Komondor: Dog Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

Shaggy-haired Komondor looking at the camera

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The mop-headed Komondor, also known as the Hungarian sheepdog, is a powerful guardian and beloved pet best suited for experienced dog owners. Their temperament is calm and quiet until they sense danger and spring into action, fiercely guarding their home and loved ones.

White, corded hair cascading down their bodies is what makes Komondors one of the world’s most recognizable breeds. This unique coat makes them absolutely unmistakable. Because Komondors are bred to be working sheepdogs, their corded locks allow them to blend in with their flock easily while protecting the dog against extreme weather.

But unlike many breeds of fluffy white pooches, the Komondor is exceptionally large and muscular. They’re strong, loyal, and independent. Komondors need a confident leader to train them and care for them, otherwise, they may prove to be an unruly pet.

When they find their match, the intelligent Komondor makes a top-notch furry friend.

Breed Overview

Group: Working Group

Height: 27 1/2 inches, minimum (male); 25 1/2 inches, minimum (female)

Weight: 100 pounds or more (male); 80 pounds or more (female)

Coat: Long, corded hair

Color: White

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

Characteristics of the Komondor

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level Medium
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark High
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Komondor

An ancient breed, Komondors are originally from Hungary. Experts believe the breed, descended from the Caucasian Shepherd, was brought there by traveling nomads in the 13th century. The breed was revered in Hungary, used for centuries to guard—not herd—flocks of sheep. Their long white coats allow them to camouflage among curly-haired sheep to stealthily attack predators.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Komondor in 1937. The breed was nearly wiped out during the World War II era, leaving only a few dozen individual dogs. The breed was slowly re-established in Hungary but remains a fairly rare breed to this day.

A leaping Komondor is featured on the cover of the 1996 album Odelay, released by American musician Beck. Since the album was released, the image has become one of the most recognizable covers of all time.

Komondor guarding sheep
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Komondor at a dog show.
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happy komondor running at a dog show
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Komondor Care

Komondors are not known to be a low-maintenance breed. Their corded hair requires special care, they need regular exercise, and they rely on strong leadership when it comes to training.

There’s no denying that Komondor coats are stunning. To maintain their luscious locks, owners must follow a fairly strict grooming regimen. Experts advise owners to never brush their corded hair but to wash them regularly. Just be sure to rinse them completely free of shampoo and dry thoroughly by squeezing them with towels. The coat could begin to smell like mildew if not dried efficiently. Cords will also need to be kept free of dirt and debris to avoid foul odors—separating the locks can be done easily by hand and should be done every few months.

As expected from dogs in the working group, the Komondor is an athletic and agile breed. They need daily exercise to stay happy and healthy, preferably in the form of free-running and walks.

It’s best to avoid taking your Komondor to the dog park, as their guarding instincts may kick in, prompting them to react poorly to strange dogs. With proper training, however, they will happily play with furry housemates or other known dogs in the backyard.

For that reason, early socialization is crucial for Komondors. As protective pups, they are often wary of all strangers and tend to bark or lunge. You can minimize this through socialization and obedience training, which works best when started at an early age. They respond well to a firm, experienced leader—not a first-time dog owner.

With proper training, Komondors are loving, playful pets.

White Komondor puppy.
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Small Komondor guarding the house.
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Shaggy Komondor laying down.
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Common Health Problems

Komondors are generally healthy, but, like all dogs, they may develop a number of health conditions depending on genetics, their environment and overall care. If you are considering this breed, it’s important to be aware they are subject to conditions such as:

Find a reputable breeder who can provide certificates of health and health clearances for your pup’s parents. That way, you can better understand the health risks associated with your Komondor.

komondor dogs as pets illustration
Illustration: The Spruce / Kelly Miller

Diet and Nutrition

The amount you should feed your Komondor will vary with size, age, and lifestyle, so it’s best to speak with your veterinarian to find the best diet suited to your dog.

Dogs should always be fed a high-quality diet that contains lean proteins and crucial vitamins for optimal health. Again, speak with your veterinarian to determine the best fit.

Determining the best quality dog food can be difficult. As a general rule, look for foods without fillers like modified cornstarch, soybean hulls, and other by-products. Stick to whole ingredients like meat, poultry, fish, fruits, and vegetables.

Some dogs do well on grain-free diets. This varies among individuals, meaning it’s one more thing to ask your vet about.

Pros
  • Gentle and affectionate with families, including kids

  • Easy to train

  • Loyal and protective

Cons
  • Tend to bark at passersby

  • Coat requires a fair amount of care

  • Can be difficult for first-time dog owners

Where to Adopt or Buy a Komondor

The Komondor is a rare breed that may take time and effort to find, but don’t let that encourage you to purchase or adopt the first one you find. It’s important to be sure you are getting your dog from a reputable Komondor breeder who can provide certificates of health.

You will also want to speak with the breeder to determine the personality of your soon-to-be pet to ensure a happy and healthy life for both of you.

The Komondor Club of America lists breeders who have pledged to abide by the Komondor Club code of ethics, which includes not breeding a dog without an Orthopedic Foundation for Animals registration number, not breeding unregistered dogs, and not shipping puppies before a certain age.

You can also peruse the American Kennel Club marketplace to find a breeder in your area.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

The Komondor is a unique and powerful breed. Explore these similar breeds:

Are you interested in learning about more dog breeds? You’re in luck! We have plenty of dog breed profiles for you to explore.