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Kuvasz

(commonly referred to as Livestock Guard Dogs or LGDs)


General Description:

Kuvasz are traced back to Mesepotamia and the steppes of the Ural mountains in western Asia. It was in Hungary, however, that the breed achieved its present appearance. The Kuvasz is a guarding dog, originally used for protecting livestock such as horses, sheep and cattle. It is a very intelligent, assertive dog, combining great strength with quickness and speed that is often unexpected in a dog of its size. A Kuvasz is unwavering in its loyalty and devotion to its family, be they people or animals. There is no threat he will not face in protecting those he loves. He is independent in nature, and is discriminating with strangers. He makes his own judgements about who he will consider his acquaintances. This often leads to comments about "aloofness", which seems to add to his noble demeanor.

Size:

One of the large-sized breeds, the Kuvasz ranges from 28 to 30 inches tall and weighs between 70 to 130 pounds.

Color:

Solid White. The Kuvasz has a double coat – outer guard hair and fine undercoat. The texture of the coat is medium coarse ranges from curly to straight.

Energy Level:

Medium activity level is typical, but the breed will show great strength and energy when their stock are threatened by predators. Although they can be quiet indoors, they require quite a bit of daily exercise. They are calm and observant of their surroundings, instinctively protective, not inclined to go looking for trouble, but may not back down if challenged.

Life expectancy:

11 to 13 years.

Children:

Kuvasz can be good with children if raised with them, but are recommended for families with children over twelve years of age. It is important that children always be supervised by an adult when interacting with a dog. Older children with an active social life need to realize that, although their friends may like dogs, it may not be appropriate for the dog to interact with every visitor. The Kuvasz will defend both house and master, and it is particularly attentive with children it has been raised with.

Other animals:

Properly trained, the Kuvasz has the ability to bond closely to and protect sheep, horses and cattle from predators. They will demonstrate aloof awareness as leader of their adopted family (the flock), while also accepting a secondary role to their bonded humans. The Kuvasz tends to get along well with other dogs and family pets but will be reserved with strangers. The Kuvasz has been bred to guard their flock, and once bonded, these dogs will not hesitate to risk their own lives to protect their flock.

Abilities:

Ideal property and farm-stock guarding dog. Proven to be a successful companion dog.

Shedding/Grooming:

They are heavy shedders year round. A seasonal heavy shed occurs, in some areas twice a year. Their all-weather coat requires regular, thorough combing and brushings to remove all dead and loose hair and prevent matting.

Health:

Although the Kuvasz is one of the more healthy breeds, a few problems that can occur are: PRA: progressive retinal atrophy refers to a group of diseases that cause the retina of the eye to degenerate slowly over time. ACL: anterior cruciate ligament injury. OCD: osteochondritis disscans is a common, painful disease in dogs. GDV: gastric dilation volvulus aka "bloat" is a condition that is rapidly fatal in dogs, causing shock, coma, and death within 6-12 hours. PANO: panosteitis is also known as growing pains. They are also prone to cancer, as are many large to giaint breeds. Kuvasz health information.

Best with:

Requires experienced and confident dog owners who understand how to be gentle yet firm leaders. They are ideal for people needing a protective guard dog to watch over farm stock animals. They are relatively inactive indoors but need plenty of exercise and a job to do. If provided adequate daily exercise, the breed can be a quiet house dog. They can live successfully in an urban setting as family companions, with enough exercise and constant socialization. However, they are more adapted to life in semi-rural or rural settings where they can have a job to do.

This breed needs space - mentally as well as physically. If they are not working as an active flock guardian, they need to be taken on daily, brisk walks. A short walk around the block three times a day is not enough for this dog. Long and alternating walks are necessary. It must have frequent opportunities to run free within a large fenced area.

Not for:

Kuvaszok are not recommended for inexperienced first-time dog owners. They are not recommended for apartment life, regardless of the amount of on-leash exercise provided. They are not for people who require instant, unquestioned obedience to commands by their dog, nor for those who lack large fenced-in yards. The Kuvasz is not recommended for small children.

Pros:

They are highly intelligent, determined, courageous and fearless, as well as sensitive. Tend to be a one-family dog who can be depended on to protect family and property as well as farm-stock. Exhibit untiring ability to work and cover rough terrain for long periods of time. Has good scent and has been used to hunt game. They love to work. The breed thrives in cold climates. They can be a quiet house dog if provided adequate daily exercise, which includes long daily walks or runs. Polite to accepted strangers, the breed tends to be rather suspicious and very discriminating in making new friends.

Cons:

May be overprotective of property and family members, including children. May appear aloof, stubborn or non-compliant to obedience commands. Needs lots of daily exercise. Sheds heavily. Will roam if not fenced adequately. Tend to bark excessively to announce perceived intruders, which may include falling leaves, small animals, umbrellas, etc

Further Information:

Kuvasz Club of America
Kuvasz Fanciers of America
Breed Details

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