My name is Krisztián Vas and I am the founder and owner of Hungarikum Kuvasz Kennel. I am Hungarian, but born in Vojvodina, Serbia. I came to Canada when I was 11 years old when my parents decided to emigrate.
I was first introduced to this magnificent breed when I was just ten years old, when I received a Kuvasz puppy called Susanji Max from my uncle. As most kids, my sister and I were very excited about the new addition to our family and we spent hours playing with him. As the dog grew, it quickly became evident that he was too much “dog” for me to handle at the time. However, as I grew bigger and stronger and the more time I spent with the dog, I fell in love with all the quintessential Kuvasz qualities and traits that the breed is famous for, such as its keen intelligence, independent spirit, never back down or give up attitude, loyalty to the point of self-sacrifice, and the Kuvasz’s undemanding nature, whereby it can cope with any weather condition and seldom have any health issues.
Once Max passed away, I went off to university to pursue my degree, followed by a Master's and PhD, which added up to 12 Kuvasz-less years. However, I always knew that sooner or later I would have Kuvaszok again, and about three years ago when I concluded my studies, I started actively researching breeders. I initially visited some local breeders here in Canada, but I quickly realized that the dogs here were very uncharacteristic and nothing like the Kuvasz I had growing up. Consequently, I started researching breeders and bloodlines in Hungary and/or some of the neighbouring countries, when reality kicked in and it became evident that the idea and fond memories, I had of what a Kuvasz is, have mostly vanished even in the breed’s homeland. Within a matter of a decade or so following the collapse of communism in Hungary, Kuvaszok have suffered a more than tenfold decrease in their population (at their height in 1986 = 2386 vs. nowadays = circa 200 pedigreed puppies born annually in Hungary). Moreover, numerous iconic kennels in Hungary, such as Gödöllőkerti ceased to breed. Thus, it became clear that not only would finding an old world and typy (correct type) Kuvasz be a seriously challenging, but it also became evident that if the current trends continue, the Kuvasz breed faces the real possibility of extinction.
At this point I could have accepted reality and given up, but instead I became even more motivated and impassioned and continued to research and to seek out breeders who have a similar mindset and conceptualization as me regarding what is a “proper” or “authentic” Hungarian Kuvasz.
This passion and desire to make a difference has led me to become the President of the Kuvasz Club of Canada, where I try and work with and guide other breeders so we can improve the Kuvasz breed as a whole in Canada.
Lastly and most importantly, for me, and probably many other Hungarians, the Kuvasz is not just a breed of dog; rather, it is something that has survived our long history and is part of our heritage and our national identity. Therefore, the Kuvasz is a Hungarian national treasure – Hungarikum (hence my kennel name) and we cannot and should not allow the Kuvasz to disappear in the dust of history.