Children and Dog

Nurturing a bond of love…

A pet pooch can be your child’s best friend but compassion and respect for household pets is an important personality trait that is best inculcated during the early years of life. Here’s how to develop the intangible bond of love between your kid and pooch.

Although most children have a natural affinity towards nature and animals, they can unknowingly hurt an

Children and Dog

Shuchi Kalra

animal out of enthusiasm or ignorance. Moreover, fear and lack of familiarity can fling all the love and compassion out of the window. By teaching children to respect dogs as well as other animals, we are doing our bit to raise a sensitive generation that is connected to nature—this eventually translates into fewer incidents of animal cruelty and abuse.

Bring home a pet: Keeping a household pet is by far the best way to bring your child closer to the animal world but caring for one is not every one’s cup of tea. If the prospect of a dog or a cat seems too daunting for now, consider smaller pets like goldfish, hamsters and guinea pigs who are relatively less demanding in terms of feeding, space and care. A child will learn a lot about animals by observing the mannerism of a pet and will gradually identify the animal as a member of the family.

Let kids share the responsibility: Depending on your child’s age and abilities, assign different care-taking responsibilities. Younger kids could take up simple tasks like putting the dog food in the bowl, arranging the dog’s bedding and playing outdoor games with the pooch while older kids should be able to handle bathing, feeding, walking and training the dog.

Playing with a neighbour pet dog: If you don’t happen to have a dog in the house, may be a neighbour’s affectionate dog can make a good playmate for your child. Teach your children to always ask the pet parent before playing with a pet dog as some dogs do not appreciate juvenile company. Always supervise the interaction.

Teaching good manners: Teach children not to touch dogs during meal-times or when they are sleeping. Show your kid the correct way to pet a dog without touching trouble spots like the tail and the eyes. Children should also be told that animals feel pain and also have feelings.

Say ‘no’ to wrong behaviour: If you find a child teasing a dog, correct him. Dogs usually don’t retaliate unless they are threatened or driven off the edge. Let your kids know that behaving badly with animals is not acceptable and that an animal’s feelings are no different from that of a human being. Children should be taught to gently caress the animal and offering treats in order to establish the trust.

Develop love and compassion: When you talk to your child about dogs, avoid referring to them as “it”. Instead, refer to the pooch by name or use pronouns like “he” or “she”. This helps kids associate them with living beings who undergo pain and trauma just like humans. Once children identify a pooch as a “person” rather than an inanimate object, they are more likely to respect their feelings. For example, try “Coco is too tired to play right now” instead of “Don’t play with the dog. It will bite you!” Let your voice reflect love and compassion for animals if you would like your children to develop the same values.

Watch dog-friendly movies: Introduce your child to stories and books that talk about beautiful relationship between humans and dogs. Several movies (animated and otherwise) that delve into the psyche of animals will help your children relate to the feelings and emotional needs of animals. Old Yeller, Lassie and Lady and The Tramp are great to begin with. Not to forget Marley & Me and Hachiko: A Dog’s Story.

Visit an animal shelter: Similarly, you could spend a few hours at a local animal shelter to sensitise your child towards stray, abandoned, sick and injured dogs. Older kids may be encouraged to volunteer at shelters during holidays or on a couple of Sundays every month. Such activities are a tremendous learning experience and significantly add to your child’s extra-curricular repertoire.

By infusing your children’s hearts with love and regard for canines, you are not only contributing towards their moral development but also reinforcing the timeless bonds between humans and their best buddies.

Strengthening this bond of love… with your time

Facebook, Twitter, screen awards, advertisements… our pooches are everywhere. The Editorialrecently concluded Golden Collar Awards came as a pleasant surprise – our pooches really deserve to be awarded for their hard work. Whether they are on or off screen, they are true companions… truly a delight for all. Their unconditional love, loyalty, friendship is unmatched… sprinkling magic in every moment. Pooches have thousand different ways to show they care for us – we have few… let’s use them for strengthening this bond of love.

Take care of your pet… his diet, exercise, grooming and of course his health. Oral hygiene is an integral part of his health and make sure your pet is free from dental problems. Brush his teeth regularly and consult your vet if you notice any early symptoms like bad breath, tartar, etc. You are responsible for his hygiene and a little awareness can go a long way ensuring that your pooch leads a happy and healthy life.

