Other names: Hungarian 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 : Between 10 and 12 years
- Size : Large
- Type of coat : Long, Wavy
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Kuvasz
|Female dog||Between 26 and 28 in|
|Male dog||Between 28 and 30 in|
|Female dog||Between 82 and 110 lb|
|Male dog||Between 106 and 137 lb|
Type of coat
Coarse topcoat and fine, downy undercoat.
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.
This is one truly affectionate dog, unless you threaten her family, in which case she will not hesitate to act out aggressively.
She likes a game in puppyhood, but becomes more serious with maturity.
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.
She is very intelligent and self-determining.
Although she has a good sense of smell, she doesn’t really use it to hunt any more.
Fearful / wary of strangers
She is stand-offish and defensive towards strangers, whom she will regard with suspicion until their story checks out.
She is a very independent dog, but does still need human contact.
Behaviour of the Kuvasz
She can bear being away from her master, since her main mission is to protect their stuff for them.
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.
Bred as a guard dog, she can be very barky unless it’s trained out of her as a pup.
Tendency to run away
The Kuvasz is not noted as a runaway. She is bred to stay at her post.
She will become destructive if left alone and under-stimulated for long periods – particularly during puppyhood.
Greedy / Gluttony
She is not noted as a glutton but will tend to bloat dangerously if given the chance to overeat or rush her food. Treats can help her education.
She makes an excellent guard dog but needs to be professionally coached in her youth to prevent her natural vigilance from getting out of control like a rogue superhero.
The Kuvasz is a terrible idea for a first dog; although she looks gorgeous, she can be difficult to handle for inexperienced owners.
Kuvasz in a flat
She’s too big and outdoorsy to enjoy life in a flat.
Need for exercise / Sporty
She needs around an hour of decent exercise each day, plus regular walks and plenty of mental stimulation, or she will go nuts.
Travelling / easy to transport
The Kuvasz can become quite uncomfortable in most transportation.
Kuvasz and cats
She needs to be well socialized with other animals from her youth if she is to receive them with warmth and gentleness.
Kuvasz and dogs
She can work well in a pack. Otherwise, the Kuvasz puppy must benefit from an early, regular and high-quality socialisation to develop her canine codes and respectfully interact with her fellow creatures.
Kuvasz and children
She is affectionate, gentle, and protective with children. However, caution should be taken that she doesn’t cause accidental damage with her considerable strength, and that she doesn’t mistake visiting children as a threat to those of her own family.
Kuvasz and the elderly
She is not built for an inactive life. This dog would only suit an elderly owner with the experience, energy, and durability to cope with a hound of her training needs, size, and strength.
We do not have enough data to set an average price. Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £120 to £160 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.
Despite belonging to the fluffoid category of dogs, this one needs just a weekly brush to keep her elegant. The odd bath would be nice, too.
In hot climates she’ll shed moderately year-around; in colder climates, seasonally.
Nutrition of the Kuvasz
She eats surprisingly little for her size. It’s worth splitting her ration into two meals a day, to avoid gorging it all in one sitting.
Health of the Kuvasz
She is generally a healthy dog, with an average life expectancy of 11 years.
Strong / robust
This is a sturdy dog, who has no specific problems besides the usual large-dog concerns.
She prefers cooler climates, and will need shelter and fresh water in a heat wave.
She’s quite happy out on the plains in the cold.
Tendency to put on weight
She may put on weight if her meals are not balanced, or if she doesn’t get enough exercise.
Good to know
It is difficult to obtain a Kuvasz pup in the UK so be prepared to wait.
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.
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