Kuvasz Breed Magazine - Showsight


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard of the Kuvasz General Appearance: 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. Size, Proportion, Substance : 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. Head : 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, Topline, Body : Neck muscular, without dewlap, medium length, arched at the crest. 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 up. Tail 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.

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Forequarters : 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. Hindquarters : 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. Coat : 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. Gait : 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. Temperament : 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. Disqualifications : Overshot bite; undershot bite. Dogs smaller than 26 inches. Bitches smaller than 24 inches.

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Approved July 12, 1999 Effective August 30, 1999



By Lynn Brady & Connie Townsend

lthough you seldom see an entry of Kuvasz at a dog show or in perfor- mance events, arche- ologists estimate the Kuvasz to be among

the oldest of all breeds. Many theories have evolved regarding the history of the Kuvasz but the earliest history is highly speculative. It is certain that the Kuvasz is an ancient livestock-guardian breed that has adapted to a variety of working environments over the centuries, guard- ing homes and businesses as well as flocks and herds. Th e Kuvasz guarded nomads’ livestock as they moved their flocks along trade routes between Europe and Asia. Th e dogs followed the Magyar people into the Car- pathian Basin to settle into present-day Hungary around 955 AD. Th e first Kuvasz known to have exhib- ited in a show was shown in Hamburg, Germany, in 1863, and Kuvasz were entered in a Hungarian dog show in 1865. But it wasn’t until 1921 that a for- mal standard for the breed was written by Emil Raitsits. After 1921, the number of Kuvasz increased significantly. By 1935, 1,700 Kuvasz were registered in Hungary. At that time, the standard was revised by Mr. Abonyi, vice president of the Hungarian All Breed Kennel Club and Director of the Budapest Zoo, and Dr. Marki, a veterinarian. Dogs with reddish, wolf-gray, or black were no longer accept- able, nor were dogs with corded coats. For decades, this standard provided guidelines for the Kuvasz breeders. Meanwhile, in the United States, in 1920, the first Kuvasz was imported by a Hungarian couple and placed with Miss Mabel E. Marsh, who registered him with the AKC. She went on to import a female from Hungary and became the first AKC Kuvasz breeder, under the Romance ken- t4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& 0 $50#&3 

“DURING THE 1960s AND ‘70s, SO FEW KUVASZ EXHIBITED IN THE U.S. that the breed qualified for the AKC Sexes Combined class, producing 12 champions between 1966 and 1969.”

nel name. During the 1930s, Miss Marsh campaigned tirelessly for AKC recognition of the Kuvasz. In 1935, she entered her four American bred Kuvasz, the first to be shown at West- minster, even showing two dogs as a brace. She topped it o ff by driving the entire four- dog team around the ring. Th at year, the AKC approved the breed standard, and in October of 1936, Ch. Gilda of Romance, bred by Miss Marsh, became the first AKC Kuvasz champion. Th e first Kuvasz Club in America was established in 1939, although there were still few Kuvasz in the United States. During the 1930s, Mr. and Mrs. Ziegler of Manchester, Pennsylvania, imported two German Kuvasz and began breeding. However, from 1940 to 1966, only five Kuvasz earned AKC championships. Sadly, the breed was devastated during World War II. After the war in Commu- nist Hungary, a factory manager wanted Kuvasz to guard the property but a search of the country found less than 30 dogs remaining. Of those, most didn’t have proof of registration or a formal pedigree.

Several dedicated breeders selected white dogs that looked like Kuvasz. Th ey also imported dogs from German breeders and began to resurrect the breed. In 1954, the Hungarian breeders revised the Kuvasz standard and submitted it to the FCI for approval. Due to their e ff orts, the breed was firmly reestablished in Hun- gary and in a number of other nations, including the United States. Following the Hungarian standard, the appearance of the Kuvasz was standardized. During the 1960s and ‘70s, so few Kuvasz exhibited in the U.S. that the breed qualified for the AKC Sexes Com- bined class, producing 12 champions between 1966 and 1969. Despite lim- ited breeding stock, dedicated Ameri- can breeders began to expand the breed. Dana Alvi was one of these breeders, and she led the charge in establishing the Kuvasz Club of America (KCA) on April 30, 1966. Th ese breeders worked together to encourage and promote the breeding of quality Kuvasz. Interest in the Kuvasz and exhibition at AKC shows expanded during the 1970s

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“INTEREST IN THE KUVASZ AND EXHIBITION AT AKC SHOWS EXPANDED DURING THE 1970s AND ‘80s, with 214 dogs achieving their championship.”

and ‘80s, with 214 dogs achieving their championship. In 1972, a male earned a Group 4, and in 1974, a female earned a Group 1. Finally, on July 10, 1977, Ch. Hamralvi Heimdall Odin, bred by Dana Alvi, became the first Kuvasz to win an AKC Best in Show. Since then, a number of Kuvasz have excelled in the show ring, becoming nationally ranked. In 1933, the AKC recognized the KCA as the o ffi cial parent club of the breed, and the KCA held the first Kuvasz Nation- al Specialty, with an entry of over 100 dogs  the first annual celebration of this wonderful breed.

