Known for being gentle, protective and easy to care for, the Kuvasz can be independent and aggressive and therefore needs firmness during the training and socialization period.
Kuvasz At a glance
Male: 100-115 lbs.
Female: 70-90 lbs.
Height at Withers:
Floppy ears (naturally)
Exercise Requirements: 40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Longevity Range: 9-12 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Moderate Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Moderate
Tendency to Dig: Low Social/Attention Needs: Low
Guardian, hunting large game
Characteristics: Double coat, straight. wavy
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate
AKC Classification: Working
UKC Classification: Guardian Dog
In spite of its imposing size, the Kuvasz requires remarkably little food.
Kuvasz are large dogs, slightly longer than tall, so they are rectangular in body outline. They are not heavy, bulky dogs, but rather give the appearance of agility as well as strength. The ears are folded forward and do not stand erect, while the tail plume curves up gracefully when the dog is alert. The head is not coarse but somewhat refined.
Kuvasz are all white, although shades may vary somewhat. The coat is medium length and thick and can vary from fairly straight to wavy to curly. The double coat means heavy shedding at certain seasons. These dogs are not albinos and should have good pigment on their nose, pads and around the eyes.
Kuvasz are imposing in size, with males 28 to 30 inches in height and about 115 pounds (52 kilograms). Females are somewhat smaller but still about 27 inches tall and 80 pounds (36 kilograms) or so. As is common with large-breed dogs, they are slow to mature, often being 2 years of age before they start to fill out.
Kuvasz are guarding dogs, so they can be somewhat suspicious of strangers and protective of family and home (be that family a flock of 100 sheep or two small children). They do want to be a part of a family and can be excellent family dogs if given proper training and socialization right from the start. Kuvasz have a good sense of humor and can be independent as fits their heritage. These are intelligent dogs and, with the inborn independence, require a firm hand in training and extensive socialization.
Some Kuvaszo can be aggressive and may not be fit as family companions, but rather should be livestock guarding dogs on the range. Until they learn their boundaries, they can have a tendency to roam.
Kuvasz have been selected for their guarding abilities and can be protective of home and family. While their current work is primarily flock guardianship, they will assume guardianship of your children and home if raised as part of the family. If raised with children and other pets, they are gentle and protective. Once they mature and know their job and place in the family, they are easy dogs to live with. If bred to work independently, they require patience and firmness in training. They are not ideal dogs for a first-time dog guardian.
Kuvasz can be fierce in protecting their own, having faced down even such predators as mountain lions. Some can be aggressive and are not suitable as family pets.
Destructive habits such as excessive alarm barking and digging can result from not enough human contact or stimulation. Young Kuvasz need plenty of exercise but that requirement diminishes down with maturity. Kuvasz are naturally athletic and fit.
Socialization of dogs meant to be family members is important and should be started when the dog is young and continued throughout the dog's lifetime. Kuvasz should be exposed to other dogs and animals as well as people when young if they are to be family companions.
Kuvasz are "easy keepers," requiring remarkably little food for a dog so large.
Grooming can be as little as once weekly or as often as daily during shedding times. The white coat is coarse enough that mud and dirt brush off easily, leaving a clean white dog underneath. As is common with many other large-breed dogs, the life span on a Kuvasz can be as short as eight to 10 years. Individuals have lived as long as 14 years, however.
The Kuvasz is a fairly ancient breed. In northern Mesopotamia, clay boards from 1300 BC show the name "ku-assa." The word means "dog-horse," a dog to travel with and guard horses and riders.
The modern-day Kuvasz was developed in Hungary. King Mathias I of Hungary helped establish the breed by keeping them as his loyal bodyguards. He trusted his dogs more than his soldiers and courtiers! Kuvasz were also used at that time for large game hunting.
Today, Kuvasz work as livestock guardians, protecting flocks of sheep and goats from many predators. They are similar to other Middle Eastern guardian dogs such as the Maremma and the akbash.
In the Disney movie "Homeward Bound II," the lovely Delilah is a Kuvasz.