All knowledge, the totality of all questions and answers, is contained in the dog. – Franz Kafka
The Kuvasz is a Hungarian breed who traces his lineage back to the Tibetan Mastiff. Invading Magyar tribes conquered Hungary in 896 AD and they brought their dogs with them to function as livestock guardians. As the Magyars settled the area, the Kuvasz and the Komondor were both used for this purpose. The Kuvasz roamed the wet pastures of the high mountains while the Komondor was used in the drier areas at the lower elevations.
Later, the Kuvasz found favour at the royal court of King Matthias Corvinus in the 15th century. The word ‘Kuvasz’ is believed to have come from the Turkish ‘Kawasz’ which means ‘guard of the noblemen’. Although royal guard dog may once have been his purpose, this dog was more often an effective hunter, cattle herder, and guardian of sheep.
World War II devastated the Kuvasz in Hungary. Such was their reputation for protecting their families that invading soldiers sought them out to put them to death. By the end of the war, the breed hovered on the edge of extinction. Between 12 and 30 dogs were all that remained alive.
Photos displayed courtesy of Daryl and Kelly Murray, Redmoon’s Reg’d, British Columbia
This large, strong, working dog can stand up to 29 1/2 inches (75 cm) at the shoulder and weighs up to 115 pounds (52 kg). He has a thick, solid white or ivory coat. The coat is medium-long, requires regular grooming, and is shed seasonally.
The Kuvasz is loyal, obedient, and easily trained. He generally becomes a devoted one-family dog. Large, strong and protective both of his family and other household pets, he is a natural guard dog. Suspicious of strangers, he will quickly sound the alert. He is a dog of great stamina, and is courageous and intelligent. Strong as well as fast, he is well able to run down wolves, coyotes, and other large predators.
Early training and socialization is important as he will soon grow into a large, strong dog. His master should be similarly confident and able to assert his authority.
The Kuvasz is lively but not excitable and possessed of untiring working ability. This is the dog to take on long rambles through the woods or hiking. He is naturally suited to a rural environment but can adapt to suburban life if he has the space he needs.