"Cords Galore"

Photo of Komondor


Komondorok (plural of Komondor) probably descended from large Russian dogs brought to Hungary by the Huns in ancient times. Because these dogs resembled Magyar Racka sheep in the area, they blended in well with the herds they were supposed to protect, which was considered a good feature for sneak attacks on predators. It was so effective that some credit these dogs with wiping out the wolf in Hungary. The first actual mention of the Komondor was in 1555, although by that time they seem to have been well established. Komondorok remain in use as flock protectors in Hungary, coming to America in 1933. The AKC recognized the Komondor in 1937. The breed was almost decimated in Europe because of World War II, but through concerted efforts of breeders world-wide the Komondor was salvaged. Recent attempts to use Komondorok to guard sheep in the western United States have been promising. Despite its impressive looks, the Komondor's demanding coat and strong personality have probably deterred all but the most determined people from having one as a pet. They are among the AKC's least popular dogs, ranking 148th out of 155 breeds.


The Komondor had to be an independent thinker, ready to act on his own, and to act in a tough, protective fashion, in order to live with the flocks and protect them from predators. As a result, he can be stubborn to a fault. He is reserved with strangers and can be aggressive toward other dogs. Although mild mannered at home, his long locks are too tempting for children to pull on, so he's not suggested for very young children. However, he is a fearless protector of children, family, and livestock. Unless there is reason to sound an alarm, he tends to be a quiet dog in the house.


The most striking feature of the Komondor is his coat of long, white cords. The coat is actually a double coat, with a dense wooly undercoat and a coarser outer coat that is wavy or curly. The undercoat gets trapped in the outer coat so it eventually forms long tassels of essentially matted hair. Under the coat is a muscular dog with a sturdy body, slightly longer than he is tall. His skull and muzzle are wide, and his ears hang. He has a level topline, with his tail carried low, reaching to the hocks.


Komondorok need a lot of early socialization to allow them to accept strangers without being suspicious. They also need early training. This is a big, strong dog that needs to learn the basics during the first year of life. In a battle of wills, the Komondor is likely to win, so reward-based methods are best for most training. However, this is not a breed for meek owners. Infallible consistency and a firm-but-fair hand are required. This is not a beginner's dog.

Grooming & Care

Because of the weight of the coat and the time it takes to dry, swimming a full-coated Komondor is a very bad idea. The coat must be cleaned of debris after walks. The cords must be separated so that they don't just form thick, wide mats. Bathing and drying can take as long as a day. Pets can be clipped, which saves considerable coat care hassle. Komondorok need about an hour of walking every day, or a series of short romps.

Health Concerns

The Komondor's main health concerns are hip dysplasia and bloat (a potentially fatal twisting of the stomach). They can also suffer from ear infections and hot spots (skin infections). Breeding stock should have hips cleared by OFA, and should optimally come from lines with few bloating relatives. Ask the breeder about these issues.

Famous Komondor

In 1993, Ch. Lojosmegyi Dahu Digal made America look twice when he won the Working Group at the Westminster Kennel Club show.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 3
Schedule 5
Home 9
Children 123
Experience 51
Quick Facts
Grooming 58
Exercise 61
Challenges Better for an experienced owner.
Height 25 to 28 inches
Weight 80 to 125 pounds
Life 10 to 12 years
Home Alone 84
With Kids 114
With Strangers 113
Availability 95

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

In the News

Contact Us

3070 8th St SW
Altoona, IA 50009
Phone: (515) 967-4281
Fax: (515)967-8824

After Hours Emergency
IVS: (515) 280-305
IVRC: (515)727-4872