If a breeder is conscientious, they should be breeding to improve the breed. However there are many reasons people breed dogs. While most will tell you their prime motivation is "love of the breed," some of the true reasons (money, ego, power, etcetera) are as varied as the different personalities of the breeders themselves. Kuvasz rareness makes the wrong reasons even more inviting to the wrong people.

    As a careful buyer you must keep your desire to have a Kuvasz in check, and try to discern the breeder's true aim. If you realize that behind the "love of the breed" idealism, the real reason is because it's a good home based business, or it's an ego builder, then you should walk away.

    Motives are VERY important! Your reasons for buying are as important as the breeder's for breeding and selling. Will each of you be honest with yourselves and each other about your motives? Self denial about motives may be the single biggest detriment to this or any other dog breed.

    There is another important factor to consider before you buy any puppy, but especially a Kuvasz with its very small North American gene pool. THERE ARE NO IRONCLAD GUARANTEES AGAINST HEALTH PROBLEMS! However that does not mean you should buy from a breeder who doesn't offer health and temperament guarantees. One of the indications, if not the best way to tell how confident a breeder is in the health of their Kuvasz, is by what kind of guarantee they offer. Even more important is whether or not they have honoured their warranty obligations to previous buyers when their dogs have had problems. As frequently as some breeders and even some owners will philosophize that dog breeding is an imprecise art and not a science, especially after health problems appear, it is unlikely anyone will tell you about the big risk while you are filling out the cheque. Consequently you should have a safety net for the future.

    If not for the Internet I probably would have continued to believe my unhealthy Kuvasz were in the minority and just unlucky. But more and more I am starting to believe that completely healthy Kuvasz are the exception, and the seriousness of problems is what separates the relatively satisfied owners from the sad ones:

