This breed of dog was originally developed to protect the livestock on Hungarian farms and ranches. It is an adaptable protector of sheep flocks, horses and cattle. The white coat was said to help distinguish the dog from the wolves at night. In contrast to its white coat, the Kuvasz has dark skin. It has a brave and protective nature; it is affectionate, intelligent and extremely loyal to its owner. It is a very independent worker if it has lots of space to wander and stock to guard. Denying this breed its exercise and adequate mental stimulation can result in negative, destructive behavior. They ideally need a long walk each day to wear out their natural energy. These dogs need to be socialised well when young and trained to respond to its master rather than being left to make its own decisions. They are gentle and patient with young children in the family but may become concerned and over protective if others come over to play. They are also tolerant and gentle with other family pets but will think nothing of eradicating trespassing animals. These dogs need a strong alpha (number one) owner, not a passive person who leaves them to take charge.
The Kuvasz originated in Tibet, but it was the people of Hungary who developed it into the breed it is today. History describes it as a sheepdog that travelled with the Turkish refugees and their flocks during the time they were fleeing the Mongols and taking refuge in Hungary in the year 1200. The name Kuvasz translates as ‘protector’. The dog became very popular to the fifteenth century King Matyas. He claimed that he trusted his Kuvasz dogs more than his people. When he was pleased with someone, he often gave the recipient a gift of one of his dogs. During his reign between 1458 and 1480, the Kuvasz was a royal dog and enjoyed a pampered life. After the death of King Matyas, the dog returned to being a flock guardian throughout the medieval period. Because of the nomadic nature of the Hungarian herdsmen, the Kuvasz travelled with them and are said to have contributed to the development of the Great Pyrenees, Maremma Sheepdog, and the Anatolian Shepherd which are all flock guards. Due to their decline in popularity after their royal status, the Kuvasz numbers declined, and by the end of World War 2, the breed was almost extinct. Luckily, a devoted handful of breeders worked hard to bring the breed back from the brink of extinction to the safe numbers we see today.
The Kuvasz is a bold, fearless dog, well used to protecting a flock or its family. It is a beautifully shaped dog, with a muzzle that is in proportion to its head. With a well-defined stop, black nose and deep brown almond shaped eyes, this breed has a medium boned body that is slightly longer than its tail. The tail is carried low normally, but when excited is slightly raised. The strong neck has a mane of hair that reaches the chest area, with shorter hair on the feet and head. The skin is heavily pigmented, and the coat can be wavy or straight with a thick, dense undercoat. The Kuvasz is a real beauty of a dog, elegant and impressive in build but does have a strong nature, and needs a strong, confident owner to be the pack leader.
This dog needs a lot of exercising if it is not a working dog. They are not recommended for apartment living because of their active nature and this hybrid is best in a large, well fenced yard. If they are not exercised enough or are left alone in a small yard for long periods of time, they can become quite destructive or even aggressive. They love to have access to the home to be with their family but will guard the house and family with its life, and unless they are well socialised when young, any stranger is suspicious and the Kuvasz will decide for itself whether to take action or not. These dogs need a strong leader to guide them and respond best to teaching, not training – especially not harsh training. The coat is relatively easy to care for, although it is not advisable to bathe them too often or it will remove the natural oils that give the coat its natural ability to shed dirt and almost self-clean. It will require regular brushing though, to keep the coat from matting and assist with shedding. If they are a drooler, their mouth may just need a quick wipe now and then.