All About the Komondor

A rare and loyal dog breed, the Komondor devotes himself to his family and guards them at all costs.

By Joy Levy | Posted: Dec 31, 2012, 10 a.m. EST

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The Komondor is a formidable guard dog and a loyal companion. The Komondor’s appearance is unique—nothing else looks like this large white dog breed with a corded coat. While it is normal to say this dog breed’s character is unique, this is not really true. You can find a very similar temperament in quite a number of other livestock guard dog breeds, including the Great Pyrenees, Kuvasz, Maremma SheepdogAnatolian Shepherd and Tibetan Mastiff. All of these dog breeds were originally bred by shepherds to guard livestock. They were not bred to be house dogs. Their size alone makes them unsuitable for apartment living, and they are not likely to be docile pets. They were bred to be independent thinkers, and you can translate that to mean “stubborn mules.” These dog breeds want to make their own decisions about what they guard, how they guard and from whom they will take orders.

Komondors need human companionship and an orderly routine. A Komondor puppy is immediately devoted and accepts the house-training routine with incredible ease. In his own surroundings this dog breed is playful, humorous and, above all, full of love. A Komondor wants to be with his owner, not just in the same house but in the same room and preferably by his side, where he by choice will lean on his master. If any member of the family is away, the Komondor is restless and wants to lie by the door, awaiting the return of the stray; he wants all of his family at home where he can watch them. This means that the Komondor is a poor kennel dog. He will transfer with difficulty to a kennel environment, especially if he is not very young.

The American standard says that this dog breed is “wary of strangers.” It describes an excellent house guard: earnest, courageous and faithful. “It is devoted to its master and will defend him from attack by any stranger.” The Hungarian standard (official English translation) says that the Komondor’s exterior and behavior rouse respect, astonishment and fear. It calls the Komondor “mistrustful” and describes a powerful dog who watches and guards his own area and herd and attacks boldly without a cry. Does this sound terrible to an American? It shouldn’t, if you consider what this working dog’s job is supposed to be. The Komondor is a guard dog and a dog used to guard the large semi-wild sheep of the Hungarian plain. He was bred to protect the flock, family and property against predators and thieves. Moreover, the Komondor was bred to be a decision-making, responsibility- taking dog.

Komondors are courageous and aggressive in the sense that they have no fear. There must be no suggestion of shyness about this dog breed. This does not mean that he should be vicious; a Komondor is surprisingly alert and inquisitive for a large working dog. He lies in a characteristic guarding position with feet tucked firmly under him so that he can spring instantly into effective action. He seems never to sleep. He goes up readily to all strange things, confronting them boldly but attacking only when he feels that his property or his people are in some way threatened. The Komondor makes his decision as to what constitutes a threat independently and then acts with confidence and authority. These dogs have an active, positive approach in their thinking that goes along with a big, physical dog. Even a young Komondor has a terrific sense of property, and an older one is almost pathological on the subject. Your house and family are truly safe with this large, protective dog breed.

Excerpt from Komondor, part of the Comprehensive Owner’s Guide series, with permission from its publisher, Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Komondor here.

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