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By Nancy Liebes Komondor Club of American Education Committee Chairperson


our first impression of a Komondor should be that of a large, calm dog who confidently owns the ground he stands over. Not overly friend-

ly with strangers, the dog should trust its handler enough to accept the judging process without resistance. Any dog who seems anxious should be treated with calm respect and not forced to do something with which he isn’t comfortable. In profile the dog should be slightly longer than tall with a smooth line flowing from the top of the head, down a moderate neck which flows smoothly into the shoul- ders, along a level topline, to a slightly sloping croup and ending with a tail which in repose will be carried down with a slight curve upward at the tip. When approaching please say some- thing either to the dog or the handler so the dog knows you are there. Experienced handlers will smooth the hair away from the dog’s eyes so he can see you coming but if the handler does not, you can ask them to clear the dog’s vision. I place both hands under the jaw so I can immediately gauge the depth and breadth of the head and then proceed with the head examination. A balanced head will have a topskull 3/5 of its length and a muzzle 2/5 of its length with the breadth of the topskull equaling the length of the muzzle. “ Th e muzzle is wide, coarse and trun- cated. Measured from inner corner of the eye to tip of nose the muzzle is 2/5 of the total length of the head. Th e top of the muzzle is straight and is parallel to the top of the skull. Underjaw is well-developed and broad. Lips are tight and are black in color. Ideally gums and palate are dark or black.” Th e muzzle should be powerful and broad, not pointed. Th ere should be plenty of width to accommodate a large nose and a good set of teeth. Mouth pigment should be dark, which can be evaluated when looking at the bite.

Drawing by Steven Hubbell.

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Loose lips and a wet mouth are to be faulted. Although nervous dogs might drool a bit, generally loose sloppy mouths are not typical of a Komondor. Eyes are dark, as are eye rims, lips and nose pigment. “Bite is scissors; a level bit is acceptable. A distinctly undershot or overshot bite is a fault. Any missing teeth is a serious fault. Th ree or more missing teeth is a disqualification.” Scissors bite is preferred. In older dogs it is not uncommon to see dropped lower cen- tral incisors, which can a ff ect the appear- ance of the bite itself. Th is is not an under- shot mouth. If you have any question, please check the tooth alignment along the sides of the mouth. Large teeth are preferred. We have a tooth disqualification which should be considered as important as that in Dobermans and Rottweilers. If you are not comfortable handling the dog’s mouth have the handler do it for you. If the dog is not trained or you feel in danger, excuse the dog for “inability to check the bite”. Please do not pressure a dog who cannot be examined.

Missing premolars are the most common missing teeth in Komondors. Evaluate the front structure by placing your right hand on the withers and using your left hand to find the prosternum, point of shoulder and elbow. In a dog with correct angulation you will find the elbow to be directly under the withers. In a dog with a lot of coat your hands will be easy to see and you will be able to gauge correct shoulder placement. Th is dog’s front is well set under him, which is easier to see without coat. Th is is why you need to use your hand to find the relationship of the shoulder and upper arm. Th e Hungarian standard says the width of the chest is 28% of the height at the withers with the average being 30%, also that depth of chest is 45% of the height at the withers but most often is between 50 to 56%. If we apply these measurements to a 28" tall dog, the width across the front of the dog would be around 8". Th e depth would be between 13" and 15 ½ ".

Drawing by Steven Hubbell.

Drawing by Steven Hubbell.

Eyes are dark, as are eye rims, lips and nose pigment.

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“The back is level and strong.”

(Above) These are both good coats at different ages.

