everyone; I am my own independent type, with a purpose to fulfill.

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What they say about me

Protective

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Clownish

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Information essential about the Hungarian Kuvasz

Breed Group: Working

SIZE

Male Height - 28-30 inches (71-76)

Male Weight - 100-115 pounds (45-52kg)

Female Height - 26-28 inches (66-71cm)

Female Weight - 70-90 pounds (32-41kg)

Popularity:

Whatever their origin, by the 15th century, Kuvaszok were highly prized in Hungary as guard dogs, especially by King Matthias. Matthias was crowned on March 29, 1464 when he was just 15 years old. Despite his youth, Matthias was a shrewd and wise military leader. He built a large army of mercenaries that was able to beat back the Ottomans and expand the holdings of the Kingdom of Hungary. As might be expected in such turbulent times, palace intrigue was rampant. Plots and assassination attempts were commonplace. It was a time when a king couldn't even trust his own family, but Matthias felt secure so long as his Kuvasz were close by. It's said that he took a brace of Kuvasz with him wherever he went, even to his sleeping chambers. Because they were associated with royalty, Kuvasz became very popular. Since the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, conditions have steadily improved in Hungary and the Kuvasz has begun to regain his popularity. Today, there are active Kuvasz breed clubs scattered throughout Europe. It has been a struggle, however, because the near extinction left a very small gene pool from which to rebuild the breed, forcing some breeders to use other dogs, such as Great Pyrenees, to continue their programs. Kuvasz were first shown at a dog show in 1883 when Count d'Esterházy, a strong supporter of the breed, displayed two Kuvasz in Vienna. In 1884, the first Hungarian standard for the breed was written. In 1931, the first Kuvasz was registered in the U.S.

Breed History:

This very large, white, fluffy dog is one of several types of large herding and mountain dogs that have spread throughout Europe in the last few thousand years. In fact most pastoral regions in Europe and Western Asia seem to have their own breed, slightly different according to the requirements of climate and inclination. They are intelligent and hard working without fail.

The Kuvasz's name comes from the Turkish word "kawasz," meaning "armed guard of the nobility." He originated in Tibet, but developed into the breed he is today in Hungary. The breed served as a companion to the rulers of Hungarian and other European empires and was owned only by royalty. Hundreds of years later, the breed fell into the hands of "commoners," and shepherds found they worked well with sheep and cattle. It was in Hungary that the Kuvasz developed into the form in which he is seen today. He is still a big dog but not the giant of ancient times. King Mathias I, who reigned from 1458 to 1490 had at least one Kuvasz with him at all times. He developed a large pack for hunting purposes. The scope of his breeding did much to perpetuate a strain of the breed. Surplus puppies were presented only to the noblemen and to visiting dignitaries.

Character:

Despite his sweet looks, the Kuvasz is a tough protector, fearlessly defending his family or home. He is gentle with and protective of children in his own family. He is reserved with strangers; however, he tends to be very gentle with other pets and livestock. He is devoted and loyal but not very demonstrative. Some can be domineering but in contrast can be very sensitive to praise and blame. Devoted, gentle and patient without being overly demonstrative, he is always ready to protect loved ones to the point of self-sacrifice. He can show an extremely strong instinct to protect the children in his life, polite to accepted strangers, but rather suspicious and very discriminating in making new friends. An unexcelled guard, possessing ability to act on his own initiative at just the right moment without instruction. Bold, courageous and fearless. Kuvaszok can make wonderful companions for the right families. Their devotion to their family is extreme. Such devotion should not be taken lightly, and is deserving of a family that is committed to returning the same level of devotion, guidance and affection for the lifetime of their dog.

Temperament:

This ancient and quite intelligent dog was bred to be independent and make decisions on his or her own. As such, the defining characteristics of the Kuvasz personality are the loyalty and protection of the "flock" and a headstrong attitude that borders on the imperious. 