Today, Kuvasz can be found guarding flocks and homes in the U.S., as they have done in Europe and Asia for thousands of years. They also compete in conformation, obedience, rally, agility, tracking, carting, and even coursing. They are therapy dogs and assistance dogs, and of course, loyal family pets and personal companions. Yet the disquieting truth is that today there are only about ten well-established Kuvasz breeders in the U.S. Of these breeders, the majority produced approxi- mately one to two litters a year. Many breeders keep only one puppy from a lit- ter, new show prospects may not turn out,

and sometimes good dogs are placed in a home where they are supposed to be shown but end up spayed or neutered. The result is fewer Kuvasz being shown in conforma- tion each year. Upcoming AKC judges may have a difficult time finding entries to support their judging applications for the breed. Current judges will seldom see an entry of more than a couple dogs, if any. From 2009 through May 2012, 72 Kuvasz have completed their AKC championships, with only 14 Grand Champions. It’s difficult for exhibitors to find majors. Annually, the largest majors are

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usually at the KCA National Specialty and the subsequent shows. With fewer champi- ons being finished, future breeding stock is reduced. Structural issues or failure to pass health clearances further reduces breeding potential. Few breeds have a gene pool as a small as the Kuvasz. This small gene pool creates an extremely challenging environment for our dedicated breeders to continue to produce great dogs. Unlike many working breeds that have hundreds or more stud dogs to choose from, the Kuvasz breeder today probably only has a selection that you could count on both hands. While it is reasonable to expect that easier access to international dogs would increase the breeding pool, this has not routinely prov- en to be true. Sadly, breeders in Europe  and specifically, Hungary  are facing problems similar to ours. Imports brought to the U.S. have added some genetic diversity but have not always provided desired qualities. Conflicts relating to type have fur- ther reduced the gene pool because there is limited breeding across this “type bar- rier.” These conflicts confuse judges and prospective owners alike. The KCA Judges Education Council has developed an excel- lent, comprehensive tool for judges with visual aids defining type, as documented in the AKC breed standard and fully endorsed by the parent club, the KCA. Today’s Kuvasz breeders clearly under- stand their responsibilities as guardians of our breed, mentors, educators, and trainers. As a result, breeders have equipped their Kuvasz with tools necessary to adapt to different environments, focusing on early and frequent socialization. Kuvasz breeders deserve recog- nition for their extraordinary efforts and pro- found gratitude for all that they continue to do to for this remarkable breed! BIO Lynn Brady & Connie Townsend have been members of the KCA since 1992 and have been active in conformation, perfor- mance events and have been board members, past president, secretary and AKC Delegate. In 2012, Brady and Townsend were the AKC Working group Breeders of the Year.

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By Agi Hejja

aving lived with small- er dogs as a child, I was ready for some- thing impressive and laid-back as a teen- ager. I bought my fi rst

Kuvasz pup in 1970 from summer earnings as a Hungarian high-school student. I was attracted to the breed because of their regal look and strong presence. I had always liked a calm, collected, and quiet dog. Th e beauty of the Kuvasz’ dark eyes and facial pigmen- tation, contrasting with the white coat, was as striking then as it is now. As a young woman, I admired the con fi dent, protec- tive work ethic of my Kuvasz. I was most thankful when my 8-month-old dog o ff ered protection against an aggressive stranger on one of our long evening walks. Th e Kuvasz is an ancient breed brought to the Carpathian basin from the Asian steppes by the nomadic tribes that invaded the area around 900 to 1000 A.D. Th e Kuvasz may have derived from large Tibetan dogs travel- ing with these tribes. Th ey probably mixed with the local dog population as they migrat- ed from East to West. Th e adaptable Kuvasz easily changed roles from an able horse dog to an excellent guardian of sheep and cattle as their tribe’s society transitioned from a nomadic to settled way of life. A judge looking to evaluate the breed must be a con fi dent person who can deal with the protective nature of the breed. As the Kuvasz is an excellent judge of a person’s emotional state, they react to even a hint of suspicious behavior. Anyone who is insecure dealing with large, protective dogs should not judge the breed. Although most expe- rienced breeders will train and condition their dogs to the show ring, we have many novice exhibitors whose dogs should to be approached with patient con fi dence. As I mark an entry coming into the ring, I search for that regal look and presence that fi rst led me to fall in love with the breed.

When judging the breed, the horizontal profile in relation to the height and length of leg must be in balance. This is a young female.

