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Norwich Bulletin - 8/26/2007

The Komondor

A dog in white dreadlocks, the Komondor is like a chameleon in the center of a flock of sheep in Hungary. Trained to disappear into a flock, this breed lives with the herd and knows they are in charge. In fact, they think for themselves and will countermand orders if they think they are right and the herd needs protection.

The Komondor is neither a herding nor a hunting dog. It is a guardian. They drive away predators but will not hunt them down. However, if the predator stands firm, the Komondor will try to kill him.

One of the oldest breeds in Europe, their ancestors dating back to the tenth century, these dogs of Hungary have been bred to be sheep guardians. They are good loners and can operate independently. They will only move their flock when they want them in a place that will allow them to better watch the herd, or bring back a stray.

Large, muscular dogs, Komondors possess a strong, protecting instinct. Although they are still used as working dogs in their native land, many dogs living in the United States are strictly family dogs and human companions,

Pups are friendly and outgoing, but as they get older, their fiercely protective nature comes into play. Because they instinctively guard their territory, these dogs should never be used as protection dogs. Komondors are naturally independent and suspicious which could make wrongful attacks likely and almost impossible to call off.

Anyone who would consider a Komondor must have the strength, knowledge and patience to socialize and teach rules to their dog. And the rules should never change. If the master is wishy-washy, the dog will become the master and act on their own.

They are affectionate and loyal to their own family but are suspicious of strangers. Another reason to socialize the Komondor that is a family companion is because they may mistake simple teasing or rough play as a danger to “their” children as an assault on a family member, which could end in tragedy.

And now for the coat! If you can cord dreadlocks, your set with your dog’s coat care. At eight months old, the Komodors’ coat is five to six inches long and must be corded by pulling mats in half lengthwise by hand. Each half is divided until the cords are about two inches wide. Washing tightens them to finger thickness.

Cords are maintained by dividing new hair growth every two to three months from the skin to the existing cords. You must have the time to properly care for this dog’s coat. You need to trim the cords as the hair continues to grow. A bath is a two hour job with about eighteen plus hours to dry. A damp coat will mildew!

If that’s not enough work (training and grooming), you also need to think about what the “dog drags in.” with their coat. Dirt, leaves, twigs, frogs, slugs and other creatures tend to find their way into this coat.

Courageous, protective and independent, I find this funky looking dog quite fascinating. However, I am also smart enough to know that I have neither the time nor the personality to properly train and care for this breed of dog. But, if you can provide the correct environment and training for a Komondor, you will have a devoted protector and companion.

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