How To Breed Komondors

How To Breed Komondors – History, Health Issues & Best Komondor Breeding Practices

If you are interested in how to breed Komondors, you need to know how they were selectively bred alongside their purpose. This can help you to inform future buyers and understand the dogs you are working with more closely. Furthermore, knowing more about Komondors helps to provide the proper breed-specific care they require.

This dog is known for looking like a mop with their long white cords covering their body. It is their most adored trait. Breeding Komondors is a rewarding experience and can soon turn into a profitable business. Let us help you gain the knowledge to start this life-changing career with a wonderful breed.

Background of Komondor Breeding

By understanding how Komondors came to be the breed they are today, we can cater to their needs properly. Their past selective breeding gives us insight into their current physical and behavioral traits.

Origins

Between the 12th and the 13th century, the Cumans brought this breed to Hungary. However, this is a historical estimation. The first documented record of Komondors was in 1544 in the “History of King Astiagis” by Kákonyi Péter. This large dog breed was used as a sheepdog in Hungary. Their thick coats kept them warm in all seasons. They were incredibly effective at their work. It is also noted that due to their protection and watchful eye, sheep numbers were maintained and wolf numbers depleted. This breed works so well as a herding/sheepdog that they resemble sheep. Thereby minimizing sheep stress and increasing their effectiveness of herding.

Komondors were brought across to America in 1933 due to their effectiveness in herding and striking appearance. In 1937 the AKC officially registered them as a breed. Although their popularity increased in the USA, their numbers, like many breeds, decreased as World War two affected so many professions. Finance was low alongside resources and purchasing a dog was not as common in this period. Europe’s numbers of Komondors were nearly extinct until breeders managed to rebuild the population. This breed is still generally rarer than others due to its specifics in breed standards and high requirements of grooming.

Popularity

The AKC has the Komondors rated 173 out of 195. They are not a very popular breed in today’s American society and many contribute this towards their high grooming maintenance. Furthermore, there are other forms of sheepdog for herding that have lower maintenance and are just as skilled, such as the Border Collie. One of the pros of the Komondor in Hungary was their calming of sheep with their similar appearance. Now with the wide range of sheep breeds, there are few that match the appearance of the Komondor. Sheep have a wide range of coat types, shapes, and colors. Therefore many farmers consider using the Komondor as extra work with little benefit.

Furthermore, there is little media with the Komondor in it. Beck released an album in 1996 called Odelay with a leaping Komondor on the cover. This brought some attention to the breed. But in the past 24 years since, they have had little coverage in popular media. Therefore their popularity has remained in the lower half of the AKC. The UK has also struggled with their Komondor numbers as recorded by the British Kennel Club in their most recent Komondor population publication in 2015. It appears that this breed is suffering in numbers globally due to the number of herding dogs out there and their grooming maintenance. So if you are interested in saving this historical breed, you would truly make a recorded difference.

komondor breed's hungarian origins
Origins of the Komondor dog breed.

Appearance

This breed has a world-renowned appearance as the ‘mop-dog‘ due to the white cords covering their body. This is especially emphasized when they swim and these cords splay out to give the appearance of a mop. With a large size, this breed is 25 – 28 inches tall depending on their gender. The same goes for their weight range of 80 – 100 pounds. The younger the dog, the less developed their cords are. Puppies will have lightly curled fur that will gradually form soft cords as they grow. Even adolescents may not have fully formed cords until over a year and it can often take up to two.

Regular grooming is required to maintain the health of their coat and keep your dog’s cords from becoming tangled or ripped, especially in poor weather. The following points summarise the AKC breed standard for the Komondor:

  • General appearance: Large, muscular with a coat of heavy white cords
  • Head: Large with it taking up 2/5th of their height from the withers
  • Body: Deep chest and muscular rump
  • Coat: Age-appropriate cords covering the full body and are felt-like to the touch
  • Forequarters: Straight, well-boned, and muscular
  • Hindquarters: Straight when viewed from the rear with highly developed muscles

Temperament

As described by the AKC, the Komondor is loyal, dignified and brave. Although created to be a herding dog, due to their loyalty and bravery, Komondors can be trained to be excellent guard dogs. They are naturally wary around strangers and this is ideal for a guard dog. On the other side of the coin, it does mean you will have to be patient when creating a bond with your Komondor. Give affection when permitted and have patience, they are truly wonderful, loyal family dogs once that bond is formed. They are also brilliant with children as long as they have been trained well.

Due to their high independence, you must start obedience training them from a young age. Else they can become quite disruptive and ignore your commands as they grow. This is especially difficult to handle with the large breed that they are. As they can become quite destructive and difficult to handle. Due to their high intelligence though, if you quickly get them into a training routine, they can learn quickly. You can soon have a well behaved Komondor.

Komondor vs Puli Dog

The Puli is not only another dog breed with a coat of cords, but they are also a herding breed that originated from Hungary. But what are the differences between these two majestic breeds? There are in fact a few. Firstly, the Komondor is usually always white, whereas a Puli can come in white, black or gray equally. Furthermore, the size difference between the two breeds is drastic. Compared to the large muscular frame of the Komondor, the Puli weighs between 50 – 100 pounds less than them. As a result, this breed is much smaller and can be categorized as a small breed.

