The komondor is one of several breeds of working dogs native for a thousand years to the sheep and cattle country of Hungary. The Magyars, who bred the dogs for a thousand years, kept the breed pure. Though he is a herdsman’s dog, the komondor is not used for herding animals, but rather as a protector or guardian of the herds.
The komondor is large and muscular and surprisingly agile for such a big dog. Males are usually from 26 to 30 inches tall at the shoulder and range in weight from 90 to 140 pounds at maturity. Females are slightly smaller. The heavy, unusual coat is always white, except that puppies and young dogs often have pale cream markings, especially on the head and ears. The corded coat forms naturally and is an essential part of the working dog’s makeup. Traditionally, the komondor lived entirely in the open and the heavy coat served as protection from all kinds of weather and from beasts of prey which threatened the herds and flocks. The coat begins to cord, or form the characteristic strings or tassels, between five and ten months of age but the coat doesn’t really begin to look mature until two or three years of age. The cords are formed as the softer undercoat sheds and is caught in the long, coarse outer coat. With washing and age these cords tighten and become felt-like. The coat is normally never shed, and unless the owner keeps the individual cords trimmed the coat will eventually (by about seven years of age) reach down to the ground. The puppy coat is long and curly, rather like a poodle puppy’s coat.