Kuvasz or Hungarian Kuvasz is an intelligent and devoted large-sized dog with strong protective instincts. This is an ancient breed primarily used for the purpose guarding livestock. The name Kuvasz is derived from Turkish word Kavas or Kuwasz meaning guard or protector.
The breed originated in Tibet but was later developed in Hungary. It is more common in its native region than other parts of the world. During the 15th century, Kuvasz became a prized possession of King Matthias Corvinus who contributed a lot in improving the quality of the breed. The king used to present Kuvasz puppies as royal gifts to special guests. Moreover, it is believed that the he trusted his dogs more than his councilors.
Dog breeds like Anatolian Shepherd, Samoyed, Tibetan Mastiff, Maremma Sheepdog, Polish Tatra Sheepdog, Akbash and Great Pyrenees are believed to have descended from Kuvasz breed. These dogs are popular as flock guardians but they are also skilled at hunting wild boars and bears.
These massive dogs look quite similar to Maremma Sheepdog, Abkash Dog and Great Pyrenees. Their head is considered to be their most beautiful feature in the show ring. Head is in good proportion to the rest of the body and muzzle is in proportion to the head.
Nose is black in color and has large nostrils. The almond shaped eyes are dark brown in color and set well apart. The V-shaped ears are thick and tend to be slightly rounded at the tips. Neck has a mane consisting of longer hair. Feet are well padded. The thick hair coat tends to be quite wavy to straight in texture.
Color: These dogs are mostly available in white and ivory colors.
Height: The average height of these dogs is 28 to 30 inches. Bitches are a bit shorter, that is, 26 to 28 inches.
Weight: The ideal weight of these dogs ranges between 100 to 115 pounds. Female Kuvaszok usually weigh about 70 to 90 pounds.
Being large in size, these dogs have been known to be prone to Hip Dysplasia. They may also be susceptible to Panosteitis, Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy, Osteochondritis Dissecans, skin problems, allergies, bloating and other common dog diseases. Osteochondritis Dissecans is a disease characterized by inflammation of shoulder joint causing lameness. Besides, issues like drooling and slobbering are not uncommon in these dogs.
Life Expectancy: The average lifespan of these dogs is 10 to 12 years.
Litter Size: 6 to 8 puppies
The dense, medium length double coat of a Kuvasz consisting of a soft undercoat and moderately coarse outer coat needs to be brushed regularly, preferably on a weekly basis. The hair coat sheds seasonally in cooler climates. In warmer climates, it is likely to shed throughout the year. Kuvasz grooming also requires regularly trimming the toenails, cleaning and checking ears for matting, brushing teeth and so on. The hair coat tends to shed dirt on its own so, the dog need not be bathed frequently.
Kuvasz temperament is gently, affectionate, sensitive, intelligent, fearless, determined, protective and intensely loyal but not demonstrative. These stubborn dogs are not easy to train but you need to realize that they need to be trained thoroughly in order to keep them disciplined. They should be trained with patience and consistency without using any harsh methods. In addition, early socialization is essential to avoid problem behaviors.
These patient dogs are generally gentle with kids but supervision is still required. They are mostly reserved with strangers and make excellent guard dogs. However, Kuvasz may not be a good choice for most families because of the dog’s tendency to be territorial and independent. They are best matched with confident and experienced dog owners or else they can become standoffish. These devoted dogs are considered as one-family dogs.
These dogs are more comfortable in cold weather and are capable of staying outside in temperate to cold climates, provided there is plenty of shade and fresh water. Besides, they are easy to housebreak. As for activity needs, these working dogs require great deal of exercise on a regular basis, especially when they are not involved in flock guarding work. Long daily brisk walks or jobs are necessary to keep them healthy and happy.
They enjoy swimming and running freely in large open areas. Keeping the dog engaged constructively also helps avoid destructive behaviors. Kuvasz dogs are fairly active indoors and require plenty of space. Therefore, they are not considered more suitable for country living rather than apartment living. They do best in homes with large and enclosed backyards. This, however, does not mean that the dog be left alone outside for a long time. Your Kuvasz needs to be allowed access to both home and yard.