Kuvasz as Livestock Guardian Dogs in Canada

Vas Krisztián

The demand for livestock guardian dogs (LGD) is strong in Canada due to added environmental protection laws and the continuous presence of large predators. Coyote (canis latrans) populations are at an all-time high in most places and continue to expand and are even evolving into new hybridized species, such as the coywolf. From the 1970-80’s onward the ancient tradition of utilizing LGDs has been introduced to North America. Although, various European and Asian LGD breeds have been tried; the Great Pyrenees seems to be the most popular. In large part the Kuvasz has been overlooked as a viable choice for an LGD. This is mostly due to the focus of most North American Kuvasz breeders on the show ring and very few concentrating on working abilities. Since numerous older show focused breeders have retired, predator pressures are at an all-time high and the Kuvasz Club of Canada is under new leadership, new opportunities have emerged for the Kuvasz as an LGD. Most Canadian Kuvasz breeders are now LGD focused and try to place their puppies into working environments. We have been very successful in placing Kuvasz onto smaller, perhaps hobby farm operations; however, serious ranchers and large-scale livestock farms are still sometimes hesitant in giving the Kuvasz a chance to prove itself as a worthy LGD. Some negative stereotypes exist that the Kuvasz is not large and tough enough to deal with serious predators like wolfs. This is where our dogs (product) must speak for itself. It is vital that we select and breed proper and work capable dogs that have the physical ability, endurance and correct temperament to be an LGD. Based on our own experiences and farmer feedback, temperament and/or behaviour in an LGD has many facets that only emerge in a working environment and we can see trends that can be correlated to certain bloodlines. We’d like to share are experiences in more detail.