The Kuvasz dog is a very old breed of dog bred in Hungary, where it was originally used as a cattle dog. It is a large, imposing, intelligent, deeply loyal yet demanding working dog with impressive size and strength. The Kuvasz was bred for centuries as a guard dog, but has gained popularity in recent decades as a companion dog, as they are naturally protective of their home and loved ones.
If you are thinking of adopting a Kuvasz dog or just want to know more about this dog breed, read on. The following AnimalWised breed profile will tell you everything you need to know about the Kuvasz breed, its origin, character, breeding, and health.
- Group I
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Origin of the kuvasz
As we mentioned in the introduction, the Kuvasz is a dog native to Hungary, a country where it has been known since ancient times. Although little is known about its origins, it is believed that its ancestors descended from Asian dogs that accompanied the nomadic Magyars who roamed the Carpathian Basin. The Magyars used these sturdy, thick-haired dogs to protect their herds from natural predators and possible thieves. They could also be used for hunting wild boars and bears.
In the 15th century, when King Matthias Corvinus ruled Hungary and Croatia, Kuvasz dogs became very popular among the Hungarian nobility and accompanied the nobles on their hunting trips. King Matthias Corvinus was so fond of this breed that he gave Kuvasz puppies as a royal gift. The population of Kuvasz thrived for centuries until it almost died out in the XX century due to the two world wars as well as the Hungarian Revolution in the 1950s. The dogs were so well known for protecting their families that they were actively sought out and killed by German and Soviet soldiers. Since then, many dedicated breeders have ensured that the Kuvasz breed repopulates Hungary.
The American Kennel Club includes the breed in the working dog group.
Physical characteristics of the Kuvasz
The Kuvasz is a large, rustic and imposing dog whose presence conveys strength and nobility. According to the official FCI breed standard, the height at withers of males varies between 71 and 76 centimeters, with a body weight between 48 and 62 kilos. Females are usually somewhat smaller than males. Despite its size and density, the body of these hairy dogs should be well-proportioned and harmonious, without rough or abrupt lines, allowing agile and precise movements. Observed from a profile, their body appears to be recumbent or horizontal, almost square, with clearly defined joints. The most important physical characteristics of this breed are:
- Chest: is long, deep, and slightly arched.
- Loin: is short, the back is firm, broad, straight and well muscled, while the belly is slightly tucked up.
- Croup:, is also broad and muscular, slightly sloping.
- Tail: is set low and accompanies the downward movement of the croup. It has a straight fall and its tip is slightly curved upwards, but not curved.
- Head: of the Kuvasz is wiry, wedge-shaped and in harmony with the proportions of the dog's body.
- Skull: is broad but not abrupt, the forehead is lightly marked and the stop is only slightly pronounced.
- Muzzle: is short, although it is desirable that it should not exceed half the length of the head. It tapers slightly towards the black nose and never becomes pointed.
- Eyes: are almond-shaped and slightly slanted, and generally have a dark brown shade.
- Ears: are "V" shaped with rounded tips and set at a medium height, falling parallel and close to the head of the dog.
Kuvasz Coat Colors
The coat is white or ivory-white. It is also very dense and consists of a double layer of hair. The undercoat consists of a woollier and softer coat, while the outer coat is dense and slightly wavy, with stiff and stiff hairs. On the legs, ears and head, the outer hairs become shorter. The skin is firm and well pigmented, with a slate gray hue.
Character of the kuvasz
These dogs tend to form a deep bond with their guardians and family members, whom they will defend without hesitation against any threat. Since they were historically trained as herding and guarding dogs, they also tend to be protective of their home/territory and their guardians' property or assets. Therefore, Kuvasz dogs can be somewhat wary around strange animals and people and need to be properly socialized to learn to respond positively to people and stimuli in their environment.
When given the affection of a family and raised in a positive manner, they are calm, stable and very affectionate dogs. However, Kuvasz also have strong personalities and can react to mistreatment by their caregivers and the use of abusive training methods. Therefore, this is not a dog for inexperienced caretakers or for those who cannot devote the necessary time and patience to training and care required for this breed.
It is equally important to remember that a dog's behavior is not only determined by its breed or pedigree, but depends mainly on the upbringing, environment and care provided by its caretakers. Therefore, if you want to have an obedient and well-balanced Kuvasz, you must provide them with the optimal conditions for their physical, cognitive and emotional development and pay attention to his upbringing and early socialization.
Care of the kuvasz
The Kuvasz is a large, robust and active dog that needs space to develop properly. It is not advisable to keep them in small, enclosed spaces. They are best suited to a home with an open space with a garden where they can run, jump, play and explore their surroundings.