Th is is NOT a barrel chested, wide bod- ied dog. Large, round bodies are as incor- rect as slab-sided thin bodies. Th e rib cage should be oval shaped. A common fault in the breed is a bad topline. When you see this you should investigate the cause. Many topline faults can be seen more easily when the dog is moving. Often you will find that the dog has a short ribcage when compared to the total length of the back. Th e ideal ratio of ribcage to loin is 2:1. In other words, the ribcage should be 2/3 the length of the topline. Th is creates the best support for the back, especially when the dog has to carry around heavy coat. Conditioning is important and this is a breed which should be shown with good strong working muscle tone. Unfortunately judges have an expectation of a pristinely clean dog and many people are afraid to allow their dogs to run outside fearing they’ll get dirty. Sometimes a soft back can be the result of poor muscle tone. As much as we want clean dogs to be in the ring, soft muscles are useless to a working dog and are to be faulted. I complete the examination by checking the rear angulation, tailset and croup angle. Th ere should be good fill across the loin, good muscle down the croup and

good muscle in the rear. Th e croup should fall o ff about 15 degrees from the topline. You may see some flat croups and a flat pelvic angle. On the move these dogs are unable to get their back feet far enough under themselves to get adequate drive in the rear. If you think a dog is carrying his tail too high on the move, please check the croup and pelvic angle and watch his side gait for rear drive. Many of these dogs do not get good thrust o ff their hind legs and would be unable to perform a full day’s work in the field. Coat “Characteristic of the breed is the dense, protective coat. Th e puppy coat is relatively soft, but it shows a tendency to fall into cord-like curls. Th e young adult coat, or intermediate coat, consists of very short cords next to the skin which may be obscured by the sometimes lumpy looking flu ff on the outer ends of the cords.” “ Th e mature coat consists of a dense, soft, wooly undercoat much like the puppy coat and a coarser outer coat that is wavy or curly. Th e coarser hairs of the outer coat trap the softer undercoat, forming permanent, strong cords that are felt-like to the touch.”

Young dogs in the ring.

“...DENSE, SOFT, WOOLY UNDERCOAT MUCH LIKE THE PUPPY COAT, and a coarser outer coat that is wavy or curly.”

Newborn puppies have wavy coats—the wavier the newborn coat is, the better the adult coat will be. (4 days)

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7 months

1 year (Bitch)

5 years (Bitch)

2 years (Bitch)

3 years (Bitch)

5 years (Dog)

7 years (Bitch)

7 years (Dog)

Although the coat is the most notable feature of the breed, the judge must evalu- ate the dog under the coat first. Th ere are multiple words in Hungarian to describe a corded coat. Th e range is from string-like to ropes and even plates. One common misunderstanding of the coat is age. A puppy coat is soft and falls into curls, an older adult coat is long and corded, but there’s a period of a few years in between which can only be described as “juvenile”. Th e juvenile coat is corded too, but is lumpy and bunchy before it gets it’s length. It is completely corded at the skin, but might not

appear so from across the ring. If you have any question about the coat, examine it at the skin level. You will see that each cord is separate from it’s neighbors and it is indeed corded. Th e outline of the dog is a ff ected by this age di ff erence also. A dog who has just begun cording can completely lose its out- line and may look like it has no neck. Use your hands to get under the coat to evalu- ate what is really going on. Th e disqualification for failure of a coat to cord before the age of two, means that we want to be able to distinguish our breed from the other white livestock dogs.

Once the puppy coats start matting, it’s cording. It is rare to see a coat that will not cord at all. You should consider a coat to be corded when it is matted at the skin and those mats are separated into bunch- es. Even if it appears fuzzy from across the ring, it’s corded when it begins to mat. “A grown dog is entirely covered with a heavy coat of these tassel-like cords, which form naturally. It must be remembered that the length of the Komondor’s coat is a function of age and a younger dog must never be penalized for having a shorter coat. ” (Emphasis is ours.)

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This bitch has damaged coat, but the quality of the coat is acceptable.

Left: Corded, Right: Shaved.

