The Kuvasz is an ancient breed, among the oldest of all breeds. The Kuvasz (plural Kuvaszok) is recognized by the American Kennel Club and is a member of the Working Group.
While scholars differ on the detail, the origins of the Kuvasz are traced back as far as the cradle of civilization in Mesepotamia and the steppes of the Ural mountains in western Asia.
It was in Hungary, however, that the breed achieved it's present appearance. The Kuvasz is a guarding dog, originally used for protecting livestock such as horses, sheep and cattle.
Around 2000 B.C. travel routes for the nomadic people (and their livestock) between Europe and Asia were established. The Magyar tribes were among them, and swept along these routes conquering the Carpathian Basin in Hungary bringing with them the "Ku Assa" (meaning "Dog of the Horse").
During the reign of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary (1443-1490) and Hungary's Renaissance Period the Ku Assa were used by the nobility for protection and hunting game. King Matthias established his own breeding program. Those were tumultuous times, with betrayal and assassination a common occurrence. The King placed trust in his dogs over his own Royal Guardsmen: it is said that he kept at least a brace of Kuvasz with him at all times. A gift of Kuvasz to a nobleman from the Kings Royal Kennels was a special honor. Among those so honored was Count Dracula, upon his release from prison and marriage to the King's daughter.
The Ottoman-Turkish takeover brought with it a new evolution of the name, to "Kawasz" (meaning nobility's armed guard). Over time, the "Kuwaz quot; returned to its original duties, primarily guarding livestock and farms.
During World War II, the breed was almost driven to extinction in Hungary. No doubt the large white dogs, protecting their families and farms, were a problem to invading forces. Some letters of the time suggest the dogs were hunted by occupying troops. Ironically, at the same time, officers were known to have taken Kuvasz home with them.
After the war, a factory owner wanted Kuvasz to guard his property. A search of the country found less than 30 dogs remaining. Thanks to his efforts, and the efforts of other dedicated breeders in Hungary and other parts of Europe, the Kuvasz was re-populated in Hungary.
Kuvasz were first shown at a dog show in 1883. Count d'Esterházy, a strong supporter of the breed, displayed two Kuvaszok in Vienna in that year. The first Hungarian standard for the breed was written in 1885, and the first Kuvasz registered in the USA appears in the stud books of August 1931.
CH Rike von Waldfried 1st AKC Champion 1936
The Kuvasz Club of America (KCA) was established in 1966, and granted status as the official breed club in America by the American Kennel Club in 1993.
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