The Breed History
Komondorok (plural for Komondor) are ancient Hungarian working dogs. They are descended from the Aftscharka (some term them Owtcharka), a type of dogs originating in Russia. The Maygars that bred these dogs never allowed crossbreeding so the breed was closed for perhaps a millennium. This is not confirmed by written records, since none were kept, but by oral tradition and stories. First formal records date to the 16th century. The Komondorok almost became extinct during the Second World War. The Komondor is of a much larger and heavier build than the Hungarian Puli. The AKC recognized this rare breed in 1937.
Breeding for Function
Centuries of breeding led to a heavily coated dog that could tolerate low temperatures, important since they often lived outdoors. His function in the sheep and cattle herd was to be a protector (against wolves, bears and poachers), rather than acting as a herder. He was expected to be courageous, vigilant and self-reliant. Self-reliance was important because he was expected to act without herder commands. The white coat color may have helped him blend in with sheep herds so that predators would be surprised.
Height at Withers: female 25.5" or taller (65 cm), male 27.5" or taller (70 cm).
Weight: females 80 lb or more (36.5 kg), males 100 lb or more (45.5 kg).
Coat: All-white, though a hint of buff or cream, especially in young dogs is seen. The corded double coat that reaches the ground takes at least 2 years to grow. Puppies appear to have a fluffy coat. Cording starts at close to 1 year of age. In the adult, there remains a wooly undercoat entwined in the cords. This gives the cords a soft "felt" feel. No grooming is required but the ears need to be plucked and cleaned regularly, hair of the feet trimmed and cords need to be kept clean. As cords develop the fingers can be used to help divide hair into distinct quarter-sized cords, and the cords can be trimmed as needed. After bathing, the coat must be fully dried to prevent mildew in the cords.
Longevity: 12 years
Points of Conformation: The Komondor is large, with a large head and a distinctive coat of tightly coiled cords of hair. The thick haircoat covers all parts of the body. This well-muscled dog has a very heavy boned constitution. Eyes are dark brown in color, medium-sized and almond shaped. The palpebral margins are pigmented black or gray. Lip margins are black, and the nose is large and black, though a dark brown or gray nose is also accepted, stop is moderate. Ears are triangular, and fold to hang parallel to the face. Gingiva and palate tissues are usually also pigmented black. The neck is medium in length and arching with no throatiness. The topline is level, the thorax is deep and the abdomen moderately tucked up. The tail reaches the tarsus and is slightly curved and carried below the topline. Legs are straight boned and feet are large with toes well-knuckled up. Black nails are preferred. Rear dewclaws are removed in North America. The gait is long-strided and smooth; he covers lots of ground with a high level of agility.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed characteristics include: Devoted to their owners, reserved with strangers; don't tend to wander away from their home; excellent guard of home and family. They will follow their charges around the house in order to keep an eye on them. Early socialization and obedience training are important due to the well-developed guarding instinct. If not properly trained, may exhibit sudden aggression if a threat is perceived. Easily bored, and have strong talent for independent thinking so obedience training can be challenging. The Komondor has a high barking tendency; good alarm barker but calm when nothing threatens. Due to large body size and exercise needs, the Komondor is not a suitable apartment pet though he does have low activity levels and exercise needs as an adult.
Normal Physiologic Variations
The breed is considered slow to mature.
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. OFA reports 12.2% affected.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. OFA reports 2.9% affected.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. Too few Komondorok have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Cataracts: Anterior and equatorial cortex intermediate cataracts predominate in the breed, with an onset of 2-3 years. Juvenile cataracts are also reported to occur. Cataracts are identified in 7.14% of Komondorok CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. CERF does not recommend breeding any Komondor with a cataract.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. 6.3% positive for thyroid auto-antibodies based on testing at Michigan State University. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%).
Persistent Pupillary Membranes: Strands of fetal remnant connecting; iris to iris, cornea, lens, or involving sheets of tissue. The later three forms can impair vision, and dogs affected with these forms should not be bred. Identified in 2.38% of Komondorok CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Gastric Dilation/Volvulus (Bloat): Life-threatening twisting of the stomach within the abdomen. Requires immediate veterinary attention. Unknown mode of inheritance.
Entropion: Rolling in of the eyelid. Can cause corneal irritation. Entropion is reported in 1.19% of Komondorok CERF-examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Oligodontia, Prognathism, and Retained Primary Teeth are reported.
Isolated Case Studies
Tests of Genotype: None
Tests of Phenotype: Recommend hip and elbow radiographs, CERF eye examination, patella evaluation, thyroid profile including autoantibodies and cardiac examination.
- Breed name synonyms: Hungarian Sheepdog.
- Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC, KCGB (Kennel Club of Great Britain), ANKC (Australian National Kennel Club).
- AKC rank (year 2008): 151 (60 dogs registered)
- Internet resources: The Komondor Club of America Inc.: http://clubs.akc.org/kca/
Komondor Club of Great Britain: www.komondor.co.uk/
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