Breed Group: Working
A Komondor (KOM-on-door plural Komondorok) stays a playful puppy for between 2 and 3 years during which time they are extremely energetic. But once through the puppy stage, they become a more dignified, self-reliant adult. However, even then they remain extremely active both inside and out and require a great deal of exercise. Bred to identify friend from foe as a livestock guardian, he uses the same discriminating judgment today. But that judgment is not infallible in a modern home. Totally devoted to his family, he is suspicious of any stranger, letting you know with his booming bark before they arrive. Dogs must be carefully introduced and supervised during the stranger’s stay. Normal rough play with visiting neighborhood children can elicit a protective response with unfortunate results. They willing accept family pets as part of their flock to be protected from other animals he assumes are predators. They are more active at night, making their tendency to bark potentially troublesome for their owner and neighbors alike. Despite their massive size, they have lightning fast reactions and are extremely agile. Clearly, this is not a dog for a typical residential area.
A Komondor is a large or giant dog> They stand 26 to 31 inches tall and weigh 80 to 130 pounds. Their most recognizable feature is their white coat which, when properly kept, forms long dreadlock-like cords. Their breed club has a page that includes a description of the effort required for maintaining their coat which has instructions for bathing them which is a process that takes at least 24 hours to complete. A properly maintained coat results in a dog that sheds little if at all. As an alternative, they can be shaved. An intact coat protects them from all but arctic cold but they do poorly in heat or humidity.
Early and continuous socialization is mandatory to keep their territorial nature under control and prevent them from becoming a hazard. Among the most intelligent dogs, they can learn anything. But because they have been bred to use their intelligence to make their own decisions, they are not easy to train. You must establish yourself as alpha to have any chance of success with one. Use only positive, praise based training methods or you will lose their cooperation and respect. Repetitive training bores them. Their motto is “Been there, done that, why do it again?” This is not a breed for a mild-mannered or inexperienced owner.
Free from many of the diseases that plague so many breeds, about 1 in 8 Komondorok are affected by Hip Dysplasia. As with any large, deep-chested dog breed, Bloat is a concern. Of lesser concern are Entropion, ear infections, and problems with their skin. Their lifespan is about 12 years.
The Komondor is rarely seen outside of its native Hungary. The American Kennel Club ranks them 145th in popularity with fewer than 100 dogs registered in a typical year. If you have an interest in a Komondor, be prepared to search for a breeder and wait for a puppy.
When the Huns came to Hungary they brought with them a Russian dog called the Owtcharka. It is believed the Owtcharka is the progenitor of the Komondor. Their curly white coat made it difficult to distinguish them from the Maygar sheep they were guarding. Greatly valued by Mygar shepherds, they were prevented from being crossed with other breeds. Although it is certain they existed before then, their earliest documented appearance is in 1555. Komondorok were so successful in protecting sheep from wolves, some credit the breed with a major roll in eliminating the wolf from Hungary. Introduced to America in 1933, the American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1937. The breed was almost eliminated from the European continent as a result of WWII but has since been reestablished. Recent attempts to use Komondorok as flock guardians in the western United States has met with promising success.
A Komondor is similar in disposition but not in appearance to the Kuvasz. If you are interested in the corded coat but would like a smaller dog, you may prefer the Puli. Heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney was a Komondor owner. The National (US) Parent Breed Club is the Komondor Club of America.