The Kuvasz is named after a Turkic word that means guard or soldier. The prime function of a Kuvasz in Hungary was as a protector for nobility. It wasn't until later that the dog was used by local peasants to guard and herd sheep. The dog is usually white, bred this way so that the shepherds could tell the dog from the wolves that liked to prey on the livestock, especially at night. The dogs were all over Hungary until around World War II when the Nazis killed most of them off as they swept through villages. This was because the dog was so loyal and fierce a protector that often soldiers would have to kill the dog to take a farmhouse. It is estimated that less than 30 Kuvasz remained in Hungary after World War II. It is from these remaining dogs that the breeders tried to recover the breed, even while forced to use other dogs like Great Pyrenees to supplement the breeding program.
The Kuvasz is a very intelligent and stubborn dog. It is very quick to train but also easily ignores its training. This dog tests the most experienced of trainers and can be very manipulative. The dog needs to be kept busy in some role to be happy, whether it is guarding a household or being in obedience training classes. If the dog is bored or isolated outside, it can become destructive and even more aggressive. The dog needs to be socialized and obedience trained to keep its inherent wariness of strangers under control.
The Kuvasz is one of 22 breeds targeted by home insurers as being uninsurable. Even if you have a home insurance policy and then later get a Kuvasz, your homeowner's policy can be canceled. You can buy liability insurance for the Kuvasz that will help to protect you and your family in case the dog attacks or bites someone or destroys property.
While it will be aggressive and threatening towards strangers, it can be good with children. This doesn't apply to visiting children that the dog doesn't consider part of its little herd. Therefore, even if you want the dog to guard your children, it is best to keep it supervised at all times and isolate the dog when other children come over.
The Kuvasz moults twice a year, once in the spring and again during the autumn months. It sheds excessively and requires frequent brushing, at least every three days. During moulting, it will need to be brushed daily.
The dog is long-lived for a large dog, sometimes living up to 14 years. It does have some health problems, like soft bones and joints that must be protected from rough play when young. It can experience bloat and hip dysplasia but over all it is a very healthy breed.