Komondor “Loyal, Dignified, Brave”
The Komondor is a massive, visibly intimidating and heavily coated dog best known for his long, heavily-matted white coat. At first glance, the Komondor appears unkempt, but this is his natural coat condition. He was bred to accompany and protect livestock rather than to herd them. His unique coat helps him blend in with the flock. His name may derive from komondor kedvu, which means “somber,” “surly” or “angry.” Alternatively, it may come from the French word commandeur, which means “commander.
The Komondor is the largest of the native Hungarian breeds and has guarded (but not herded) sheep and cattle for ten centuries or more. It is considered to be an almost direct descendant of the Aftscharka (or Ovtcharka), a dog found by nomadic Huns on the southern steppes when passing through Russia. However, the earliest known written record of the breed appeared in 1544. In 1673, there was a report that “the Komondor guards the herd.” The first know illustration of the Komondor dates back to 1815 and is virtually identical to the dog today.
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.
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 watery shampoo gets the job done.
Komondor have moderate exercise needs and are satisfied with two or three short walks daily or playtime in the yard. They need a securely fenced yard to help them define their territory and, because they’re so protective, to prevent other people and animals from entering that territory.