History of the Komondor Breed
The komondor (pronunciation - KOM-on-door), a descendant of Tibetan dogs, was brought to Hungary a thousand years ago by nomadic Magyars to guard flocks of sheep. The original dog, the Russian owtcharka, was large with long legs and a wooly coat that enabled it to blend in with the flocks it protected. The shepherds valued the breed so much that they did not allow interbreeding. The komondor – whose plural is komondorok – was an effective foe to enemies of the flock and was fabled to have eliminated the wolf from Hungary. The earliest written records of the breed date back to the sixteenth century, although the breed probably existed long before then. In 1920, the documentation spread throughout the rest of the world when the komondor was presented at dog shows. Its difficult-to-manage coat has made it a rare entry with only the top specimens making an appearance in the ring. The komondor made its first appearance in the United States in 1933 and was officially acknowledged by the AKC in 1937. The komondor lives for many months outside in all types of weather as a protector of its master’s flocks as it did a thousand years ago. In the United States, the komondor primarily serves as a home and livestock guard and a companion. This dog is known as the king of Hungarian sheepdogs.
Size and Appearance of the Komondor Breed
The komondor gets its strength, dignity, and bravery from its large, muscular body. Having plenty of bone and substance, the shape of the komondor is long and tall, which makes for a lengthy stride and step. Its dense, wooly, curly coat allows the komondor to blend in almost perfectly with the flocks it guards. It is covered with a unique coat of heavy white, somewhat cream or buff cords. This also helps the komondor in extreme weather and against other animals. Adult dogs tend to have more coarse cords than puppies, which have softer, longer cords. The length of a komondor’s coat is relative to its age so a young komondor will most certainly have a short coat. The buff or cream color of the coat should fade away as the dog grows. The ideal skin color is gray, however, pink is acceptable, but not desirable. Its tail hangs long enough to reach the hocks. It is somewhat rounded upward and/or to one side. The bigger part of the tail is not raised higher than the level of the dog’s back, even when it is excited.
The komondor is bred to be an independent protector of livestock, not a herder. Thus, it is serious, confident, alert and authoritative. However, it can be stubborn or bossy toward other dogs, especially if there is heavy-handed training involved. The komondor is very protective of its territory and family, which makes the dog hold itself in reserve around strangers. It is especially protective of children, however, it may not understand a child’s way of rough playing. If the dog is raised in a highly socialized environment from a very young age and raised with children, the komondor can be very friendly and possibly even willful. The komondor interacts well with other pets, especially livestock, which, in turn, makes the dog happy because it is watching over someone or something. Because it is a natural guardian, the komondor is fearless against a threatening enemy. It can even get the better of such beasts like a wolf or bear. The combination of courageousness and devotion make the komondor an excellent guardian of livestock, family, and homes.
Komondor Recommended Maintenance
Do not brush or comb a komondor’s coat. In fact, it is recommended that their coats be taken care of by a professional pet groomer, who can separate its cords. Only bathe the dog when necessary and let its coat thoroughly dry, which could take up to twenty-four hours. It sheds very little. Clean the teeth and trim the nails when necessary. Obedience training is essential for the komondor to ensure that it follows consistent rules and learns socialization skills. Intensive exercise is extremely important for this breed. They need daily exercise, which can include long walks, short romps, pulling, or long-distance runs. Because their coats take a long time to dry, swimming is discouraged. This breed does not like warm weather and can live outside in temperate to cool temperatures. The country is an ideal place for the komondor, though it is possible for them to live in an urban environment.
• Life span: 10 – 12 years
• Major concerns: CHD, gastric torsion
• Minor concerns: otitis externa, acute moist dermatitis
• Occasionally seen: entropion
• Suggested tests: hip