Canine Breed Spotlight: Kuvasz

A look at the Kuvasz!

Dog breed group:  Working dog

Average life expectancy: 10-12 years




The name Kuvasz may have originated from a few places, one is from the Turkish word kawasz, meaning bodyguard another is that it comes from the Sumerian word, ku assa, referring to a dog that guarded and ran alongside horses and horsemen.

The Kuvasz is an ancient dog breed. They are one of the oldest breeds from Hungary, where they worked protecting livestock. This breed was also highly regarded in the 15th century and could be found in the royal court of King Matthias Corvinus.

This breed had a major set back during World War II. Almost all the Kuvasz dogs in Hungary were killed during the war. Once the war ended, a few dedicated breeders worked hard to repopulate this breed. Due to the very small amount of breeding stock, breeds like the Great Pyrenees were used in these breeding programs to re-establish the breed.


The Kuvasz is  generally a happy breed of dog. When they are puppies and well into their adolescence they have a playful demeanor and a funny sense of humor. Once they reach adulthood they tend to be more calm. They are very loyal to their family (other furry friends included) and will do their “job” watching and herding children or other pets in the family. The can be aggressive towards strangers and strange animals if not properly trained and socialized from a young age.

Is this breed right for you?

  • The Kuvasz grows into a very large dog that takes up a lot of space in your house and car. They also shed a lot, so be prepared for a lot of fur clean up.
  • They have a very deep loud bark.
  • They are strong willed, independent and confident, they need an experienced owner that can take charge and be the leader of the pack.

Health concerns

Hip and elbow dysplasia are congenital disorders where the hip joint socket and elbow joint are abnormally loose. Dogs inherit the condition from their parents. Hip dysplasia will cause your dog to experience joint pain or laxity in the hind end, where elbow dysplaia will do the same to the front end. They could get both hip and elbow dysplasia or just one or the other.

Eye concerns such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) can be a concern in this breed. This is a genetic disease that causes the retina to degenerate in both eyes, leading to progressive vision loss and ultimately blindness.

Hypothyroidism can be a health concern in this breed. It is a hormonal disorder in dogs in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone.

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