Kuvasz

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The Kuvasz (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈkʊvɒs], pl. Kuvaszok) is a dog breed of ancient Hungarian origin. Mention of the breed can be found in old Hungarian texts. It has historically been used to guard livestock, but has been increasingly found in homes as a pet over the last seventy years.

Contents

Description

Appearance

The Kuvasz is a large dog with a dense double, odorless coat which is white in color and can range from wavy to straight in texture. Although the fur is white, the Kuvasz’s skin pigmentation should be dark and the nose should be black. The eyes should have an almond shape. Females usually weigh between 35–50 kg (75-90 pounds) while males weigh between 50–70 kg (100-150 pounds) with a medium bone structure. The head should be half as wide as it is long with the eyes set slightly below the plane of the muzzle. The stop (where the muzzle raises to the crown of the head) should be defined but not abrupt. The precise standard varies by country. (See the Breed Standards for a more precise description.) To a casual observer, the Kuvasz may appear similar to a Great Pyrenees, Akbash, a Maremma Sheepdog, Samoyed or a white Poodle and Labrador Retriever mix. The Slovak Cuvac and the Polish Tatra Sheepdog are versions of the Kuvasz.

As with many livestock guardian dogs, the color of the Kuvasz's coat serves a functional purpose and is an essential breed criterion. Shepherds purposefully bred the Kuvasz to have a light colored coat so that it would be easier for the shepherds to distinguish the Kuvasz from wolves that would prey on the livestock during the night. The Komondor, a cousin of the Kuvasz, has a white coat for the same reason. Traditionally, the Hungarian Kuvasz's coat could be either white or cream colored with a wavy texture. However, there is some debate, particularly in the United States, concerning the appropriateness of "cream" colored coats in show-quality dogs and whether the coat should be straight or wavy in texture.[1] Since washing and brushing out a coat, as done for shows in the US also causes the coat to appear straight, the debate may be circular. Straighter coats may also have appeared as the result of breeding programs that developed after World War II, when the breeding lines in Hungary were isolated from the rest of the world as a result of Soviet& German occupation (see History, below). By Hungarian standard the straight coat is not acceptable. There must be special twirls in the coat.

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