Make today special – Go to parks, holidays together, join agility clubs, join pet camps – make it special for both. Visit a dog salon, look at the wide range of grooming services available (I bet you will be surprised there are so many innovative services available), choose the one which suits your dog’s condition… let him indulge in the exhilarating experience, while you sit and relax and watch him enjoying! To make it easier for you, we have listed a few grooming options in this issue, which are sure to tantalize your pooch’s senses.

The idea is to let them know how much we care for them, how much we love them and how important they are for our life – specially by spending quality time with them.

Sparkle wishes you happy sunny days ahead – do take care of all your happy stray friends who just need compassion care from your end.

Do participate on- and win gifts for your beloved friends.

Happy reading!


feactures fun and frolic

Gifts for someone you love…

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love and our pooches deserve to be loved and pampered on this day. Petfeactures fun and frolic parents go all the way to pamper their dog with luxury items – be it opulent dog house or accessories… diamond studded tiara or collar… designer’s dresses or carriers… the expensive doggy gifts list is endless. Here’s a glimpse of some of the most expensive gifts showered on our darling pooches.

Home sweet home! – A Great Dane owner from Gloucestershire spent £250,000 for a doghouse with all the modern facilities and amenities… like spa, plasma TV sheepskin-lined, temperature-controlled dog beds, automatic dog food and filtered water dispensers. Bow indeed a doggies’ paradise!

Crowned canine – Riwin Jirapolsek, a Thai jewellery designer, expressed his immense love for his pet Maltese Terrier by designing a $4.2 million dog tiara. He used titanium and decorated it with more than 100K diamonds and 153K of emeralds.

Sleep well – Who would not love to see our pooches in a lap of luxury? And if he has a special space to sleep…it will bring him more golden dreams. There’s a lucky Mutt who sleeps on his $3000 22K Gold-Thread Pet Mattress made by the Italian company Magniflex.

Collar’s up! – New York-based ‘I Love Dogs’ designers have a great innovation for our pooches. The company has come up with a series of diamond encrusted, most expensive dog collars in the world. This $1.8 million collar is studded with more than 1600 hand-set diamonds on 18K white gold attached to a crocodile leather collar.

Wow bowl – A porcelain bowl…no way! Our pricey pooches would love to have a meal in a golden bowl. And Versace has designed 22K gold leafed Borocco Pet Bowl. Wow! Let’s make his meal fantastic.

Hold me now! – You are ready for a party, your furry friend is looked like an angel and you look stunning as well. But, hold on, you can add an accessory and carry your pooch in style. Go for a Louis Vuitton Dog Carrier for him. They are available in price ranging from $42,000 to $58,000.

Feel like a king – Designer Davis Salmon brings a royal delight for our canines. He designed a series of ‘Pet Pavilions’ based on Louis XVI Style. These pavilions share opulence of Versailles and our pooches would just love to bask in the glory of Royalty.

Cavalli… dress me up! – Designer Roberto Cavalli has changed the way we dress our party animals. He has a wonderful line of pet clothes catering to ‘pooch couture’. It includes satin-trimmed bath robes, silk shorts, jackets and velour tracksuits. So, before dressing our pooch for party…think again…think style.

Sniff! Sniff! – Today’s a doggy’s day out…he wants to feel fresh all day long. So, just sprinkle a fragrance of love… it’s called the Sexy Beast Pet Fragrance. The perfume comes in a Swarovski encrusted bottle engraved with our cute cuddly canine’s name. This fragrance is unisex with a mix of natural patchouli, mandarin and nutmeg oils.

My friend, my mentor… I will always love you!

We met each other as kids and grew up together. When I first lay eyes on him, he was very tiny, but full of vigour and enthusiasm. He believed he could take on anyone, never mind their size. He knew he was capable of anything. This was the reason he would often get into scrapes with the other big fellows. My mother very aptly named him Alexander.