Th e Kuvasz is a large dog with a soft and intelligent expression. It is well balanced, well muscled, and sturdy, with good substance and no hint of coarseness. Gait and move- ment are free and must be e ffi cient, with no wasted e ff ort. Dogs are ideally 28 to 30 inches at the withers, with bitches between 26 to 28 inches. When judging dogs that fall above or below the ideal height guidelines, one must take into consideration other factors that determine the dog’s quality. Disquali fi - cations are dogs smaller than 26 inches and bitches smaller than 24 inches. Viewed from the side, the animal should show a horizontal rectangle, slightly deviated from the square. When judging the breed, the horizontal pro fi le in relation to the height and length of leg must be in balance. A critical aspect of judging a Kuvasz is the head, which is the most beautiful fea-

ture of the breed and must have correct pro- portions. Th e length of the head is slightly less than half the height of the dog at the withers when measured from the tip of the nose to the occiput. Th e width of the head is half the length of the head. I am looking for a wedge-shaped head, with clean planes and smooth lines. Dark, almond-shaped eyes should be slightly slanted and set back between the plane of the muzzle. Ears are V-shaped, with a slightly rounded tip that should cover the eye when pulled forward. Th e wide part of the ear should be about level to the eye. Th e skull is elongated but not pointed, with a re fi ned stop that is not abrupt but shows a gradual rise in the forehead above the plane of the muzzle. Cheeks are fl at, with bony arches above the eyes, and the skin is dry. Th e mouth and lips are black and are not pendulous; the nose is large and black.

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Complete scissors bite is preferred; a level bite is acceptable. Overshot or undershot bite is a disquali fi cation. Th e back is muscular and hard, with broad, well-sprung ribs. Th e top line pres- ents a smooth, continuous line from the neck to the croup, with an arched neck at the crest set smoothly into high, well-mus- cled withers. Th e tail is set and carried low as an extension of the croup to complete a graceful outline. A manual examination of the Kuvasz’ structure is imperative as the true outline can be obscured by coat. Coat type can be either straight or wavy but must be a double coat consisting of a fi ne undercoat and longer guard hair of mediumcoarse texture. Th e facial and leg hair is short and smooth, transitioning to medium-length body hair and longer hair for the mane, tail, and leg feathering. As the Kuvasz is a working dog, excessively long hair should be penalized. Th e skin is heavily pigmented, black or slate, the darker the better, with black pads and nails. Th e coat is white. Th e judge should part the hair to determine the true color of the coat. Th ere are di ff erent shades of white and stains can occur. Th e Kuvasz should be shown at a trot on a loose lead. He carries his head and tail relatively low. Th e Kuvasz shows great intelligence and an ability to act alone in any situation. A one-family dog, they are highly sensitive to praise or blame and are courageous and bold. In the show ring, a Kuvasz with a correct temperament is not shy or aggres- sive, but I will give some allowance for a young dog. To brie fl y review the essence of the Kuvasz, it is a large, strong, elegant dog with a moderately proportioned head and body; a balanced and easy gait; a calm, self- assured nature; and a soft, intelligent expres- sion. It should be presented with a natural, untrimmed coat and appearance. BIO Hungarian native Agi Hejja is an AKC judge who has owned and bred Kuvasz since 1970. She currently serves as Chair of the Kuvasz Club of America’s Judges Education Committee and lives in Virginia.

$ critical aspect of judging a .uYasz is the head, Zhich is the most beautiful feature of the breed and must haYe correct proportions. 6hoZn here a young female.

This male shoZs the desired Zedgeshaped head, Zith clean planes and smooth lines. 'arN, almondshaped eyes should be slightly slanted and set bacN betZeen the plane of the muzzle. t4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& 0 $50#&3 

LIVING WITH A KUVASZ By A. Laurie Leslie Leevy O ur life with Kuvasz began more than 33 years ago, when the fi rst perfect, white fl u ff ball entered into our family of 2

adults, 2 young children, a cat, a rat and some birds. At the time my husband was a marathon runner attracted to the idea of a dog who could e ff ortlessly run long distances. We both were intrigued with a breed that could be good with children, was an exceptional guard and was able to act on his own initiative. I smile at that last phrase, for it has been the key to many interesting moments in our lives as Kuvasz owners. Our fi rst Kuvasz puppy, like all those that followed, was easily housebroken, clown-like in play and an early candi- date for socialization. I had met Kuvasz who had never left their homes and though exceptional guardians, they were also quite di ffi cult to manage in a mod- ern world where dogs must be driven to the vet and handled by strangers. Th e most experienced breeders were right: In our present-day world, one must social- ize a Kuvasz pup to everything one will want them to experience in adulthood. We were o ff to classes and out into the world immediately. A Kuvasz is a very smart dog, but not necessarily a dog that will do 20 repeti- tions of the same activity. One must be creative, fi rm, fair and positive while training a Kuvasz. Kuvasz can learn to work happily but will shut down in response to tireless overtraining or abuse. A Kuvasz wants a job and is happiest when in the middle of things, watch- ing the family or livestock and keeping an eye on its property. Th is is an animal that needs time, attention, training and a securely fenced environment.

Though a born working dog who competes in dog sports, Rebel Ridge Big Easy Music, CD RN CGC (Jazz)—is playful and affectionate.

