Breed Group: Working
Similar in character to the Komondor but without the corded coat, a Kuvasz, (KOO-vahz, plural KOO-vah-sock) is a serious worker rather than playful. With their size, strength, intelligence, and constant awareness, they make exceptional guard dogs. They are wary of any stranger or situation perceived as threatening. With a strong paternal instinct, they are territorial, loyal, and protective of family including pets when raised with them. They are gentle with children in their own family but may be over protective when children outside the family play roughly with “their” children. Similarly, they get along with family pets but are likely to be aggressive toward other animals, especially other male dogs. With his giant size, the Kuvasz needs a roomy home with a large, fenced yard with plenty of opportunities for exercise as he can be very destructive if he becomes bored. His booming voice, frequently used at night, can be a problem in a typical suburban neighborhood. The breed also has a tendency to drool and slobber.
A Kuvasz is a giant breed, with males weighing between 100 and 115 pounds and standing 28-30 inches tall. Females weigh between 70 and 90 pounds and stand 26-28 inches tall. The breed has a dense white or ivory-colored coat that varies from wavy to straight and grows up to 6 inches in length. A Kuvasz is a heavy shedder that need to be brushed every two or three days except during seasonal shedding when large tufts of hair are lost and more frequent brushing is needed. Their coat protects them from all but the most frigid conditions but they dislike warm temperatures.
With the Kuvasz’s combination of protectiveness, independence, and intelligence, obedience training and socialization are absolute necessities. Their independence makes training difficult and challenges a trainers’ patience. Training needs to be firm and contain variety in order to maintain the dogs’ attention. Since they were bred to lead, a Kuvasz needs to learn early who leads the family. They need ongoing socialization to keep territorial instincts in check. This powerful, dominant dog is not for a first-time or a meek owner.
Almost 1 in 5 Kuvaszok suffer from Hip Dysplasia with another 8% affected by Elbow Dysplasia. About 14% suffer from low thyroid gland production. PRA, which leads to blindness, is seen in the breed as well. They are also prone to developmental bone problems with OCD being the most commonly seen of these disorders. To reduce this tendency, avoid diets high in calories or with protein that is in excess of 17%. Providing too much exercise is also a contributing factor. A Kuvasz can be expected to live to between 12 and 14 years of age.
The Kuvasz ranks 137th in popularity among the breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club. With only 100 dogs registered on an annual basis, they are difficult to find.
The Kuvasz’s origins are rooted in ancient Hungary where rulers in the Middle Ages used these large dogs as personal body yards. Its name was derived from the Turkish word “kawasz” which means “armed guard of the nobility.” Later the dogs were used as shepherds and to guard livestock. During World War II, Kuvaszok almost became extinct with many being killed as they guarded their families against troops of the invading Nazi and Soviet regimes.
The Kuvasz is more aware of its surroundings and more consistently wary of strangers that the similar looking Great Pyrenees. They are similar in disposition but not in appearance to the Komondor. The National (US) Breed Club is the Kuvasz Club of America.
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