For his name, though, he was a fairly small dog; a Pomeranian – the kind with long scruffy hair and a small remembranceface. To me, though, he was the most handsome dog I had ever seen. We had an understanding. Whatever I felt, he would express. I’d feel happy seeing my father when he came home from work, and Alexander would wag his furry little curly tail gleefully. If I felt distrust for a stranger, he growled his low car-engine-like growl.

I was 17 when I lost my father. He was in the hospital for only a week before he died. It happened all too soon for me to absorb anything. I was in a state of shock.

Alexander had gone into hiding that day. All that day and for the next two days we both whimpered and refused food. He missed my father as much as I did. He was his father too. On the third day, I still hadn’t eaten anything and nobody could coax me into having even a morsel. Alexander came out of his hiding that day. He came and sat down beside me, and laid his head in my lap. Then he got up, licked my face and went on to eat his own food. I guess it was his way of telling me that it was time for me too to accept what had happened and move on.

Alexander became closer to me after my father passed away. We would wake up together, eat together and go out for long walks together. It was on these outings that I would have heart-to-heart talks with him. There were more than a handful of people living in the neighbourhood who thought that I had lost my mind. Not Alexander though. I know it must sound crazy, but it was as if he understood everything I was telling him. He was like the close confidante who silently listens as you pour your heart out and never breathes a word of it to anyone else.

I had a number of crying spells for days. All of a sudden my mood would switch and I’d be melancholy and depressed. Alexander would always be by my side, even though I’d sometimes yell at him out of sheer frustration. Not once did he turn his back on me.

He may have done it unintentionally, but he would perform funny little antics which would have me laughing till I thought my ribs would break. He helped me to overcome the grief and accept life for what it was.

Eventually, I got admission into a dental college and I had to move away and live in a hostel. He would patiently wait for me on weekends. It was as if he knew, my mother told me, that I was to come on that day. He would sit with his nose pinned to the door till I was home and once he saw me he would wag his tail as hard as he could.

I was in the second year when his attacks began. At first, they were only isolated occurrences happening once in three months. But soon they began recurring almost every day. He would let out a shrill yelp and then his body would go stiff, his eyes would roll and his back would arch ominously till I felt he was going to break it. Once the rigour had passed, he would urinate involuntarily and lie down for hours without doing anything. It was as if his energy was slowly slipping away. It was hard to see this once lively dog reduced to such a heartrending state.

Yet, you could say that he gave me time to prepare myself for his going. No rude shocks for me this time. I knew that his time was drawing close. One day when I came back from the hostel he came, a little unsteady on his feet, and sat beside me. I knew that this was it. I took him, his body frail and light now from the tumour in his brain, and lay him in my lap. He had one last attack, and then he was gone… forever.

I learned a lot from his life. He only knew one thing, and that was to love unconditionally. This April, it was his eighth death anniversary. I will miss him forever.

Committed to love, committed to your pooch!!!

January 2011

New Year resolutions

This new year (and all those that will follow), let’s resolve to be as committed to our pooches as they are to us. Since they depend on us for all their needs, it is our responsibility to take care of them in the best possible way. Well, it’s a small price we pay for their unconditional love and care!!!

February 2011

Valentine pooch

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate all your loved ones and pooches definitely need to be pampered and loved on this special day. Make the day special for him – take him to a garden – let him romp and play, buy him a gift he loves (a treat or a toy), take him out for a ride – in fact, do whatever you think will raise his spirits high!

March 2011

Colourful ‘Holi’ pooch

Holi is the festival of colours but we all know, colours can be harmful to our pooches. So, how can we celebrate this festival? Well, you can add colours to the life of a pooch in need– that little dog on your street who keeps looking for food in the garbage cans or the big dog that sleeps under your car. Get them vaccinated and sterilized, give them food and clean water – simply bring out the compassion in you!

April 2011

Begin anew

With April comes Baisakhi, beginning of a new solar year, and new harvest season…a day to rejoice! If you wish to bring home a pooch, why not do it now! If you already are blessed with a pooch, spend some quality time with him, pamper him or simply love him.

May 2011

Vacation pooch

Since May marks the beginning of the summer vacations for kids, it is the best time to plan a vacation from the busy and sometimes mundane life. Look for a pet-friendly place and bring home beautiful memories of the precious family time spent together!