Perhaps most interesting are the many things one does not have to teach a Kuvasz. Somewhere in the fi rst year of life, the young Kuvasz will begin guarding, which translates into growling and barking at any person or thing that is new and di ff erent. Our fi rst Kuvasz barked madly one morn- ing while staring out the window into the front yard. When we looked, we saw

that a large, fallen limb was the object of his consternation. Years later, we were awakened in the middle of the night to a wild barking epi- sode. My husband and I took turns going downstairs to investigate and seeing noth- ing, told the dog to hush. Th is Kuvasz, who was normally silent at night, quieted for a moment, until the racket began again;

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“Often described as reserved, that is more their public face. With family and accepted friends, THEY ARE SWEETLY LOVING AND OFTEN QUITE ENGAGING, SILLY AND FULL OF TRICKS.”

At age 4, Disa prevented a Kuvasz that was not socialized with children from pursuing a screaming child.

there he stood, barking at a door that linked house to garage. After the third or fourth time, royally annoyed with this barking critter, we fi nally paused and listened carefully. Faintly, we heard the slightest whooshing sound and upon opening the door, we saw a lake of water. A pipe had broken and water was fl ood- ing the garage and would soon fl ow into the house! We were saved by a dog that acted on his own initiative, even when told to hush. A Kuvasz’s ability to act without direction can be striking. At one of our large parties, with lots of dogs and chil- dren, a few of them unfamiliar with one another, a six-year-old girl suddenly leapt up, screaming and ran across the yard. A Kuvasz bitch that had no experience with children took o ff after the shouting child. As we adults called to the child to stop and called to the bitch to drop, Disa, our 4-year-old male, in-charge Kuvasz raced and grabbed the bitch solidly by the tail, pulling and holding her until the humans could intervene. In our long line of Kuvasz, we’ve had soccer-playing Kuvasz and those who want nothing to do with a ball; keen hunters and those who watch squirrels and birds as if they were part of their fl ock. None of ours has wanted to swim (others do), though visiting Flat-Coated and Golden Retrievers have bounded into the pool to be watched by our Kuvasz as if some other species. All our Kuvasz have liked playing what famous Kuvasz breeder Aino Andres calls “doggie dress up”: rolling in every dead and disgusting thing, happy to dis- guise themselves. We have learned to be

ever vigilant in fi nding any dead things on the property to spare ourselves this canine party game. Our Kuvasz are interesting beings. Often described as reserved, that is more their public face. With family and accepted friends, they are sweetly loving and often quite engaging, silly and full of tricks. Th ere is an old Hungarian saying that the master’s friends are the dog’s friends and the master’s enemies the dog’s enemies. It has seemed true with all our Kuvasz; they enjoy our friends’ attention, yet suspicious- ly keep watch of any new person. Our Kuvasz have been gentle with chil- dren but the children were taught to be gentle and respect our Kuvasz. Kuvasz are by nature quiet and relaxed in the house and yet will spring into action at any change in the environment. No one enters our property without the sound and fury of barking dogs. Our Kuvasz have been stoics. I have seen many very sick, elderly dogs su ff er end-of-life illness with little sign that any- thing is wrong. Th eir stoicism means that a deteriorating condition can be overlooked; thus, we owners must be vigilant in watch- ing for subtle changes. Our Kuvasz have been great teachers, showing patience and forgiveness when we‘ve made mistakes and showing joy in simple pleasures, whether walking, climb- ing and running about the land; driving o ff a fox or deer; smelling fl owers; eating an occasional bee; sunbathing; smiling; or lying upside down in complete and utter relaxation. Our Kuvasz, the ancient Hungarian livestock-guarding breed, is not for every-

one. Th is is a dog that will fi ll the boss spot in a family if there is insu ffi cient human leadership. For the right family or individ- ual, the Kuvasz is a remarkably engaging, sometimes challenging, noble friend. In an ever-present cloud of “Yes, they do shed,” Kuvasz owners fi nd themselves with dogs that work as livestock guardians and do agility, obedience, rally, tracking, conformation, therapy, carting and more. But most important, they are wonderful family members. And so, these many years later, my husband no longer runs, the children are grown and I’m a bit slower. Yet thanks to wonderful, dedicated breeders who have long persevered to improve and maintain this magni fi cent breed of herdsmen and kings, a handsome male Kuvasz—Rebel Ridge Big Easy Music, CD RN CGC (Jazz)—gets us up and walking, throwing things, playing silly dog games, compet- ing in dog sports, cuddling and driving hither and yon. Th rough it all, he con- nects us to an ancient community of Kuvasz and their enthusiasts.


A. Laurie Leslie Leevy is a 30-year member of the Kuvasz Club of America and has served as editor of

“Selections from the Kuvasz” Newsletter. A member of the Suburban Dog Training Club, in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania and a lifelong gardener, she stays busy training in Open Obedience and in the reading- comprehension sport known as Rally.

