FCI standard Nº 54

Mrs C. Seidler and Mrs Elke Peper
Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs)
Section 1 Sheepdogs
Without working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Tuesday 10 August 1954
Publication of the official valid standard
Thursday 06 April 2000
Last update
Wednesday 13 September 2000
En français, cette race se dit
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
En español, esta raza se dice
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd


The Kuvasz is used as a watch and guard dog for houses, property and other valuables, as well as for people. He has also been used as a hunting and scenting dog.

Brief historical summary

The Kuvasz is a long established, ancient Hungarian Shepherd Dog. His ancestors came into the Carpathian basin at the time of occupation by the Magyars. These dogs were needed to watch and guard their flocks against beasts of prey and thieves. Because of his hunting instinct, the Kuvasz was the preferred hunting dog at the time of King Matthias Corvinus. Since the decline in stock-herding, he has much less been used for his original duties and he has settled in villages and later even in towns.

General appearance

The dogs of this breed are strong and large and carry a dense, wavy, white coat. Their pleasing appearance radiates nobility and strength. The individual body parts fit together harmoniously, the limbs being neither too short nor too long.
The bone structure is strong but not coarse. The strong muscles are lean, the joints show clear outlines.
Seen from the side, the body forms a prone rectangle, almost a square. Well muscled he shows a strong build, a lively temperament and great agility. His appearance embodies a tireless working ability.

Important proportions

The body length slightly exceeds the height at the withers.
The deepest point of the brisket is approximately on a level with half of the height at the withers.
The muzzle is slightly shorter than half of the length of the head.

Behaviour / temperament

The Kuvasz is brave and fearless. He defends the people entrusted to his care and his protection and their property, even with his life. He is self-confident and may become aggressive if ill-treated. He is faithful, dependable and loves his master and his surroundings. He needs plenty of exercise and must be kept busy. He is undemanding. His care is easy and he can stand very severe weather conditions. He appreciates any love and solicitude given to him.


Cranial region

The Kuvasz' head is typically wedge-shaped, in harmony with his body, pleasing, noble, and it shows a considerable strength. The Kuvasz can mainly be distinguished from other breeds by his head shape. The head is characteristically lean and dry. In dogs the head is slightly more massive than in bitches.
Broad, forehead slightly protruding. In the middle of the forehead, there is a distinct furrow. 
Barely pronounced.

Facial region

Broad, long, well muscled.
The black noseleather is cut off blunt.
The bridge of nose is straight. The muzzle tapers gradually but is never pointed.
Black, tightly fitting. The corner of the mouth has jagged rims.
Jaws and teeth
Well developed, strong, regular and complete scissor bite, according to the dentition formula.
Set in slightly slanting, almond shaped, dark brown. The rim of the eyelids is black and close-fitting to the eyeball.
Set on at medium height. One third of the ears lifts from the base away from the skull in a curve, then dropping, lying close to the head. The leathers are V-shaped with rounded tips. When alert, the ears are slightly raised. Never prick or twisted.


Rather short than of medium length and well muscled. Forms an angle of 25 to 30 degrees to the horizontal. Crest of neck is short. Skin on throat taut, no dewlap. In male dogs, collar and mane are significant.


Seen from the side, the body forms a prone rectangle, only slightly differing from a square.
Long, rising markedly above level of back.
Of medium length, straight, broad, well muscled and taut.
Short, in taut continuation of the back.
Slightly sloping, well muscled, broad. The very dense coat gives the croup the appearance of being slightly overbuilt.
Because of the strongly developed muscles, the forechest is rounded, the point of the sternum only slightly protruding. Chest deep, long and slightly arched.
Underline and belly
n continuation of the ribcage, tucked up towards the rear.


Set on low following the ligthly sloping croup in a staight line. Vertically down with the tip curved slightly upwards, but not crooked. When the dog is alert or roused, it may, at most, be raised to the level of the topline.



The front legs, supporting the body, are vertical down to the carpal joints. They are parallel and moderately far apart. Seen from the front, the position of the front legs is correct if a vertical line drawn from the shoulder joint runs along the axis of the front legs and meets the feet between the 3rd and 4th toes. Seen from the side, the position is correct if a vertical line drawn from the elbow joint to the ground, runs through the centre of the legs down to the carpal joints.
Shoulder blade long, sloping, muscled. Close-fitting and tight to the ribcage, but flexible.
Upper arm
Of medium length, well muscled. The upper arm and the shoulder blade form an angle of 100 to 110 degrees.
Dry, close-fitting to the ribcage, turning neither in nor out. Upper and lower arm form an angle of 120 to 130 degrees.
elatively long, straight, compact with lean muscles. With strong sinews reaching down to the carpal joint.
Well developed, taut, with sinews of steel.
Relatively short, lean, sloping slightly (angle to vertical 10 to 15 degrees).
Round or slightly oval, taut. Toes are short and highly arched so that their middle part does not touch the ground. Elastic, well knit. Pads are springy, black. Nails are hard, strong, black or slate grey in colour.


