Kuvasz vs. Other LGD Breeds
As evident from what I described earlier, the Kuvasz is an ancient breed of LGD, which is a natural breed that has undergone thousands of years of natural selection. For most of its history the Kuvasz was a landrace and the only criteria that mattered was its survivability and working ability. This is very different from modern fashion or purposely breed breeds, where looks and esthetics are prioritized.
The Kuvasz is slightly smaller than some of the other LGD breeds, but it makes up for it by being a lot more athletic, much quicker, more agile and having more endurance. As a result, Kuvasz tend to want to patrol a larger area of their territory more actively than some of the other white LGDs (i.e. Great Pyrenees, Maremma, Polish Tarta). Kuvasz are usually on the prowl and looking for any sign of trouble, and in many respects, they are “proactive” vs. not just “reactive”. Usually when they do notice something, they are immediately on it. Whereas some LGDs will bark, posture and make their presence known to predators; Kuvaszok, if need be, are also very willing to directly confront and engage predators.
People often underestimate the importance of this “willingness to engage”, especially as it relates to coyotes. Coyotes are extremely clever, intelligent and adaptable predators. They often watch a farm carefully and try and develop the best possible strategy for picking off livestock. They will quickly figure out the patterns and routines of a farm and will also test the dogs. If the LGDs are only barking and posturing and never engaging or really threatening the coyotes, they will quickly figure out that their lives are not really in any danger if they attempt to take livestock. Whereas, if the coyotes are aggressively confronted, and maybe the dogs eliminate a few of them, they will quickly learn that this is not a farm to mess with, as they will lose their lives trying to get a meal.
I’ll give you a real-life example as told by a farmer. The farmer had a good working female LGD and had no issued with coyotes for a long time. They said they haven’t even seen coyotes around the property for quite some time. However, the female dog was bred and when she gave birth in the barn and was not out in the field, the coyotes took some livestock the very night. What this illustrates is that the coyotes are continuously observing the farm and the livestock, even when people think they are no longer around. Furthermore, this case also demonstrates the importance of having enough dogs on a farm and not relying on a single LGD.
Other notable differences, particularly in comparison to the Great Pyrenees (as it is by far the most common LGD breed in North America) based on my personal experience and the active feedback I receive from farmers are:
Great Pyrenees are known wanderers, whereas Kuvaszok have a tendency to stay more at home or within their boundaries.
Great Pyrenees tend to bark more than Kuvaszok, particularly at night. All LGDs bark to an extent as it is a primary way to deter predators, but Great Pyrenees are more likely to be nuisance barkers, which is an important consideration in near urban areas.
Kuvasz tend to be better suited with rougher livestock (i.e. goats) as they are less likely to tolerate their bullying behaviour than Great Pyrenees.
Kuvasz are also said to be better and more reliable for guarding poultry as they also actively guard against aerial predators as well.
Kuvaszok are also more serious overall guardians of home and property, as a proper Kuvasz would never let a stranger onto the property without the presence of its owner. On the contrary, many Great Pyrenees are very people friendly and show little to no guarding instinct towards people.
The Kuvasz coat is very easy to take care of requiring little to no maintenance. It is often referred to as self cleaning, whereby dirt just falls out once the coat dries. A Kuvasz should also never be trimmed and the coat should never mat.
Since the majority (approx. 70-80%) of my puppies end up in working homes, they are exposed to all kinds of livestock, predators and often work alongside other LGD breeds. The feedback I get from farmers and ranchers regarding my Kuvaszok is overall very positive, as they can often outperform their pack mates. In fact, after trying the lesser-know Kuvasz, numerous farmers prefer them over the more common LGD breeds.
PLEASE bear in mind that I've described and compared a proper Hungarian Kuvasz to the Great Pyrenees and Maremma that I see and have experience with, and based on the feedback I receive from farmers. Unfortunately, many North American Kuvaszok fall short of the breed characteristics I described above because often times they have been systematically softened to be better suitable as pets. I fact, the differences between a proper Hungarian Kuvasz and the North American rendition of the breed might be as vast as between an proper Kuvasz and a Great Pyrenees or Maremma. That is why I strongly encourage you to do your research and really understand the true heritage and characteristics of this breed.