YORK -- Joyce Henderson saw her first Komondor at a dog show in 1978 and instantly fell in love with the gentle giants.
"I knew right then it was the breed for me," she said.
But they're so scarce it took 15 years before she finally had one of her own.
Now she has two -- and a pup she thought was a Komondor but turned out to be a poodle -- that she raises at her Sharon home with her husband, Harry.
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The Hendersons brought Frosty, Blizzard and Genghis out to the inaugural Woofstock in York on Saturday to raise awareness for their Komondor Rescue.
"We call it a rescue, but when they come to us they usually end up staying," Harry quipped.
Komondors are a rare breed that belongs to the working group of dogs, according to the American Kennel Club's Web site, www.akc.org. They were developed in Hungary to guard large herds of animals, according to the site.
"They're a real good guard dog, second in the AKC," Harry said. "But they're also unusual in that they're quite loving and very much a family breed."
Full grown Komondors usually weigh about 100 pounds, and if uncut have a heavy coat of white cords, almost like wool.
The massive coat is why the Hendersons thought Genghis, a poodle, was a Komondor mix.
"We kinda got this one by accident," Joyce said, giving Genghis an affectionate pat on the back. "Someone said he was a Komondor when they brought him to us. The hair was overgrown and reddish. We just thought it was red mud."
After many baths and a haircut, they realized he was an apricot poodle. But they'd already fallen in love and opted to keep him anyway, calling him Genghis because, "he came with nothing and in two weeks owned it all," Joyce said.
The pets are part of the family. All three sleep in the master bedroom -- Frosty even sleeps in the bed with Joyce. They tag along on errands and go on the family camping trip.
"Whatever I'm doing, they're doing," Joyce said.
Baths time is always fun at the Henderson home.
It takes at least 45 minutes to an hour to wash Blizzard.
"You have to wash every individual cord," Joyce said. "It's like washing the hair of a child with pigtails."
And drying is "a must" or they'll go sour.
"You ever throw a wet towel down on the floor and forget it?" Joyce asked. "That's what it's like if you don't dry 'em. It's pretty bad. You don't do it but once and you've learned your lesson."
Since 1993, the Hendersons have rescued nine dogs under the Komondor Club of America's umbrella. They travel to hospitals, daycares, schools and other community functions to raise awareness for the breed and responsible dog ownership.
That's why they came out to Woofstock, where it was clear they were a hit among the nearly 20 booths set up at the York Recreation Complex.
The inaugural event was a huge success, said Signa Curry, who promoted Woofstock for organizers Kenny Childers and Jordan Garrett of dogma & fetch.
"It was a great day for a first time event," Curry said. "It has a lot of potential, and it will be exciting to watch it grow."
Hundreds of people brought out their four-legged friends for a full-days worth of doggie-themed activities.
"It was great seeing the community turn out and everyone enjoying themselves," Curry said. "The dogs were all very well-behaved and everyone complied with the guidelines."
The day was extra special for Blizzard, who was named Mr. Woofstock.
But if you're looking for your own Mr. Woofstock, get in line because the wait list is long.
Only 68 Komondors were born in America last year, Joyce said.
"They're so different and unusual, rare, but they're precious," Joyce said. "I think that's why people love them so much."