The position of the hind legs seen from the side is correct if the stifle joint is positioned vertically below the iliac crest and the foot under the hip joint. A vertical line from the ischiatic tuberosity touches the heel bone. Seen from the rear, the position of the hind legs is correct if a vertical line from the ischiatic tuberosity runs along the axis of the limbs, being parallel to both sides and meeting the ground moderately wide apart.
Upper thigh
With long, broad, massive muscles closely connected to the pelvis. Pelvis and upper thigh form an angle of 100 to 110 degrees.
Lower thigh
The long massive muscles extend to the hock with strong sinews. Seen from the rear, vertical and parallel on both sides, also to the axis of the body.
Voluminous. The angle between upper thigh and lower thigh is 110 to 120 degrees.
Long, vertical.
Broad, voluminous, dry, sinewy. Angle of hock 130 to 140 degrees.
Hind feet
Oval, otherwise like the forefeet.

Gait and movement

Wide, slow steps. When trotting, the movement is light footed, springy, ground covering, lively, constant and tireless. Elbows turning neither in nor out.


Well pigmented, slate grey and tight.


Moderately harsh, wavy, slightly stiff, not tending to mat. Under the coarser topcoat, there is a finer downy undercoat. The head, ears and feet are covered by short (1-2 cm long), dense, smooth hair. The front and sides of the front legs as well as the hind legs below the stifles are covered by equally short (1-2 cm long) straight hair.
There are featherings of 5-8 cm in length on the back of the legs; on the hind legs, they reach to the hocks. The neck has a ruff which extends to a mane reaching to the chest. This is particularly pronounced in male dogs.
On body, upper thigh and upper arm, the coat is of medium length (4-12 cm long), abundantly wavy and it forms crests, ridges and tassels. The tail is covered, along its entire length, by dense, wavy coat which can even reach a length of 10-15 cm at the hip of the tail.
White, ivory colour is permitted. Noseleather, rim of eyelids and lips are black. Pads are black or slate grey. A dark colour is desired for roof of mouth but pink patches are permissible.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Dogs 71 – 76 cm, bitches 66 – 70 cm.
Dogs 48 – 62 kg, bitches 37 – 50 kg.


• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggressive or overly shy.
 Pronounced Stop.
 Lack of pigment on noseleather, lips, rims of eyelids.
 One or more teeth missing (Incisors, Canines, Premolars 2-4, Molars 1-2).
 More than 2 PM1 missing, the M3 are disregarded.
 Under- or overshot, wry mouth.
 Gap between upper and lower incisors of more than 2 mm.
 Entropion, Ectropion.
 Prick ears.
 Tail which is raised above topline even in repose or curled towards rear.
 Coat tending to be shaggy, curly or not wavy or wiry.
 Legs covered by long hair.
 Any departure from the permitted colour.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.




Detailed history

Whether the Kuvasz is white, like the Shepherd of Abruzzo and Maremma, the Slovak Chuvash, the Shepherd of the Polish Tatras or the Mountain Dog of the Pyrenees, that he looks very similar to them and that he had the same functions does not inform us little about its origins, contrary to what one might think.

Already, in the 1st century, Columelle, whose treatise De re rustica is a treasure trove of information on agriculture in Roman times, reports that it is advisable that the dog protecting the herds be white so that it does not frighten not the sheep and also so that the shepherd does not confuse him with a wolf, at nightfall. Thus, rather than testifying to any cousin between them, the white dress of all these dogs means that the same tradition has been consistently followed in many parts of Europe.

The Hungarian plains having been Roman provinces; Pannonia (1st to 5th century) and Dacia (1st and 3rd centuries); we might be tempted to think that it was the Romans who introduced this type of dog into the country.

This is not, however, the assumption that is generally held by those who have studied the history of Kuvasz. Indeed, they bring him into Hungary much later, without necessarily agreeing on the date of this arrival. Thus, Kuvasz was able to come in 896, first of all, with the Finno-Ugric horsemen; or magyars: King Arpad, these Asian nomads both great warriors and breeders.

Assuredly, these conquerors possessed large dogs, which served them both to spread panic over their passage and to keep their flocks. But were these dogs Kuvasz? Would not they be rather Komondors, these imposing Shepherds whose story tells that they would also come with the hordes Magyar ?

All the hypotheses are possible: perhaps the Komondor kept the sheep while the Kuvasz accompanied the horsemen in the hunt and in the war? Perhaps the Magyar dogs are the ancestors of the two dogs, the differences of which have been accentuated over the ages, one taking a very long and furry hair, the other a shorter and wavy hair ?

But Hungarian history will be very eventful later; from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, the country will suffer the influence, even the Turkish domination. From 1236 to 1242, Eastern Europe saw the Mongol hordes overthrow, and it was then that the Coumans, or Kiptchaks, Turkish pastors pushed by the invaders, settled in Hungary (in the country of Coumania). Then, several times, the kings of Hungary will have to fight against the Turks, until, in 1526, Soliman 1st said "the Magnificent" having won the battle of Mohacs, Central Hungary is occupied by the Ottomans. It was only in 1699 (during the peace of Karlovitz) that the Ottoman Empire finally abandoned any claim to the region.

