Let's talk Komondors

Hiding behind all that woolly hair is a breed with a long history as a working sheepdog so the Komondor’s shaggy coat actually serves a purpose: to keep them warm and protected during long winters spent out in the pasture. Hair aside, while these powerful giants were bred to guard the flock and can be rather territorial, Komondors are nonetheless an affable breed, and absolutely devoted to their humans. A flock of a different nature.

Official name: Komondor

Other names: Hungarian Sheepdog, Mop Dog

Origins: Hungary

Close-up of Komondor in black and white
 Drooling tendencies

Very low

Warm weather? Low
 Shedding level Very low
Suited to apartment living?  Very low
 Energy Level (high, low, medium)* Medium Family Pet?* 
Medium
 Compatibility with other pets Medium
Can stay alone?* Very low

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
 
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).
 
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
 
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
 
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
Inline Image 15
Illustration of Komondor
Male
70 - 76 cm Height
50 - 60 kg Weight
Female
64 - 70 cm Height
40 - 50 kg Weight

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 8 months
 Junior age 8 months to 2 years
 Adult age  2 to 5 years
Mature age  From 5 years

Komondor running towards camera over grass

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Get to know the Komondor

All you need to know about the breed

It is hard to talk about the Komondor without mentioning their incredible white coat. It keeps this robust and hardy sheepdog protected among the flock in often unforgiving climes. And it will need a committed owner willing to do double duty as canine hairdresser. While their coats start off rather fuzzy and soft, as their hair gets long, and it will, your job will be to manually separate and twist the hair into the cords that define the breed. It is an art form. 

Bred to guard sheep in the pasture, Komondorok – the plural of the breed in Hungarian – are large in stature and intelligence, with the independent spirit of dogs left to guard the flock on their own. It is a wonderful quality but one you will want to head off in a family dog with early socialisation and puppy training classes. While quick to learn, Komondors need an experienced owner who will insist on the alpha dog role.

While Komondors are reserved with strangers, they don’t hold back on giving their affection and attention to their humans. You would be hard-pressed to find a better guard dog - they will protect you, like it or not. Gracious family pets once trained, Komondors are, however, better suited to homes with older children. With their strength, size and speed, they could cause harm to smaller ones by accident. And while the Komondor thrives on company, he doesn’t do well left alone. The more humans home, the better.

This rare breed is a delight, though. If you can offer them lots of outdoor time, a firm touch, and a loving environment, your Komondor will reward your dedication with daily devotion and rollicking good times.

Two Komondor dogs sitting together on grass

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2 facts about Komondors

1. Don’t give up the chase

Bred to protect their flock at any cost, Komondors still have a strong prey drive and will naturally give chase to anything smaller that moves – and what isn’t smaller? - or that they see as threatening their human family or abode. So no off-lead runs unless you are 100% positive your Komondor can’t get out and certainly not if there is livestock or other animals around. 

2. In good voice

Nothing will scare off intruders or furry beasts like a deeply resonating bellow repeated in short succession, right? 

That's the exact way Komondors would historically be guarding the sheep against predators like wolves at night. And you against modern dangers. This ingrained Komondor trait is a hard one to train out of them. And yet another reason the breed is better suited to rural living, far from the closest neighbours.

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History of the breed

Bred in Hungary to protect livestock, and protect they most certainly do, the Komondor’s ancestors are thought to have been brought to Europe by the nomadic Cuman tribes when they settled in the region – Komondor = “dog of the Cumans”. And while the earliest record of the present-day Komondor dates back to the 16th century, most canine historians believe the breed has been around much longer.   

During World War II, the breed’s numbers took a real hit – invading soldiers, realising that the dogs protecting the sheep dotted around Hungary would not provide them cover, attacking them as they would any other intruders, killed many of the dogs, sadly. Luckily, devoted Hungarians helped breed the Komondor, thought to number 20 or 30, back to healthy numbers once the war ended.

With a smattering of dogs smuggled to the U.S. before the Iron Curtain was lifted – or should that be drawn? – the Komondor took a while to get off the ground overseas. By the 1960s, the breed was on its way, prized as show dogs and, of course, for their guarding skills. 

Close-up of Komondor in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Komondors

1. Head

Dark skin around the eyes and on the muzzle.

2. Eyes

Medium-sized, almond-shaped eyes, not too deeply set.

3. Body

A large, muscular dog with plenty of bone and substance.

4. Chest

Powerful, deep chest, muscular and proportionately wide.

5. Coat

Highly unique, dense white corded (in adults) double coat.

Komondor puppy walking over grass

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Komondor
Komondor running towards camera over grass

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Caring for your Komondor

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Grooming a Komondor takes a consistent hand. While puppies coats’ are fluffy, once their hair grows, the clumps need to be split and twisted to achieve the corded shaggy coat the breed is known for. Check them daily for grass and other debris that can get trapped. Throw in regular bathing to that grooming routine and some kind of drying process. Dense as it is, their coat won’t dry easily on its own. The Komondor needs lots of regular exercise and will thrive with an athletic, active owner and a large, fenced-in yard where they can safely roam off-lead. To remember: they were bred as guard dogs. So their instincts might kick in if other animals infringe on what they see as their territory (even if it is just the local park). This head-strong independent canine needs an experienced, confident owner – but with that person, innate Komondor intelligence makes for a dog that wants to obey. Early socialisation and puppy training classes are a must, as is obedience training. You will need to establish who the boss is early on.

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All about Komondors

With their mop-like, tightly wound double coats, Komondors don’t lose much hair. The fact that they don’t shed means that they release very little dander into their surroundings. While this is good news for allergy-sufferers, no dog can be said to be truly 100% hypoallergenic. Sorry! 

In a word, yes. In their former lives as guardian of the flock, their job was to scare off wolves and other predators, first by barking. It is ingrained. If they sense any danger to you, their human flock, they will defend you. Strange noises set them off. It makes the Komondor an excellent guard dog. But not so popular with the neighbours.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/