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The Kuvasz Ancient Ku Assa Dog of Hungary

2 min read

kuvasz puppy

The Kuvasz is one of the ancient livestock guard dog breeds. Along with their cousins, the Great Pyrenees, the Maremma, the Akbash and the Polish Tatra, the Kuvasz is an ancient breed of dog. Of course there is disagreement among historical dog scholars, but it is believed the Kuvasz can trace their lineage to ancient Mesepotamia. In around 2000 BC, the Magyr tribe charged their way through Europe and eventually settling in what we now know as Hungary. They rode in on Turkmen horses (ancestor of the famous Akhal-Teke or golden horses) with the Ku Assa dog beside them. Ku Assa means Dog of the Horse.

Over time the Kuvasz became the dog of nobility and were used as guard dogs and for hunting a wide range of game. The gift of a Kuvasz from the king's personal kennel was quite the honor and guaranteed the recipient would move up several rungs on the social ladder. 

When political intrigue calmed down a bit after the Ottoman-Turkish invasion, the Kuvasz became the preferred dog of farmers and ranches.

Of course World War II decimated their numbers. Not only were they big, white and easy to see, but they guarded their families and farms fiercely, leading to many of them being shot by the invading troops. Thanks to the hard work of a few fanciers the breed was saved.

The Kuvasz, while obviously having links to the Great Pyrenees, Maremma and the Polish Tatra, is still a very different dog from its cousins. One thing they all have in common is their ability to think for themselves and solve problems without needing a human.They are also head-strong, especially when they know they are right, and strong physically.  This makes them either the greatest dog you ever met...or not. We shared our lives with Zoe, a Great Pyrenees, who lived to the age of 13 and she was the smartest dog I imagine I will ever know. 

The Great Pyrenees is more widely known, bur has similarities to the Kuvasz. Both are big, white fluffy dogs bred to guard livestock. Not herd them, but guard them...big difference. 

The Kuvasz is big, with adults ranging from 25-30" at the shoulder and up to 120 pounds or so. The Pyrenees is up to 32" tall and can easily be 160 pounds or more. They also have much thicker and longer coats. The Kuvasz is 100% white, while the Great Pyrenees can have biscuit/tan or grey/badger colored markings on their head and rump.  Both are equally smart, but the Pyrenees is usually recognized as being a bit more tolerant of children and more patient in general.

This dog is one of those not for an inexperienced dog owner and does best when they have enough land to do what they were born to do. 

Shop our Kuvasz Collection for Nose Butter, Boo Boo Butter and Relax Dog Aromatherapy featuring a Kuvasz on the labels.