Moreover, the Komondor has medium to high levels of aggression. Especially towards small animals as they were often used to control prey around the farm. The Puli is a very gentle dog with practically no aggressive tendencies. Often the Puli would guard the flock during the day, whilst the Komondor did so at night and also played the role as the protector. Hence their size and behavioral differences.

komondors as a flock-guarding breed
The Komondors are an amazing flock-guarding breed.

Health Concerns When Breeding Komondors

Any responsible breeder wants to be aware of the health concerns when breeding Komondors. This is so you can identify them in any sire, dam or pup you breed. Furthermore, you want to be able to warn any owners about health issues so they are aware of them in their new and growing puppy.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is when the hip socket is not formed correctly. Therefore the hip joint cannot move smoothly in the socket. It has a much more rough texture and leads to the femur bone grinding on the rough socket edges. This can lead to pain in movement, inflammation, and difficulty in walking. Large breeds are particularly susceptible to hip dysplasia due to the extra weight leading to pressure on their joints. Although the improper joint formation is in the womb, this problem can be made more severe with time.

Treatment of hip dysplasia depends on how severe the form is. If your dog is affected mildly, your vet will prescribe anti-inflammatories, pain medication, physio, and hydrotherapy. When a case is severe, a vet will resort to surgery. This will require them to scrape your dog’s socket until it is smooth for your pet’s movement.

Entropian

Entropian affects your dog’s eyelid and causes either the top or bottom to become inverted. This is a fairly common condition that can result in your dog’s eyelid or eyelashes to rub on your dog’s eye. This causes irritation and pain which can lead to an ulcer or scar tissue. These symptoms then progress to partial or permanent loss of vision. It can be identified through the discharge and inflammation of your Komondor’s eye. This happens in larger breeds because they are prone to slack muscles at the corner of their eyes.

Treatment of this is usually started with the side effects, such as antibiotic treatment given to the ulcers. Sutures can be used to invert the eyelid back to normal, but in severe cases, vets may have to use reconstructive surgery

Juvenile Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the lens of the dog’s eye becomes cloudy, this initially distorts the vision and progresses to partial and then full blindness. This is most commonly seen in older dogs due to lens deterioration, however, there is a form called juvenile cataracts which affects dogs between the age of 6 months and 6 years. Some are predisposed due to their breed types, such as in the case of Komondors. Others are affected by juvenile cataracts due to hereditary predisposition.

Although these cannot be treated, they can be monitored or removed depending on their severity. If they are mild, and only partially or barely affect your pup’s vision, a vet will most likely leave them and treat any affecting inflammation. However, if they completely block the vision, a vet can remove and replace the lens.

Gastric Dilation-Torsion Syndrome

This is a disease that deep-chested dogs get due to an increase in gas causing the stomach to twist. This is a life-threatening syndrome that requires emergency surgery to correct. Symptoms may include severe anxiety, vomiting, dry heaving, drooling, and abdominal pain.

The only treatment is surgery but there are preventative measures you can take if your dog’s breed is deep-chested. You can give your dog a slow feeder dog bowl or an elevated dog bowl to minimize the amount of air your dog is ingesting during food consumption. Furthermore, you can give your dog smaller portions of food to prevent large amounts of air being swallowed

Fleas

Komondor’s coats may make you think they are less likely to contract fleas as they won’t be able to get through their thick coat. It is actually the opposite, fleas can climb up the cords of their coat and hide beneath them to avoid detection. Komondors require much more thorough grooming checks because a flea could be hiding under any of their cords. You may want to do so weekly or bi-weekly depending on how often your dog comes into contact with other dogs or is in long grass.

You can use an anti-flea collar or flea treatments to prevent and kill any fleas on your Komondor. Make sure if you are using the treatments to follow the instructions properly as improper medication use can allow the fleas to survive.

komondor training
Start training your Komondor early!

How To Breed Komondors

With the rarity of the Komondor breed due to recent unpopularity, those that are interested in the breed will travel widely to view an ethical breeder that cares about their puppies. Therefore, with the right advertising and preparation, you could quickly become a well-known Komondor breeder.

Choosing the Bitch and Stud

When you are deciding which stud and bitch are ideal for your litter, you need to consider their health, hereditary diseases in their bloodline, registration, and physical and behavioral traits. You should begin by doing a full health check on the two individuals from head to two. Check each Komondor’s coat, their movement, skin, and even teeth. You want the parents to have perfect health before purchasing them or their services such as stud services. Next is to trace back their genetic lines and screen both individuals to check they will not pass on any hereditary diseases to their litter.

Ensure that both dogs are registered to a kennel club to guarantee ethical breeding and allow you to register the pups in the future. Finally, you have to check that these dogs possess the physical and behavioral traits that you wish to see in your litter. This is especially important if you are aiming to breed pups that match the breed standard.

Litter Size

The average litter size of a Komondor is 3 to 10 puppies in a litter. The larger end of the scale is more than most dog litters produce, however, the smaller is much lower than average.

