Choosing a Kuvasz
The kuvasz is a beautiful white dog from Tibet that is an excellent protector and guard dog. Often confused with the Great Pyrenees, the kuvasz does not have double dewclaws on the rear paws.
History and Origin
The kuvasz, plural kuvoszok, is a stunning dog that hails from Tibet and is thought by some to be related to the komondor. Originally used to guard sheep and cattle, the dog was also used to hunt boar. Centuries ago, the breed gradually spread across Europe and was used extensively in Hungary as a guard dog and hunting dog. The impressive and intelligent kuvasz was often a companion of nobility and royalty. It wasn’t until the 1500s that the dog became popular with the lower classes. It was in Hungary that the breed was developed into the dog we know today.
The name ‘kuvasz’ is a corruption of the Turkish word kawasz, meaning protector. The breed uses his natural protective instincts today as one of the best guard dogs for sheep. The kuvasz is fast and powerful – important qualities when protecting sheep from coyotes, wolves and other potentially dangerous animals.
The kuvasz is recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the working group.
Appearance and Size
The kuvasz is a strong and sturdy dog with a beautiful head. The ears are V shaped with slightly rounded tips that fold forward. The eyes are dark and almond shaped and the head is long but not pointed. The body is well-muscled and powerful with a tail carried low. The hair coat of all kuvasz is some shade of white. Moderate in length, the hair coat is double and can be flat or wavy.
The kuvasz is a medium sized dog that stands 28 to 30 inches at the shoulder and weighs 70 to 120 pounds. The breed is slow to mature, sometimes taking up to 4 years to fully mature.
The kuvasz is a natural protector and can be somewhat territorial. Every member of their family is considered part of the pack and the kuvasz will defend his pack to the bitter end. The breed tends to be independent and needs plenty of early human involvement to develop appropriate social skills.
Home and Family Relations
As a natural guard dog, the kuvasz will protect every member of his family. Not the best choice for families with small children, this breed tends to do better with more than one adult in the family. The kuvasz tends to be emotionally demanding and can be strong willed. The breed likes spending equal time indoors and outdoors and can do well in hot or cold climates.
The kuvasz doesn’t need any training to be a guard dog but does need socialization and obedience training to be well behaved. The breed does well in basic obedience but doesn’t excel in advanced obedience, possibly due to his independent streak.
The beautiful white coat of the kuvasz needs regular grooming to keep it in tiptop shape. Bathing is not often needed and excessive bathing can result in dry skin and coat problems. A thorough daily brushing will keep the dog looking stunning.
If not exposed to the antics of children early in life, the kuvasz can be intolerant and potentially aggressive. This breed requires a fair amount of exercise to prevent boredom and behavior problems. Early socialization is crucial to prevent an independent, unsocial and aloof demeanor.
Common Diseases and Disorders
Gastric torsion (bloat) is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
von Willebrand’s Disease is a disorder that results in the inability to clot blood. Affected animals will bleed extensively following trauma or surgery.
The life span of the kuvasz is 11 to 14 years.
We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.