General Characteristics General Appearance General Appearance
Strong, large, white, wavy coated dog. Pleasing exterior denotes nobility and strength. Body proportions are well balanced, neither lanky nor cobby. Medium boned, never course. Well muscled with dry joints. Viewed from the side the trunk and the limbs form a horizontal rectangle slightly deviated from the square. Sturdy build combined with lightfootedness allows him to move freely on strong legs.
The Kuvasz is a large working dog with a pure white, medium length, wavy coat. Although strongly built, he possesses grace and lightness of foot, with no hint of bulkiness or lethargy, and is exaggerated in no aspect.
A working dog of larger size, sturdily built, well balanced, neither lanky nor cobby. White in color with no markings. Medium boned, well muscled, without the slightest hint of bulkiness or lethargy. Impresses the eye with strength and activity combined with light-footedness, moves freely on strong legs. The following description is that of the ideal Kuvasz. Any deviation must be penalized to the extent of the deviation.
Origin and Purpose Origin and Purpose
The kuvasz is one of the oldest Hungarian working shepherd dogs. He came to the Carpathian basin possibly with the migrant Hungarians, or with the Cumanians. The kuvasz excels as a protection dog and is a good watchdog for property and home. He has a keen sense of smell and can be used for tracking work. A Hungarian breed whose forbears can almost
certainly be traced back to the Tibetan Mastiff, the present-type Kuvasz
was first recorded in Hungary in the ninth century. Since that time, they have been widely used in their native land, primarily as guardians but also for tracking, hunting, herding, and as companions.
Temperament Temperament Temperament
Disposition is lively but not easily excitable. His general exterior gives evidence to untiring working ability. Loyal to his owners but very discriminating
with strangers. Extremely brave to the point of self sacrifice.
Temperamentally, the Kuvasz is an intelligent dog with a great deal of independence of spirit. He has been used for centuries as a guardian and has very strongly developed protective instincts. A spirited dog of keen intelligence, determination, courage
and curiosity. Very sensitive to praise and blame. Primarily a one-family
dog. Devoted, gentle and patient without being overly demonstrative. Always
ready to protect loved ones even to the point of self sacrifice. Extremely
strong instinct to protect children. Polite to accepted strangers, but rather
suspicious and very discriminating in making new friends. Unexcelled guard,
possessing ability to act on his own initiative at just the right moment
without instruction. Bold, courageous and fearless. Untiring ability to work
and cover rough terrain for long periods of time. Has good scent and has
been used to hunt game.
Head Head Head
The beautiful Kuvasz head denotes harmony, strength, and
intelligence.The wedge shaped head is elongated but never pointed. Skull is
broad, forehead slightly rounded. The longitudinal midline of the forehead
is pronounced and continues to the muzzle. Medium developed bony arches are
above the eyes. Stop is gently sloping to the muzzle. Top of muzzle is straight,
tapered towards the nose but is never snipey. Nose is rounded, black in color.
Cheeks are wide and long, very well muscled. The full set of teeth are well
developed, powerful, regular, and close in a scissors-like bite. Flews are
tight, black with indented edging at the corner of the mouth. Ears are set
on the same horizontal plane as the top of the head, bent at the base, close
to the skull. The outer edge of the upper third stand away from the head,
the inner edge lie close to the cheeks forming a rounded V-shape. When alert
the ears may move slightly but never rise above the head, cast backward or
fold lengthwise. Eyes are slanted, almond shaped, dark brown or black in color.
Eyelids are black and tight.
From the tip of the nose to the top of
the occiput should measure slightly less than half the dog’s height at the
withers. Viewed from above, the head should narrow, gradually and smoothly,
from the ears to the nose. The skull and muzzle are of equal length and the
width of the skull should be slightly less than its length. While there is
a gentle and graceful arch of the forehead above the eyes, the stop should
be only slightly marked. A distinct furrow runs from between the eyes to
the top of the occiput. The muzzle, which tapers gently from root to nose,
is strongly built with a punishing bite. It is never snipey but neither should
it be coarse or clumsy. Skin on the skull and muzzle should be clean, dry
and close-fitting. The lips should be tight and show no flews. The eyes should
be as dark as possible, ideally a coffee-black. They are almond shaped with
close-fitting rims, set well apart and a trifle obliquely. The nose is of
good size with well-developed nostrils. The teeth are large and very strong.
Dentition should be complete, and the teeth meet in a scissors bite. The
Kuvasz has drop-ears of triangular shape with a gently rounded tip. Set well
to the side and nearly at a level with the top of the head, the upper portion
stands slightly away from the head while the lower third falls close to the
cheek. When the dog is alert he brings the whole ear slightly toward the
front giving him a keen and alert appearance. The ear should be small and
neat and when pulled over the face should just cover the eye.
