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 :
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
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Kuvasz
Female : Between 26 and 28 in
Male : Between 28 and 30 in
Female : Between 82 and 110 lb
Male : 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.
Good to know
It is difficult to obtain a Kuvasz pup in the UK so be prepared to wait.
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.