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The Komondor dog breed is still fairly unusual within the UK, but they really are one of those breeds that once you have seen them you will never forget them! They are very distinctive as their fur grows naturally into dreadlocks, a trait that interestingly also appears in another breed from the same country, the Hungarian Puli.
While they may look rather comical, they actually have a long history as a working herding dog breed, and that unique coat helps to keep them warm, dry and protected from the worst of the winter weather. However, they can also make for very rewarding pets for active homes that spend plenty of time outside and doing things with their dogs, and this is leading to a growing demand for dogs of the breed within the UK.
If you are considering buying or adopting a Komondor or are simply interested in learning a little bit more about this unique and intelligent breed, this article will share five fascinating facts about the breed, to help you to learn more.
The Komondor coat is about its most obvious and famous feature, and what makes the breed so appealing to many people. How the coat forms into dreadlocks and the necessary maintenance for it is also interesting, and Komondor puppies are of course not born with a full coat or dreads! When born, the Komondor has a dense, short white coat that forms into fluffy curls, but as the dog grows and develops, these curls grow ever-longer, unlike the coats of most other breeds, which stop growing at a certain length.
These dense curls begin to form into large matted patches as the dog approaches their first birthday, and this is when the necessary coat maintenance for the Komondor begins! Dreadlocks do not form into individuals locks on their own-the Komondor’s owner needs to work intensively with the dog’s coat as they start to develop their matting, in order to separate them into individual dreadlock cords. As the coat continues to grow, the weight of each lock weighs them down, and the new growth continues to grow into the locks. However, the Komondor’s coat will not reach its full potential length until the dog is at least five, and some Komondor owners trim the ends of the locks to keep them from dragging the floor.
This coat formation actually fulfils an important role in the Komondor’s traditional herding and livestock guarding work-it helps to protect them from the cold, and also, wind, snow and adverse weather tend to roll off the locks due to the natural oil insulation within them, keeping them dry and comfortable. Additionally, Komondors can be very protective when guarding livestock, and will take on large predators, and their locks provide a layer of protection that can help them to survive uninjured if the predator rights back!
Many people who are not overly familiar with dreadlocks and how they form and need to be maintained assume that dreadlocks are a low or no maintenance hairstyle-but in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. In order to keep dreadlocks clean and healthy they do require quite a lot of attention, and it would be a major mistake to overlook this when considering a Komondor dog!
Dirt and surface oil needs to be cleaned from the locks, but other than the occasional bath (and thorough drying) the Komondor’s locks should largely be left unwashed, as they can be challenging to dry, which can lead to a distinctive mouldy smell as mildew begins to form inside of the locks.
The Komondor is, as mentioned, a real working breed that would often spend many week or months out in the hills herding and guarding their charges-usually sheep. They are particularly effective at guarding as their coats do of course help them to blend in with a flock of sheep during the day, while at night they stand out against the backdrop well enough for the shepherd to pick them out in the dark!
While Komondors can make for good domestic pets for well-prepared experienced dog owners in the right circumstances, their high intelligence levels and high demand for exercise make them a challenge to keep within a domestic home.
They do not cope well with a sedentary or boring lifestyle, and need an owner that spends plenty of time outside with their dogs, and that will not leave them alone at home for long periods of time.
The Komondor dog breed is quick and alert, but they very much subscribe to the “look before you leap” policy, and will always weigh up all of the variables before they make a move! This means that they do not tend to be aggressive or snappy, but they will guard and defend their property and the people or animals that they see as their charges most seriously!
Komondors have complex personalities, and they tend to bond with just one or two people and treat them as their whole lives. Notably, they are not as social as most dog breeds, and it can be challenging to introduce an adult Komondor into a home with other dogs, as they are sometimes not keen for canine company. However, if properly socialised and managed from an early age, they should be able to get on perfectly well with dogs that they meet out and about.
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