How does the Komondor’s coat get that way? Komondor experts always say it grows that way, but this is only partly true. Komondors have a double coat. Cords are the result of the coarser outer coat twisting initially around clumps of the finer puppy coat and later around the undercoat, which is similar to the puppy coat. Komondor coats vary a great deal, depending on the ratio of undercoat to outer coat, but these days it is hard to find a Komondor that you cannot cord. Some coats seem to just simply grow into cords on their own, and you do not have a choice about how thick you want the cords to be. However, more Komondors need a lot of help from their owners at certain ages.
Shortly after birth, the Komondor puppy coat looks like old-fashioned marcelled waves; by a month old it looks mostly straight. Somewhere around eight or nine months old, you should find some coarser hair growing in and at the same time you will find that your dog’s hair is matting, especially in certain areas: the ears, behind the ears and any area where limbs rub against the coat, such as under the arms and the legs. The chest is the last area to mat and then cord. At this point, Komondor experts do not recommend much bathing. If you bathe your Komondor at the wrong time, you can get really difficult mats. Instead, separate the Komondor’s mats into divisions no smaller in diameter than your thumb. Remember that these divisions will tighten up when the dog’s coat gets wet, and you don’t want the cords to get too thin at the base, as later the base has to be strong enough to hold heavier cords. Also, you can always separate cords that are too thick, but it is not easy to make them bigger. Usually, if you look carefully, you will see that the Komondor’s coat separates into layers, or you can separate it into layers easily. You can then just tear the layers into individual smaller areas. It is best if you make the cords by tearing, but in some areas the mats don’t tear easily. At this point you need one or more dog grooming tools: mat splitters, seam rippers and/or scissors. This involves cutting the coat into strips.
Start at the dog’s skin and cut outward. Often, if you cut an inch or so with scissors, you can tear the rest. Keep at it, but don’t try to do the whole dog at once. Pick an area and stop before you or your Komondor gets tired. Once you have finished the whole dog, your Komondor looks a bit like a big pillow. Don’t worry, these divisions will soon turn into cords. Once the dog is really corded, usually by two years of age, it is not difficult to keep the dog’s coat in good shape.
So now your Komondor is basically corded. What general maintenance is involved? At a minimum, you will need a crate, a dryer and dog grooming tools and supplies if you are to groom your Komondor yourself. If you do not plan to show your dog, experts suggest that you let the dog’s coat cord, help it cord and trim it back to about 3 inches in length all over the body once a year. This coat length (which a show dog will have at about three years of age) looks dignified and is easy to keep. If you opt to cut your Komondor all the way down, you will face mats as the coat grows back in. Three-inch cords will give your Komondor a coat that is easy to maintain. For this procedure, experts suggest using cheap utility scissors, because cutting a whole coat cord by cord will destroy a good pair of scissors. Get a cheap pair and plan to throw it away after it does the job.
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.