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K uvasz Fanciers of America, Inc., a 501(c) (3) charitable organiza- tion, was founded in 1985 and has remained dedicated not just to the preservation and promotion of the Hungar- ian Kuvasz, but also to the support of ethical breeder conduct, rescue of Kuvasz in distress, public education, and sponsorship of Kuvasz events and activities. We are inaugural spon- sors of the AKC Canine Health Foundation Bloat Initiative, support the Rabies Challenge Fund, and have published an annual Kuvasz Rescue Calendar for the past 9 years. In order to support our breed, we also o ff er trophies at AKC shows. In conjunction with the Coyote Cluster, KFA will be holding a multi-event fi lled long weekend this year, and will be of- fering Kuvasz themed trophies in Tucson, AZ November 15-18th, 2013. Look for the schedule at KFA Weekend 2013. It is our great pleasure to introduce you to one of the oldest and most unique dog breeds in the world, $BOJTGBNJMJBSVTVOEVMBOTIVO - HBSJDVT the “Hungarian wavy-coated dog.” A proud and highly intelligent dog, the beauti- ful white Kuvasz is an intensely self-assured, strong-willed breed that has performed for thousands of years as a livestock protector, watchdog, and steadfast companion. Th e Kuvasz is thought to descend from the Arabian wolf, the Kuvasz is likely one of the most ancient of dog breeds and is considered to be the ancestor of many livestock guard- ian breeds of Asiatic origin. Archaeological evidence places a dog of Kuvasz appearance in what is today North Iraq in 6600 BC, al- though the Kuvasz is thought to have existed as early as 9000 BC. Th e Kuvasz arrived with nomadic tribes in Hungary’s Carpathian Basin in 896 AD. It was used and bred fi rst by herdsmen and

shepherds, and later by Hungarian nobility. Th e most notable benefactor and breeder of the Kuvasz was the renowned and beloved King Mátyás, who ruled renaissance Hun- gary from 1458 - 1490. According to legend, King Mátyás kept at least one Kuvasz beside him at all times for protection from assassins. He also used packs of Kuvasz for hunting large game on his estates. Specially selected puppies from the king’s breeding kennels were given to favored noble visitors. Centuries after the reign of King Mátyás, the Kuvasz remained the most popular of the unique native Hungarian dog breeds. Rural folk pooled their money and bought pairs of these expensive dogs to protect their entire village from bandits. In early twentieth-cen- tury Hungary, Kuvasz police dogs replaced foreign, less formidable breeds. ONE KUVASZ Prior to World War I, the Hungarian Ku- vasz was a fashionable breed at home and abroad, and many were exported to Ger- many. As wars and bitterness separated the two countries, the German population of Kuvasz became isolated from its Hungarian source. German breeders almost certainly introduced Great Pyrenees dogs into their Kuvasz breeding programs to bolster num- bers. Compounding the problem, desperate Hungarian breeders imported and used Ger- man Kuvasz during their e ff orts to salvage the breed after World War II. Th rough judicious breeding the historically typical Kuvasz is thriving again not only in its native land, but also in Germany, the United States, and other countries worldwide. MEOE (Hungarian Kennel Club) Judge, Dr. András Kovács dis- cusses this in his paper “ Th e Kuvasz.” KUVASZ Q & A Q: When I went to an American Kennel

Club dog show, I became very confused. Th e dogs competing in the Kuvasz ring looked like two or three di ff erent breeds. Are there several varieties of Kuvasz? A: Th ere is only one real Kuvasz, and it cannot be mistaken for any other dog breed. Bred to trot all day, chase and fi ght if nec- essary, it is a big, tall dog, but not a giant breed: its body is wolf like and slightly rect- angular, with lean musculature, medium bone size, and long legs. Traditionally an outdoor sentry, the Kuvasz has an insulating double coat, harsh on the outside, soft and woolly beneath. A natural, unexaggerated breed, there is no dewclaw removal, tail-docking, ear trim- ming, or other alterations to its appearance. Th e Hungarian Kuvasz has an elegant, wedge-shaped head; whose distinguishing length is nearly half the height of the dog at the withers. Th e bridge of the muzzle is level; the top skull is fl at, and the ears are high-set and triangular. Th e eyes are dark and slanted slightly upward. Seen in pro fi le, the planes of the bridge of the muzzle and the top of the skull are identical, and there is a characteristi- cally subtle, almost invisible stop rising from the muzzle through the gentle forehead to the top of the skull. An equally characteristic furrow dissects up the middle of the top skull. Although white animals are revered as benevolent spirits in Hungarian folklore, the creamy-white color of the Kuvasz coat evolved for more pragmatic reasons. Histori- cally, the journey of the Kuvasz across Eurasia closely followed the journey of domesticated sheep. To be accepted rather than feared by sheep, the Kuvasz was bred to be sheep-like not just in size and general appearance but also in color. Furthermore, for its own safety, the Kuvasz on guard had to be visible to the herdsman at night, in order to distinguish it from wolves


Scan with a smart phone to visit the AKC Canine Health Foundation Bloat Initiative

Rabies Challenge Fund (http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/) Kuvasz Rescue Calendar (http://kuvaszinfo.com/kuvasz_calendar.html) Kuvasz Fanciers of America, Inc (http://kuvaszinfo.com) Dr. Kovacs 1988 paper “ Th e Kuvasz” (http://kuvaszinfo.com/kovacs.htm)

