Komondors breed best when the dogs live together; it is difficult to arrange breedings between Komondors who do not know each other. Some bitches only come in heat once a year, and Komondor litters on the average are small. The AKC for years used a figure of 5.5 puppies as the average for a Komondor litter. There is a rather high degree of neonatal mortality, especially among Komondor breeders who use heating elements in the whelping box. The puppies do best without any heat; the dam’s heavy coat means she is likely to become too hot if heating elements are used, and she does not like to stay with the puppies if too hot. In a cool room she will be an efficient and devoted dam.
Komondor breeders have breeding problems for quite a number of different reasons:
1. The adult Komondor is a large dog breed. He is not a giant dog, but he is too big for a grown man to pick up easily, so just handling Komondors can be a problem.
2. Komondors have a lot of hair. They have so much hair that when you breed a pair of Komondors, the hair gets in the way. Some people tie the cords “out of the way,” which is truly hard to do. Often the tails get in the way during the mating process when they tie.
3. Komondors are not easy breeders. They mature slowly. Bitches usually experience their first heat between one and two years of age. Some Komondors do not come in heat until well after two years old. They do not always have two heat cycles a year. Some Komondors have only one heat per year, and others have a cycle every eight months. Males are not always avid stud dogs. They suddenly become sensitive and will not push the bitch. Male Komondors dislike strangers trying to help them.
4. The timing is often bizarre. We can never think 10–14 days. For some bitches the right time is 7 days, for others as late as 21 days is right. Dogs are often not eager until the magic moment when the bitch is eager. More breedings are missed because owners think it is too late when it is actually too early. In my experience, artificial breeding with either chilled or frozen sperm presents a real challenge for timing properly.
5. Komondors are aggressive guard dogs. If a bitch comes to the dog and she growls at the dog’s master, the Komondor may decide not to breed her. His loyalty is mainly to his owner. He will not breed a bitch he does not like!
6. A Komondor must be white. Everything that is not white (nose, eyes, pads, etc.) must be as dark as possible. It is really hard to get everything right!
If you want to breed Komondors, you have to think about how difficult it can be. When I asked my veterinarian about our breeding problems, he told me they were common to all rare dog breeds; indeed, this is why they are rare!
Excerpt from Komondor, part of the Comprehensive Owner’s Guide series, with permission from its publisher, Kennel Club Books, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Komondor here.