The Komondor is a large Hungarian pastoral breed (averaging 80cms in height), also known as the Hungarian sheepdog whose unique characteristic is a mop-like coat that covers the dog from head to toe. The coat of the Komondor is white and corded which grows to about 20-27cm long and has the heaviest amount of fur of all the dog breeds. The corded coat resembles that of dreadlocks or a mop, that is why it is sometimes called the “mop dog”. As a puppy, the coat is soft, curly and feathery white but as the dog matures, the soft undercoat and the coarser undercoat combine together to form tassels or cords, which usually takes around 24 months to form.
The Komondor is a native of Hungary where it has a long-established history as a powerful guardian of livestock and property. It is one of Hungary’s national treasures and is a highly-valued canine that represents a unique history. The average size of males is 80cms at the shoulders while females have an average size of 70cms. Weight standard is 50-61kg for males and 36-50kg for females.
The Komondor is one of the ancient breed of dogs brought to Hungary by the Cumans, Turkic-speaking nomadic people from Asia during the 12th and 13th century. The Cumans brought with them their prized dogs when they were driven away by the Mongols and eventually settled in Hungary in 1239. The name “Komondor” is derived from “Koman-dor” which simply means “Cuman dog”. The breed is a descendant of Tibetan dogs from Asia and is related to the South Russian Ovcharka and the Puli. It was originally used to guard livestock against predators such as wolves and bears and against sheep and cattle thieves. The first mention of the Komondor was in 1544 by Kakonyi Peter in the “History of King Astiagis”. The population suffered greatly during the Second World War because they were killed by the invading Germans and later by the Soviet Forces mainly because they had to kill the dog before the soldiers could capture a farm or estate that the Komondor guarded. Today, the Komondor is kept solely as a pet but still retains its strong instinct to guard and protect.
The Komondor has a forbidding temperament, wary of strangers and has a very strong territorial instinct. It is a formidable guard dog possessing great strength and courage. It is highly faithful to its family members and a devoted companion. The Komondor is intensely loyal and will always want to be near its human family whenever possible, enjoying attention and admiring physical contact. This breed has a tendency to become miserable and destructive when left alone for long periods of time. As a devoted family companion, the Komondor has a strong instinct to guard and protect not only his human family but also its territory. It was originally bred to guard livestock independently with little to no human intervention, the Komondor is an independent thinker and may not obey unless it sees a good reason to do so.
It is very important to note that great care must be exercised when introducing the Komondor to other unfamiliar people or dogs. Training and early socialisation is the key and should start during puppyhood (between 4-8 months), introducing the dog to other people and animals in order to minimize aggressiveness. Firm, consistent training method should be observed at all times because a Komondor that lacks obedience training is a great liability to the owner. Training should be done by an experienced handler who can teach the dog in a firm but gentle manner. Harsh training method will only lead to antipathy. It is an intelligent breed and can be trained quickly, although it can be headstrong or stubborn at times so training sessions should be upbeat and happy.
Grooming the Komondor is not an easy task. Although it does not require brushing like other dogs, grooming involves separating the coat into cords, removing debris such as grass seeds, small twigs, leaves, and anything that can get caught up in the coat in the process. Grooming also involves bathing the Komondor, which can take two and a half days to dry. In a young Komondor, the cord will start to form as lumps of hair, particularly on the feet and legs then on the rump. Hairs will begin to clump together and form mats. Cording is the process of separating the mats into the desired thickness by pulling apart the matted hairs with the fingers or with the use of a mat splitter. Cording should be done up to the skin. Bathing is straightforward. It’s the drying part that consumes a lot of time.
Like other dog breeds, the Komondor can be subject to certain health problems, although it doesn’t necessarily mean that all Komondorok are susceptible to these diseases, but it is important to know these health conditions if planning on getting a Komondor as a pet.
The Komondor is a large breed, although an apartment or condominium-type setting is not the ideal living space for this breed, it can easily adapt to this lifestyle if given enough daily exercise and is trained not to bark extremely. It is typically not a high-energy breed like other working-type dogs but it will benefit from short daily walks to keep him healthy.
The Komondor is patient with the family’s children but it can be overprotective at times, especially when other kids are around. Similarly, it can become protective of household pets and aggressive with other animals that do not belong to the family.