Proportions are of great importance as the head is considered
to be the most beautiful part of the Kuvasz. Length of head measured from
tip of nose to occiput is slightly less than half the height of the dog at
the withers. Width is half the length of the head. Eyes almond-shaped, set
well apart, somewhat slanted. In profile, the eyes are set slightly below
the plane of the muzzle. Lids tight, haws should not show. Dark brown, the
darker the better. Ears V-shaped, tip is slightly rounded. Rather thick, they
are well set back between the level of the eye and the top of the head. When
pulled forward the tip of the ear should cover the eye. Looking at the dog
face to face, the widest part of the ear is about level to the eye. The inner
edge of the ear lies close to the cheek, the outer edge slightly away from
the head forming a V. In the relaxed position, the ears should hold their
set and not cast backward. The ears should not protrude above the head. The
skull is elongated but not pointed. The stop is defined, never abrupt, raising
the forehead gently above the plane of the muzzle. The longitudinal midline
of the forehead is pronounced, widening as it slopes to the muzzle. Cheeks
flat, bony arches above the eyes. The skin is dry. Muzzle: length in proportion
to the length of the head, top straight, not pointed, underjaw well developed.
Inside of the mouth preferably black. Nose large, black nostrils well opened.
Lips black, closely covering the teeth. The upper lip covers tightly the
upper jaw only; no excess flews. Lower lip tight and not pendulous. Bite:
dentition full, scissors bite preferred. Level bite acceptable. Disqualifications:
overshot bite; undershot bite.
Neck Neck Neck
forms an angle of 25-30 degrees with the
horizontal, medium length, well muscled and has no dewlap.
The neck should be powerful, slightly arched, and of medium length. There should be no dewlap. Neck muscular, without dewlap, medium
length, arched at the crest.
Forequarters Forequarters Forequarters
Position of the front legs is of medium width. Elbows neither
in nor out. Long, well muscled radius support the body in a definite straight
line. Muscles continue towards the foot with lean and strong tendons. Joints
are dry, never loose. Pasterns form an angle of 45 degrees with the horizontal.
Feet are tight, well padded cat feet, black or slate-gray in color. Very
little hair between the toes, the nails are well developed, black or slate-gray.
The shoulders are well covered with good, hard muscle. The shoulder blade
and upper arm should be at right angles to each other and of good length,
allowing the dog ample reach and follow-through of stride. Elbows are close
without being constricted and the whole foreleg should describe a straight
line from shoulder to forepaw when viewed from the front. The leg should
be of good, strong bone, without being coarse or clumsy. The pasterns should
have ample spring and the feet should be of the type known as “cat feet,”
tight and well arched with deep, resilient pads. There should not be much
hair between the toes.
Shoulders muscular and long. Topline — withers are higher
than the back. The scapula and humerus form a right angle, are long and of
equal length. Elbows neither in nor out. Legs are medium boned, straight and
well muscled. The joints are dry, hard. Dewclaws on the forelegs should not
be removed. Feet well padded. Pads resilient, black. Feet are closed tight,
forming round “cat feet.” Some hair between the toes, the less the better.
Dark nails are preferred.
Body Body Topline, Body
Shoulders are long, withers are higher than the back. Medium
long back is straight and firm, loin is short and tight. Croup is slightly
sloping, broad, well muscled. The abundance of coat on the rear may give the
appearance of being higher than the front. Chest is slightly rounded, deep;
ribs are long, well-sprung. In profile the prosternum is ahead of the shoulders
and is covered with strong muscles. Stomach is tucked up.
The withers are prominent and slope gently
into a strong, level back of medium length. The chest reaches to the elbow,
with a well-developed forechest and medium spring of rib. The ribs behind
the forelegs must taper inward to allow complete freedom for long, easy
stride. The loin is strong and gently arched. There is a distinct but moderate
tuck-up. There should be a well-formed, slightly sloping croup which is broad
and well muscled.
Back is of medium length, straight, firm
and quite broad. The loin is short, muscular and tight. The croup well muscled,
slightly sloping. Forechest is well developed. When viewed from the side,
the forechest protrudes slightly in front of the shoulders. Chest deep with
long, well-sprung ribs reaching almost to the elbows. The brisket is deep,
well developed and runs parallel to the ground. The stomach is well tucked
Tail Tail Tail
is set low, a natural continuation of the sloping croup.
It is carried low with the last vertebra reaching to the hock joint. In repose
it hangs down, the end slightly lifted, not curling. In a state of excitement
the tail may be elevated to the level of the loin but never curl above the
The tail is set on low, a smooth continuation of the slope
of croup. The tip, when straightened, should reach the hock. The tail hangs
straight down and may be slightly turned up at the tip but should not curl
when the dog is relaxed. When the dog is excited, the tail will curl up to
the level of the loin, but should not be carried over the back.
carried low, natural length reaching at least to the hocks.
