The Kuvasz: An Ancient BreedExact origins of the Kuvasz breed are clouded in mystery, but all of the white guarding breeds share a common ancestry.
A 1949 Look Magazine published a family tree of the dog. This family tree shows the Kuvasz and the Great Pyrenees to be descended from the Tibetan Mastiff. This is the same history given by the AKC. Other theories indicate that the guarding breeds descended directly from the Molossian or Pre-Molossian. There is evidence to indicate that the guarding breeds date back several thousand years.
There were many sheep dependent economies dating back thousands of years. If we understand the temperament of the guarding breeds, we can understand how the Great Pyrenees, Kuvaszok, Komondor, Polish Tatra, Italian Maremma and the Turkish Akbash are all related.
Their guarding instinct is an over-developed maternal instinct, even in the males. It is common for a male to nurture a kitten, tolerate the antics of a growing puppy, or help clean up a newborn lamb.
The migration of the Magyar tribes is well documented. (Magyar is a word that is interchangeable with Hungary; Magyar being Sumerian; and Hungary being of Latin origin.) The tribes traveled from Mesopotamia through present-day Iraq, Iran, and Southern Turkey to the east and southeast of Tibet. The Magyars returned westward through the southern portion of Russia to finally settle in Hungary around 955 AD.
King Matthias of Hungary
King Matthias of Hungary (1443-1490) brought the Kuvasz to prominence as he used the dogs for his personal protection and hunting.
King Matthias fought his first battle at age 12, named a Count at age 13, knighted at 14, married at 15 and became king at 18. He did not ascend to the throne by being of royal blood. His father, Janos, was credited with saving Hungary and all of Central Europe by defeating the Turkish forces after 150 years of occupation. The father became king by popular demand. Upon his death, the eldest son became the popular choice, but some aristocrats conspired to deliver him into the hands of the King of Poland who imprisoned him for life. The youngest son, Matthias, became so popular with the entire Magyar population that the aristocrats were afraid of an uprising. Under tremendous pressure they allowed Matthias to become king. Matthias needed protection around the clock and depended on his dogs more than the people of his court. He was known to have at least two Kuvasz dogs with him everywhere he went.
The people that the king dealt with on a day to day basis were the same people who contrived to imprison his brother and could turn on him at any time. Even though the Kuvasz would interact with these same people daily, the dogs could be depended on to notice changes in behavior, fearful odors, or aggressive actions towards the king.
It is the nature of a Kuvasz to embrace what is normal and alert immediately to anything out of the ordinary.
Pictured here is the first AKC Kuvasz Champion in America.