Frequently asked Questions about the breed
1) Do they shed?
Put simply, EXCESSIVELY! I think my husband puts it best when he tells people that sometimes our house looks out of focus (due to little white tumbleweeds all over the house).
2)Are they good with Children?
As with most breeds, it does depend on the dog, the children and the environment, but generally they are good with kids. They tend to be more tolerant than other breeds when it comes to children. My dogs are not raised with kids but they all love them. You can usually spot my male, he's the one with kids draped around his neck.
3) Are they barkers?
Again, it depends on the individual dog, but on the average, YES! Sometimes to excess. I have a couple that at times you just want to strangle them as they just seem to go outside just to stand and bark.
4) Do they mind well (or, would they make good obedience dogs?)
Generally not. Again, I think my husband put it best when he told someone, Kuvaszok are like cats, they will take it under consideration and get back with you. If you want a dog that minds well and is a good obedience candidate, get a Golden. Also, I think the best story to describe a Kuvasz. A woman was getting a puppy. I told her to be prepared to deal with barking. The woman informed me that she would teach the dog when it is and is not appropriate to bark. I told her that a Kuvasz does not need her to tell them such things, they will decide on their own. She didn't believe me. A few months after she got the puppy she pleaded with a group of Kuvasz people to help her break her puppy of barking at her neighbors. At the same time, there are a large number of people who compete in obedience, rally, agility, etc with their Kuvasz and they have done some amazing things with their dogs. The two biggest factors, IMHO, is the disposition of the dog, and the commitment of the owner.
5) Do they get along with other animals?
Mine do. We have had cats and birds and other dogs, they do well with all. When we bring in an adult it usually takes awhile before the others will accept the dog and let them join in the play, but that is the worst of it. I have one girl that hates cats. She will tolerate them, she just gets pissy if they get in her face, but she wonít hurt one, she just lets it know that it has crossed the line. My male loves birds and kittens.
6) Are they territorial?
YES! Sometimes you have to protect the dog from stupid people. (ie, those that want to reach over a fence and pet a lunging barking dog.) Some Kuvasz people introduce their dogs to strangers on a lead, it all depends on the dog and the people. Mostly, you just need to know your own dog. Some are going to be more accepting of strangers while others will not.
7) Are they good family dogs?
I think so. Some say they are not lap dogs, I disagree, mine would love nothing better than to fall asleep in my lap. At the same time, they can be very independent. They are happy to get love and attention but they are not like, say a Golden, that pushes all the time to be loved.
8) Are they a stubborn breed?
Generally, VERY. Depends on the dog and it's mood.
9) Do they need a fenced yard?
YES! All dogs need a fenced yard, if for no other reason than protection. I have heard people say that you must have a 5-6 ft fence to contain a Kuvasz. I currently have 3 Kuvasz that stay quite well within the confines of a 4 ft fence. If anything, they will try to go under before over. Mine are definitely not jumpers. In fact, during some construction work around the house we blocked off part of our acreage and part of it was blocked with my garden fence, about 30" tall. It was hilarious to go out to the barn and see 4 kuvasz, whose heads were all well above the fence, staring at me wanting to join me. Not once did anyone even consider going over that fence. Although I did have my GSD/BC cross pull down a corner of the chicken wire and squeeze through the wood rails. Poor Kuvasz, standing right there with her could not figure out how she did it.
10) We had Great Pyrenees and they drooled, do Kuvasz drool?
Nope. I guess if you get one with loose flews (which they should not have) you might have drooling, but not one that is correct. Mine might drip slobber when they get hot, but that is not drooling.
11) What kind of health problems do they have?
Depending on who you talk to, this one will vary. I do not think anyone would argue about hip dysplasia, we have it in the breed, but we are doing all we can to eliminate it. Never buy a dog from someone who does not check hips with at least one of the groups out there, OFA and OVC are two such groups. Never buy a dog from someone who says we do not have the problem in our dogs so we donít x ray. Or, these dogs are imported from Hungary, they do not have the problem there. PHOOEY! on all counts. We have OCD in the breed. OCD is considered genetic by some, it is also considered to be injury related by some, and diet related. It is probably a combination of all of the above. It is usually seen in the shoulder but can also affect other joints. It is a thickening which is usually accompanied by a flap forming in the cartilage of the joint. Luckily if a dog does get OCD an operation can return the dog to a normal life. Also, OCD is a juvenile disease, if they make it past a year with getting it, they aren't going to get it. Some say we have heart problems. I do know of dogs that have died from heart problems. Some breeders do check hearts. Most breeders check eyes, and it is best to only buy from a breeder that does check eyes. Von Willebrand's is also seen in our breed. It is a bleeding disorder. Make sure any breeder you buy from also has laboratory test results for vWd factor.
12) What are their personalities like?
Kuvasz are very silly dogs. Mine seem to have an almost human-like sense of humor. They love to play (although I do not consider them high energy, especially like our Golden, in fact, generally, they tend to be pretty lazy, IMHO). When you have several and they live as a pack, you can see them coming up with games to play, our dogís favorite game seems to be what my husband and I call, "wild dog and gazelle". They never seem to mature past the puppy stage. The biggest play instigator in our house is our 10 year old. She is the one that befriends the new puppies. She can not jump as high as she used to, but she can still run and outplay almost any puppy.
13) Are they a long lived breed?
For their size, definitely. I would say 12 is probably the average. I have even heard of some that lived to 19 yrs of age. Christy made it to 12.5 yrs,
Brandy is currently 10 and still has more energy than most dogs 1/2 her age, and Frosty is currently over 12.5 yrs and still plugging along.
14) Is it hard to keep their coats clean and white?
No. They have a pretty self cleaning coat. I have seen mine come in with mud on them, once it is dry it flakes off and you usually can not tell where it was. Unlike other breeds, they do not seem to have much body odor (especially like our stinky little Golden, she canít go more than a month without getting stinky). To me, a Kuvasz smells chalky, or earthy. Even after several months. I had one girl that had not been bathed for a couple of years, she was not quite as white as those that got baths more frequently, but she was still white and she did not stink. That is why you can have multiple Kuvasz in the house and your house does not smell doggy.
15) what about their history?
The Kuvasz is a very ancient breed. I have seen statements of them being traced back as far as 7-8000 yrs ago. They traveled with the Sumerian herdsmen who are believed to have introduced them to Hungary. The dog which you see today is considered to have been developed by King Mathias of Hungary (1458-1490). The name Kuvasz is believed to be origininated by the Sumerians, "Ku Assa" meaning "dog of the horse". Both National Kuvasz clubs have pamplets which goes into much more detail about the breeds origins.
If there are any questions that I have missed that you want answered, please feel free to either contact me, or check my links page and see if they have the answer to your question.