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Alternative names
Hungarian Komondor
Hungarian Sheepdog
Country of origin
Common nicknames
Classification and breed standards
FCI: Group 1 Section 1 #53  
AKC: Working  
ANKC: Group 5 (Working Dogs)  
CKC: Group 3 - Working Dogs  
KC (UK): Pastoral  
NZKC: Working  
UKC: Guardian Dogs  
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

The Komondor is a livestock guardian dog breed originally from Hungary. Known as the king of the Hungarian sheepdogs, the Komondor is a truly impressive animal. The plural is Komondors or Komondorok.


Large (27 in/69 cm at the withers, 100 lb/45 kg), it has a thick, muscular body. Male Komondorok are a minimum of 27 inches at the withers, but many are over 30 inches tall, making this a truly impressive dog. The body is not overly coarse or heavy, however, and people unfamiliar with the breed are often surprised by how quick and agile the dogs are.


Its long, thick, uniquely and strikingly corded white coat (the heaviest amount of fur in the canine world) resembles dreadlocks. The puppy coat is soft and fluffy. However, the coat is wavy and tends to curl as the puppy matures. A fully mature coat is formed naturally from the soft undercoat and the coarser outer coat combining to form tassels, or cords. These cords are formed naturally as a result of the soft, wavy undercoat intertwining with the coarser outer coat. The length of the cords increases with time, as the coat grows. Shedding is very minimal with this breed, contrary to what one might think. The only substantial shedding occurs as a puppy before the dreadlocks form. The Komondor is born only with a white coat, unlike the Puli, which is usually white or black, or sometimes grayish. However, a working Komondor's coat may be discolored by the elements, and may appear less than white if not washed regularly.


The Komondor is an ancient breed, thought to be of Asian origin, descending from the dogs whom the Magyars brought to Hungary in the 10th century. It's been suggested that the name "Komondor" comes from the Cuman (or Koman) people, who were Turkish-speaking people who once lived near the Yellow River; Koman-dor would mean the dog of the Cumans. The unique dreadlock appearance gives a hint of common origin with the Puli and the Bergamasco. There might also be a link between the Komondor and the big, white Russian livestock dogs, the South Russian Ovtcharka.

The Komondor is built for livestock guarding. It is big, strong, and armored with a thick coat. The coat provides protection against wild animals and the weather and vegetation. The coat is the trademark of the breed.

The Komondor is rare everywhere outside the country of origin, Hungary, although the USA and Germany have large Komondor populations. In the USA, the Komondor is used as a livestock guardian, but in Europe, outside Hungary, most Komondors are guardian and family dogs.


Komondorok are independent, protective, aggressive with strangers, territorial, and very intelligent. The Komondor excels as a guardian because it bonds strongly with its charges. The Komondor is a protector rather than an aggressive dog looking for trouble; indeed, a good livestock guardian will not leave the flock to chase a predator. In the absence of a flock, the Komondor bonds with the owner and family, making it an excellent family dog. It is indeed intelligent and independent, due to the fact that traditionally it lived with the animals with no master on hand to make decisions and direct the dog's actions. The Komondor therefore makes his own decisions, which means the owner must bring the dog up to understand that the owner makes the decisions and the dog must abide by them. No Komondor of good temperament is aggressive toward his charges, however, human or animal. Such aggression is plain poor temperament, not correct behavior for this breed.


They have a life span of approximately 12 years and a tendency to develop bloat and skin problems. As with many large breeds, there is also a predisposition toward hip dysplasia.


  • The Komondor is featured on the album cover of Odelay, released in 1996 by Beck.

External links

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