A Guide to the Komondor Dog Breed AKA The Mop Dog

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komondor dog in the mountainsThe Komondor or Hungarian Sheepdog is a giant breed that originates from Hungary. Komondorok (plural for Komondor) were bred as flock guardians to protect sheep at pasture. Despite being a relatively unknown breed, it has a very distinctive appearance.

Its corded coat makes this dog breed resemble an enormous mop! Don’t let looks deceive you though, the Kom is no Muppet. This is a serious dog with some serious guarding skills!

A Brief History of These Noble Hungarian Sheepdogs

Originating in Hungary, the Komondor breed goes back thousands of years. It is believed that the nomadic Magyars brought the predecessors of the Komondorok to the Carpathian basin as early as the 12th century.

This breed was developed to protect flocks of sheep from wolves and other ferocious predators. Although the earliest written record of the Komondorok is 1544, it was only accepted as a breed with the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) in 1954. The Komondor is related to the Puli and the South Russian Ovcharka.

The Appearance of These Mop Dogs

Komondorok are large, athletically and sturdily built dogs. Their mop-like coat might make them look a bit goofy, but underneath that fluffy exterior is a well-muscled, agile dog.

A deep chest and a long straight back sit atop strong, straight legs. The head is big with a pointed nose and almond-shaped eyes. Although the coat is white all over, the skin around the dog’s eyes and muzzle is dark.

A Dog That Looks Like a Mop!

As puppies, Koms have a creamy colored, soft and curly coat. From the age of 8 or 9 months, the coat will begin to cord.

This is a result of the shedded undercoat being trapped by the coarser top coat. With time the cords will thicken and lengthen, giving the Komondor it’s characteristic mop-like appearance!

Average Size and Weight!

Being a giant breed, the Komondor is a whole lot of dog! Adult males weigh 100 pounds (45 kg) or more and measure to a height of 27.5 inches (69 cm) at the shoulder.

Adult females have a weight of at least 80 pounds (36 kg) and a height of 25.5 inches (64 cm).

A Dog with Dreads vs. Komondor Shaved

These doggy dreadlocks serve a purpose. Koms stay out with their flocks in all sorts of weather conditions. Their thickly corded coats keep them warm and protect them from predators.

If maintaining this mop dog is too much for you, you can have the coat shaved off. Just bear in mind that your dog will not be as resilient to extreme weather conditions, both cold and sunny.

white mop dogs on grass

Komondor Dog Grooming Requirements: Level Expert!

The characteristic cords do require some intervention. When the Komondor puppies’ coats start cording at around 9 months of age, one needs to keep cords separated so that painful matting doesn’t occur.

It is also important to keep your Kom clean during this time (well, always) so that no dirt or debris gets trapped within the forming cords. It can take up to 2 years for the cords to completely form.

Temperament and Personality of These Fiercely Loyal Working Dogs

The Komondor is calm, vigilant and accountable. They are excellent watchdogs and become extremely loyal to the members of their family/flock.

Raising a Komondor requires patience and perseverance. If you have the time and dedication, you will be rewarded by an affectionate and devoted companion.

Protect First! Ask Questions Later!

Don’t underestimate this adorable mop-like hound. They might look cute and cuddly, well, they are, but they are also extremely protective and territorial.

While the Komondor will follow you around the house like a lap dog, it will not be so accommodating of strangers and perceived threats.

Komondorok are very quick to react to potentially threatening people or situations. Don’t be fooled by their big and clumsy size. They are nimble and fast when doing their job.

Not for First Time Puppy Parents! They Need a Strong Alpha!

Komondorok are BIG dogs. They are bred to protect their flocks from fierce predators like wolves. They are designed to be independent and responsible for an entire flock of sheep out in rough terrain.

This makes them a challenge to train as they might not always think that what you are asking of them is necessary or a good idea!

You will need to be confident and sure of yourself when training a Komondor. Lots of positive feedback and interesting challenges will keep your Kom interested in the tasks at hand.

Socialization and Training are Non-Negotiable if You Want a Komondor!

Start obedience training your Kom pup from the moment you bring it home. The strong, independent personalities need a lot of guidance to know what is good and bad within the home context.

By nature, the Hungarian Sheepdog is wary of anything or anyone that is not a part of their ‘flock’. It is important to expose them to as many situations and people as possible in the early days. This will help them to learn how to respond appropriately as they grow older.

What is Their Expected Lifespan?

Feed your Kom a well-balanced, veterinary-approved diet and you can expect a good 10 to 12 years. Age appropriate exercise is also important to maintain a healthy dog.

Your Kom needs time to run free in a spacious and securely fenced in yard. Daily walks are a good idea, but not in dog parks. The natural instincts of the livestock guardian breed can cause them to be reactive towards loose stranger dogs.

komondor puppy in competition

3 Potential Health Problems of This Breed

The Hungarian Sheepdog has very few health issues. Although rarely found, the following conditions are more likely than others:

1. Hip dysplasiaHip dysplasia is a malady amongst several of the large and giant breeds.  A deformity of the hip socket, which can lead to lameness and painful arthritis in older dogs.

2. Entropion – a disorder whereby the bottom lid of one or both eyes folds back on itself. This can be surgically remedied when the animal reaches maturity.

3. Bloat (or gastric torsion) – a sudden expansion of the stomach with twisting, which can be lethal.

Komondor Puppies for Sale!

A Komondor is an amazing dog but is suited to very specific situations. It is a good idea to visit adult Komondors in their homes before making your final decision.

A reputable breeder can assist you with any questions that you might have about this dog breed and whether it is suitable for your lifestyle.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) site and the Komondor Club of America are good resources for finding a good Komondor dog breeder.

How Much Does a Komondor Puppy Cost?

Komondorok are very specialized dogs. Breeders should be knowledgeable and experienced with the breed.

A good dog breeder should take every precaution to ensure the health and well-being of their puppies. This means that you could pay anything from $ 1000 for a Komondor puppy.

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Komondor Rescues!

As this is a challenging breed to raise and keep, there could be several available from Komondor rescue groups. Save yourself the trouble of raising and obedience training a pup. Get an adult dog instead. The Komondor Rescue is a good place to begin your search.

3 Common Questions on Komondors

1. Does the Hungarian Komondor Require Much Grooming?

2. Are Komondorok Good Watch Dogs?

3. Is the Komondor a Good Family Pet?

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