The care of their coat requires time and dedication on the part of the owner. It is advisable to brush them 4 times a week to remove dead hair, avoid the accumulation of dirt and prevent the formation of knots in his coat. Kuvasz dogs also tend to lose a lot of hair during the molting period, so it is advisable to brush them daily during this time. At the same time, the dog should only be bathed when they really dirty. Try not to bathe them more often than once every 15 days, preferably every two months. Excessive bathing removes the layer of fat that naturally covers and protects the dog's body, making them more susceptible to numerous diseases and skin problems.
The Kuvasz is also a curious dog that has a lot of energy and shows a strong urge to exercise. Daily physical exercise is important to maintain a healthy weight, keep a stable and calm demeanor, and prevent stress symptoms and behavior issues such as destructiveness. You need to walk your dog at least 2 or 3 times a day. Offer them walks of 30 to 45 minutes and try to vary the routes and incorporate new activities and games in the traditional walk.
Just as essential as physical activity is mental stimulation and an enriching environment for your Kuvasz. Mental stimulation enhances your dog's cognitive and sensory development, improves their ability to learn, their ability to solve problems, and helps them improve their self-control and better manage stress. It also improves the relationship between dog and owner. If you want to know more about intelligence games you can play with your dog, read this other article about intelligence games for dogs at home.
Like any other dog, the Kuvasz dog needs a complete and balanced diet to fully develop its physical, emotional, cognitive and social abilities. Currently, there are different types of food that you can offer your best friend. You can choose between a diet based only on the consumption of high-quality, balanced food and the benefits of a BARF diet. Before deciding, be sure to consult a veterinarian who will be able to tell you what type of diet is best for your dog, taking into account his size, age, weight, and state of health. If you want to learn more about the BARF diet, check out this other article about the BARF diet for dogs, tips and a sample menu.
Training of the Kuvasz
If you want to have an obedient and well-balanced adult Kuvasz dog, you need to take care of their education and socialization from an early age. The education of your puppy should begin with their arrival at home, when you will gradually familiarize them with the rules of the house and teach them the positive behaviors that you expect from them in everyday life. Remember not to reinforce behaviors in their youth that you do not want your dog to adopt in adulthood, such as the habit of climbing on the bed or asking for food while you eat.
During this first phase, you also need to start socializing your puppy properly, as the socialization phase for dogs is between the first three weeks and three months of their lives. Since the Kuvasz is also a dog with a strong herding instinct, socialization of the dog is essential. During this time, it is important to allow your dog to interact with other dogs, animals and people, and to explore different stimuli and environments. Kuvasz dogs must learn how to interact positively with other animals and also with children, so they perceive them as members of their family rather than as part of a "pack" they must herd.
When your Kuvasz reaches adulthood, you can introduce them to new tasks and tricks, because this breed is very intelligent and loves a challenge. Use positive reinforcement in both basic and advanced training to encourage your Kuvasz's learning. Reward their good behavior and performance with treats, petting, praise and encouraging words. Remember that negative and/or abusive methods such as physical and emotional punishment are counterproductive and dangerous, as they damage the bond between the dog and its owner and encourage the development of behavior problems such as aggression.
If you want to learn more about proper dog socialization, read this other article, where we tell you everything you need to know about puppy and adult dog socialization.
Health of the Kuvasz
Like all dog breeds, Kuvasz dogs may have a genetic predisposition to develop some hereditary and degenerative diseases. Hip dysplasia and dermatitis are the most common conditions in these large, furry dogs, but cataracts and canine deafness can also occur. 
In addition, the Kuvasz can develop other common canine diseases and is prone to obesity. Therefore, they must receive proper preventive medicine throughout their life. Remember to visit the veterinarian every 6 months to check your dog's health, maintain his vaccination schedule and deworm him regularly with high quality products suitable for his size, weight, and age.
With proper care, a positive environment and the affection of its owners, the Kuvasz dog has an estimated life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.
Canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) is one of the most common skin diseases in dogs. It causes severe itching, scratching, rash or redness. If you want to learn more about this condition and its relief, keep reading this other article, where we talk about the best food for dogs with dermatitis.
Where to adopt a Kuvasz dog?
Buying Kuvaszok from breeders can be prohibitively expensive, and they typically cost between $1,000 and $2,000. We at AnimalWised always advise adopting an animal before buying it from a breeder. Not only is it less expensive, but adopting a dog from a shelter can be incredibly rewarding, and it gives the dog a second chance at life. The easiest way to adopt a Kuvasz is through a shelter that specializes in the breed. Additionally, there are often many great Kuvasz available for adoption at local shelters or rescues.
If you are considering adopting a dog, the first thing you should seriously consider is whether you have the time and the disposition to do so. Adding a dog to your daily life, especially if it is a puppy, involves a significant amount of dedication and effort, which can greatly change your lifestyle.