Showsight Presents The Kuvasz

ϦuXas֎ Q&A

less angulation, straight coat and other undesirable traits are creeping back.

protected the breed from newcomers, so now we are short in numbers of Kuvasz lovers. LL: The Kuvasz is a regal and incredibly special breed with a high level of intelligence. I stopped breeding Kuvasz because I was unable to find a line-bred outcross to go to (our worldwide gene pool is not huge). I am saddened by the current state of the breed, unfortunately affected by incorrect dogs being shown a lot and judges believ- ing that what they are seeing is correct. It’s tough for judges; you have to judge what is in front of you, but the odd man out may just be the correct to standard dog and should be rewarded! Judges should have the courage to withhold awards. AS: It is essential to talk a bit about temperament. According to Jozsef Schmidt, Hungarian old-timer, the Kuvasz was the town guard dog. And towns people tended to breed for protectiveness and aggression! Many Kuvaszok have very protective temperaments. A few are actually aggres- sive. This makes some of them dangerous to judge. The handlers need to train their dogs and have them under control. The typical judge should excuse dogs show- ing signs of actual aggression. That is, err on the side of caution. I may be able to read the breed, but the typical judge probably won't. 6. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? PH: I love judging and see humor at every show! AH: My funniest thing happened at the first Kuvasz national specialty. It was not in the conformation ring, but in the obedience ring. A novice handler was doing the off-leash healing exercise and the dog decided to leave the owner. He checked out the Komondor ring right next to us then a few other empty rings and then left the building. The handler never noticed, but continued to heal around the ring with great pride. LL: I have two obedience stories. At our first ever national specialty in Reno in 1993, we need a certain number of obedience entries in order to have the classes, so some dogs were not quite ready. Of the six there, I believe three dogs left the ring and two left the building entirely. (It was also the first time many of us east coasters had ever seen a dirt ring.) Then in Harrisburg in 1996 at the nationals, we were in the big arena—“Bubba” was our breed’s first big dual breed and obedience dog. During his obedience routine he decided it was playtime and he started chasing around the ring showing off and having the best time ever. Both his owner and breeder were in the ring trying to catch him and he was just enjoying himself running and wagging his tail and barking. The crowd loved it, the judge was laughing, the owner was not happy—but that was just Bubba.

3. Describe what you look for in Kuvasz movement. PH: Their ability to do their job. Sound, strong and agile. AH: I look for balance in any dog’s movement first. If they have balance, the dog will move without effort. With bal- anced movement should come front reach and rear drive. If the dog has balance, reach and drive he or she will always catch my eye. LL: A Kuvasz should have good solid working dog move- ment; easy, free and elastic movement that would enable the dog to be out in the field guarding its flock and to chase off predators. The breed should single track with good reach front and rear. Dogs should move out with strong purpose, yet appear agile enough to turn on a dime. Flopping hocks and straight fronts and rears just would not enable the dog to do its job. A Kuvasz should be able to gait completely around the ring at Westminster without stopping or even slowing down. AS: The Kuvasz is supposed to be able to run along with a man on horseback for kilometers, so good balance, good angulation and sound structure are all important. 4. Is there anything Kuvasz handlers do you wish they would not? Any grooming practices you see that bother you? PH: The only thing is that I wish the majority of handlers had enough self-confidence in their dogs to just let them show themselves. Of course they all need to be taught to be stacked for examination, but other than that, please do not hover over the dog. Let them stand on their own as they do while working. All dogs should be shown clean and well groomed, but I see little excess grooming and or scissoring in this breed. AH: Kuvasz handlers in general are courteous and pleas- ant—they have to be, there are so few of them! I am old school when it comes to grooming. I like a wash and wear dog. Sculpting and too much scissoring is against my belief for a Kuvasz. LL: A Kuvasz is a Working dog and should be natural and not over sculpted. The mane should be there and visible; bleaching has no business in the Working ring. 5. Anything else you’d like to add? PH: I do worry about the future of the breed due to the lack of youngsters and new breeders involved in this wonder- ful, regal breed. AH: The Kuvasz is the first love of my life. I would never be without one. Its loyal nature, intelligence and 100% trustworthiness when it comes to protection; its stun- ning look, the white coat and dark eyes still takes my breath away. I wish there was more interest in the breed by young folks. Unfortunately we may have over

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