"Cody had an auto-immune disorder. The symptoms began when he was about 14 weeks old. He chewed the fur off the end of his tail (it never grew back.) As time went by, he constantly developed hematomas in both ear flaps, lost the hair on the bottom inch of his ears, then developed open sores in that area. His legs would swell to twice their size (no pain) and stay that way for a couple of days.
Eventually, his esophagus began to shut down and his food would end up in his lungs. I had to hand feed him in order to be sure the food went to his stomach before I gave him his next mouthful.  He would have his up days, and his down days. He then developed pneumonia from the food in his lungs he couldn't cough up. That's when I made the decision."
"Over the past two years, at least three Kuvasz from different breeders and different geographical areas have contracted a disease which mimics parvovirus. In each case, the dog almost died. To date, none of the veterinarians treating these dogs was able to identify the cause of the illness, but each vet insisted that is was NOT parvovirus. Each dog was laboratory tested for parvo and the test results in all cases were negative.
Symptoms began with sudden anorexia, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. As the symptoms progressed dogs became weak and depressed, anorexia and vomiting of bile continued, and diarrhea became bloody due to sloughing of the intestinal lining. Despite aggressive treatment with anti-emetic drugs vomiting was extremely difficult to control. The duration of severe illness was approximately ten days to two weeks. The three Kuvasz known to have been affected live in Michigan, Northern California, and Central California. In each case the dog lived with other Kuvaszok who remained healthy."
"Our 5 month old Kuvasz has kidney problems. One kidney is enlarged and the other is smaller than normal. We've had her to our regular vet and to a specialist. The prognosis is not good. Anywhere from 1 to 3 years. Her symptoms were needing to drink large amounts of water and constant urination. She has had several bladder infections.
This happened early but we already had fallen in love with her and could not give her up."
"We had some problems with demodectic mange as puppies and I don't want to risk breeding them."
"As an owner whose dog died of congenital kidney failure (you know my tale of woe) I concur that there is no adequate recourse through the club, whose officers are usually bosom buddies of the breeder in question."
"As a Kuvasz owner who has experienced two separate apparent genetic/congenital problems (and resulting disagreements with my breeders)"
"Our Pansy had a thyroid problem from a very early age, but it took a while to diagnose."
"A puppy in the first litter I bred of kuvasz had OCD and I told the owners to neuter him and offered them a free replacement."
"On my one dysplastic kuvasz, you could tell on the OFA film the knee cap was subluxed as it was totally displaced and off to the side, out of the groove."
"I have 2 kuv 1 male 4 yrs. / 1 female 2 yrs. The male has CHD which is unfortunate because he is a beautiful dog with a great disposition."
"On the day we took her to the vet to have her put down, at the age of 13, when she could no longer walk over 50 feet or so without falling due to CHD;"
"my kuv's front leg joints give him a lot of trouble. His wrist joint will occasionally develop a hard swelling on it and he will limp easily. He also constantly chews at his joints, especially if it is damp weather it seems. He has been on predisone for over a year now and it alleviates the symptoms"
"At about seven months she had to be put to sleep. She had an overgrown heart."
"Her vet had saved Csilla's life last summer when she first got the auto-immune disease."
"I have a 2 1/2 year old male. He is a BIG, sweet, silly, and wily companion and I love him dearly.  His name is Kahu.  Kahu has CHD. He was diagnosed at 6 months. I had him x-rayed more because the vet told me to than anything else. When he told me he was mildly dysplastic, I couldn't believe it and submitted the pictures to the OFA.  The diagnosis was the same -- "borderline hip joint conformation" --"
"My dog Szarvas (Moose) is a bionic dog: he has 2 artificial hips. He is happy and, except for his arthritis (he's 10) a very happy, mobile Kuvasz."
"Since Scarlet is dysplastic, I decided to place her with friends who wanted a large dog to protect their mother."
"I'm looking for some advice, our 2 year old kuvasz has just been diagnosed with a ruptured cruciate ligament in his rear leg and the vet is recommending surgery to replace the ligament function with a synthetic one."
"We have a 16 month old who occasionally limps on her right hind leg. The vet manipulated her leg and said that he didn't find any evidence of a ligament tear. He also took x-rays and found moderate hip dysplasia on the left and mild dysplasia on the right."
"I was present when Bela ruptured her right rear cruciate. She cried or rather screamed in pain and then "carried" her leg, so it was very obvious that there was a problem. Our other kuv Kluszo, had just about every problem in the book including very dysplastic hips."
"After x-rays and a M.R.I., he found torn cruciate ligaments in both rear legs. He also found that the distal condyle notch on the right femur was all but non existent."
"My Kuvasz, Leo, ruptured his cruciate ligament and was diagnosed for months with panosteitis, because the limping was only occasional.
Leo blew out the knee after the first surgery and literally put his kneecap on the BACK of his leg."
"Unfortunately, it looks like our girl has hip problems. We had early prelim X-rays done and they weren't real promising."
"other problems developed that would have extended the expense beyond the $2,000+ already spent."
"i chose to spend $5000 on my dogs knees..maybe somebody with more sense and less money..somebody with minimum wage job..somebody with small kids..somebody( fill in the blank yourself) MAY have chosen to put this dog down..i am comfortable with my decision, brechty is now comfortable with his knees."
"You see, Tessie has Spondylosis and is very dysplastic too."
"Kuvasz breeders--please be aware that your breed has a very high percentage of hip dysplasia (21.6 % tested positive through OFA of 1069 dogs/bitches from 1974 to 1996). The breed is, in fact, the 15th worst breed rating on the OFA's HD Prevalence List. It is a shame that such a beautiful animal is so afflicted."

    I decided to show you the preceding small sampling of quotes from a few other Kuvasz companions and individuals, so you would understand I'm not the only one whose Kuvasz have had health problems. But in case you aren't convinced there are many ongoing problems, you should read the following reply to statements made by a Kuvasz breeder.

    Obi Fox was the author of the reply. Ms. Fox is a Kuvasz owner and professional dog trainer, and has for many years been the unofficial North American historian/librarian/database keeper for the breed. It is unlikely there is any other person with more information about Kuvasz.