KFA attending the World Dog Show in Budapest, Hungary, May 2013

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or other predators. Finally, the medium- length coat of the Kuvasz was more than practical: it was beautiful. Wavy, harsh, odor- less, and non-matting, its coat repelled dirt and water, requiring no special care to remain attractive. In conjunction with its contrasting dark, weather-resistant skin pigmentation, this rough yet luminous coat made the Ku- vasz not just a hardy worker, but an object of pride and admiration. A sexually dimorphic breed, the male Ku- vasz is masculine and when mature develops a lion’s mane around the neck and chest; the female Kuvasz is feminine, with a more fi nely chiseled head and smaller bone size. Th e ideal height of a male Kuvasz is 28"- 30", with males under 26" being disquali fi ed. Th e ideal female Kuvasz is between 26"-28" tall, those under 24" being disquali fi ed. A male should weigh 100-115 pounds, weight correlating with height. A female Kuvasz should weigh 70-90 pounds, weight and height in correlation. Many Kuvasz are considerably taller and heavier, occasionally reaching great size. Th ere is no upper limit on height or weight in the American Kennel Club stan- dard, though there is an ideal height de fi ned by the AKC Kuvasz breed standard. KUVASZ IN THE UNITED STATES During its glory days, the Kuvasz gained favor in the United States. It was accepted for registry by the American Kennel Club in 1931, but due to the Depression and World War II, puppies were infrequently produced and the population failed to stabilize until importation resumed in the 1960s. How- ever, obtaining a Kuvasz from behind what was then Hungary’s Iron Curtain presented substantial di ffi culties for North Americans. Importing a Kuvasz from Western Europe was much easier, and most Kuvasz in Canada and the United States during the period prior to 1970 derived primarily from German and Austrian bloodlines. Th e breed was in virtual infancy in the United States in the 1970s and almost all of its owners were newcomers to the breed. Th e Kuvasz Club of America (KCA) was formed,

and recognized as the parent Kuvasz club by AKC. In 1974, a standards committee of KCA was formed to write the Kuvasz breed standard, the ideal by which Kuvasz would be judged in the AKC show ring for decades to come. Th e following are excerpts from Dr. Ko- vacs 1988 paper “ Th e Kuvasz” on the issue of Standards and Judging: STANDARD Our breed standard was the fi rst one writ- ten for a fl ock guard in Mid-Europe and it was written to describe the existing breed. Th e Slovakian cuvac and Polish Owczarek Podhalanski emerged from the same popu- lation, since all of Slovakia was Hungary for over a thousand years. In Poland, the breed exists only in a narrow area at the former Hungarian border. Th is means that some ar- ti fi cial di ff erences had to be created or some small di ff erences stressed, when writing their national breed standards. At present the “ex- cellent” individuals of these breeds are already di ff erent, but the “medium quality” ones are still quite the same. Th e Maremmano-Abru- zzese and Kurdish fl ock guard (which is not always pure white) are also very similar to the Kuvasz. My father, Antal Kovács, traveling in Italy, Iran and Iraq, saw a number of dogs which did not di ff er from the Kuvasz except that in Kurdistan they cropped the ears of working dogs. JUDGING Th e Kuvasz is the only Hungarian breed which has serious standard and/or judging problems abroad. Th e story goes back to Germany, where a “Komondor Club” was established in 1922 and dogs of both breeds were imported and sometimes bred to each other. Th is mistake was corrected a few years later, but replaced by another (as we say in Hungary: the other side of the horse”) - the wavy coat of the Kuvasz came under persecu- tion as a “Komondor-atavism” and has been so thought of ever since. I saw predominantly typical dogs on photos from the 30-s in Ger- many out of the collection of Mrs. Marga- rete Teubert. After the Second World War

there were no imports from Hungary for about 25 years and the German population of the breed became quite di ff erent from the original imports. Polish and Slovak dogs and perhaps even Great Pyrenees were mixed into the Kuvasz abroad. Brushing out the coat for dog shows also destroys the “undulans” (wavy) characteristic of the coat, giving the animal a cuvac Great-Pyrenees-like appear- ance. Th e situation is worsened by a high number of these dogs having also too much stop, round eyes, loose lips and an overlong body with bad hindquarters and movement. I call these “German faults”, but naturally there are also “Hungarian faults”, such as thin ear-leather, high tail carriage and ivory color. Since we imported some German dogs and a few Slovakian and Polish ones may have re- ceived “B” pedigrees TFFOPUF after the war, all of these faults can be found everywhere—of course, in di ff erent proportions. Th e judge may be in a di ffi cult situation when judging beautiful, large, but not quite Kuvasz-like dogs (or perhaps they are exactly that: “Kuvasz- LIKE”) and weighing them against a typical Kuvasz with several faults. Of course there is no general answer, since the situation is never the same and all faults visible in the dogs at that show may be of di ff erent severity but a dog in the Kuvasz ring must be fi rst a Kuvasz and then one can judge it by details. Th ere is no “Hungarian Kuvasz”. “German Kuvasz”, American Kuvasz”, etc., only the Kuvasz and it must be bred and evaluated everywhere in the same way. Th e Kuvasz is a popular breed once again in Hungary, and in other countries, therefore we now have a population which is large enough to use for more improvement. /PUF " i#w QFEJHSFF XBT HJWFO B EPH XJUI OP LOPXO PS OPU QSPWBCMF  QFEJHSFF  BGUFS DFSUJíDBUJPO CZ MPDBM FYQFSUT UIBU JU JOEFFE CF - MPOHFEUPUIFBTTVNFECSFFEDzJTXBTBOFDFTTJUZ BGUFS88**JO&VSPQF XIFSFQFEJHSFFTXFSF MPTU DMVCTSFDPSETEFTUSPZFEBOEEPHT FTQFDJBMMZ HVBSEEPHT TIPU3FBEFSTXIPBSFGBNJMJBSXJUI PVS EPHT )VOHBSJBO CBDLHSPVOET XJMM íOE TPNFJOUIFJSQFEJHSFFTMJTUFECZBTJOHMFOBNF TVDIBTBi#PESJwPSi#VLTJw

