Kuvasz Breed Guide

The Kuvasz is a large dog with a double coat featuring coarse guard hairs over a fine, soft undercoat. The hair can be straight or wavy, but it is almost always white in color with absolutely no markings. These dogs have dark brown, almond-shaped eyes and a slightly tapered muzzle. Their V-shaped ears hang, and their lips and nose are black. The dogs range in size from 26 to 30 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 70 to 115 pounds.

Patience is key when training and socializing this breed. Kuvaszok mature more slowly than other breeds. This means a longer period of puppy problems and more time spent on training and socialization.

Despite the sweet and gentle appearance of this breed, the Kuvasz is a fierce protector that will unhesitatingly defend his family and home. The breed gets along well with children and is very gentle with and protective of those in its family. These dogs tend to be reserved around unfamiliar people, and while they are devoted to their families, they are not very demonstrative.

The Kuvasz takes its name from the Turkish word "kawasz," which means "armed guard of the nobility." Kuvaszok is the plural of the breed's name.

The Kuvasz is not overly affectionate, but that should not be mistaken for a lack of devotion or caring. The breed is simply not very demonstrative. These dogs are always polite, although they tend to be reserved when introduced to unfamiliar people. They are highly intelligent, very curious, determined, and courageous, and their natural gentleness and patience ensure they are a good choice for families with children. However, these dogs prefer the role of watchful guardian to playmate or couch companion.

Bred to be active working dogs, Kuvaszok require daily exercise to remain healthy and happy. These dogs do not do well in apartments and they should have a fairly large yard to run around in. Daily walks are also important, but any form is exercise is usually well received.

Because the Kuvasz tends to be protective of his home and family, it is wise to supervise the breed around small children and unfamiliar animals. These dogs may mistake rough play for aggression and act to defend and protect their loved ones, even when it is not necessary.

The Kuvasz is a relatively healthy breed, but this doesn't mean it is safe from all major health concerns. Congenital hip dysplasia, panosteitis, OCD, deafness, and hypertrophic osteodystrophy, a bone disease, are all known to affect Kuvaszok. Hypothyroidism is another concern, and the breed is at increased risk for osteochondrosis, a disabling joint disorder, and has a propensity for developing cruciate ligament injuries.

Eye problems are also more common in this breed than in some other breeds, and the Kuvasz is especially prone to progressive retinal atrophy, a condition that leads to blindness. The blood clotting disorder, von Willebrand's disease, is also seen in Kuvaszok.

With routine veterinary care, recommended canine vaccinations, a proper diet, and regular exercise, Kuvaszok can live an active life for up to 10 years.

Although intelligent and easy to train, the Kuvasz was bred to work independently and therefore has a stubborn streak and is very strong-willed. These dogs are also quite sensitive and need consistency and a positive approach during training. Physical punishment, harsh criticism, and anger are likely to be met with great resistance. Using praise or food rewards generally works best when training these dogs.

Early socialization is highly important to prevent fearfulness and suspiciousness in this breed. Introducing puppies to a variety of sights, sounds, smells, and people early in life is crucial, but socialization must continue throughout life to be fully successful. Puppy kindergarten classes, frequent visits to the homes of friends, and outings to local businesses or to the dog park are important.

Patience is key when training and socializing this breed. Kuvaszok mature more slowly than other breeds. This means a longer period of puppy problems and more time spent on training and socialization.

The Kuvasz's coat is easy to care for and needs brushing only a couple of times each week during much of the year. During heavy shedding seasons, brushing may need to be daily to keep loose hair under control. A pin brush will remove loose, dead hair and keep the coat and skin healthy. The coat is thick and grooming this breed may take more time than grooming some other breeds.

Baths are rarely necessary because the Kuvasz's coat naturally sheds dirt and repels water. If necessary to remove harmful, sticky, or stinky substance, a pH-balanced canine shampoo will clean the coat without irritating the skin. Trimming the fur between the breed's toes will help maintain foot health.

The breed's ears should be checked weekly for excessive wax and cleaned with a veterinarian-approved otic cleanser. Any signs of ear infection, such as redness, discharge, pain, swelling, or odor, must be reported to a veterinarian right away for treatment. The nails should be trimmed every few weeks, and the teeth need daily brushing to protect against gum disease and cavities.

Although the Kuvasz originated in Tibet, the breed truly developed in Hungary. The dogs were companions to Hungarian rulers and the royalty of other empires. It was not until centuries later that the breed made its way into the hands of the common people, where it was used to work cattle and sheep.

These dogs were named after the Turkish word for "guard," and guarding is what they do best. The Kuvasz's white coat enabled it to blend in with its flock and avoid detection by predators. The breed has also been used as a shepherd and hunter, and it became very popular in European countries as a police dog.

Today, the breed continues to tend sheep around the world, but its primary role in most countries is as a family companion. It makes a devoted household pet and an excellent watchdog and guard dog.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Kuvasz in 1931.