96-05-02 11:16:20 EDT
"Well, I think that's part of the problem. Everyone has always handled everything privately, and the rest of us go blindly along, breeding as if everything is a-ok, and voila, here comes health problems that could have been avoided."
Obi Fox:
"Not only is the above the case, but there are VERY FEW breeders who have more than a generation or two of their own dogs to judge by. Frequently, if these problems are genetic, they will not show up for a number of generations or until you happen to hit the wrong combination and reinforce an otherwise unseen tendency.
New breeders have very little to go by. There are all  sorts of rumors about this line or that kennel, but the fact remains that our gene pool is SO SMALL, there is no kennel that is safe. While a kennel may go many generations without seeing a problem, it does not mean that the genetic predisposition does not simply lie dormant during this time. Combine that with the increasing use of imports - about which bloodlines little or nothing is known - and we will be seeing more and more problems crop up.
When an individual decides to become a breeder, they (hopefully) have done their research and purchased a breeding quality dog(s) from an established kennel... and thoroughly researched their bloodlines and those of the prospective mate, for genetic tendencies/problems before doing the breeding. Even with all of this, it's a roll of the dice.
Sometimes breeding within a known bloodline or to a bloodline where the cross has worked before, can increase the probability of success - but it may also reinforce an otherwise unseen problem. Even with all of the best intent and research possible, the breeder is taking a risk with every breeding.
When a buyer chooses a breeder they are also taking a risk. There have been litters from the best of breeders which just didn't reach their potential, or had genetic problems that no one had foreseen. The ONLY guarantee a buyer has is to select a breeder they can trust... and that's a very difficult proposition for anyone just starting in a breed. No matter how good your research, no matter how good the breeder's intent, sometimes it just doesn't work. A puppy turns out to have kidney, heart, eye, immune etc... problems. A dog turns out to be dysplastic. It is heartbreaking (and I've been there), but it is important to note that at some point the breeder's responsibility ends and the buyer's responsibility begins.
Personally, I do not buy a dog without a significant number of guarantees-genetic health and hips at minimum - BUT, if I purchase a dog I recognize the risks involved and accept that I am going to be solely responsible (financially and emotionally) for the future life of this precious animal. It is, after all, a living, breathing, being - and in nature things frequently do not work out as we had planned.
Yeah, when the dog is sick and the vet bills are rising, I am just as tempted to look for someone to blame - for someone to share in the responsibility - for someone to "fix" it, as anyone else...  From experience I have learned that this is a part of dog ownership - and it is not a problem inherent to this breed alone.
When I buy a dog I fervently hope and pray that I have chosen the right breeder - that this breeder has thoroughly researched their bloodlines and made the right choices - that the owners and breeders behind their dogs have been open and honest about the health of these dogs and those they have produced - that the breeder I choose will be open and honest with me - that they will stand behind their guarantees - and that we all get a bit of luck and that mother nature helps."
"The open health registry should help solve this problem, if the breeders buy into it. This forum is helping a lot too."
Obi Fox:
"An open health registry will, EVENTUALLY, help enormously to address these problems. The reason I say "eventually" is that it will take time to develop breeder participation and collect enough data to make a significant difference. If we use the example of Berner-Garde (Bernese Mtn Dogs) it has taken 10 years to make this a helpful and viable resource for breeders.
Initially, they went through enormous changes and their breed got a very bad reputation - simply because they started being honest and open about the fact that their breed had problems at all! Now, 10 years later, they have an enormous resource for breeders to make educated choices to help eliminate or mitigate identified problems. It's a phenomenal resource... but it did not happen easily, and it did not happen over night. It opens an enormous area of potential misuse or abuse by those irresponsible individuals who may and probably will use negative information against others... but, in the end, "the truth will set us free".
It took 10 years for Berner-Garde to become an accepted and respected organization in their breed - and to put it bluntly, most Berner owners/breeders are far more polite than those of us with Kuvasz!
Bobbie Kelley and I refer to the proposed registry as "Pandora"... we will truly be opening pandora's box. We will not, I am sure, initially like what we will find. From my work with the SilvanHold private database, I can assure you - "you ain't seen nothin' yet"."
"Here's two cases of kidney disease, and I had never heard of it before in our breed."
Obi Fox:
"We have about 4 cases of kidney failure in young Kuvasz on file at this time. There does seem to be some correlation to certain bloodlines - but 4 is NOT enough to really come to any conclusions. There are also a number of dogs who died at around 5-7 of kidney failure as well. No specific correlation to bloodlines there yet.
A while ago I did a statistical study on about 10 years of the published death and reason information on German dogs. Interestingly, some dogs died of kidney failure at around 5-7, others died of heart failure around 7-9, others seemed to have other problems. The most interesting thing was when I ran the pedigrees on those dogs - there was a statistical correlation between age/reason for death and different bloodlines! The strangest correlation was those who died "accidentally" at around 1-2 years... and seemed to come from the same lines also!
For those two (and possibly others) individuals that posted regarding kidney problems, I would be particularly interested in getting more information for the SilvanHold database - but in order for it to be of help I would need to know pedigree information on the individual dogs. I understand that, at present, neither individual wanted to divulge the identity of the breeders involved - but if, in future you could share this information (never to be passed on in anything other than statistical form) please e-mail me privately."