June 2011

Summer ‘n’ shine pooch

Summers can be too harsh on the pooches. Take good care of them, give them plenty of water to drink, provide them a cool place to stay, do not exercise them in sunny hours, watch out for symptoms of heat stroke…our responsible pet parents do know how to take care of our pooches!!!

July 2011

Tick-free pooch

With rains come the dreadful ticks and fleas problems. Keep your pooch dry, groom him regularly, remove any ticks you find, consult your veterinarian for an effective ticks and fleas treatments.

August 2011

Best bro pooch

Raksha Bandhan is the festival of siblings. Encourage your children to develop a loving bond with your pooch. Let them treat their pets as their siblings. This love and compassion will go a long way in building your kids as responsible and loving individuals.

September 2011

Canine heroes

The world cannot forget the tragedy of 9/11 (2001) and the role our canine heroes played in rescuing the victims.

Yes, dogs are our best friends and time and again, they prove it all along. Love your dog and cherish the bond you share.

October 2011

Festive pooch

October is the festive month – songs & dance at the famous Navratras & Diwali. Have a dancing twosome pair – you and your pooch and enjoy the festival of lights with care.

November 2011

Celebrating pooch

The last two months of the calendar are filled with a lot of occasions to celebrate – Id, Christmas, New Year, etc. Let your buddy enjoy to his fill, just take care of what he’s eating and pet proof your home at this time as well. Do not leave anything harmful in their reach – the decorations, lights, candles – all need to be put at a safe distance. Enjoy the festivals together, let the spirits be high!

December 2011

Cold but comfy pooch

Your pooches need a lot of care in winter season. Keep them warm, use a dog coat if required. Give them a nice cozy place to sit and sleep. Take care of their food and keep them safe away from chilly winds. Play some indoor games with him, chill out inside homes when the temperature dips!

A-Z of pooch love and care


A mentally-stimulating dog sport in which a dog handler directs a dog through an obstacle course. A perfectfeactures fun and frolic showcase of man-canine co-ordination through voice, body and movement!


Your pooch’s bed is his personal space – get him a warm, cosy bed according to his size with washable covers. Keep his bed clean and put it in sunlight from time to time to deodorise it. Gift him a comfy lil’ space of his own!


Pups love to chew to explore new tastes. They sometimes chew to relieve pain and discomfort due to teething. At times, they just chew out of boredom, anxiety or stress. Poor nutrition can also make him chew. So, give him a well-balanced diet and invest in some good chew toys for him.


It is very important to deworm your pooch from time to time, not just for puppies but also for adult dogs as well. Puppies should be dewormed at the age of three weeks. Consult your vet and get a deworming schedule designed for your beloved pooch. A must for dog care!

Eating habits

Develop healthy eating habits in your pooch right from the start. Feed him a well-balanced nutritious diet as prescribed by your vet. Feed him dog food only; do not give him table scraps. Let him eat right – today and all tomorrows!

Food bowl

Choose a food bowl according to your pooch’s size, breed and health condition. Metallic bowls are preferred over plastic bowl as plastic bowls can harbour bacteria. An elevated bowl will be a good idea for large dogs and those suffering from back problems. And you thought your pooch’s food bowl is just a bowl!


We all know the benefits of grooming – it makes them look good and keeps them healthy. The ideal grooming routine should include brushing, bathing, conditioning the coat, drying, nail clipping, cleaning eyes and ears, etc. The frequency of bath would depend on your pooch’s breed and his living conditions. So, spruce up your pooch today!


Dog proof your home to avoid dangerous situations for your pooch. Stack away all medicines, keep poisonous plants at bay and all those electrical cords far away. Give your pooch a nice cosy place to rest and never leave him alone outside. Your home is his haven – make it one for him!

Inflammations and infections

Dog ear inflammations and infections are common ear problems to watch out for.


This is one of the common problems pet parents face. Discourage your dog when he jumps to welcome you. Fold your arms and look away. Do not look at him, touch him or talk to him. Simply ignore him. He will get the message that you do not like his behaviour. Next time, when he welcomes you without jumping on you, reward him with treat or praise.


