You want a really distinctive dog, you say? Why, this dog may be just what you are looking for. You may think you’re getting a mop (Harsh! But understandable), but a Komondor is nothing like that soggy cleaning tool. Bred to guard livestock, these self-appointed Protectors-in-Chief will do anything it takes to keep you safe, and they’re not afraid to voice their opinion about it, either. From their long, unique locks to their cunning intelligence, life will never be dull with a Komondor around.
Komondorok (plural of Komondor) are best for large homes and experienced pet parents. With proper socialization and supervision, they can be good with older kids and even cats, but beware that chaos might ensue around other dogs and strangers.
Komondor dogs generally have a calm and quiet temperament, but they will react when they sense strange things are afoot, and that’s usually in the form of a deep bark that’s also pretty loud. Bred in Hungary as a flock guardian, they are devoted to their family, fiercely protective, and very wary of strangers.
All of these traits are fine when taken separately, but when they come together, that can result in undesirable behaviors if the dog has not been properly trained and socialized. It’s important to remember that, out in the fields, these dogs were largely left to their own devices when herding sheep. Over time, the Komondor breed developed a strong sense of independence.
When properly socialized, Komondorok can do well with kids and other pets. Although, they can be aggressive toward dogs they don’t know, so trips to the dog parks may not be a good idea. (Learn more about training and socialization below in the Training.)
Like most working dogs, Komondorok always need something constructive to do. Without daily exercise or mental stimulation to keep them occupied, you may not be happy with the outcome as these large dogs can be extremely destructive when bored.
How to Care for a Komondor
Komondorok require the most maintenance during their first two years. After that, their cords are formed and need relatively little maintenance aside from baths and regular haircuts. And that means more time to spend on training these strong-willed dogs. Moderate exercise and a healthy diet will ensure they reach their full life expectancy.
Komondorok have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years, and while they are generally healthy, there are some health issues common to the breed. All of these issues are not a given, but it’s still important that prospective pet parents have all the information they need to understand any potential health problems that could arise.
- Hip Dysplasia: This degenerative disease is common in many breeds of dogs, and it arises when the ball and socket of the hip do not fit together properly. Symptoms of hip dysplasia include decreased mobility, a reluctance to run, jump or climb stairs and stiffness or limping. The treatment for hip dysplasia can range from physical therapy to joint supplements to surgery. Consult your vet for more information.
- Entropion: This eye condition occurs when the eyelids of the Komondor roll inward. When this happens, the eyelashes rub on the cornea leading to irritation. Common symptoms include excessive tearing, squinting and constant rubbing. For mild cases, a topical antibiotic may be prescribed to keep infections at bay, while moderate cases may require surgery to correct the issue. Regular ophthalmology consultations are also recommended for this breed.
- Gastric Torsion: Also known as bloat, gastric torsion is a common problem with Komondorok. Bloat occurs when your dog eats too quickly or “bolts” their food, causing a sudden influx of air into their stomach. This, in turn, causes their stomach to distend and twist, and it can be deadly if not treated immediately. To prevent gastric torsion, pet parents should try slow feeders. Surgery is also an option, to suture the stomach to the abdominal wall, lessening the chance of bloat.
While there are many theories regarding the exact origin of Komondor, the earliest records of the breed date back to the 16th century when it’s believed that these dogs first arrived in Hungary, brought there by the Magyars.
Bred as a working dog to guard livestock, these dogs have quite a few interesting characteristics to help them do their jobs. Their distinctive white cords allowed them to blend in with their flock of sheep, and the thick cords essentially served as armor to protect them from the sharp bites of attacking wolves.
Komondorok were first brought over to America in 1933, and the American Kennel Club first recognized them in 1937. Used throughout World War II to guard military installations, the breed was almost extinct by the time the war was over. Today the Komondor is still considered a very rare breed. While the highest populations of Komondorok live in their native Hungary and the United States, there are still less than 10,000 of them.
Today, life for these livestock guides has changed a bit. In the absence of a flock, Komondorok tend to use their exceptional qualities and talents to protect the people they love the most.
Looking to add a Komondor to your home? The average price of a Komondor puppy is about $800 to $1,200. Of course, when you take bloodlines and lineage into consideration, the cost could be much higher. Check out the AKC’s website to find a reputable breeder. You can also reach out to Komondor rescue organizations to adopt a Komondor or keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter.
Do Komondorok shed?
Despite appearances with all that hair, Komondorok don’t shed very much at all! In their first two years of life, their coats may require more attention to get the cords started, but once the cords have plated, it should be relatively smooth sailing from there.
Why do Komondorok have dreads?
The unmistakable dreadlocks on these pups are simply a result of the hair from their overcoats and undercoats twisting together. Once the cords have been formed, pet parents need not brush or comb their Komondor’s hair. Washing it periodically and thoroughly drying it is all that’s needed.
What are the most common Komondorok mixes?
The most common Komondor mixes are:
- Komondor-Great Pyrenees mix (Komondor-Pyrenees)
- Komondor-Poodle mix (Komondor-Poodle)
- Komondor-Newfoundland mix (Newkom)
- Komondor-Golden Retriever mix (Komondor-Golden Retriever)
- Komondor-Labrador mix (Komondor-Lab)
What were Komondorok bred for?
Komondorok were bred to be livestock guardians and working dogs. Their heavy white coats allowed them to blend in with their flock and protected them from predatory attacks by wolves. Guarding instincts are hardwired into these pups, so if there’s no flock to guard, they have no problem transferring their protective instincts to their families.
Are Komondorok family dogs?
Komondorok are intensely loyal, and they love their humans. They can make good family dogs, but they must be well-socialized and receive consistent training. That said, Komondorok are not a good idea for families with small kids (they’re large pups and may knock over small kids), and they’ll be better off in a one-dog household.
Do Komondorok bark a lot?
Stay true to their guarding nature, Komondorok bark a lot when they sense trouble.. They have a distinctive bark that is loud and deep, and they have no qualms about exercising their freedom of expression. For this reason, Komondorok are better suited for large homes with wide-open spaces versus apartment complexes that are always a flurry of activity.
Komondorok are highly intelligent dogs with a fierce protective streak. They love their families and will do anything to keep them safe. Under their mop-like exterior, there is a large, intelligent and powerful dog who needs a confident and consistent leader to guide them. These dogs don’t require tons of exercise, daily walks are plenty and they’re just as happy running by your side in the park or sitting by your side on the couch.
Expert input provided by Jody Haas-Wolfson, CPDT-KA, and owner of Root Dog Training, and Steffi Trott, owner of SpiritDog Training.
Top Komondor Names
These are the top Komondor names as chosen by Chewy's pet parents!