    At this point you might consider whether or not you have the financial resources to mitigate any health problems your dog might have, and beyond that the fortitude to care for and/or euthanize a sick Kuvasz adult or puppy. Even if you are careful to buy from a breeder who provides a real and satisfactory warranty and honours it as they should, replacement of a sick or dead pup or a refund will not eliminate the devastating upset and pain.

    While you are reading the following list of possible questions to ask breeders, you should understand I am not trying to scare you with any of the information on this site, or dissuade you from acquiring a Kuvasz pup. I just want you to be forewarned that puppy buying is a gamble, and if you lose, the philosophers will say no one is to blame, and everyone knows it's a risky business and you should have too!

Can you see one or both of the pup's parents? Preferably the dam if not both?
Are you able to see all the pups in the litter?
Is there a documented three generation pedigree?
Do the breeders have proof that they have had the hips, knees, elbows, eyes, thyroids, etcetera, of their dogs checked and cleared? 
Is there a written guarantee against hereditary disease?
Do the breeders acknowledge there are hereditary diseases in the breed? 
If the pup dies soon after you take it home and you are not to blame, will you have the choice of a refund or replacement if you provide a certificate from your veterinarian?
If the dog develops a problem which seriously affects quality of life or necessitates euthanasia, and it is the result of genetic predisposition, will you have the choice of a refund or replacement?
Is there a written buy back policy if the dog does not work out? (If you are acquiring a pup for livestock protection purposes, will the breeders refund your money or replace (your choice) the pup if he/she does not fulfill its role?) 
Is a record of inoculations and worming provided? 
If the puppy is purebred, does your contract state that the breeders will provide you with the registration certificate at no additional cost? 
Is there a price difference between show and pet quality? Will the difference be refunded if the dog is not show quality when grown?
Are the pups raised in a home environment?
Are you satisfied with the condition of the breeder's dog runs and kennel? 
Will the breeders provide you with the names and phone numbers of people in your area who have dogs they bred? Can you see these dogs? (If you are acquiring a pup for livestock protection purposes, does the breeder have experience and subsequent references in this area?)
Will the breeders give you the contact particulars of people who have had problems (temperament or physical) with their dogs? (You never really know how supportive your insurance company will be until you make a claim. Similarly, you only find out how supportive a breeder is when you have a problem. If breeders tell you that none of their dogs have ever had any problems, I would not risk buying from them.)
Will they be available to answer questions and help problem solve after you buy, whether you purchase for companionship or working purposes? 
Do they seem genuinely concerned about the kind of home you will provide? 

    The answer should be yes to all of those questions. The more negative replies you accept the greater the risk of heartache! For your own protection get everything in writing.

    BUYER BEWARE! This warning should be considered for all dog related business and endeavors. You and your canine dependent are completely on your own! Almost all areas of the dog industry are self regulating. If you have problems with an unethical or incompetent breeder, veterinarian, trainer, dog food manufacturer etcetera, you will receive little or no help from third parties.

    For example, you may think organizations like the Canadian or American Kennel Clubs will help you if you become involved with one of their club members who is unethical and or incompetent. They will not. They merely register purebred dogs, healthy or not, and sanction dog shows. Despite trite mottos such as the CKC's Serving Fanciers of Purebreds Since 1889, and the AKC's Dedicated to Purebred Dogs and Responsible Dog Ownership Since 1884, neither group has a truly effective code of ethics or the will to enforce one. In my opinion they only seem interested in their own political agendas and continued financial prosperity. Lowly pet owners must fend for themselves.

    Be honest with yourself. Do not buy a dog like a Kuvasz which requires lifelong intensive socialization, if you are not prepared to meet the requirement. Do not adopt one of these dogs if you or your spouse, or in fact every adult in your home, is not able to control a dog that can be large, domineering, and protective to a fault. Try to select a breed which suits you and your lifestyle. Keep in mind that dogs depend on you as long as they live. 

    Finally, the only true dog expert is another dog. Take all of the expert advice you read and hear, and apply what makes common sense.