This breed is known for its alertness and has a fierce loyalty to his human family. They are courageous dogs and thrive on having responsibility, although they can be quite territorial and aggressive to strangers (both human and other animals) if they are not socialised fully when a puppy. Their unique coat looks like a floor mop, but he is perfectly suited to that which he was bred for – to protect the flock in some of the coldest weather possible. They are strong willed but respond well to variety and fun in training and for a strong human pack leader. Although a big dog, they make good inside pets if they have a lot of exercise and can get out and about regularly. A high fence is required around your yard for these dogs to prevent them from attempting to expand their territory, which is a common trait of guard dogs. But however tough they make themselves out to be, they still love time inside snuggled with their family.
The Komondors descended history goes back as far as to the Tibetan dogs. Some historians think the dog was brought to Hungary about a thousand years past when the nomadic Magyars brought the dog with them to guard the large cattle and sheep herds. However, later studies proved that it came from the Cumans, who were a Turkic nomadic people. After the Mongol invasion in 1237, many Cumans sought asylum in Hungary, joining the branches of Cumans who had settled there before the invasion. The name Komondor came from the name Korman-dor, which meant “dog of the Cumans.” Researchers have found remains of these dogs at the gravesites of the Cuman people. As far as written reference goes, the earliest is in the 16th Century. The breed gained popularity and spread throughout the world in 1920 when owners were keen to show it off by competing in dog shows. The Komondor is still utilised today as a flock guardian, staying outdoors for many months in all kinds of extreme weather. It is interesting to note that they do not herd the flock, they protect them – often without any human assistance. The AKC recognised the breed in 1937.
The Komondor is a solid dog with a massive bone structure which is well fitted to guard a flock. They take their duties seriously and will fight to defend those under their care. This breed has a large head, but the muzzle is quite short and dark. The eyes, which are hidden under their mop like hair, are almond shaped, dark brown, and medium in size. Their ears are an elongated triangle shape with a rounded tip, and they blend beautifully with the rest of the coat. The Komondors tail is long, reaching down to the hocks. The teeth meet in a scissor like bite, and they have strong jaws. But it is their haircoat that is so fascinating; they are covered from head to toe with an extraordinary felted and corded coat that is from 8 to 11 inches long. The outer coat blends with the soft undercoat to form the long cords (dreadlocks on dogs!) It takes two years for this coat to develop into the dreadlocks we recognise for this dog. This coat seriously resembles a floor mop, hence the reference when describing these dogs. The coat has a purpose though, it helps them to blend in with the sheep, and it protects the dog should they need to fight to protect their flock.
The unique haircoat should never be brushed or combed. To keep it clean it needs to be divided into cords and trimmed. Going over the coat to remove debris and check for parasites such as ticks or fleas is important. Being white in color, they need bathing (but not too often as it can ruin the thickness of their white coat) and it does take a long time to dry that thick coat. If you can train them to stand by a fan or to tolerate a blow dryer carefully utilised it may make it a lot quicker. These dogs can live in a town environment but are much more suited to the country especially a large yard and high fences. When they are not working (as in being a flock guardian), they can become lazy and will sleep for hours on end. They need to be taken for a daily brisk walk to keep them fit and healthy. This dog does well in most climates and can take the toughest of weathers. Maintenance requirements include regular exercise, coat upkeep, bathing and checking their ears and eyes for infections.