Livestock Guardian Dog

Meet the Kuvasz
AKC Breed StandardBreeders
Livestock Guardian Dog

Meet the Kuvasz

The Kuvasz is an ancient guardian dog, originally used for protecting livestock such as horses, sheep, and cattle. While the breed may have even older roots, the origins of the Kuvasz have been traced back as far as the steppes of the Ural Mountains in Siberia. In the late 9th century, the Magyar tribes conquered the Carpathian Basin, beginning the establishment of Hungary and bringing with them the Kuvasz. There, the breed achieved its present appearance.

During the reign of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary (1458-1490), and Hungary’s Renaissance Period, Kuvasz were used by the nobility for protection and hunting game. King Matthias established his own breeding program. Those were tumultuous times, with betrayal and assassination a common occurrence. The King placed trust in his Kuvaszok over his own Royal Guardsmen; it is said that he kept at least a brace (two or more dogs) with him at all times. A gift of Kuvasz to a nobleman from the Kings Royal Kennels was a special honor. Aristocratic connections aside, Kuvasz were always first and foremost the people’s guardian.

During World War II, the breed was almost driven to extinction in Hungary. The large white dogs, protecting their families and farms, were a problem to invading forces. Some letters of the time suggest the dogs were hunted by occupying troops. Ironically, at the same time, officers were known to have taken Kuvasz home with them.

After the war, a factory owner wanted Kuvasz to guard his property. A search of the country found less than 30 dogs remaining. Thanks to his efforts, and the efforts of other dedicated breeders in Hungary and other parts of Europe, the Kuvasz was repopulated in Hungary.

Kuvasz were first shown at a dog show in 1883. Count d’Esterházy, a strong supporter of the breed, displayed two Kuvaszok in Vienna in that year. The first Hungarian standard for the breed was written in 1885, and the first Kuvasz registered in the USA appears in the stud books of August 1931.

Today, the Kuvasz (plural Kuvaszok) is recognized by the American Kennel Club and is a member of the Working Group. The Kuvasz Club of America (KCA) was established in 1966 and was granted status as the official breed club in America by the American Kennel Club in 1993.

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