Dry dog food or kibble is balanced and complete with all nutrients good for feeding your dog daily.

Leash walking

Whenever you take your dog out, put him on a leash as this curious boy can wander around, chasing things which may or may not be within his reach. So, walk him on a leash! Make sure his leash is long, so he can sniff to his heart’s content.

Mental stimulation

A pooch needs to be mentally stimulated to be happy. Give him toys to play, take him out for walks, let him exercise or romp in the garden. Love him, pamper him, and keep boredom at bay!


Your pooch is very sensitive to noise; keep him away from loud noise.


Like us, pooches too can become obese, which in turn can cause various health problems. Consult your pet and get a proper diet and exercise plan for him. Keep him in shape!!!

Play time

Pooches love to play games like fetch, hide and seek Frisbee, etc. A wonderful way for you to exercise and bond with him too!

Quality time

You are the centre of the world for your pooch, spend good quality time with him – groom him, take him out for walks, play with him or just be with him….

Routine vet check-up

Prevention is always better than cure. Take your pet for routine vet check-ups to diagnose any problems beforehand.


Spay/neuter your pet unless you wish to breed from him/her. It not only prevents from unwanted pregnancies but also is good for their health and behaviour.


A well-trained pooch is a delight for all. Training should start right when the pup enters your home. Obedience training is a must for all pet pooches. U

Unconditional love

When you have a pooch or more in life, you are blessed with their unconditional love, they are there with you, no matter when and what happens. Bask in this love as this is precious!


The wonders of vaccination cannot be undermined. It can protect our pooches from several life-threatening diseases like canine distemper, hepatitis, rabies, etc. Consult your vet for the proper vaccination schedule for your pet.


One of the ways for our pooches to express themselves is through their woofs. But you can tell the difference between a woof and incessant barking. In case your pooch barks non-stop, consult his vet to find the underlying problem.

Xtreme loyalty

Dogs are loyal beings; their loyalty has been tried and tested over the time. It’s time we need to reciprocate their loyalty too – never ever think of abandoning your pet, try to figure out a solution for your problem. Love him and be loyal to him!

Yummy treats

Use delicious mouth-watering treats as a reward for your pooch; but never overdo them. They should not be a substitute for food and should be accounted for the total calorie intake of your pooch to avoid excess calories.

Zest of life

Pooches are your best friends; they add value to your life…making it more meaningful and putting a zest in your life. Woof! Welcome to another year with the love(s) of your life!!!

Unconditional Love

Love is an abstract word till the
time it is described,

Once spoken or expressed makes the
dull life bright.

It is not just limited to human and flesh;

It can be spread across little animals,
dogs, kittens and rest.

It has no boundaries, no language at all;

It stands loud, fresh, unwithered and tall.

Stretched arms, waging tail,
bright eyes and smiling face;

Can you all guess who could be this ace?

Our love could be conditional,
tired and stressed;

These little pups and kittens
never make us feel even if they are distressed.

Wonderful is the creation of God;

I feel so thankful that he has made them all.

(Dedicated to my two lovely pooches: Scissors and Brownie)
–Sunanda Anubhav Arora


breed profile

Shar Pei: Wrinkles you’ll fall in love with!!

Who likes wrinkles? But, covered from head to toe with wrinkles, these Chinese dogs leave everyone at awe! Regal, proud, intelligent and absolutely clean dogs…that’s how the Shar Peis are.


When we lost our Boxer dog, we were heart broken and thought we would never find a wrinkly headed dog to breed profilelove again. That was the time when somebody mentioned that he could cheer me up with one look at a puppy that was wrinkled from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail! I didn’t believe such a dog existed and within minutes we were driving to see a litter basket full of the world’s most exotic and adorable little puppies. Before the day was out Okaah, our first Chinese Shar Pei came home as a gift from my brother. The unique experience of owning the rarest dog breed in the world turned me and my husband into enthusiastic dog breeders and exhibitors for life!

Our Shar Pei loves to watch television. Don’t know if she can really see anything but she loves pretending to watch with us every evening for a few minutes. She has a particular spot on the bed that she occupies when she watches her television. She particularly enjoys programmes that make animal sounds like horse racing, and stuff on animal planet!! This wrinkled beauty sure is bitten by the TV bug, like all children are!!

