The Kuvasz is a large dog, slightly longer than tall, with medium bone. This breed is not bulky, but is light-footed, with a free, easy gait. The breed’s combination of power and agility stems from versatile roots as a guardian, hunter, and herder. The double coat is medium coarse, ranging from wavy to straight.
Although considered a Hungarian breed, the Kuvasz probably descends from giant dogs of Tibet. It came to Hungary from Tibet by way of Turkey. Nor is its name Hungarian, but probably a corruption of the Turkish kawasz, meaning “armed guard of the nobility.” At one time only those nobility in favor with the royal family were allowed to keep one. This is a very old breed. In the latter fifteenth century, the Kuvasz was held in highest esteem. Breeding was carefully planned and recorded, and the dogs were a fixture of most large Hungarian estates. They served as both guard and hunting dog, capable of defending the estate against marauders and hunting large game such as bear and wolf. King Matthias I was a special patron of the breed. In the succeeding centuries, the Kuvasz gradually came into the hands of commoners, who found them to be capable livestock dogs. During this period, the name was corrupted to its present spelling, which ironically, translates as “mongrel.” The plural form of Kuvasz is Kuvaszok. After the two world wars, German stock formed a basis for the breed to continue. Some dogs had also been imported to America in the 1930s. The AKC recognized the Kuvasz in 1935.
Despite the gentle appearance, the Kuvasz is a tough protector, fearlessly defending family and home. The breed is gentle with and protective of children in its own family, but may misinterpret a child’s rough and tumble games with other children, and should be responsibly monitored, like all dogs. The breed is reserved with strangers and may be aggressive toward strange dogs, or domineering, however, they tend to be very gentle with other pets and livestock. The Kuvasz is devoted and loyal but not very demonstrative.
The Kuvasz needs daily exercise and enjoys a long walk or good run in a safe area. This breed especially enjoys cold weather. The dog will do best when allowed access to both house and a safe, protected yard. The coat needs brushing one or two times weekly, and more during heavy shedding periods.