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BY KATHY RINGERING Double Ring Kuvasz & Budagyongye Kuvasz Member of the KCA Judges Education Council

I first became aware of the Kuvasz breed in 1980. I thought they were beautiful but the thing that attracted me most was their willingness to sacrifice themselves to protect their families. Fast-forward 30 years, and I have found them to be incredible companions. It is the closest thing to a 50/50 relationship I have ever had with a dog. They feel just as respon- sible for you as you do for them, and they show it in countless ways. Our first Kuvasz was a show quality male in 1989. We (my husband Chuck and I) showed him to his championship and enjoyed the traveling and the cama- raderie of the sport. When he finished, we purchased two females so we could continue showing. The rest is history, as they say. We thought we would have one litter, and 30 years later we are still breeding under the kennel names Dou- ble Ring and Budagyongye. I have held several positions in the Kuvasz Club of America, the AKC parent club, includ- ing President, Board member, chair of the Health committee, and chair of numerous National Specialties and have been a member of the Judges Education Council for many years. In my admittedly biased opinion, the Kuvasz is one of the best-kept secrets in the dog world. They are often looked upon as just another big, white livestock guardian dog when they are so much more. Those of us who own them and love them know this, but how do we tell the world without also endangering them? The truth is that not everyone should own one.

The Kuvasz can be the perfect family dog but only if you are devoted to train- ing and socializing, especially the first year. They are uncannily smart, with great problem-solving skills. How smart are they? Here are some examples: One male was walking in a field with his owner when the owner fell and lost her glasses. She could not find them and tried to engage the dog to help her look. She thought he did not understand what she was asking. The next morning he showed up at the door, she let him in, and he laid her glasses at her feet. They didn’t have a scratch on them. Or the dog who went to school with his kids for show and tell. When his part was finished, he did not want to go sit in the audience with his kids; he always went to sit with a kid whose par- ents were unable to attend. Their empa- thetic nature is why so many of them are doing therapy work in children’s hospitals and nursing homes. Raised with children, they can be excellent. They still have the skills necessary for livestock guarding but are mostly family companions in the U.S. Kuvasz are clowns and like to enter- tain their families. They can be quite silly and will do just about anything to hear us laugh. They can be excellent guard dogs and still be super friendly; in fact, my most friendly dogs are also my best guard dogs. Those are the dogs I can trust to correctly assess a situation and act accordingly. They generally are not an aggressive breed if they are well- socialized; they manage threats with barking, growling, charge, retreat, etc.

Lovely female in adolescent coat, photo by Ellen Van Der Meijden

Kuvasz being a clown, photo by Ellen Van Der Meijden

Kuvasz with good, correct front, nice forechest with good width, photo by Isidora Miljkovic


254 • S how S ight M agazine , F ebruary 2019

Nice masculine profile with correct coat distribution, photo by Ellen Van Der Meijden

Nice Kuvasz head with good proportions show correct stop. Too much or too little stop should be equally faulted. (photographer unknown)


But rest assured, if I am ever in danger, my dogs will intervene. Kuvasz are capable of excelling in many AKC sports. They are not blindly obedient, but are easily motivated to have fun and/or do it to make us happy. New titleholders are becoming more common in Trick Dog, Scent Work, Fast CAT, Lure Coursing, Farm Dog and Barn Hunt. Sports like Rally, Obedience, Agil- ity, Tracking and Carting are either stag- nant or in decline. Conformation is in decline. We may even have more dogs competing in performance events than in conformation. When I came into the breed 30 years ago, there were a couple dozen breeders. You could find a breeder in Dog World, Dog Fancy, some livestock magazines and on the Kuvasz Club of America breeder list. Today there are six breeders on the KCA list. One is retired, three are infrequent breeders, and two are nearing retirement. There are a handful of breeders outside the

