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Kuvasz: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Kuvasz temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Kuvasz dog breed

A cuddly white fluffball as a puppy, the Kuvasz matures into a bold, spirited dog, determined to protect those who are dear to him.

This rugged breed deserves a roomy home with a spacious, securely fenced yard in the suburbs or country, for he feels compelled to announce every strange person and sound, and his deep bark may disturb the neighbors, especially at night when he is most vigilant.

He is content with daily walks and regular opportunities to stretch out for a romp, but he does play hard and needs room to amble about and patrol his territory.

Kuvasz are polite with accepted strangers, but rather suspicious and discriminating in making new friends. This breed needs early and ongoing socialization if his territorial instincts are to remain under control.

With the children in his own family, Kuvasz are gentle and patient, but may become concerned and overprotective when neighborhood kids join in. Similarly, he may be amiable with the pets in his own family, yet think nothing of eradicating trespassing animals.

As a livestock guardian, it is part of this breed's genetic makeup to lead. You must establish yourself as the leader so that he will turn the decision-making over to you. This can be a difficult task for first-time dog owners or those with passive personalities who can't take charge.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is large and rugged, resembling a majestic white bear
  • Will protect your horses, llamas, sheep, goats, or chickens
  • Can be found with a strong territorial temperament, or a more easygoing temperament
  • Tends to be serious and steady, rather than playful and silly
  • Is quiet indoors and content with moderate exercise

A Kuvasz may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • A very large dog who takes up a lot of space in your house and car
  • Destructiveness when bored or left alone too much
  • Aggression toward animals who don't belong to his family
  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Providing secure fences and lots of supervision to prevent wandering
  • Deep booming barks
  • Very heavy shedding

A Kuvasz may not be right for you.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

  • You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Kuvasz have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
  • If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
  • Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Kuvasz to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

More traits and characteristics of the Kuvasz

If I was considering a Kuvasz, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing something worthwhile to do. The Kuvasz is most satisfied when guarding livestock. You can substitute pulling a cart or sled, or backpacking, but without something constructive to do, a Kuvasz is likely to become bored and destructive.
  2. Providing enough socialization. Kuvasz need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be suspicious of everyone.
  3. Potential animal aggression. Most Kuvasz will treat the pets in their own family as members of their flock. But they have strong instincts to drive away animals who do not belong to their family. Many Kuvasz are dominant or aggressive toward dogs they don't know. Some Kuvasz are not safe with cats. This powerful breed is capable of seriously injuring or killing other animals.
  4. The strong temperament. As flock guardians, Kuvasz are bred to have an independent mind of their own so they can protect their vulnerable charges from whatever danger appear. They prefer to make their own decisions, which may not line up with yours when you're trying to raise them as an indoor companion. In other words, Kuvasz are typically willful dogs. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. Read more about Kuvasz Training.
  5. Heavy shedding. Kuvasz shed a LOT. You'll find hair and fur all over your clothing and furnishings.
  6. Noise. Unless you live on a farm away from close neighbors, Kuvasz should never be left outside unsupervised. Their booming barks will have your neighbors calling the cops to report the nuisance.

    I think it's pretty clear that the Kuvasz is not a breed for most households. Only certain living situations can provide the activities that keep him most satisfied.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.

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