Meet the Breed: The Komondor

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Overview:

  • Height: 25" and up
  • Weight: Males up to 125 pounds, females 10% less
  • Historical function: Sheep and cattle guards
  • Modern function: Guard dog for flocks
  • AKC classification: working

Physical Characteristics:

The Komondor is a large, muscular dog with a rectangular build. Of course it is tricky to see the actual shape of the dog as, when it is mature, this dog is covered in an incredible felted corded white coat that resembles a giant mop. The coat is remarkable as it serves as both camouflage and as armor against predators. It also protects the dog from harsh elements. The coat sheds very little. The distinctive coat is formed from the soft undercoat combining with the more coarse outer coat which resemble dreadlocks. Some help is needed in separating the cords as they grow so the dog does not turn into one large matted mess. The length of the cords increases with time as the coat grows. Despite its size, the Komondor is astonishingly fast, agile and light on its feet.

History of the Breed:

The Komondor descended from Tibetan dogs and came from Asia with the Cumans, who were forced to move westward with the invasion of the Mongols, reaching the borders of Hungary in the 1100s where they were granted asylum. The dogs that came with them became treasured livestock guards that moved with the flocks disguised as sheep but ferocious and tenacious guards against predators. This guarding behavior was done with little human direction. This independent thinking was highly beneficial as were their thick coats which made them nearly impenetrable against wolf attacks. The Komondor breed has been declared one of Hungary’s national treasures, to be preserved and protected from modification.

Temperament:

Due to the Komondor's size, power, speed and guarding instinct, obedience and socialization must start from a very young age to prevent danger to others. A Komondor is bred to be an independent thinker living with the flocks, but this can translate into obstinate behavior if training sessions are not kept upbeat and fun. Praise is a must, as are consistent and humane corrections because once a Komondor gets away with unfriendly or hostile behavior, it will always think such behavior is appropriate. Expose this dog to many kinds of situations, people, and other dogs to prevent hostile behaviors from developing. This is a calm dog except when danger is perceived. They have long memories and once you have been accepted as a "member of the flock" you are a friend for life. The Komondor is known for its watchfulness and keen instincts, able to discern bad intent.

  • Best suited for: Active families living on acreage. Not suited for city life.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog needs a job to be happy and well-mannered.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Grooming should be supervised by someone with experience in managing the corded coat. Ears should be plucked and groomed with ear powders to prevent infections. Bathing will keep the coat from discoloration, but be advised that the dry time is about two days!
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk, or run if this dog is not employed as a flock guardian. Agility is a good alternative job.
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be rarely be prone to hip dysplasia and eye problems, but is generally a healthy breed having descended from centuries of hardy working stock. Be careful not to over-feed. They are very efficient eaters and often require less food than most breeds of comparable size.

Breed Club Links: Komondor Club of America

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: ClearQuest Ear Wipes with antibacterial/antifungal properties to help sensitive ears stay clean. For those of you with a sense of humor, we suggest the Rasta Stripe Dog leash to perfectly pair with the dreadlocks. The collar is fun too, but you won't be able to see it under the coat!

Have any stories about a Komondor? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

This entry was posted by Mary.
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