The Komondor – Hungarian Sheep Dog







The Komondor is a muscular flock guardian with massive bone structure. The head is large and the muzzle is relatively short and dark. The almond-shaped eyes are dark brown and medium in size. Ears are an elongated triangle in shape with a slightly rounded tip, blending with the rest of the coat. The hanging tail is long enough to reach the hocks. The teeth meet in a scissors or level bite. Its body is totally covered with an extraordinary felted and corded coat, which is 8 to 11 inches (20-27cm) long, and always white. This thick, corded, white coat helps the dog blend in well with sheep and also helps protect it from any prey that it might be called upon to fight in his role as a flock guardian. The outer coat fuses with the undercoat to form long cords that hang alongside the dog. The coat of a puppy is relatively soft, but shows signs of corded-like curls. It can take up to two years for the cords to form completely and 5 years to reach the desired length.


Komondors can be good family dogs if they have owners who know how to display a natural, firm authority over the dog, are socialized, trained thoroughly, and are raised with children from the start, but they are not recommended for most families. Komondors are serious working flock guardians bred to be fiercely protective and confident, as they watch over their charges. Relentless against wolves and bears that would attack the flock with which it is entrusted. In a few minutes the Komondor can get the better of even the strongest enemy. Because this breed is bred to work independently as a flock guardian it has a high dominancy level. When they are raised to work as the flock guardian they were bred to be, they will be very reserved with strangers and territorial. This breed must be thoroughly socialized with people and other dogs preferably at an early age. They need complete and firm leadership with clear rules they must follow and obedience training by an experienced owner, as they can be very willful if they are stronger minded than the humans around them. Smart, but easily bored, loyal to and respectful of their master, but fierce against threats to their charges. The objective in training this dog is to achieve pack leader status. It is a natural instinct for a dog to have an order in its pack. When we humans live with dogs, we become their pack. The entire pack cooperates under a single leader. Lines are clearly defined and rules are set. Because a dog communicates his displeasure with growling and eventually biting, all other humans MUST be higher up in the order than the dog. The humans must be the ones making the decisions, not the dogs. That is the only way your relationship with your dog can be a complete success. If this relationship is not established the Komondor can be aggressive with both dogs and people if they enter the property as it takes over the home, treating all strangers as the predators coming after their flock. Humans need to be the leader in the home, not the dog. Puppies should be handled a lot by strangers. Owners should never let puppies jump on or chew on humans. They should be taught to heel on a lead right from the start and learn to enter and exit all door and gateways after the humans.

Height, Weight

Height:  25.5 inches (65 cm) and upward.
Weight:  Males up to 125 pounds (59 kg) Females 10% less.

Health Problems

They are prone to hip dysplasia, bloat and skin problems.

Living Conditions

This dog does best in a clean country environment where he can receive extensive daily exercise, but it will do okay in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. It does well in most climates, for the Komondor lives for many months outdoors in all kinds of weather.


It is possible to keep this breed in an urban environment although the country is more to its liking. If they are not actively working as a flock guardian, they need to be taken on a daily, long brisk walk.  This dog can be extremely lazy and will sleep and rest for hours upon hours.

Life Expectancy

About 10-12 years.


Their hair must never be brushed or combed. It is divided into cords and trimmed. Needs frequent bathing and takes a long time to dry. It sheds very little, if any.


The Komondor is descended from Tibetan dogs. Some think the Komondor was brought to Hungary a thousand years ago by nomadic Magyars to guard large herds of cattle and sheep. However, newer studies show it came from the Cumans. The name “Komondor” came from the name Koman-dor, meaning “dog of the Cumans.” Komondor remains have been found in Cuman gravesites. The earliest written reference is from the 16th century. The breed spread throughout the rest of the world beginning in 1920 when it began to compete in dog shows. The Komondor, still to this day, lives for many months outdoors in all kinds of weather, as they protect their master’s flocks. They do not herd the flock, but rather protect them, primarily without any human assistance. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1937.


Flock Guard, AKC Working




I have only seen black Komondors – but I love their dreadlocks!










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A Giant Shaggy Komondor Dog



Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

7 thoughts

  1. I really liked the info on Koms you provided, which was a lot more accurate than many on this breed (I haven’t checked out the source yet as I started this reply before realizing it would be good to do that and then was sure I’d lose the small encyclopedia entry I started below. I’m really crazy about Koms (and Pulik)

    Re ‘“I have only seen black Komondors.” There are no black Komondors. Komondorok (the plural) are always white. The black dogs are Hungarian Pulis/Pullk, a smaller herding breed which works with Komondorok to ‘manage’ the sheep and is also quite protective of whoever has been placed in their care.

    Pulik may also be white (and a few other colors) and some of the photos of white corded dogs on a lot of dog sites identified as Koms are Pulik. Komondor legs are longer and their body shape somewhat different, as well as Koms having a much larger size. Koms are in the giant breed category vs. while Pulik are considered a medium-sized breed. The skull shapes and faces are also slightly different.

    Both are fantastic breeds, but require a lot of time and care. They’re both incredibly loyal and protective, with confidence in their own value and self-respect that can’t be trespassed on while their human is trying not to let them be in control.

    Neither breed can be dominated—if an inexperienced owner misunderstands ‘being the leader’ as trying to dominate them, they’ll create an adversary out of a Stephen King novel. Give them the respect they deserve while setting consistent rules and some sort of jub to do—and you’ ll soon realize it’s their character, not simply the incredible coats, that makes their fans so loyal to the breeds.

    (Also—something that annoys me in many breed descriptions, although not here—.a lot of comparisons of breed intelligence seriously underestimate the intelligence of both of these breeds. The source of much of the ranking is based on Stanley Coren’s writings. Coren, a human psychologist, based his comparisons on dogs’ obedience and how many repetitions it took for breed representatives to learn tricks or to follow commands. Dogs like these breeds are independent thinkers and easily bored with that type of training.

    I’ve had dogs from both of these breeds and I remember telling my Puli various locations of his ball (“no, go left, now back up” etc.) and someone watching at first said he thought my Puli’s responses must be a lucky coincidence. So I gave Max a series of more complex instructions, which he did easily. The guy seemed awe’d and said ‘You taught him all that?’ I answered truthfully, ‘I haven’t taught him anything.’ I recently heard a person knowledgeable of the breed saying these dogs understand the slightest inflection of your voice or subtle body movements in taking direction—one of many traits which made them invaluable to their shepherds. Koms have their own gifts, but could care less about showing them off, unless maybe once for a treat 🙂

    1. OMIGOSH I even reviewed this before posting as my iphone (7+) has been altering what I enter. This time it gratuitously added ‘idiots’ before ‘breeds’ when I was adding my own gratuitous opinion about breed intelligence. Sorry. I’m clueless about how that happened. The only possible explanation is that I grazed the dictation icon and it picked up something from the tv.

      It’s so weird. as, even when I check things really carefully before posting it will change things a nanosecond before I hit ‘post’. If anyone else has had this happen or is aware of a virus which might do that, please let me know.

      Otherwise, I’ll just have to consider it as some kind of curse of the verbose, sigh.

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