Showsight Presents The Kuvasz

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)

“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.”

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

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