We are ancient!

The Chinese Shar Pei (meaning sandy coat) is an ancient and unique breed, that has been existed for centuries in the southern provinces of China, apparently since the Han Dynasty (c. 200 BC). Statues bearing a strong resemblance to the Shar Pei have been discovered and dated to this period. Originally a multipurpose Chinese farm dog, today the Shar Pei is exhibited in conformation, agility, obedience and tracking.

We are wrinkled!

Shar Pei is an alert, compact dog of medium size; one of the rarest dog breeds. This breed can be recognised by his ‘hippopotamus’ head shape, walnut like wrinkles, dragon feet and butterfly nose. The Shar Pei, like the Chow-Chow, has a blue-black tongue; these are the only two breeds featuring this characteristic.

A Shar Pei’s head is slightly large, and covered with profuse wrinkles on the forehead and the side, almost framing the face. His almond-shaped eyes display a scowling expression while his ears are extremely small and slightly rounded at the tips. Ears are set high and lie flat against the head. His muzzle is one of the distinctive features of the breed, which is broad and full. Another characteristic feature of a Shar pei is his high set tail, which is thick and round at the base.

A Shar Pei can have two distinctly different kinds of coats: the horse coat (harsh to touch) and brush coat (soft to touch). They are found in different colours such as cream, apricot, fawn, red fawn, black, isabella, blue and chocolate.

We are intelligent!

The Shar Pei is an intelligent breed, they are alert, dignified, sober but snobbish. Although unfriendly with strangers, they are extremely devoted to their family.

We are regal!

The temperament of a Shar Pei is regal, which is completely a delight! Their head is always held high, and they love to be petted and cuddled. If you are looking for bright students, Shar Peis are for you…they are bright and learn quickly. They are very quick to learn toilet training…which of course is a big relief for all pet parents. And they are extremely clean…you will never see a Shar Pei rolling in mud. If left alone, a Shar Pei would sit quietly and wait for you to return. They are not scared of being left alone but hate it like most other pet dogs.

We love to run!

Shar Pei loves games that involve running and chasing. If you have kids at home, they will be pally with them.

We need walks!

Shar Pei requires moderate amount of exercise and two good walks a day are just what they need. This compact medium sized dog is well suited for apartment living and does not need a house with large gardens for free play though the same would be added bonus to his lifestyle!

We are cute!

Shar Pei puppies are the cutest that one has ever seen. His excessively wrinkled look makes you go weak in the knees. Along with good feeding and lots of cuddling, a Shar Pei puppy needs to be pampered with some special attention to his eyes in particular as they are often covered with heavy wrinkles. Just keep them clean is the mantra that works best. Shar Peis are clean dogs that require little more grooming than an occasional bath, regular ear cleaning and toe nail clipping.

We are sturdy!

They have short coat with hardly any hair fall. There are several misconceptions in people’s mind that Shar Pei can have skin disorders due to their heavy wrinkles. This is not true unless your dog has an illness!! But like most other dog breeds, they are also prone to some health problems, like entropian (eyelids curling inwards), Hypothyroidism, Demodectic mange and Swollen hocks fever.

We can guarantee that once you have been bitten by the “Shar Pei love bug”… you’ll always want one.

(For more info on Shar Pei, visit or call at 09779977588).


book review

A personal journey of love and friendship

Being a pet parent I love to share stories and anecdotes, peeves and laughs with other pet parents. So when Ibook review came across Dawn Kairns’ book on the Internet, ‘Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life’, I knew I had to read it.

The book is all that it promises and more. At one level it’s a sweet and heartwarming story about Dawn and her beloved black Labrador, Maggie. While reading about the bond that the two share with each other, I could not but recall moments that I had experienced with my own Irish Setter, Baloo, who passed away a few months ago. The delightful little moments when you bask in the sheer joy of seeing life through the wondrous eyes of a pup! Or the heart-stopping moments when the pup has a mishap or an accident that could have been worse than they actually were! Or those telepathic moments when your dog actually seems to read your mind well before you have articulated the thought!

