Breed Type: Working / Livestock Guardian
Country first Bred: Hungary
Size: Large, with males up to 75cm high and 80kg.s
Life span 12 years
Exercise Requirements: Medium – High(High for a large dog)
Care Requirements: Medium
Best Suited as: Family Pet to family with a large yard and experience with guradian breed dogs.are

The Kuvasz is a large, white livestock Guardian dog initially developed in Hungary. Perhaps one of the oldest breeds of dog ancestors of the breed have been recorded back as far as 2000 BC.  The ancestors to the Kuvasz likely came from Chinese Tibet and Turkey, but it was Hungary where the breed was developed into the dog we know today.

Typical of livestock Guardian dogs they were bred with a white fur so they could blend in the sheep and goats whilst being easily distinction of all from walls by the coat colour. Their regal appearance led to their promotion from livestock Guardian to human Guardian and by the 1400s Hungarian nobility was using them as personal protectors.

They remained popular in Hungary as family pets and guardians through to the middle of the 20th century where during World War II invading soldiers killed many that were guarding private homes. Insufficient numbers remained for breeders to regenerate the breed and though their numbers have increased in the last 70 years the dog is somewhat different from a dog of 100 years ago as other livestock Guardian breeds were used in the renewal program.

In their native Hungary they remain in action as a working dog however in the UK, the US and Australia they are more popularly kept as family pets.

From a distance the Kuvasz appears to be a golden retriever but as you get closer it becomes obvious this is a very different breed, far more massive in size. They are a very large dog with males standing up to 75 cm high at the Withers and weighing up to a massive 80 kg, with females being roughly 15 to 20% smaller on average. Their build is not unlike the Maremma sheepdog however they tend to be taller and longer.

The coat is always light-coloured most often white but can be a light yellow or cream. Bred as a livestock Guardian that would stay with the flock in the night in a cold climate they have an exceptionally warm and thick double coat. Their fur is generally straight but may exhibit some waviness. As you might expect with a large dog, with long thick fur, keeping a Kuvasz is going to involve a lot of brushing. At least twice a week to ensure it does not matt and tangle and to minimise shedding.  Bathe occasionally, regular bathing strips the natural oils from their fur and will results in more bathing being needed.

They have large head, large brown eyes with a striking black nose that contrasts with the rest of their whiteness. They have large drop fall ears.

They are wonderful, intelligent and dependable family dogs.  Eager to be involved in the families lives and activities.  For a livestock guardian dog, they are remarkably active and enjoy long walks and energetic play sessions. They are most often good with other pets within the family.

As with all the livestock guardian dogs, they are independent and willful at times. They need to be shown they are not the dominant beast in their pack yet will not readily accept strict training or discipline. They may determine that a child rough housing with a friend is in fact, in danger and come to their defence so they are best not left with unsupervised children. They are not a recommended breed for a novice dog owner.

They may be vocal when giving warning of something not quite right within their domain, they can however be trained not to bark at everything.  They do love company, but will not likely pine when you are at work – they were used to keeping their own company whilst guarding their flocks. They do need to be kept stimulated and exercised however, or they will chew and dig.  Big dog.  Big Holes.

As with all the massive breads, skeletal problems are not unheard of such as elbow and hip dysplasia or incorrect bone development occurring during their fast growing puppy days. It’s wise not to allow them to jump from heights where they may injure their joints when still growing as this could result in development problems in the join sooner rather than later.

Your breeder should be able to provide a history of any genetic problems within their breed stock so certainly ask for information about the health of the parents and grandparents.

Unlike other massive breeds that tend to only live to8-10 years the Kuvasz may live as long as 12 years of more.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.