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Komondors: The Mop Dog

Komondors: The Mop Dog

Few breeds of dog are as easily recognized as the Komondor. Its distinctive coat has earned it the nickname "The mop dog", and with good reason; a healthy Komondor looks like nothing so much as a large, well-used mop.

The Komondor was originally bred to guard--not herd--flocks of sheep. This guarding instinct carries over into the pet Komondor; the dog is suspicious of strangers, or even of regular visitors not associated with his family "herd", but will defend his family with his life. The result is a pet who is excellent with small children, and makes a wonderful addition to any family. Because herding is not a part of the dog's instinct, the Komondor is more likely to be content in the middle of outdoor play, unlike, say, a border collie, whose instincts will lead him to try to 'herd' the children (sometimes knocking over little ones in its enthusiasm). Because they lack that herding instinct, Komondors are happy to simply be part of their flock, making them a better choice for young families.

But the Komondor is not for everyone. Its thick, 'corded' fur is difficult to groom; if you live in a rural or wooded area, where the dog is likely to get bits of sticks and leaves entangled in its fur, or, worse still, to get its fur saturated with mud, then grooming will go from a difficult chore to a nightmare. Its cords would originally have allowed it to blend in with the sheep it guarded; the unsuspecting wolf might not have known the difference until it was too late, and the sheep would have been comforted by a guardian that looked "just like them". But the cords can be a liability in a home environment, where 'clean' is more prized than 'rugged'.

Before purchasing a Komondor, ask yourself how much time you're willing to invest in grooming your dog, or how much money you're willing to invest in having it professionally groomed. Keeping a Komondor clean and comfortable is no small task. The dog needs to be able to spend large portions of its time outside; a large, fenced-in yard is ideal. Small, cramped spaces will make a miserable dog. But the more time it spends outside, the more of a problem grooming is likely to be. Don't purchase the dog unless you know you have the room it needs to be happy, and you know you're willing to invest the time or money to keep it clean and comfortable.

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