The Komondor of Hungary: The "Mop Dog"

  • 22/11/2010

When one first sees a Komondor, it is an unforgettable experience. This dog quite literally resembles a very large white floor mop. The heavy mass of hair is completely "corded" over the whole body, including the face, to the extent that one wonders how the dog can see at all. About the only recognizable part of the body that can be seen besides the coat is the nose and maybe the tongue is the dog's mouth is open. The Komondor is a Hungarian breed of ancient origin, as long as there have been sheep in Hungary, there has existed this large white flock guarding dog. The corded coat serves a dual purpose, for it not only protects the dog from the elements and makes it appear to be a sheep, which is a camouflage for the dog, but it also creates an impenetrable barrier against the teeth and claws of predators.

The Komondor is the largest of the Hungarian herding dogs. It can weigh as much as 150 pounds although 110 is about average, with a height of 25-27 inches. the standard requires a height of no more than 25 inches but the working dogs do not necessarily follow the standard. The Komondor is a popular working dog in many countries, it is very well suited to the work it does. Wherever there are sheep men and cattlemen whose flocks require protection from predators, the Komondor is often the solution. This dog is sometimes a pet and often is a show dog, but it has a natural propensity and desire to work and will be happier if allowed to have something to do. Furthermore, any person who should wish to keep the dog as a pet alone often has no choice except to keep the coat quite short, for the care of the coat if the dog is expected to be in a household is way more than the average pet owner can contend with.

This coat can not be brushed if it is kept as a corded coat, the only way to get it clean is to soak the entire dog in a tub of water with some sort of shampoo and then carefully squeeze out the shampoo and soak the dog again in several "rinses" and then towel dry the dog by squeezing each cord and putting the dog in front of a fan or dryer on low for air drying. The time to wash a fully corded adult Komondor is at least a full 6 hours. Breeders and exhibitors who show the Komondor also take time as the coat is growing to "train" the cords by wrapping the hairs around a central point as the dog grows. If left to itself the coat still "cords" but with less order to the whole picture.

This is a a dog that requires early training and exposure as a youngster since it possesses a great deal of independence and a strong desire to be protective. This can become aggression towards strangers if the dog is not trained from the beginning to follow the commands of its master. This is not a fault of the breed but rather a part of its natural makeup. The Komondor when trained and brought up within a family is a loyal and protective pet who should not attack without provocation. It has also done well as a police dog and general guard dog.

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