At first glance, you may be wondering how a dog got its paws on a mop. But its no prop dog, it’s the Komondor, a unique large size working breed.

Moreover, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, those ancient dreadlocks have been guarding flocks for centuries.

With their ostentatious coat, and their independent spirit, it’s quite easy to understand why fanciers took such an interest.

Where does the breed come from and what makes them such a special dog? More importantly, is this the right dog for your household?

Here is what you need to know about the “king of the working dog,” Komondor.

History

What fun would a dog breed’s history be without a little debate? In the case of the ancient Komondor, there is a little bit of brow raising when it comes to this dog’s history. First, who brought the breed to Hungary? And, what is the breed’s ancestry?

Before the breed was the “king of the working dogs,” and before we were told that the Komondor is the largest herding sheepdog from Hungary, historians believe their ancestors came with the invading Magyar tribe around the 10th century. Dog writers and historians also believe the breed is a descendant of the Russian Owtcharka.

The King of the working dog has been around for more than a thousand years ago  bred by Hungarians for utilitarian purposes. Mainly, the one item of work farmers had a need for was protecting their flock or livestock. According to Meadow View Komondor, the Hungarians were industrious people. It is most likely that they came from Asia to Europe and brought with them their sheepdog. This sheepdog is likely the precursor of the Komondor. They also came with sheep, cows, and horses.

While some believe the Magyar tribe was responsible for the breed’s development, others maintain that the breed belongs to the Cuman tribe. In fact, the word “Komondor,” means “dog of the Cumans.” It is said that remains resembling those of this breed once was found in Cuman tribal grave sites. Moreover, the breed’s club here in America alleges that tombs were found with the breed’s remains possibly linking an association between the dog and its people as far back as the 12th century.

During the 16th century, in Hungarian historical documents, the word “Komondor” begins to appear. Furthermore, European intellectual, John Amos Comenius, mentions the breed by name in his work back in 1673.

The first picture of the Komondor can be found in 1815 by writer, Ferenc Pethe. What’s more confusing about this breed’s history is the fact that another breed was often mistaken for the Komondor. Dog writer and historian, Ria Horter reports, that the Kuvasz and Komondor were once interchangeable  during the 18th and 19th century.

That said, the breed first made its appearance in the United State in the 1930’s. Even then, the breed was considerably rare. In 1937, the American Kennel Club gave the breed official recognition. Unfortunately, the breed would suffer a near extinction like other breeds around World War 2. Moreover, there was only 1,000 registrations between World War 2 and 1960.

Thankfully, due to the persistence of a few fanciers, the breed would survive. However, they are still considerably rare and work in the same capacity as they have for centuries. In fact, in the United States, ranchers use this breed to help protect their livestock against predators like Coyotes. According to Eagles Run, the Komondor has had a huge impact on cutting down the amounts of livestock death due to Coyote attacks.

Today, the American Kennel Club lists the breed as the 177th most popular breed. 

Size

The American Kennel Club claims that males can stand at a minimum of 27.5 inches. Females should stand at a minimum of 25.5 inches.

With regards to weight, a male can weigh 100 pounds or more, and females can hit the scale at 80 pounds or more.

Personality and Temperament

If you take one look at this breed then it is obvious the breed comes with a mop and luggage. Simply speaking, you have your work cut out for you. But in a good way, that is, if you enjoy bonding and grooming. 

A Komondor is independent. So much, that ranchers rant and rave about leaving them to work with little to no oversight. They do have a stubborn streak, which basically means you’ll need some experience working with dogs that have swollen heads.

Ego aside, they do love, they are loyal and have much dignity in their day to day operation. If you have a family with smaller children, you’ll be okay. However, this is a breed that does better with older children. 

As a great protector, the Komondor is alert and eager to jump in when the need arises. As puppies, they are very chippy and playful. Some say that this breed takes longer than other breed to mature. Expect a calm and steady dog when things are going as normal. If someone invades, however, you can expect a fierce and combative dog. You don’t need to train this breed to protect its territory that all comes natural.

With that in mind, you can expect a dog that will be suspicious of strangers. In fact, they don’t really care for strangers. If you have other dogs, you’ll probably want to consider another breed. This is a one trick pony, in the sense, that they don’t want to share their people.

All in all, the breed is very loyal, good with older children and willing to work with little to no oversight. They are fun as puppies and very playful. The breed will adapt to other living conditions, however, the Komondor does much better in bigger spaces.

Health

A Komondor is a healthy breed, that if all goes well and you pay attention to their health needs, you should expect 10 to 12 years life expectancy.

