Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Komondor
Average Cost to keep/care for a Komondor
The Komondor hails from Hungary where they have always been highly prized as working dogs. They are the largest of all Hungary's herding breeds and are best suited to living in a rural environment with people who lead active, outdoor lives and who would like an alert, loyal and courageous canine companion at their side. The Komondor boasts having a striking white corded coat and although they do not need brushing, their coats still need quite a bit of maintenance to keep them looking good.
The Komondor has been around for centuries and is a descendant of the Russian Owtcharki, a dog the Magyars took with them when they arrived in Hungary from the East. The earliest record of the breed can be found in the 16th century, but it's widely thought these dogs were around long before that when they were used to guard flocks of livestock. Their coats offer these dogs a lot of protection from the elements and it also adds a thick layer of protection against attacks from predators. They were bred to be tough, courageous and independent thinkers capable of working in some of the most challenging conditions and over harsh terrains.
They have unique long corded coats that help them blend in with the large flocks they guarded which gave them an advantage over any predators. For centuries, the Komondor was highly prized for their guarding abilities, but with the advent of the Second World War, breed numbers dropped so low, these unique dogs nearly vanished altogether. However, thanks to the efforts and dedication of breed enthusiasts the breed was saved from extinction although their numbers remained very low both in Hungary and elsewhere in the world even through the post war years.
Komondors are still highly prized in Hungary where they are still seen being used to guard livestock. However, anyone wishing to share a home with one of these striking looking dogs, would need to register their interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year.
Height at the withers: Males 65 80 cm, Females 60 - 70 cm
Average weight: Males 50 - 61 kg, Females 36 - 50 kg
The Komondor is a powerful looking dog and one that has an imposing presence. Their whole bodies are covered in masses of long, white cords and their heads are quite big in relation to the rest of a dog's body, being shorter than they are wide. They have a moderate stop and black noses with wide nostrils. However, some Komondors have dark brown or dark grey coloured noses which is acceptable under their UK breed standard.
They have medium sized, dark eyes with closely fitting rims and their ears are medium in size, hanging down by a dog's head forming a U-shape. The Komondor has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are strong and moderately long being slightly arched, showing no dewlap. Their shoulders are nicely laid back with dogs having straight well boned front legs.
The Komondor boasts having a deep and broad, well-muscled chest and nice level back. Their rumps are broad, but gently slope to the tail. Their bodies are slightly longer than tall at the withers and Komondors have nicely tucked up bellies. Their back legs show a good amount of bone being well muscled and their feet are large, compact and strong with well arched toes and strong nails. The toes on a dog's back feet are slightly longer than their front ones. Tails are in line with a dog's rump which dogs carry curved at the tip, but when excited they hold them out straight level with their bodies.
When it comes to their coat, the Komondor boasts having a long, harsh top coat which can be curly or wavy and a much softer undercoat. As the hair grows it forms long cords with the longest part being on a dog's rump, loins and tails. The hair on a dog's back, shoulders and chests is moderately long whereas on their cheeks, around their eyes and mouths as well as on the lower parts of their legs, it is a lot shorter.
A puppy's coat consists of soft curls that turn into cords as a dog matures. Their coats have a buff or cream shading to them when young, but this disappears with the hair turning white as they get older. The accepted breed colour is as follows:
Komondors are intelligent although they are independent by nature which when paired to the fact they can be strong willed, means they are not a good choice for first time owners. Puppies take quite a long time to reach maturity which can be anything up to three years or longer. During their growing up they can be quite boisterous, but once they reach maturity Komondors generally calm down. They form strong ties with their owners and as such become extremely protective of them which if not gently checked can develop into a real problem.
They are naturally wary of strangers which is a trait that's deeply embedded in a dog's psyche and why they have always been so highly prized as watch dogs. They can also be quite aggressive towards other dogs, even when they have been well socialised as puppies. With this said, it's really important for these dogs to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be well rounded dogs.
Their socialisation has to include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. It's also crucial for their training to start early and it has to be consistent throughout a dog's life so they understand what is expected of them. A Komondor is never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance. If they don't know who is the alpha dog in a household, they may quickly take on the role of dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle. Komondors need to be handled with a firm, fair and gentle hand right from the word go and puppies need to be taught the "basics and boundaries" as soon as they arrive in their new homes, bearing in mind that Komondor will regularly tests limits throughout their lives.
Komondors are smart dogs and when their training starts early enough, in the right hands and environment, they are easy to train. They can be strong willed and stubborn which is why they are best suited to owners who are familiar with the particular needs of this type of guarding dog. As such, they are not the best choice for first time owners who might find it too challenging to train them.
The key to successfully training a Komondor is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions shorter which helps dogs stay focussed on what it’s being asked of them, bearing in mind that the more intelligent a dog is, the faster they get bored and Komondors are very smart dogs. They do not answer well to harsh correction or any sort of heavy handed training methods, but they do respond extremely well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these intelligent and quick witted dogs, especially when there are high value rewards involved.
The Komondor is best suited to households where the children are older and who therefore know how to behave around dogs. They can be a little "off" with children they don't already know which means care has to be taken when the kids have any friends over. With this said, any interaction between younger children and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure everything stays calm.
Even when Komondors have been well socialised from a young enough age, they are not good around other dogs so care has to be taken as to where and when they are allowed to run off their leads if other dogs are about. Care also has to be taken when they around smaller animals and pets which includes cats, just to be safe. As such any contact is best avoided.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Komondor is between 10 and 12 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Komondor is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and extraordinary looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Komondors need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Komondors boast having long cords that often reach right down to the ground. It takes quite a bit of time to keep their coats in good condition although they don’t need brushing. However, it's important to keep an eye on a dog’s cords and to gently tease apart any that are too thick paying particular attention to the belly, feet and a dog's back-end. It's also essential to remove any twigs or other debris that collects in their coat after a walk. The hair in a dog's ears also needs to be gently plucked when necessary. The hair around a dog's mouth also needs trimming which helps prevent food from getting stuck in it. The good news is that Komondors do not shed.
It's also important to get puppies used to having their paws touched so that when it comes to trimming their nails, it's never a drama and to regularly check a dog’s ears and clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections.
The Komondor is a high energy, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of vigorous daily exercise combined with lots of mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need a minimum of 60 minutes a day with as much off the lead time as possible, but only in safe environments. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Komondor would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active, high-energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Komondor puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Komondor puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Because Komondors are known to suffer from bloat, it is really important for them to be fed twice a day instead of giving a dog one larger meal a day. It's also a good idea to invest in a stand for their feed bowls which makes it easier for dogs to eat comfortably without having to stretch their necks down to reach their food. Dogs should never be exercised just before or just after they have eaten either because this puts them more at risk of suffering from gastric torsion.
If you are looking to buy a Komondor, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £1,000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy.
The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Komondor in northern England would be £22.01 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £83.08 a month (quote as of August 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £60 - £70 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Komondor and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1200 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Komondor would be between £90 to £160 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred puppy.
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