Complete Guide To The Kuvasz: Feeding, Personality, And Where To Find One

The mighty Kuvasz is as white as the Alps and perhaps more imposing. Loyal, fearless and bold, he meets threats to his family or herd head-on.

I’ve seen a handful of this breed over the past decade or so and I’m surprised that they are not more popular. In my veterinary practice, pet owners with large backyards and access to open space are most commonly going to own a Kuvasz.

Note: Plural of Kuvasz is Kuvaszok

How Big Does A Kuvasz Get?

HeightWeight
Male28″-30″ at the shoulder100-115 lbs
Female 26″-28″ at the shoulder 70-90 lbs

What Does The Kuvasz Look Like?

The Kuvasz (plural Kuvaszok) tips the scales at 80-115 pounds. Snow-white with fur thick enough to brave the coldest weather, they’re broad-chested and powerful. Longer than they are tall, they’re relatively lean.

Drop, v-shaped ears frame dark brown eyes and a well-proportioned head. Their entire body is balanced and graceful. There’s nothing clumsy or lumbering about the Kuvasz.

The top layer of their downy coats varies from straight to wavy. Beneath it, their skin is heavily pigmented with black or gray. Straight-coated dogs may be mistaken for their cousin, the Great Pyrenees.

What Is The Personality Of A Kuvasz?

Working Kuvaszok are all business. But when raised with a family, they’re gentle, easy-going companions. Good with kids, they don’t know their own size, so supervision is a must with young children.

Bred to protect their herds, Kuvaszok can be fiercely protective. Once mature and well-socialized, they’re content to let others be in charge. But they need early training to tame dominant tendencies and prevent aggression toward strangers and other pets.

As a large, active dog, they’ll do best with a busy family and room to roam. The Kuvasz is not recommended for the first-time dog owner.

How Much Exercise Does A Kuvasz Need?

Kuvaszok require daily exercise. Born for the outdoors, they like fresh air and sunshine. With toys and a secure space to play in, they’ll entertain themselves, but they prefer the attention of their owners.

Growing dogs have sensitive joints and should avoid jumping or strenuous activity until they’re about a year old. After that, they need at least an hour a day of moderate exercise. For non-working dogs, a long walk or a game in the backyard will do.

How Much Grooming Does A Kuvasz Need?

The Kuvasz has a bulky double coat, but the texture makes it easy to care for. They shed year-round and seasonally, but not as much as similar breeds.

Weekly brushing with a slicker helps remove debris and loose hair. Prone to tangles behind their legs, use a metal comb to tease them out before they become mats. Trim their fur only as necessary — it helps them regulate their body temperature.

Kuvaszok tend to have a slight doggy odor, so an occasional bath helps them stay fresh. But skin oils are vital for the condition of their coat, so use only a gentle shampoo. A whitening crème rinse restores their natural luster.

As with all long-eared dogs, Kuvaszok are prone to ear infections. Monthly cleaning eliminates wax build-up and discourages the growth of bacteria and yeast.

And although most dogs are active enough to wear their nails down through exercise, the Kuvasz bears significant weight on relatively small feet — nail care is essential. Thick and often brittle, a grinding tool may be a better choice for trimming than nail clippers.

What Kind Of Dog Food Is Best For A Kuvasz?

As these are really large dogs when fully grown, you need to make sure that you feed them a large-breed puppy food and then switch over to adult food sooner than you would for many other smaller dogs (I recommend at around 5-6 months of age). The goal with these special diets is to manage the growth so it’s steady and controlled. Growth spurts can be painful.

Also understand that my philosophy as a veterinarian for the past 20 years has been that most dog foods are fine for most dogs. For those dogs that require a special diet (due to a health condition such as a food allergy or inflammatory bowel disease), use the diet most appropriate and recommended by your veterinarian.

I prefer large dog food companies for my recommendations because they’ve been around longer, had fewer recalls, put more into research and development, and are generally more cost effective than some of the newer “boutique” diets.

Please don’t listen to the folks at the pet store trying to convince you to buy a grain-free diet for your dog. There’s zero science behind that and vets are actually seeing diseases now related to feeding grain-free foods.

Best Puppy Food For A Kuvasz:

Best Adult Food For A Kuvasz:

How Long Does A Kuvasz Live?

10-12 years based on information from the AKC

What Health Problems Do Kuvaszok Have?

As the Kuvasz is not that common, they are relatively healthy despite how big they are. They can develop the same conditions other breeds face like arthritis, hip dysplasia, and allergies. However, those are pretty uncommon in this breed.

The big key is to keep them at their optimal weight. You should be able to feel the individual ribs and see a narrowing between their chest and hips.

I would recommend a joint supplement for them after the age of 4 years to keep their joints as good as possible.

Where Can I Find A Kuvasz?

I highly recommend that you go through the list of breeders on the national breed club page. These are not casual backyard breeders. Rather, there’s a set of criteria that they need to achieve in order to even list with the club.

This will ensure that you are looking first with breeders truly interested in the future of this breed and are dedicated to producing healthy puppies.

Where Can I Learn More About Kuvaszok?

Kuvasz Club Of America

AKC Breed Profile

Interesting Facts About the Kuvasz

The Kuvasz is relatively unknown in the US, ranking just 163rd in popularity among 200 breeds. But as awareness of their many talents grows, so do their fans. Here’s what you need to know about the Kuvasz.

• They Came From Tibet

The name Kuvasz means “safe keeper” in Turkish. But most canine historians believe they originated in Tibet and made their way to Europe with the Huns.

The Guardian of Kings

Fifteenth-century Hungarian King, Matthias I, trusted his Kuvaszok more than his advisers. Beset by intrigue, many in his court were disloyal.

So pleased was he with his Kuvaszok, that he embarked on an ambitious breeding program. Dogs were trained as hunters, guards and herders — they once served in the cavalry. Only those he favored in royal circles were allowed to own them until centuries later.

• They Were Almost Lost to History

After World War II, fewer than 20 Kuvaszok remained in Hungary. They had such a strong reputation for protecting their families that they’d been actively sought and killed by invading forces. In response, the government took over efforts to save the breed, permitting mating with non-pedigreed Kuvaszok and the similar German Kuvasz and Cuvac breeds.

The AKC had initially accepted the Kuvasz in 1931, but because there were so few, maintaining a breed standard proved challenging. When numbers rebounded, the Kuvasz was readmitted in 1974 and a new breed standard was established.