That Kuvasz has a Turkish origin is therefore very plausible, and several elements support this thesis. In the first place, the name of this dog is close to the Turkish word kaoasz, which means "sentinel". Moreover, there is no doubt that there are still dogs in today's Turkey that are oddly reminiscent of Kuvasz. Turkish herding dogs are not recognized by the International Cynological Federation, because of the difficulties that European breeders have in defining the different varieties or breeds, but next to Karabash, short-haired and beige, recognized in Great Britain. In Britain, it is worth mentioning the Akbash, which has an all-white, relatively long coat, of which a few specimens have been introduced in Great Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

So, is Kuvasz Roman, Magyar or Turkish? And, after all, why would not it be a mixture of the dogs brought by these peoples who, successively, had the same problem: to protect their cattle against predators? For since ancient times, the Hungarian plains, devoted to pasture, are traversed by huge herds.

The fact remains that Kuvasz is mentioned in the chronicles of Mathias I, known as Corvinus, king of Hungary between 1458 and 1470. This prestigious monarch possessed indeed a very important kennel of these dogs; perhaps they were a thousand; to hunt wolves and wild boars. He also held them in high esteem, since it is reported that he willingly asserted to have more confidence in his Kuvasz than in his men.

From this moment, we lose a little trace of Kuvasz. It is found as an intractable guardian of the mansions of the aristocracy in the nineteenth century. It may have been said by several authors that the Kuvasz of lords of that time had just been imported from Asia, but there is no proof of this fact. On the other hand, the testimonies of his presence in the countryside, as a dog of a drover and a shepherd, abound. In fact, he is very much afraid of it: does not Clifford Hubbard make sure that he should sometimes be provided with iron shackles to prevent him from throwing himself on people to devour them ?

Spread in the villages, host of the castles, the Kuvasz is also used in the city properties and in the warehouses, because, unlike its compatriot the Komondor, it was not dedicated to an exclusively pastoral use. This versatility combined with his noble and proud appearance, his unquestionable elegance, allowed him to become the most popular Hungarian sheepdog, with the advent of dog-breeding in his country. In 1935, 1,700 Kuvasz are recorded in the Hungarian Book of Origins, as against 992 Pulis and 972 Komondors.

No more than in past centuries, the history of twentieth-century Hungary has been free from violent upheavals, and has resulted in widespread emigration. In the United States and Germany, in particular, there are two important Hungarian communities settled since the 1930s, and it is not surprising that Kuvasz has been present in these countries since that time and that it has been there solidly implanted. In Germany, in particular, the breed has developed independently of its country of origin, and there are two different types.

In France, if the first Hungarian sheepdog was a Puli, registered at the beginning of the year 1936, the first Kuvasz was recorded at the end of 1941. The history of this dog is enough to indicate that we are in the presence of an incorruptible and formidable guardian, but, to convince oneself of it, one will notice moreover that, if it is of generous proportions (usually, a male measures more than 70 centimeters at the withers for a weight of about fifty kilos), Kuvasz is neither heavy nor prone to lymphatism.

This powerful but active athlete, even dynamic, has, thanks to this energy combined with his formidable resistance to fatigue, his legendary courage and vigilance, become an excellent assistant to the Hungarian police, despite his immaculate dress a little psychic. In addition, and perhaps it must be seen as a legacy of his past as a hunter, the Kuvasz has a lot of flair, which can allow him to shine as a tracker.

Like all those great and strong dogs in whom centuries of work have anchored the role of protector; first herds and then, gradually, goods and people; Kuvasz has hardly changed behavior over the ages. If, during the day, he seems peaceful and benevolent, when, in fact, he observes the comings and goings with an attentive eye without always letting him appear, his vigilance asserts itself as night falls. Observer, endowed with a great memory, this dog does not need a specific dressage to see wake up his atavism of protector, and his independence, his sense of the initiative allow him to assume effectively his role of guardian . His mistrust, or at least a certain reserve towards strangers, is still very present.

The Kuvasz is not a dog difficult to live. It is rustic but does not like less family life and does not disdain the comforts of home, adapting better than the Komondor, from this point of view. And, in spite of its strength of character, it does not show resistance to a minimum of education tending to make it tolerant and sociable. Thus, taken in hand with a little firmness by a master knowing how to use his love of the game and the attachment that it bears to him, the Kuvasz appears as more civilized; he does not risk to jump at the throat of the guests, do not try to fight with any congeners passing nearby (if the latter does not annoy him too much, of course).

So here is a very good companion of the family, everything to his business to watch over the toddlers, to have fun with the older ones, benevolent, sure, only impressive in case of danger, enjoying all the advantages of the living room, being the least cumbersome possible. To maintain this balance of character, however, he must have the regular opportunity to spend, for example during long walks (he is tireless). Meanwhile, a corner of garden will allow him to stretch his large carcass.

Its tight hairs measure, according to the standard, only 15 centimeters in its maximum length, that is to say that it does not require tedious maintenance. A good brushing every week, except maybe when you need to take the curry, is enough. Kuvasz does not lack "cousins", real or plausible. But in the eyes of his amateurs; and we understand them; his majestic, proud-looking face denotes a temperament that makes him truly "incomparable".

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