In repose it hangs down resting on the body, the end but slightly lifted.
In state of excitement, the tail may be elevated to the level of the loin,
the tip slightly curved up. Ideally there should not be much difference in
the carriage of the tail in state of excitement or in repose.
Hindquarters Hindquarters Hindquarters
Rear limbs and the thighs are well muscled. Pelvis and the
femur form an angle of 90 degrees, the femur and the tibia form an angle of
110-120 degrees (stifle angulation). Tibia and metatarsus form an angle of
130-140 degrees (hock angulation). Metatarsus is broad, dry and powerful.
Hocks are perpendicular to the ground. Metatarsus is more steep than the metacarpus.
Rear paws are somewhat longer than the front paws but just as tight. Dewclaws,
if any, are removed. Pads are thick, nails well developed, black or slate-gray
in color.
The hindquarters are well angulated. The angle between pelvis
and upper thigh should be 90 degrees to correspond with the proper angle in
the forequarters. The upper thigh itself should be of good length, creating
the correct bend of stifle (110-120 degrees). The bend of the hock joint should
be about 130-140 degrees with the metatarsus being short, strong, and perpendicular
to the ground. Rear paws are somewhat longer than forepaws but should nevertheless
be tight and well arched with deep, resilient pads. Dewclaws are undesirable
and should be removed.
The portion behind the hip joint is moderately long, producing
wide, long and strong muscles of the upper thigh. The femur is long, creating
well-bent stifles. Lower thigh is long, dry, well muscled. Metatarsus is short,
broad and of great strength. Dewclaws, if any, are removed. Feet as in front,
except the rear paws somewhat longer.
Size and Weight Size Size, Proportion, Substance
Height at the withers are: males: 71-76 centimeters, females: 66-70 centimeters. Relative measurement for different parts of the body is in percentage to that of the withers: length of body: 104%, depth of chest: 48%, width of chest: 27%, measurement of the girdle: 120% (also called circumference at the withers), length of head: 45% length of muzzle: 42% of the head length, length of ears: 50% of head length, weight for males: 48-62 kg, weight for females: 37-50 kg The recommended sizes are: males, 28 – 29-1/2 inches (71-75
cm) high at the withers with a corresponding weight of approximately 88 –
115 lb. (40-52 kg); females, 26 – 27-1/2 inches (66 – 70 cm) high at the withers
with a corresponding weight of approximately 66 – 93 lb. (30 – 42 kg).
Height measured at the withers: Dogs, 28 to 30 inches; bitches, 26 to 28 inches. Disqualifications: Dogs smaller than 26 inches. Bitches smaller than 24 inches. Weight: Dogs approximately 100 to 115 pounds, bitches approximately 70 to 90 pounds. Trunk and limbs form a horizontal rectangle slightly deviated from the square. Bone in proportion to size of body. Medium, hard. Never heavy or coarse. Any tendency to weakness or lack of substance is a decided fault.
Movement Gait Gait
The walk is slow, the trot is energetic, covers
ground well. The kuvasz is able to trot 25-30 km without tiring.
The trot is smooth, elastic and far-reaching, often showing
a tendency for the hind foot to overreach the front. As the dog’s speed increases,
he will tend to single-track. When he is moving fast, he will carry his head
low, at a level with his shoulders. The Kuvasz should move effortlessly,
enabling him to travel great distances without fatigue.
Easy, free and elastic. Feet travel close
to the ground. Hind legs reach far under, meeting or even passing the imprints
of the front legs. Moving toward an observer, the front legs do not travel
parallel to each other, but rather close together at the ground. When viewed
from the rear, the hind legs (from the hip joint down) also move close to
the ground. As speed increases, the legs gradually angle more inward until
the pads are almost single-tracking. Unless excited, the head is carried rather
low at the level of the shoulders. Desired movement cannot be maintained without
sufficient angulation and firm slimness of body.
Skin and Coat Coat and Colour Coat
Skin is heavily pigmented slate-gray in
color. Nose, eyelids, and flews are black the foot pads are slate-gray or
black. Preferred color for the roof of the mouth is black, but dark pigmentation
on slate-gray foundation is accepted. Hair is medium coarse, wavy, slightly
rough in texture and does not mat. Color is white. The double coat formed
by medium course guard hair has a fine, downy undercoat. Head, ears, and paws
are covered with 1-2 centimeter long, straight, thick hair. The hair on the
front of the forelegs up to the elbows and on the hindlegs below the thighs
are also covered with straight thick hair. The back of the forelegs are feathered
to the pastern with hair 5-8 centimeters long. Around the neck there is a
mane that extends to and covers the chest. The mane is more prominent on
the male kuvasz. Body, thighs, and upper forelegs are covered with medium
long (4-12 centimeters) thick, wavy coat which forms haircrests, swirls and
tufts. The entire tail is covered with thick wavy coat, 10-15 centimeters.
