The Hungarian Kuvasz is one of the ancient breeds in Hungary along with the Komondor and the Pumi. The origins of the breed sprouted in Tibet. Around 1,200 years ago, the dogs came along with the invading Magyar tribes to Hungary. The name ‘Kuvasz’ is thought to be a corruption of the Turkish word ‘kawasz,’ which means ‘armed guard of the nobility.’
During the fifteenth century, the Hungarian Kuvasz became highly esteemed guard dogs in Hungary. It was all thanks to King Matthias, who was very smitten with the breed. The Hungarian Kuvasz’s prowess for hunting large games, such as wolves and bears, and guarding the king and livestock made him an indispensable companion of King Matthias.
The king was especially fond of the Hungarian Kuvasz that he would take the dog with him wherever he goes. In his estate at Siebenbuergen, he made countless big kennels that would house hundreds of his beloved dogs. Sometimes, he would gift a Hungarian Kuvasz puppy to a visiting noble. The Prince of Wallachia, Vlad Dracula, or famously known as Vlad the Impaler, even received two puppies as a wedding present from the king. Because of this, the breed became associated with royalty and swiftly rose to the ranks of popularity.
Unfortunately, after the death of King Matthias, the Hungarian Kuvasz’s fame diminished greatly. However, the dog was still used by farmers and horsemen to safeguard their livestock. Breeders made an effort in standardising the Hungarian Kuvasz in the late 1800s. When the 1920s and 1930s came around, the breed was back in the spotlight. This time, he is not only renowned in Hungary, but also in Western Europe.
The breed's fame shot down tremendously to the point of extinction during World War II. Food became scarce and funds slowly dwindled, resulting in the cutback of numerous kennels, whilst others simply stopped breeding. After the war ended, only around thirty Hungarian Kuvasz were found in Hungary.
There were a few breeders who continued to sell puppies and dogs for food and cigarette. However, since the Hungarian Kuvasz has a big appetite, only a few people wanted them. In 1956, the living conditions in Hungary gradually improved with the help of the Hungarian Revolution. The breed slowly climbed its way up to the popularity ladder once again.