Kuvasz

Other names: Hungarian Kuvasz

Kuvasz

Like a cross between a Golden Retriever and the ball of fluff that blows away after you’ve brushed a Golden Retriever, the Hungarian Kuvasz is essentially an oversized furball. You might not think it to look at her, but the Kuvasz’s CV is mostly filled with guarding jobs, variously working as a royal guard or a watcher of livestock. She’s a clever, funny being, but due to her highly developed sense of vigilance she is only suitable in the hands of experienced dog owners. She’s barky, and can potentially take down a wolf – so a person who steps over the line with a poorly-trained Kuvasz is likely to find themselves in trouble.

Key facts about the Kuvasz

Life expectancy :

5

17

10

12

Size :

Origins and history

This is an old dog breed. She seems to have arrived in Hungary in the Middle Ages, by way of Tibet, Mesopotamia, or both – if we’re to trust and correctly interpret ancient documents from Mesopotamia, she goes back at least to 1300BC and her name means ‘dog horse.’ She was developed as a guard dog and shepherd in Hungary over the centuries, and in the 15th-century was the breed of choice of the teen king King Matthias – the Kuvasz was even restricted to noble families for some time. The 20th century took its toll on Hungary and on the Hungarian Kuvasz, with numbers down to double-figures, but now she’s back, ready to steal your heart and save you from wolves.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)

Section

Section 1 : Sheepdogs

Physical characteristics of the Kuvasz

    Adult size

    Female : Between 26 and 28 in

    Male : Between 28 and 30 in

    Weight

    Female : Between 82 and 110 lb

    Male : Between 106 and 137 lb

    Coat colour

    Sand
    White

    Type of coat

    Long
    Wavy

    Eye colour

    Brown

    Description

    This deceptively cute looking brute might be mistaken, on a wintry day, for a snowdog, such is the whiteness and fluffiness of her coat. Big, strong, and radiant, her comfortable look – a kind of cosy armchair of a dog – gives lie to her powerful muscles and business-like structure. Her wedge-shaped head is a little leaner than the Golden Retriever's, to whom her looks might be most closely compared. Her pleasant expression is by no means insincere, but shows just one side of her complex personality. An ivory white colour is obligatory: she was bred that way by Hungarian shepherds so they could pick her out from the wolves, who she will invariably defeat in battle.

    Good to know

    It is difficult to obtain a Kuvasz pup in the UK so be prepared to wait.

    Temperament

    • 66%

      Affectionate

      This is one truly affectionate dog, unless you threaten her family, in which case she will not hesitate to act out aggressively.

    • 66%

      Playful

      She likes a game in puppyhood, but becomes more serious with maturity.

    • 66%

      Calm

      Most of the time, she is calmer and less aggressive than her cousin the Komondor, but she is always reactive and ready to defend when needed.

    • 66%

      Intelligent

      She is very intelligent and self-determining.

    • 33%

      Hunter

      Although she has a good sense of smell, she doesn’t really use it to hunt any more.

    • 100%

      Fearful / wary of strangers

      She is stand-offish and defensive towards strangers, whom she will regard with suspicion until their story checks out.

    • 66%

      Independent

      She is a very independent dog, but does still need human contact.

      Behaviour of the Kuvasz

      • 100%

        Tolerates solitude

        She can bear being away from her master, since her main mission is to protect their stuff for them.

      • 33%

        Easy to train / obedience

        She has a strong character that should be controlled quickly with a consistent training routine, firm but fair. You should know that if this dog feels threatened or abused, she can quickly show her fangs.

      • 66%

        Barking

        Bred as a guard dog, she can be very barky unless it’s trained out of her as a pup.

      • 33%

        Tendency to run away

        The Kuvasz is not noted as a runaway. She is bred to stay at her post.

      • 66%