The double coat is formed by a coarse outer guard coat and a thick, woolly
undercoat. The texture of the guard coat is rough so that the coat readily
sheds dirt and shows no tendency to mat. The length of the hair follows
a definite pattern: head, ears, front of forelegs, and feet are covered with
short, straight, dense hair 3/8 – 3/4 inches ( 1-2 cm) in length. The guard
coat on the body and thighs is medium length 1-1/2 – 4-3/4 inches (4-12 cm).
Some coats have long, loose waves, some have smaller, tighter waves. Both
are correct, as is anything in between. On the adult dog, the coat must not
be tightly curled nor should it lie completely flat, but the degree of waviness
will vary considerably from one specimen to another. There is a ruff and mane
of longer hair about the neck and chest, more prominent on the males, and
feathering of 2-3-1/4 inches (5-8 cm) on the back of the legs. The tail is
thickly covered in long wavy hair 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) in length. Puppies
may have either straight or curly coats but should lose these characteristics
with their first adult coat. The coat is a lustrous, pure white, although
ivory is permissible, but not preferred. A yellow saddle is to be severely
penalized. The skin is well pigmented, preferably grey in colour. The nose,
eye rims, lips, and flews are black. The roof of the mouth should be dark.
Pads of the feet are black or slate grey and slate-coloured nails are preferred.
The Kuvasz has a double coat, formed by guard hair and fine
undercoat. The texture of the coat is medium coarse. The coat ranges from
quite wavy to straight. Distribution follows a definite pattern over the body
regardless of coat type. The head, muzzle, ears and paws are covered with
short, smooth hair. The neck has a mane that extends to and covers the chest.
Coat on the front of the forelegs up to the elbows and the hind legs below
the thighs is short and smooth. The backs of the forelegs are feathered to
the pastern with hair 2 to 3 inches long. The body and sides of the thighs
are covered with a medium length coat. The back of the thighs and the entire
tail are covered with hair 4 to 6 inches long. It is natural for the Kuvasz
to lose most of the long coat during hot weather. Full luxuriant coat comes
in seasonally, depending on climate. Summer coat should not be penalized.
Color White. The skin is heavily pigmented. The more slate gray or black
pigmentation the better.
Faults Faults
Too short or too long muzzle. Forehead more rounded. Underdeveloped
bony arches above the eye. Too much stop. Loose eyelids and flews. Cast back,
twisted or incorrectly folded ears. Long neck. Too wide chest. Loose shoulders.
Light or pink pigmentation of the skin. Light eyes. Poor pigmentation on
the nose, flews and eyelids. Roachback or swayback. Loose body structure.
Yellow coat or markings. Incorrect front or rear stance. Missing, crooked
or uneven teeth. Coat not wavy. Small size. Round eyes. Roman nose. Coarse
head. Aggressive or shy temperament. Long body. Flat chest. Light bone structure.
Since the Kuvasz is a working breed, any faults of soundness
should be considered serious. Faults in type which should be guarded against
are: too short a muzzle, apple head or bulging skull, no visible supraorbital
ridge, too much stop; giving an uncharacteristic setter-like appearance, drooping
haws or pendulous flews, hound ears, lying back in the ruff. Too long a neck,
barrel chest, loose or sloppy shoulder assembly, yellow eyes or yellow markings,
sullen appearance or distrustful expression (not to be confused with reserve),
extreme nervousness, overshot or undershot mouth, gay tail.
Disqualifications Disqualifications Disqualifications
Upstanding ears. Overshot bite. More than 2 millimeters undershot
bite. Entropion or ectropion eyelids. Very pronounced stop. Coat which mats.
Short, straight, stiff, splintery coat. Open coat with very little undercoat.
Limbs covered with long hair. Males smaller than 68 centimeters, females
smaller than 63 centimeters. Tail raised higher than the loin or curled over
the back in repose. Coat color other than white. Cryptorchidism, monorchidism.
Over or undersize as follows Males, over 32 inches (81 cm)
or under 25-1/2 inches (65 cm); Females, over 30 inches (76 cm) or under 23-1/2
inches (60 cm). So pronounced a lack of pigmentation as to have flesh-coloured
eye rims. Colour other than white.
Overshot bite. Undershot bite. Dogs smaller
than 26 inches. Bitches smaller than 24 inches.