The Komondor is a large, muscular breed with a protective coat of dense white cords that form and grow as the breed matures. The cords make these dogs look like giant mops, but they actually serve an important purpose. The heavy cords protect vulnerable body parts from weather and attacks and help the breed blend in with whatever flock he's protecting. Mature dogs have a soft, dense, and wooly undercoat and a coarser, curly or wavy outer coat. The coat is all white, but puppies may sometimes have a small amount of buff or cream shading. These dogs have large heads and long, hanging ears. Their eyes are dark, medium sized, and almond-shaped. The dogs range in size from 25.5 to 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 80 to 100 pounds and up.
Socialization early in life helps ensure the Komondor does not become overly fearful or suspicious. Later in life, walks around town, trips to the dog park, and doggy kindergarten will all improve behavior and tolerance.
The Komondor is known for being dignified and courageous, and while these dogs are loyal and quietly loving, they are not the easiest of breeds to care for. This breed needs daily exercise, formal socialization, and obedience training, and grooming the breed's cords is challenging and time consuming. However, being on the receiving end of the Komondor's affection makes the extra time and effort worth it.
The Komondor's cords develop when the dog reaches about two years of age. Komondorok is the plural of the breed's name.
Komondorok are very intelligent dogs that are devoted to their human families but wary of unfamiliar people. These dogs can be very demonstrative with their favorite people, and they will defend their family against any type of threat or attack. The breed's natural protectiveness, vigilance, and courage makes it an excellent guard dog.
These dogs get along well with other pets and with livestock, and they naturally assume a guardian role, whether other animals in the household need guarding or not. The Komondor is very protective of children in the family, but these dogs may have difficulty distinguishing between rough-and-tumble play and danger. Therefore, they must be supervised at all times around small children.
Komondorok are naturally lazy dogs (when working, they need to conserve energy for fighting), but they require daily exercise to remain physically and mentally healthy. Long walks are well tolerated, but swimming should be avoided due to the time it takes for the Komondor's coat to dry. These dogs are best suited to homes with large, enclosed yards, but they can do well in apartments if given enough exercise. The breed does tend to bark, however, and close neighbors may not find such behavior endearing.
Komondorok are relatively healthy dogs, but they are known to suffer from a few health problems that can negatively affect length or quality of life. Congenital hip dysplasia and gastric torsion are two of the breed's primary health concerns, and both can significantly interfere with life. In fact, gastric torsion is a potentially fatal condition that requires immediate veterinary care. Otitis externa and a variety of eye conditions, including juvenile cataracts and entropion, are other concerns.
The breed is also prone to acute moist dermatitis and other skin conditions, such as skin allergies. These conditions can be especially difficult to treat in Komondorok because of their dense, heavy coat. Parasites are another problem known to affect the breed, but dipping can cause coat discoloration.
With routine veterinary care, recommended canine vaccinations, a healthy diet, and regular exercise, Komondorok can live active lives for up to 12 years.
Obedience training is a must when it comes to Komondorok. Early socialization is also essential to ensure these dogs become tolerant adults and do not become aggressive with other dogs or with humans. These confident and independent-minded dogs need a strong leader in order for training to be successful.
Stubborn and domineering during training, the Komondor responds best to firmness and consistency. Heavy-handing training will only increase stubbornness and cause unhappiness. Instead, it is key to practice positive reinforcement techniques, including praise, play, and food rewards. Patience is also an essential part of training, as this breed has difficulty letting go of behaviors it enjoys, even if those behaviors are unhealthy or destructive.
Socialization early in life helps ensure the Komondor does not become overly fearful or suspicious. Later in life, walks around town, trips to the dog park, and doggy kindergarten will all improve behavior and tolerance. These dogs need a lot of attention and interaction. Leaving them chained in a yard will result in aggression and destructiveness. Plus, it is cruel.
These nonshedding dogs need quite a bit of grooming, and Komondor coat care can be tricky for first time groomers. Their cords should be separated carefully every week to keep them from turning into big, flat mats of hair. If dirtiness or odor is a problem, the hair around the mouth can be trimmed and the Komondor's face should be cleaned after every meal. Clipping the entire coat is an option, but doing so takes away from the breed's unique look.
Komondorok need frequent bathing. Unfortunately, their dense, corded coats can take a day or more to dry. This presents a problem in cold weather. Without regular baths, however, the breed's coat will become dull, dirty, and smelly.
The nails need trimming every couple of weeks, and the ears need checking weekly for excess wax accumulation or signs of infection. Komondorok need their teeth brushed daily to prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. Drinking water additives and dental chews can help keep the teeth clean between brushings and will improve breath odor.
Komondorok were developed in Hungary for the purpose of guarding large herds of cattle and sheep. The breed is nearly a direct descendent of the Aftscharka, dogs found on the southern steppes by the Huns when they moved through Russia. The Komondor's role is that of a protector, rather than a herder, of the flocks.
Komondor means "dog of the Cumans," and some believe the breed hails from Cumania, where bones of the dogs have been found. The Cumans were a Turkish nomadic people, which means they could have brought the dogs to Cumania from nearly anywhere in the region.
In Hungary, the Komondor remains a working dog, a role the breed has filled for ten centuries. In the United States, the breed is often found in the obedience and show rings. Some are also kept as family pets.
The American Kennel Club recognized the Komondor breed in 1937.