You will get no respect from this dog for simply being a human. If you want to establish yourself as the alpha dog in this pack, you're going to have to earn that distinction. Most of all, you'll need to behave in a fair and reasonable manner. The Kuvasz is smart enough to know when you're being unreasonable, according to his or her standards anyhow. While many dogs have an overriding concern to please their owners, Kuvasz and other large herding dogs are more interested in doing the job right. If you're pleased in the process then, all the better. They like to think of themselves as the partner of man and are very happy and successful when treated as such. They are typically very good around children and other members of the family, but must be convinced of the good intentions of anyone else. This means that one should constantly have them meet new people (on their territory).

The breed, as a whole, is slow to anger, preferring instead to take their time and make up their own minds about everyone and every situation. However, when the situation warrants immediate action, he or she is ready to fight. The Kuvasz is so large that it could easily kill an unarmed man or few, so it's a dog not to be trifled with. It is for this reason that a great many were shot by advancing armies during World War Two, since they actually did present a threat to the life and limb of anyone who wasn't "theirs."

Conformation:

Bold, courageous and fearless, the Kuvasz is an unparalleled livestock guard, able to act at just the right moment without instruction and cover rough terrain for long periods of time. One of the larger working breeds, he is well muscled and agile. His double coat features a coarse guard hair that protects a soft, fine undercoat. The hair ranges from straight to quite wavy, but must always be white. Bred to guard royal persons and property in the more rugged parts of modern day Hungary, they've been a sign of wealth and privilege since becoming the royal bodyguard during the Hungarian Renaissance. 

They are quite large, often exceeding 100 pounds, and take nearly 2 years to reach maturity. They are known for being independent and fiercely loyal, often to the point of self-sacrifice. They are very good with children but must be well socialized to keep them from viewing all visitors as strangers and enemies.

The Kuvasz by far impresses the eye with its strength and activity, combined with his light-footedness. Adults convey an unmistakable sense of self-confidence and regalness, or nobility of bearing.

Colour:

White, cream or ivory

Training:

These dogs are very large and can be quite willful at times. They, like many other herding dogs, are used to making their own decisions and tend to view their humans as either their property or their equals. Socialization training should commence far before any obedience work is done. 

They tend to take to housebreaking quite easily, as they're naturally rather clean dogs. However, it is important you don't resort to any sort of punitive punishments during the course of your training. They have a very strong sense of "justice," and don't have any respect for someone who betrays their trust. 

Training should begin very young with reward based play training and socialization. This can slowly be made a bit more strenuous, but should not ever include severe punishments. If you must reprimand, do so immediately. Even waiting a few moments will be out of context for your dog and of less than little use.

Care:

Kuvasz dogs and bitches alike require a great deal of exercise and should be considered a country dog. Though many are keeping them as companion animals rather than working animals, they take work very seriously. As your puppy grows up with your family, the work of keeping your "herd" safe will be a full time job. This will often involve a great deal of barking.

The Kuvasz coat is always thick and white, varying to an off-white or ivory colour. Other colours are not accepted in show dogs, but make fine companions or herd dogs, regardless. The undercoat is thick and fluffy with a slightly wavy and mid-length overcoat. 

The fur rarely forms dreadlocks or attracts dirt when the dogs are left to their own devices. Bathing with soap will remove the coat's oils and is a last resort when addressing stink or filth problems.

Health:

While the Kuvasz doesn't normally suffer from much in the way of congenital disorders, being a large dog, there is some incidence of Hip and joint disorders. 

However, the most common cause of problems among this breed is the result of owners Feeding them as much as they want or with too rich of food. Vitamin or coat supplements are also a major cause of development problems. They were bred to grow up on what could be a starvation Diet if up in the mountains with a flock. 

This, coupled with the intense amount of growth these dogs achieve in the first six-months of their lives, can cause the bones and connective tissues to develop abnormally.

