BBS Breed Spotlight: Kuvasz

If you want a dog that will form a fierce bond with you or your family, the Kuvasz is the dog for you. Even to the point of self-sacrifice, this dog loves its family above all else. Read more about this beautiful dog on the Breed Spotlight on the Kuvasz.

History & Background: Throughout history, the Kuvasz (pronounced KOO-vahz) has played a part in both the lives of European kings and shepherds. Though Tibet is claimed as this dog’s original home, the even larger predecessor of the modern Kuvasz is thought to have accompanied Turkish refugees fleeing the Mongols into Hungary. The Turkish word “kawasz” means “armed guard of the nobility” or “protector.” These dogs were the trusted friend of King Matyas I, the ruler of Hungary and many other nobles. Eventually, Kuvaszok became working dogs for shepherds.

By the end of WWII, numbers of Kuvaszok had greatly diminished. During the war German and Soviet soldiers would kill the dogs because they so loyally defended their families. Of the approximately 30 dogs that remained after the war, other breeds were interbred to repopulate the Kuvaszok such as Great Pyrenees. The result is the modern Kuvasz, which is smaller than its ancestors.

Height: 26 to 30 inches

Weight: 70 to 115 pounds

Coat: The Kuvasz sports a thick double coat of medium length that ranges from straight to wavy and is odorless. This dog also has a mane, starting at the neck and covering the chest. On the lower forelegs and hind legs short, smooth hair appears. An abundance of hair is found on the back of the thighs and under the tail, usually 4 to 6 inches long. During warmer months, the Kuvasz sheds most of its dense coat.

Color: White. Skin pigment is dark; nose and lips are black. The Kuvasz was purposely bred to have a white coat so the shepherds could quickly and easily distinguish this dog from the wolves that would hunt livestock during the night.

Appearance: A sturdy, but light-footed dog, the Kuvasz is truly a great working companion and still used as a flock guardian. In the show ring, the most desirable feature of the Kuvasz is their face. Said to be the most beautiful part of the dog, breed standards for the Kuvasz are very specific when it comes to this dog’s head. Eyes should be almond shaped and slightly slanted. Ears are thick, V-shaped and slightly rounded at the tip and set back on the head to be at eye level. The head is elongated but not pointed and the muzzle has a well-defined stop.

The Kuvasz also had a strong, straight back and is well muscled. This dog has a deep chest, ribs are well-sprung and the tail is carried low with a slightly curved tip.

Temperament: This breed is very intelligent, spirited, fearless and single-minded. Kuvaszok have a great sense of humor that is said to last through adulthood.  Not recommended for a novice owner, a Kuvasz is a one-family dog and has natural territorial tendencies. When trained properly or raised from puppyhood, this dog is great with children and will be a guardian for them. This dog must also be socialized as a puppy to be well-mannered around strangers later in life and will be polite to accepted strangers. Obedience training takes a dedicated leader but this dog does love to work, so giving the Kuvasz a job to do will mentally and physically stimulate them.

Health & Grooming: Kuvaszok don’t have many health problems and generally are very robust. However, many dogs are prone to bone problems including hip dysplasia. Rough play isn’t recommended for this breed, however Kuvaszok need vigorous daily exercise such as a long brisk walk or a jog. Life expectancy ranges from 10 to 12 years. 

Grooming a Kuvasz is relatively easy. Daily brushing is needed to keep the coat mat-free, but bathing should be avoided altogether. This dog’s coat is made to naturally shed dirt and bathing will remove the oils in the coat that give the dog this property. Dry shampooing with a product like Fresh Dog Dry Shampoo is a preferred method of keeping a Kuvasz fresh and clean. This breed sheds all year round in warmer climates, but only seasonally in cooler climates. 

Product Suggestions: Any Kuvasz is willing to take a challenge, which is why we suggest the 15 – 18″ Jumbo Braided Bully Sticks for this breed. Three extra long bully sticks woven into a tight braid will keep your Kuvasz busy for hours! And as always all our bully sticks are all natural, grass fed dog chews!

Do you know or own a Kuvasz? Tell us your story in the comments section below!

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