The Komondor is one dog breed that is true to its heritage. This dog was bred specifically to guard livestock, particularly sheep, and has been around since the Ancient times. An independent thinker and a bit on the dominant side, Komondors need owners that are more dominant themselves, as the breed has a tendency to try to dominate the pack. They are overly aggressive towards strange dogs and reserved around strangers.
A Brief History Of The Komondor
The area of origin for the Komondor is Hungary. Although they were probably around long before this period, the first known factual documentation of the Komondor goes back to 1555. It is said that the Huns brought with them to Hungary a fairly large Russian Owtcharka, which is the beginning bloodline of the breed.
These dogs look very much like the Magyar sheep which were called “Racka”, because of their mass of curly wool hanging from the coat. This allowed the dogs to mingle in and out of a flock of sheep without dispersing the herd, and in fact, almost being mistaken for one!
The Magyar shepherds held great value in the Komondor dog as they could depend on them to guard sheep. They were so protective of the breed that breeding them with other dogs was forbidden so as not to lose their amazing working ability to guard against marauding animals.
Even during the early part of the 20th century the Komondor was still being used as a trustworthy guard dog. It was 1933 when the first of the breed made its way to the United States. Just four years later it was officially recognized by the AKC in 1937.
Today, however, the breed is not very common throughout the world, even in its area of origin in Hungary. The reason stems from the devastating effects that World War II had, practically wiping the breed out in Europe. After the war was over a few dedicated breeders saved the Komondor. You can find them scattered throughout the globe in small numbers, particularly with owners who still use them to guard sheep.
Upkeep Requirements For The Komondor
Like all members of the Working Group, Komondors need daily exercise which can be met with a few brisk walks on the leash or playtime in the back yard. It’s best to keep this dog away from swimming in water because the coat takes an enormous time to dry and becomes quite messy.
Komondor dogs are not meant to live in hot climates, but rather in areas with cool temperatures. Grooming this breed takes a bit of work. Its cords must be manually separated as often as three to four times per week to keep out mats. The coat also tends to trap dirt easily. Of course the coat can be clipped but doing so would lose the breed’s unique appearance.
The average live span of the Komondor is between ten and twelve years. Major health concerns that run common in the breed are gastric torsion and CHD. Minor issues include hot spots and otitis externa. Rarely seen is entropion. Veterinarians suggest that the breed get tested for potential hip problems.