A powerfully large Hungarian flock guardian covered in profuse white cords from head to tail, the Komondor is among the world’s most recognizable breeds. The independent and protective Kom requires a firm, experienced hand at training. Our Hungarian-language tip of the day: The plural of Komondor is Komondorok. Now, let’s take a look at the dog. What we see is a large and powerful guardian covered in profuse white cords. A big male can stand more than 27.5 inches and weigh over 100 pounds, with heavy bone, a deep chest, and lots of muscle. Despite their brawn Komondorok are agile and light-footed, and move with long strides. With their unique look, it’s impossible to mistake Koms for anything else.
For many centuries the Komondor has been the king of Hungarian flock dogs. Koms guard sheep at pasture. They’re confident and tough enough to run off wolves and other ferocious beasts of prey. The dreadlocks give the dog a cool, funky look, but they aren’t for show. They provide protection from extreme weather and sharp-toothed predators. The cords also let Koms blend in with the sheep, giving them the element of surprise.
Temperament: dignified / loyal / brave
Height: 25.5 to 27.5 inches
Weight: 80 to 100 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
There are no known health problems specific to Komondors. Responsible breeders have breeding stock certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) as being free of hip dysplasia. The breed’s parent club, the Komondor Club of America, also asks breeders for eye health certifications. As with many large dogs, the Komondor can develop bloat, a sudden, life-threatening enlargement of the stomach sometimes accompanied by twisting. Owners need to be aware of the signs of bloat and take quick action if those signs appear.
A beautiful corded coat is the result of special care. An experienced breeder reports, ‘We never brush, but do wash the dogs regularly. When the coat starts to clump or ‘¿plate up’ at 9 or 10 months, we start to split the clumps or plates into areas that grow out of an area on the skin about the size of a quarter. Those grow out into the cords. There is no reason for a corded coat to smell bad or be dirty. Bathing with dilute shampoo gets the job done. To finish the bath, make sure to rinse out every hint of the shampoo, and then dry by squeezing, using towels, and then in front of a strong fan overnight. If the coat doesn’t get dry or has residual shampoo, it might smell badly.’
Komondors are agile and athletic for their size, and sufficient exercise is important to keep them healthy and happy. Free-running time in a large, securely fenced yard, going for walks, and playing with their housemate dogs all help a Komondor stay in shape. Dog parks are often a bad idea for Komondors. Developed as a livestock guardian breed, their guarding instincts can cause them to react badly to loose stranger dogs, or to the perception that a group of dogs might be a threatening pack.
Early socialization and puppy training classes are important for the Komondor, as are obedience training and a clear understanding that the “person” is in charge. They are independent thinkers and can be overly protective if not trained. Because of the dog should have learned to consistently follow commands by the time it is one year of age. Working toward an AKC CD obedience title is a perfect way for the Komondor to achieve this.
Komondors don’t eat a lot for their size and will do well on a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some owners note that too high a protein content can lead to scratching, hotspots, or other skin reactions. ‘Komondors don’t require much volume and will sometimes skip a meal if not hungry,’ says one breeder. ‘In their traditional job they probably shared what the shepherd was eating.’ Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not.