KCA but the only ones who signed up for full health testing and reporting are the KCA breeders. This is not a prob- lem unique to Kuvasz; other breeds are also showing decline. • In 1931 there was one Kuvasz reg- istered. Registrations continued to climb to a peak in 1991 of 493. • Since 1991 there has been a gradual decline. In 2017 there were only 104 registrations out of 21 litters. • In 2018 through June there were 30 registrations out of 13 litters. Since 2008 that is a 75% decline. (all per AKC data) When you consider most of us are Breeders of Merit and make sure every single puppy is registered, the numbers become even more alarming. All of the years spent protecting our breeds from unscrupulous breeders, people who had a litter or two and decided breeding was not for them, animal rights activ- ists slamming purebred dogs, and judg- ing based on advertising instead of the

AKC standard have all taken their toll in numbers and in quality. Many of us have become discour- aged showing in conformation. We have a breed standard. It is our blue- print from the past, intended to take us into the future. We are losing quality in the breed as well as numbers. This same problem affects many breeds. This is not a unique problem for Kuvasz in the U.S. Hungary, the mother country, has the same problem. We need people with an eye toward the future with long-term goals. We need judges who judge to the standard, knowing our breed’s future is at stake. The Judges Education Council is work- ing on additional educational materials for breeders and for judges. Will it be enough? We will see. My advice for new judges is the same advice I would give all judges and breed- ers: Use our blueprint. Your breeding decisions and judging today will deter- mine our tomorrow.

S how S ight M agazine , F ebruary 2019 • 255


LEE CANALIZO I am from Palm Harbor, Florida. I’m a professional artist, co-owner of a working art gallery, writer and silversmith. I’ve been in the dog world for 70+ years. I showed for over 25 years before judging, presently co-own a beautiful Specialty winning Saluki bitch and have been judging over forty years. AGI HEJJA My husband, eight dogs and I live in Gum Spring, Vir- ginia. I am a retired microelectronics supervisor. I had been involved with dogs since 1970 and started judging six years ago. My first Kuvasz was born on June 26, 1970 and he was my first show dog.

AH: They are about the same now as they were six years ago. There are so few dogs showing today and in the past few years that it is hard to see improvement. 5. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? LC: I don’t think many judges really understood and or cared for the breed in the past and it I think that’s probably true today. This is not an easy breed to judge and we don’t have many real students of most breeds today. You need to study with a Kuvasz person to get the essence of this complex breed. AH: Most new judges have been well educated by the KCA judges education committee. Occasionally, a judge over- looks the breed’s working heritage and insist that dogs at shows must be snow white. 6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. LC: I wish nothing but the best for this unique breed that I was fortunate to be associated with many years ago! AH: As a breeder, owner, handler and a judge, first and foremost I look for a dog who is sound in mind and body. I choose dogs who impress me with their presence and regal look. 7. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? LC: My son, Mike, and I showed and finished Kuvasz in the 80s. Agi Lipscher bred them and I co-owned the male with Nancy Eisenberg. Those were the days when these white dogs were not really so pristine, that is until Nancy groomed ours. The old timers didn’t like that much, but after we placed and won groups with the big white dogs, things changed! I remember the big Trenton specialties when dogs from Hungary were flown over to compete and they came into the ring dingy, with twigs and leaves and who knows what else in their coats! They were the pioneers though and that’s the way the Hungarian folks liked it, along with them being quite fierce. One unfortu- nate facet of the breed was the fact that the babies were totally adorable! Fluffy white snowballs, that attracted young and old alike! This did not always work out well! It takes a strong master to be a good keeper of the breed. AH: I have experienced many funnies over the past 46 years, but the one which still makes me smile happened back in the 80s. An owner who never handled her Kuvasz before decided to do it herself at the Westchester dog show. She started a conversation with the judge in the ring. The judge good naturedly directed her to go around, which she did with great pride while her dog trotted by her side. When she returned to the judge with great expecta- tion, he told her to go around again but this time in the right direction.

1. Describe the breed in three words. LC: Large, white and protective. AH: Regal, faithful and reliable guard.

2. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? LC: Reliability, temperament and adherence to the standard. AH: All of the above and stable disposition. 3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? LC: Frequently too similar to the Great Pyrenees! Improper coat, presentation and not enough length of leg. AH: Since Kuvasz was a rare breed and even more rare now, there are no traits which are exaggerated in my opinion. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? Why or why not? LC: Hard to say as there are not as many being shown as when we were active in the breed. There were many correct, typey dogs then. I happened to see a beautiful example of the breed this past weekend at the Ocala shows. Very typey and classic head. Temperaments are much more even now. Back then and when I was show- ing the breed, you could never let your guard down! Many judges were scared to death to judge them. When I judged the National, not one exhibit had to be excused for temperament problems. I also have to give myself a little pat on the back though, in those years, you needed to know what you were doing, as far as approach, exam etc. was concerned. No Mickey Mouse exam or touchy feely tentative action! I honestly have not seen enough Kuvasz lately in the breed ring to give an informative answer. I fear the golden years of the breed are over for now. When the Kuvasz was among the top working dogs in the ring, it was a great time for the breed, with several really good breeders having much success.

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