The Kuvasz Dog
Hungarian Kuvasz

descriptive textDog breed info
Weight: Male 100 — 115 lbs
Weight: Female 70 — 90 lbs
Height:Male 28” — 30”
Height: Female 26” — 28”
AKC Rank 2008 #133
LifeSpan: 9—12 yrs
Group: Working
Origin: Hungary

Dog Breed Info - The Hungarian Kuvasz


Breed Overview

Origin: Middle Ages. Original function: Guardian if sheep, cattle, hunting large game. Today: Sheep guarding. Color: White only.

This breed actually comes from the larger dogs of Tibet, not directly from Hungary. The name is a corruption of the Turkish word “kuwasz”-- guard of the “well to do” or “noble ones.” There was a time when only the well off like the Royal Family were permitted to have one of these magnificent dogs. These dogs were found in most large Hungarian estates. They worked as guardian of the estate and as hunting dogs for bear and wolves. It was only a matter of time until these dogs became available to the ordinary folks who discovered they were great livestock dogs. During the 1500’s the name was corrupted into it’s current spelling of Kuvasz which translates into “mongrel.” Dogs of this breed had been sent to America in the 1930’s and in 1935 the AKC recognized and registered them.


A tricky and difficult breed to train. They are smart, but have their own concept of what should be done and when. If the dog sees a reason in his own mind to “come” to you, or to “sit,” he will. This makes for a difficult training program. You will want to train the dog using clicker training and positive reinforcement, as that method works best for difficult dogs. Otherwise, the dog may have to go to a professional trainer.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Most Kuvasz are pretty easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


The Kuvasz is foremost a protector. He’s not very affectionate or playful or great with other dogs or strangers, but give him
Hungarian Kuvasz On Lookout For Trouble
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time to bond with sheep or cattle and this dog will never allow anything or anybody to harm them. This is an intelligent breed, bold, fearless and territorial with natural guarding instincts. The dog is equally good at protecting his family of humans. If the Kuvasz has been raised as a puppy with children, he will be a sweet, caring companion for the children in the family. The dog should only be trusted with his own immediate family and not with strangers, other children and certainly not other animals. He can be aggressive toward strangers and strange dogs, especially other dogs of his breed.

This breed needs very early obedience and basic training and heavy socialization starting at 5 weeks or sooner and continuing on through his life. He will dominate and has a mind of his own. He’s sensitive and does not handle harsh commands well. Use a clicker and stick with positive reinforcement. You need to keep a firm upper hand. This guy tends to dominate and make decisions on his own.

This is not a breed for first time dog owners.

If you happen to get a Kuvasz with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

No. Too aggressive and suspicious.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Can be gentle and get along with other pets if introduced carefully, on common ground and slowly. You can’t just walk in with strange animals and say “here Fido, these are your new friends.” It will take time to introduce the other house pets but this breed is capable of getting along with them.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Wary of strangers. This is a guard dog and is always looking out for his own family, children and property. Introduce the stranger properly and your dog will do all right.


Somewhat. Playful in the sense of fetching balls and jogging with you along the trail. Probably not the kind of play that would appeal to kids.


Not very affectionate. Sorry. This dog is mostly business.

Good with children?

Yes, the Kuvasz can be, especially if RAISED with the children. Advise older kids, 6 or 7 and up and not too rambunctious and wild. They should be taught how to respect and behave around a dog.

It’s easy for the Kuvasz to witness non-family children playing “rough” with the kids in “his” immediate family and interpret that as aggression, or attacks, on the part of the neighboring kids, in which case the dog would jump in and stop the perceived “fighting.” It could get messy.

Good with Seniors over 65?

No. Not affectionate and playful enough.

Living environment

House with a medium to large fenced yard, farm or ranch where the dog could play games of fetch and chase balls for exercise. Don’t leave this dog out in the hot sun. Cool weather is okay, but not hot weather.

The Kuvasz likes to spend his day in and out of the house and yard so perhaps a doggie door?

An old Kuvasz resting
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Energy level

Moderate. Give this 6 bars out of 10 for energy.

Exercise needs, daily

Fairly high. Two long walks a day Or some running as in FETCH with a training session or two would be good for the Kuvasz. If possible, a medium to large fenced yard would be ideal where a ball could be thrown for a lively game of fetch.


Excellent watchdog. It's his heritage.

Guard dog

Excellent guard dog. In his blood. If the Kuvasz is seriously challenged and his livestock or family are at stake, he can become quite ferocious. This is a highly territorial dog and anyone crossing into his real-estate unlawfully is in for trouble.


Yes. Sheds a lot.


Use a standard or stiff bristle brush. Brush his coat 2 or 3 times a week. Brush daily when shedding. Give a bath only when absolutely necessary or you will dry out the skin… maybe once or twice a year.



Suggested Reading For The Hungarian Kuvasz
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

This is a rare breed and very few books are in print.

The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, injuries and illnesses. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. Vol 2, 2008, includes a DVD.


Kuvasz Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Kuvasz puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that REALLY know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training.
Kuvasz Breeders with puppies for sale. This is an exceptionally difficult breed to locate. Go online and search for Kuvasz breeders, puppies or clubs if necessary.

Kuvasz Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Kuvasz Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Kuvasz Rescue - (Nationwide) At the tiome of this writing, Petfinder is listing only 21 of this breed available for adoption for the entire country. Try surfing for Kuvasz Rescue or "Adopt a..." If you do find one to adopt, try to locate dog health records which could be useful later.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site that may give you some ideas.

Dog Health Issues For The Kuvasz
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Kuvasz by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain, lameness, arthritis and difficulty walking for the Kuvasz. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem.
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Osteochondritis dissecans—A common type of elbow dysplasia except it can occur in any joint including the shoulder. Flaps of cartilage run against tissue causing irritation, pain, lameness and in time, joint degeneration disease and arthritis. Pieces can break loose and float around limiting movement, or getting lodged or wedged inside the joint itself. Look for lameness, pain and swelling in joints. Treatments include non-steroid anti-inflammatory meds, weight loss, confinement to rest the joints, and dietary supplements for joint health. Surgery is the last option for very severe cases.

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the dog's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the dog’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the Kuvasz becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

  • von Willebrand"s Disease—A deficiency in clotting factor in the blood. The affected dog does not properly utilize the blood-platelets for blood-clotting. Thus, the dog is prone to excessive bleeding if in an accident or surgery.

  • Panosteitis—So called "growing pains" in the legs of 6 to 12 month old puppies. The dogs experience an alternating lameness in the legs due to acute pain. Large dogs and especially German Shepherds are affected. The pain generally goes away as the dog matures.

  • Hypertrophic osteodystrophy—Orthopedic bone disease in large dogs, 2 to 6 months old. Very painful and possibly caused by poor nutrition. There will be pain and swelling in the affected legs. Look for lameness or a desire not to move at all, and loss of appetite plus a high fever may also occur. Medication, bed rest and a special diet are usually given. The disease can be fatal.

  • Deafness—Hereditary or caused by: Excessive loud noise, Intolerance to anesthesia, drug toxicity, and Otitis (middle ear infection), In some cases, one ear can have no hearing from birth and the other ear can be losing the ability to hear over time, undetected, then suddenly one morning the hearing is totally gone. There is no reversing once that happens.

Other health problems could occur with your Kuvasz. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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