Although rare, there are plenty of breeders out there that breed unethically at times. Always buy from a reputable breeder, who can furnish proof of health clearances and provide proper documentation. Additionally, you’ll want to remain close with the veterinarian to maintain proper health.

This is a breed that ranks in the middle of the pack with regards to Hip Dysplasia. This is a condition that is common and affect fast growing and large breeds like the Komondor. This breed ranks 83rd on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals survey of over 100 plus breeds. Along with the Akita, Pug, and Bulldog, who all suffer from this malformation of the hip joint that causes lameness, pain and other orthopedic issues. The breed had over 1000 evaluations and suffers a 13.1 dysplastic rate.

According to the Komondor Club in America, the breed may have fatal reactions to certain types of anesthesia. This usually pertains to older dogs, who may also have a proclivity to suffer from cysts.

Another big issue affecting this breed is Gastric Torsion or how most people refer to it as Bloat. Bloat is when the stomach twists or distends due to an excess of air or gas. It can be incredibly painful and at times fatal. A reduction in diet or how much you feed your dog can greatly reduce the chances of them suffering from Bloat. 

Cloudiness of the crystalline lens that can cause complete blindness or night blindness, Cataracts, has been found with this breed. It’s important to note that a lot of dogs inherit this condition and live a normal life. If you have a working dog, however, it is important to stay alert for any signs indicating Cataracts.

Sticking with the eyes, a condition that affects the eyelid to roll inward, Entropion, is also prominent among the Komondor. Entropion can cause agitation and pain if you don’t treat it sufficiently.

Care

Due to their territorial inclinations you may want to double think getting another dog or living in an apartment. This isn’t to say that it isn’t possible to do either or, but basing the breed off their track record, it is not a great idea to have other dogs and to own a Komondor in an apartment.

They should get space, a role or job, and you’ll definitely want to put up a fence. Two short walks per day is helpful in keeping the breed happy or one long walk. 

Around smaller children, the breed may exude herding traits. Although the dog may not mean any harm, their rough play could injure a child. Also, you’ll want to watch children and how they interact with the dog.

This is a breed that should live indoors and shouldn’t be alone for long periods of time. Early socialization is a must and persistence during training is necessary to keep this breed friendly.

You’ll want to bring them to a professional as far as their coat concerns. Check their ears and trim their nails regularly to protect from splitting and overgrowth. Bathe as you deem necessary. 

In summary, this is a dog that needs a firm and consistent hand. Someone with experience on handling a large and independent breed. Avoid dog parks and don’t invite guests unless you’re there to supervise the occasion. Older children do much better and sign your Komondor up for obedience and agility courses to keep their mind and body in full stimulation mode.

Feeding

Some owners have said their Komondor suffers from itchy skin or negative effects to their coats due to a diet of too much protein. If you aren’t quite sure, you should always play it safe and consult your veterinarian.

How much your dog eats will depend on factors like their age, metabolism and activity rate. You may find it surprising that this breed doesn’t eat as much as one would think. That said, most recommend a daily feeding of two to three cups of high quality dry food. A meat first or animal based protein should suffice their needs. Chicken, turkey, fish and beef should do the trick. You can always include fruit and veggies to give them a proper nutritional balance. 

Breaking up their meals into two or three per day is very smart. It helps reduce obesity and Bloat. Bloat is very dangerous for a dog to suffer from. Instead of feeding them one big meal, consider two to three smaller meals at times where you eat.

As always, you should provide your Komondor with fresh drinking water.

Coat

If you were looking for a nickname for this breed, the dread dog or mop handle would fit nicely. They have a natural corded coat typically on the thighs, or the loins. The outside coat is coarse, long and dense with a fine undercoat.

You’ll certainly want a specialist if you have no experience grooming a dog with this style of coat. constant grooming for this seasonal shedder is absolutely necessary.

According to the American Kennel Club, there is only one coat standard color: White

Fun Komondor Facts

  • During World War 2, the Komondor was used to protect military installations. Many believe the breed was nearly killed off by the Germans.
  • According to the site, Alldog.eu, along with the Belgian Malinois, Doberman and Dogo Canaris, this breed needs to wear a muzzle in Romania by law.
  • Meadow View Komondor estimates that only 10,000 Komondors exist worldwide. 
  • The breed’s first club came into fruition in 1924 with a first breed standard written in 1926.
  • The breed was given recognition by the UKC in 1983.

Closing Words

Fearless and loyal, the Komondor is more than a fun dog to look at. Although the breed is plenty to stare at, they do have many traits that make them a wonderful dog.

Hardworking and smart, this is a breed that is willing to step in with little to no oversight and get a task done. Perhaps that is why this unique breed was given the title, “king of the working dog.”