At another level, the book is about the spiritual connect that humans share with their pets. It’s almost as if our dogs were a special gift that were given to us to cherish and love, who support us emotionally and unstintingly through our difficult times. And yet, we do take our loyal buddies for granted.

The bond that you share with your dog is one of a kind. As Dawn writes: “Maggie’s life, illness and untimely death led me to more profoundly honour and nurture my inner world…she showed me my way home: to my heart, my intuition, and to a fuller self-love.” Dawn and Maggie’s personal journey of love and friendship is indeed a life-changing experience and resonates for many of us who have shared such a bond with our pets.

Breed Profile

Komondors: love you all the way!

Magnificent, fast, agile, beautiful…a Komondor is full of beauty and elegance. His love and loyalty has no limits…he’s a dog with a soul!

breed1Awesome beauties!

King of the Hungarian livestock guarding dogs, the Komondor is one of the most unusual breeds seen in the world. This large muscular dog is covered with dense, white cords. The coat protects the dog against the elements and predators of their homeland, Hungary. Colour of their coat is white, but not always the pure white of a brushed coat (like you would see in the Samoyed breed). A small amount of cream or buff shading is sometimes seen in puppies, but fades with maturity. For the working Komondor, the white coat allows the dog to mingle unnoticed among the sheep while allowing the shepherd to see him at night.

Crowning glory

Not surprisingly the crowning glory of any Komondor is his unique corded coat. The cords form naturally when the woolly undercoat is trapped by the harsh curlier outer-coat. At first these cords will be short, but as the dog ages, the coat grows longer, the cords will acquire the length and graceful swing of the impressive adult coat. The coat is not only beautiful, but also serves a practical purpose in the Komondor’s work where the weatherproof coat acts as a barrier from the harsh climatic conditions. It also proves to be an ideal protection against the jaws of an attacking animal. The cords are both insulate and cool. They are open to the skin so that they allow air to pass through, yet the density and length of the cords protect the animal underneath.

Standing tall

The Komondor is a big dog with males standing at least 27.5” at the shoulders, while females must be at least 25.5” tall. Occasionally one may see a Komondor as large as 31” or even bigger, but also these cases are rare. When mature, the Komondor is not an overly heavy dog. Males usually weigh more than 80 pounds and females more than 60 pounds. Despite his size, the Komondor is astonishingly fast, agile and light on his feet. The quick movement, large size, unique coat and majestic appearance of the Komondor can be awe-inspiring.

Basic instincts…serious guard dogs

Considered to be the chief of the herdsman’s dogs, the Komondor is used to protect the herdsman and his animals. He is a livestock-guarding breed and as such is serious, confident and alert.

Calm ‘n’ poised…

Like all livestock guarding dogs, they are calm and steady when things are normal. However, if a Komomdor sniffs trouble, he will not hesitate to leap to defend his charges. Originally bred to think for himself, a Komondor is usually highly intelligent. An athletic dog, the Komondor has great speed and power and will leap toward a predator to drive it away or to knock it down.

He is extremely affectionate with his family and friends and gentle with children in the family. Also, he is very protective of his family, home and possessions and will instinctively guard them, even without any training.

And the recognition power of Komondor is simply awesome! Once a new member has been introduced into the family or flock, the Komondor will never forget them. A Komondor will routinely greet someone he has not seen for years as though he had just seen them yesterday. Once you are a “member of the flock,” you are always a “member of the flock.”

Given proper training and care, a Komondor can be a loyal and loving dog. They are devoted and calm without being sluggish. They can be wary of strangers, but if properly trained and socialised, may accept friends readily.

Since the Komondors are smart and bred to think for themselves, therefore it can be difficult for them to trust completely the directions of a mere human. Easy to train at the start, they can just as easily decide that, once a task is done, it would never need to be done again. Repetition bores them. They love to learn something new.

Living with them … a blessing but also a challenge

Living with a Komondor can be both a blessing and a challenge. They are extremely loyal and affectionate to their owners – not to mention exceptional guards of family and property. To the Komondor lover, few other breeds can match the extreme devotion and love given by this breed. However, they have minds of their own and as such living with them can be trying at times. What you would like your Komondor to do is not always what he wants to do! In addition, owning a large, powerful and highly protective breed is a large responsibility for the owner as a Komondor who is not trained can easily become a liability in today’s society.