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Advice on choosing your breed »

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While he is devoted to and protective of his family, the Kuvasz may not be overly demonstrative with his affections. He is often especially polite and reserved when meeting strangers. It's important to start training early, but be patient, as the breed matures slowly. This is not a dog for everyone. They need a firm, but loving owner whom has experience with dogs. Their beautiful looks and soft, gentle expression camouflages an extremely well developed guardian instinct. Their soft facial expression may look like a retriever, but a retriever the breed is not. The breed is first and foremost a guard and they have been selectively bred as such throughout the centuries and millennia of their development. Accordingly, they should be given the care and respect of a guardian. This means that you need to be aware of potentially threatening situations that could trigger the guarding instinct, rather than being surprised by your dog's reaction to various events (e.g. the postman, delivery man, or someone shearing sheep that he has been guarding). They are however, very gentle towards their family and are affectionate and very protective of small children and animals within their family circle. If you want a dog that will obey your every wish, the Kuvasz may not be for you. There are several other breeds that are better candidates and will be happier in such a relationship. They are intelligent and very sensitive to praise and blame. They can be trained for a variety of tasks, but quickly bore of repetitive exercises. They do not tolerate heavy-handed training techniques, but respond well to praise. In general, praise, and encouragement, coupled with earned respect, will give you a companion of tremendous devotion.

An awareness of what the dog is and what it isn't must be understood before choosing a breed such as the Kuvasz. Be honest and introspective in terms of what you want and what you are prepared for in a dog. Any dog is a responsibility. A guarding dog is an even greater responsibility. You should be prepared to make a commitment for the lifetime of the dog.

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Noahs Breed Rating | Community Breed Rating

Activities
Good jogging companion5/5
Good walking companion4/5
Likes water/swimming2/5
Likes learning new tricks0/5
Likes to hunt3/5
Likes to fetch2/5
Good gundog/retriever2/5
Behaviour
Barks a lot3/5
Gets easily jealous4/5
Protective5/5
Aggressive2/5
Timid2/5
Friendly with strangers1/5
Cost
Expensive to insure2/5
Expensive to feed3/5
Environment
Happy to sleep outside3/5
Prefers countryside5/5
Suits urban environment1/5
Prefers temperate climate4/5
Prefers hot climate3/5
Prefers cold climate4/5
Grooming
Moults a lot3/5
Hypoallergenic2/5
Requires lots of grooming3/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly1/5
Ideal for singles5/5
Ideal for couples with no children3/5
Ideal for family with children4/5
Good watch dog4/5
Good guard dog5/5
Sociability
Good with other pets4/5
Good with other dogs2/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs2/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs4/5
Requires lots of exercise5/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners1/5
Good for experienced owners5/5
Good recall3/5
Easy to train2/5
Activities
Good jogging companion0/5
Good walking companion0/5
Likes water/swimming0/5
Likes learning new tricks0/5
Likes to hunt0/5
Likes to fetch0/5
Good gundog/retriever0/5
Behaviour
Barks a lot0/5
Gets easily jealous0/5
Protective0/5
Aggressive0/5
Timid0/5
Friendly with strangers0/5
Cost
Expensive to insure0/5
Expensive to feed0/5
Environment
Happy to sleep outside0/5
Prefers countryside0/5
Suits urban environment0/5
Prefers temperate climate0/5
Prefers hot climate0/5
Prefers cold climate0/5
Grooming
Moults a lot0/5
Hypoallergenic0/5
Requires lots of grooming0/5
Role and Suitability
Ideal for elderly0/5
Ideal for singles0/5
Ideal for couples with no children0/5
Ideal for family with children0/5
Good watch dog0/5
Good guard dog0/5
Sociability
Good with other pets0/5
Good with other dogs0/5
Time and Energy
Happy being left alone for 4hrs0/5
Happy being left alone for 2hrs0/5
Requires lots of exercise0/5
Training and Obedience
Good for first time owners0/5
Good for experienced owners0/5
Good recall0/5
Easy to train0/5

*PLEASE NOTE: All our breed profiles are general, and all dogs are individuals. Always talk to the breeders and meet the owners you are buying from. Try to meet the dog and its parents if it is a puppy in their home environment.

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