Showsight Presents The Kuvasz

also very important. The ultimate hallmark of the breed is the regal presence that leaves nothing to the imagina- tion of what their job is. AH: I look for presence, demeanor, type, expressive head and good structure, but I know the importance of the connection between these traits. Like most judges who know their dogs, I pick out the best ones as soon as they enter the ring. The ultimate hallmark of this breed is its head. It should be pretty with clean planes and eloquent eyes. The ears should properly frame the head to give that true Kuvasz look. LL: 1) The mental capability to be a livestock guardian; good and proper guardian temperament. 2) The physical attributes to be a livestock guardian, including proper structure and balance. 3) Strength and depth of chest, rib spring. 4) Agility, which is related to 2 and 3, and the ability to move and turn. 5) Beauty; including proper coat texture and patterning (again, job related) a proper breed mane and a double coat. The ultimate hallmark of the breed, per the standard, the Kuvasz “impresses the eye with strength and activity combined with light footed- ness and is a spirited dog of keen intelligence and courage.” AS: The hallmark of the Kuvasz breed is a wavy or curly coat. I hate it when handlers take a dog with a perfectly good coat and blow dry it to straighten the coat and remove or hide the wave or curl. This is analogous to taking a dog with a correct color and making it incorrect, e.g., sable sheltie to sable merle. Of course, sculpting a coat is always wrong. The relatively long, wedge-shaped head is another important trait of the breed. It is neither a Collie head nor a (US) Pyrenees head. Nor is it a Sammie head. Perhaps it is something like a male Collie head, but with broader, thicker wedge with a bit more stop. The ears are set high, close to the top of the skull. When on alert, the ears and top of skull should be in line or very close to it. This ear set appears in pictures from prior to World War II and is a unique feature of the breed. A dog without this ear set does not really look like a Kuvasz, no matter how typey its head is otherwise. Conversely, a dog with an ugly head (i.e. short, blunt wedge) will still look like a Kuvasz if it has a correct ear set. Pigmentation is important in the Kuvasz as it is with other white Hungar- ian breeds. Dark eyes, skin and nails are all desirable. 2. How has the breed changed since you became involved with it? Do you see any trends you think are moving the breed in the wrong direction? Any traits becoming exaggerated? PH: The breed has changed a lot! The breed is so much better today in almost all aspects. Their temperaments are incredibly improved. You seldom see a shy or spooky dog in the ring today and aggression in the ring is almost unheard of. Overall the soundness is greatly improved,

(Photo courtesy of Agi Hejja)

along with proper heads that stand them apart from their cousins, the Great Pyrenees. The one trend that I don’t like is the breed appears to be getting smaller. I do not see any exaggerations in the breed. AH: When I first met the Kuvasz in Hungary, I thought them to be regal, impressive and dignified. Over the years I have witnessed questionable temperaments, too large or small dogs and the influence of foreign types. There are a few breeders in the US and in Europe who produce the same look over and over again without proper under- standing of the breed. This maybe one of the reasons for the variations we see. LL: From the 1970s to the 2000s, I believe the temperament has gotten much more stable. Also, the structure has improved; however, since then structure has definitely been moving in the wrong direction. Dogs are unbal- anced and their fronts and rears are too straight. Also, there is not the spring of rib that is needed. High hocks are exaggerated and adversely affect soundness and should not be rewarded in the ring. A Kuvasz should appear more athletic and agile than a Pyrenees, but should definitely not resemble a Borzoi. AS: Based on my observations and judging, the best, most consistent entries (as opposed to individual dogs) have been in Germany. There is a great diversity of type in the Kuvasz in Hungary, though I saw an entry in Koma- rom, Hungary in 2012 that was on a par to Germany. On the other hand, I have seen many entries in Budapest and elsewhere that were all over the map on type. The breed in the US seems to be regressing to the type found here in the 1970s. Blockier heads, shorter heads, blunter wedges, more pronounced stops, more massive body,

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