“Straight or silky coat is a fault. Failure of the coat to cord by two years is a dis- qualification. Short, smooth coat on both head and legs is a disqualification.” Th e taller the dog is, the longer it takes the coat to reach the ground. Note that on the smaller bitch the length of coat reaches the ground sooner. At the age of 5 her coat “appears” to be longer than that of the dog because the ends of his cords are higher o ff the ground. Length of coat is a function of age. A longer coat just means that the dog is older, not that it’s a “better” coat. It can take as many as five years for a dog to get the full length you often see in the group ring. Older dogs with short cords are not to be penalized. Length of coat is immate- rial as long as it is corded in a dog over two years of age. Missing coat on an otherwise corded dog is not to be faulted. Th e coat grows at a rate of 4" to 6" per year. Please understand that the amazing thing about the beautiful long corded coat isn’t that it’s long and corded, but that it’s there at all! During its lifetime the dog never got a hot spot, or a flea allergy, had surgery, or any other kind of coat/skin accident that can damage or completely eliminate a part of the coat. “Color of the coat is white, but not always the pure white of a brushed coat. A small amount of cream or bu ff shading


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catch and kill a wolf. Wolves don’t just run in a straight line. Th e Komondor normally jumps on and knocks down its victim, often after “posturing” by leaping and throwing its coat out to make it look bigger. To evaluate movement look at pads coming and going and watch the coat. A well-balanced dog will flow and the cords will remain vertical. Common movement faults are lack of front and rear balance, over reaching, straight shoulders, over or under angulated rears, cow hocks and poor coupling between front and rear which causes a rolling gait. Evaluate the gait at a trot brisk enough to determine drive. Because this is a breed to be evaluated for its working ability, soundness should be considered a part of type. When you are judging this breed you will be faced with a lot of choices. Since our standard does not give a point scale or a list of priorities, please base your deci- sions on the relative ability of each dog to do the job of a livestock guard. Emphasize those good attributes which relate to func- tion, while understanding that “type” is more than coat. It is not uncommon to have a class of dogs who are all of one type except one. Please do not assume that the “odd dog out” is the one who is incorrect. Step back and mentally review what is important in the standard and put up the dog who comes closest to the ideal dog to work in the field. t $PMPSPUIFSUIBOXIJUF XJUIUIFFYDFQ - tion of small amounts of cream or bu ff in puppies t 'MFTIDPMPSFEOPTF t 4IPSU TNPPUIIBJSPOCPUIIFBEBOEMFHT t 'BJMVSFPGUIFDPBUUPDPSECZUXPZFBST of age t ɨSFFPSNPSFNJTTJOHUFFUI Disqualifications t #MVF&ZFT

A good example of gait.

This is a Kuvasz — the disqualification was meant to designate a clear difference between the two breeds.

is sometimes seen in puppies, but fades with maturity.” “Color other than white, with the exception of small amounts of cream or bu ff in puppies, is a disqualification.” Th e color of the Komondor can be described as buttercream, pearl white, or bone white. It is not the glistening blue- white of some other white breeds. Because genetically the Komondor is a dilute red, the white may have some bu ff or apricot in puppies. Light does not reflect o ff the coat as in other breeds, but is either reflected o ff obliquely or absorbed. You have the right to expect every dog in your ring to be clean, but do not fault stains. If you have a ques- tion about color, look at the coat at the skin. Gait “Light, leisurely and balanced. Th e Komondor takes long strides, is very agile and light on his feet. Th e head is carried slightly forward when the dog trots.” When evaluating gait on a fully coated dog, look for the feet, both coming and going. Where the feet land will show you how the dog is moving, whether close, wide, cow-hocked, or straight and parallel, which is what we want to see. Agility and balance are crucial attributes because the Komondor must be able to

Disqualification: Blue Eyes

Disqualification: Color other than white

Disqualification: Flesh colored nose

“Emphasize those good attributes which relate to function,


Disqualification: Three or more missing teeth

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By Arthur Sorkin

t is not unusual for the fanciers of dog breeds to claim great antiq- uity for their breed (sometimes based on the same evidence). Th ere is little question that the Komondor is a shepherd’s dog