Groom me beautiful

The coat of a Komondor requires a great deal of maintenance and care throughout the life of the dog. Cords begin forming between 8-12 months of ages and it continues throughout the life of the dog. As new coat grows, the cords will clump together at the base. You will need to spend time every week working on the cords to keep them neat. Keep the cords neat as it is easy for dirt to get into the cords. If the dirt becomes trapped as the cord tightens, the coat will become discoloured and dull looking.

The best way to keep a Komondor clean is never to allow it to get dirty–which of course is not always easy! The remedy is regular bathing, of which drying is very important. If the coat is not dried completely, mildew in the cords can occur. So drying for a Komondor with a substantial coat usually means approximately 24 hours of time with plenty of towel changes and fans running. Ears should also be cleaned occasionally and checked for infection and foreign objects.

Their corded coat sheds very little – if any – as all the hair gets trapped in the formation of the cords. Adult Komondors may occasionally lose an entire cord, but they do not shed in the usual sense of the word. Like Poodles, who also can be corded, Komondors can be a good breed for those who have allergies to dog hair and dander.

Exercise me little

The Komondor requires only a moderate amount of exercise. A couple of short walks a day is more than adequate. If you are looking for a companion for your morning jog the Komondor is not for you. They are quite a lazy breed and like to spend most of their free time lying in a spot, because of this it is easy to believe that the Komondor is not oing his job– but it is not so. He is ready to spring into action with amazing speed at the slightest hint of a threat to his charges.

Taking care of a pup…

Because of the adult Komondor’s size, power, and speed, his pet parent must have him trained from an early age. Obedience training is a must, preferably starting at 4-8 months. Komondors are usually intelligent and take well to training if started early. Komondors become obstinate when bored, so it is imperative that training sessions be upbeat and happy. Positive reinforcement methods work best as the Komondor is a sensitive dog. Socialisation is also extremely important. The Komondor should be exposed to new situations, people and other dogs as a puppy. Because he is a natural guard dog, a Komondor who is not properly socialised may react in an excessively aggressive manner when confronted with a new situation or person. Again, puppy training is strongly recommended for all Komondors.

Many Komondors are ‘late bloomers’, not fully mature until nearly three years of age. Adolescence can be marked by changes in temperament, eating habits, trainability and general attitude. This should not cause alarm. By the time they are three years old, they are responsible adults. However, to expect an eight months old puppy to behave as an adult is unreasonable. Puppies are as active, playful and troublesome as in any breed. Truly responsible behaviour cannot be expected until they attain full maturity.

Most Komondors, when raised correctly with proper socialization love children and are very tolerant of them. However, they may perceive others’ children to be strangers and can be protective of “their” children when play gets rough and rowdy. So, caution must always be exercised when those outside the family interact with the children in front of the Komondor.

Games? We don’t love them!

If you are looking for a dog to play with, the Komondor is not for you. This breed is rather serious and sees most games as silly. Because they have very little prey drive, they have almost no interest in chasing a ball or other moving object. So the Komondor can often be a bit boring for children looking for a dog to play with.

Heredity problems…very few

Komondors do not suffer many heredity problems, perhaps because the breed has descended from centuries of hardy working stock. As in all large breeds (and some small ones), there is some hip dysplasia, though the incidence is about 10 percent of all Komondors who are tested.

Tips for a would-be Komondor pet parent…

The Komondor is a wonderful breed – but they are not for everyone. It is extremely important if you are considering adding a Komondor to your family that you visit some adult dogs on their home turf so you know fully what you are getting into with this large and imposing breed. It is also very important to find a breeder that will teach you to properly care for the coat. This is not a breed you can just drop off at the groomers every few weeks. Keeping a corded white coat in good shape takes a serious commitment from the owner of the dog. Owning a Komondor is a huge responsibility, but it can be extremely rewarding for the right family.

(Andrea Barber and her husband Steven are members of Komondor Club of America. They own a Komodor named Ibis Encore CGC TDI TT (Niea) and live in Sand Meadow Farm in Mendon, Western New York State.)