This is quite a range that can produce multiple drawbacks. Firstly, you could produce a litter with only three individuals, this means you would not benefit from them much financially. Furthermore, it can result in you not benefiting financially due to breeding costs in some cases. At the larger end of the spectrum, you will run into higher initial costs due to vaccinations, food costs, and grooming.

You need to be prepared for either end of the spectrum, although there are some ways you can try to increase your litter size. Choosing a bitch that has either previously had larger litters or larger litters seem apparent in the family can aid towards this goal.

Birthing Issues

Birthing issues can also be known as dystocia, this refers to any complications from the moment pregnancy turns into labor. The Komondor breed does not have any specific issues when giving birth. The puppies are not too large or broad for birth and the female’s birth canal is wide enough to allow an easy birth. However, issues can still arise so be sure to have an emergency vet to contact at any time during the day.

Common dog birthing issues include the puppy getting stuck in the birth canal because of awkward angles. This can lead to pain, discomfort, and lethargy in the mother with possible breathing problems for the puppy after time. This is because the puppy’s cord may have pressure on it which allows less or no oxygen to be taken up by the puppy. A vet may be able to reach in and grasp the puppy out or a C-section may have to be considered if they are very high up the canal.

Clientele

In order to turn the hobby of Komondor breeding in a profitable business, you need to know who is your clientele and how to target them. With a Komondor, you will want to target those that adore the breed and possibly farmers, although the latter will be a tough sell with modern-day herding breeds.

Consider creating a social media page to advertise your dogs, you can spread the word of these in Komondor Facebook groups or through word of mouth. Although, with the rarity and low popularity of this breed, you need to make sure you are targeting those who have owned or want to own a Komondor. You can also consider advertising to farming groups, especially those in colder states with sheep of a similar appearance to the Komondor. Although, if you can appeal to potential owners that won’t mind the extra grooming, you could advertise to many different farming groups.

Pricing

The average price range of a Komondor puppy is between $800 and $1200 depending on how closely they resemble the breed standard and whether they are registered or not. If a puppy is registered, owners are willing to pay more from the guarantee of ethical breeding, alongside the ability to use them in dog shows for training and appearance.

Furthermore, The closer a puppy resembles the breed standard, the higher you can range the price. However, in the case of Komondors, this may create a problem. Due to the specificity of Komondors, you may have to be initially willing to compromise price to get your breeder name known as it is a lot more difficult to acquire clientele. However, you have to decide with the market what is most appropriate. Whether is it worth keeping prices and standards high and maintaining them, or working your way up once you have a following. It depends on the kind of business tactics you wish to pursue.

How To Breed Komondors
How To Breed Komondors – History, Health Issues & Best Komondor Breeding Practices

Breeding Komondors – FAQs

So we can ensure you are ready to start your new career with Komondor breeding, we have answered some of the most searched questions about this breed.

Are Komondors Good Family Dogs?

Komondors have the ability to be wonderful family dogs. They do require patience to build a bond and obedience training from a young age. Their reluctance around strangers combined with their high independence and stubborn nature can be difficult. Therefore you have to be prepared to put in the work. Firstly, try to create a daily training schedule with your pup, every member of the family should be involved at least every few sessions. This will help to strengthen a bond alongside beginning training to create good behavior. This training can span from minimal barking to not jumping up and of course, well-known tricks such as sit and lie down. Once their loyalty has developed with you, you and your family will have a protector and best friend.

Are Komondors Fast?

You may think that because of their coat, they are slow and not very athletic. Komondors are actually very agile, fast, and strong. Beneath their thick coat of cords is a muscular breed that adores exercise. Although the Komondor is a herding breed, it was used to guard the groups of sheep it worked with. They were often given night shifts where they defended the sheep from large predators such as wolves and bears. Their guard dog skills were so adept that they even decreased the population of wolves at the time. These dogs are brilliant agility pups and may simply need the fur trimmed out of their eyes to perform well in shows.

Does Komondor Hair Naturally Dread?

Komondor hair does naturally dread, but not from birth. When a Komondor puppy is born, they possess a thick, curly coat. Their soft waves initially have no resemblance to that of an adult’s cords. Their coat is actually known as a double coat which means there is an outer layer and inner layer.

As the puppy grows, their outer coat thickens and becomes denser, whilst the inner coat remains soft. As the outer-coat becomes denser it traps the soft inner coat and this begins to form cords. This was selectively bred into the species for both a source of warmth when herding and for protection from predators.

Can you Brush a Komondor?

This depends on whether you want them to form their natural cord coat or keep their curly puppy coat. If you wish to keep the natural Komondor coat of cords, never brush their coat. Be careful, this decision will affect their coat for a lifetime. Brushing a Komondor’s coat will damage the under-coat to the point where cords will not form normally.

As your puppy is aging, allow the coat to mat and simply make sure to pull apart the naturally defining cords so they do not become a knot or painful for your dog. Remove excess debris that may be caught in their coat and be sure to bathe them regularly, this coat can hold onto a lot of dirt.

The Komondor breed has a rich history and wonderful temperament. Consider adding a member or two of this wonderful breed to your household. Just be sure to read up on grooming!

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