Th ough references to large, white coat- ed shepherd dogs predate it, all sources agree that the first written reference to the komondor as a Hungarian breed of dog was in 1544 in a story by Peter Kakonyi, which mentioned a komondor barking. Th ere is at least one source that refers to the word komondor appearing in a list of animals in 1514. An illustration (possibly the first) of a komondor appears in a natu- ral history book by Pethe in 1815. Cynologists in Hungary and Germany started studying the Hungarian breeds in detail in the late 19th and early 20th centu- ries. Among the most prominent in the 20th Century was Dr. Emil Raitsits, who publish the book “Hungarian Dogs” in 1924. In the 1930s, Dr. Csaba Anghi published a number of works about theHungarian breeds, includ- ing the book “Hungarian Shepherd Dogs and Related Foreign Breeds.” Th e German Komondor Club (now known as the Club for Hungarian Shepherd Dogs) was founded in 1922. Th e first AKC komondor standard was based on the mid-1930s standard of the Hungarian Kennel Club (MEOE). In 1935, Dr. Tibor de Cholnoky, a doctor of Hungarian extraction living in New York imported what are believed to have been the first two komondors in the US, and they were the first komondors registered by AKC when the breed was recognized by AKC in 1937. Th eir pictures appeared in the June 13, 1938 issue of LIFE magazine. A few other komondors were imported around this period, and Andrashazi Dorka and Pannonia Pandur were the first two komon- dor entered in the AKC stud book. Th e Second World War interrupted the introduction of the komondor into the

US, and the breed was almost wiped out in Europe, with at most a few dozen speci- mens surviving the War. After the War, breed recovery was slow because Hungary came under Communist control, and pure bred dogs were frowned upon. As far as is known, no komondors were imported into the US for almost 20 years. Th e breed eventually recovered in Hungary and Germany, and in the late 1950s and early 1960s, importation into the US resumed. Th e first AKC Champion, Ch. Hattyu, was an early 1960s Hungarian import and finished his Championship in 1965. Th e Hol- lywood character actor Oscar Beregi, who left Hungary during the 1956 Revolt, owned Hattyu and was very influential in helping to reestablish the komondor in the US. While there have been a reasonable number of AKC Champion komondors to date, a small num- ber of komondors have earned AKC Obe- dience titles, including the Utility Degree (UD), and even one Tracking Degree (TD). Th e Komondor Club of America (KCA) was formed in 1967 and eventually became an AKC Member Club as the Parent Club for the breed. Subsequent to the formation of the KCA, the Middle Atlantic States Komondor Club was also formed, and both clubs have been active in promoting the breed. Th e komondor drew a great deal of attention at dog show because of its unique coat and especially so when dog shows, such as the Westminster Kennel Club were tele- vised. Despite this, the popularity of the komondor with the general public remains limited compared to other breeds. However, there continues to be some interest in the komondor as a working live-stock guard dog among farmers and ranchers in the US.

of Asiatic origin, brought to what is now Hungary by nomadic peoples migrating from the East Th e precise origins of the komondor are not as certain and are the subject of controversy. Similarly, the ori- gins of the word “komondor” are uncer- tain and also in dispute. It is well documented that the Mag- yars crossed the Carpathian mountains circa 895 AD and settled in the Carpath- ian Basin. Th e original homeland of the Magyars is not known. Anthropologist Dr. Istvan Kiszely, among others, has excavat- ed old cemeteries in Xinjiang Province in Western China and has found burial prac- tices identical to those of the 8th and 9th century Magyars. He also found other simi- larities with the ancient Magyars in this area of Western China and has concluded that the Magyars lived there until, perhaps the 5th Century, before migrating westward. Th e Cumans (“Kun” in Hungarian) were a Turkic speaking nomadic steppe people with origins east of the large bend of the Yellow River in China. Th e Cumans migrated westward in advance of the Mon- gol expansion, and first entered Hungary in 1239, settling in central Hungary in 1246. Th e word “Kun” still appears is many place names in this part of Hungary. Th e best current evidence is that the Komondor was the dog of the Cumans. Komondor-like dog skeletons have been found (along with horse skeletons) in Cuman gravesites.

“The Second World War interrupted the introduction of the komondor into the US, and the breed was almost wiped out in Europe, WITH AT MOST A FEW DOZEN SPECIMENS SURVIVING THE WAR.” 4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& + "/6"3: t


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