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6 Dog Breeds With Dreadlocks

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Some dog breeds naturally grow what looks like “dreadlocks” in humans, or their coats can be groomed to develop this style. Known for their distinctive look, these dogs often remind people of a “mop dog.” The technical terms for their coat style are cords, flocks, or mats.

While it might seem that these coats are low-maintenance, they actually require significant care. Starting the cords involves manually splitting the fur into sections and maintaining them until they can sustain themselves.

High maintenance is key for these coats, as they easily collect debris like twigs, mud, and dust. Without proper care, cords can become matted, causing discomfort for the dog. So, keeping these cords in good condition is essential.

Let’s take a look at six popular breeds with this unique corded coat.

Dog with Dreads 

Meet the unique and eye-catching dogs with dreads, showcasing their distinctive corded coats that set them apart in the canine world.

1. Puli

The Puli, a charming dog from Hungary, is renowned for its unique, naturally corded coat. This long, wooly fur is practically waterproof but requires careful maintenance to prevent it from covering the dog’s face in thick locks.

The health of the Puli, including its diet and conditioning, greatly influences the development of its cords. If the two layers of the coat grow unevenly, the cords may be weak or even fall off. It’s also important to watch for dreads forming in their ears, which can lead to infections.

But there’s more to the Puli than just its trendy coat. These compact dogs are incredibly loyal, affectionate, and surprisingly strong and agile for their size. Originating in Hungary as herding dogs, Pulis are hard-working, alert, and intelligent, making them excellent in their traditional role.

They are equally content in the outdoors and relaxing at home by the fire, showing their adaptable and loving nature towards their families.

2. Komondor

dog with dreadlocks

Komondors, often compared to Pulis due to their long, naturally dreaded coats, stand out with their thicker cords. Initially, Komondor puppies have a curly, fluffy coat that eventually forms into dense, curly cords over a couple of years. These cords provide insulation in extreme cold weather and protection during heavy rains.


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Originating from Hungary, Komondors were traditionally used for herding and guarding livestock. Their long, white coats allowed them to blend in with sheep and offer camouflage in snowy conditions, while the texture of their coat kept them warm and protected from predators in the fields.

Not only are these dogs visually striking, but they are also big, strong, and muscular, yet surprisingly agile and capable of handling demanding tasks. Komondors are intelligent and calm, content with both working outdoors and spending time with their families. Their endearing and curious nature makes them excellent family dogs, adding to their popularity.

3. Spanish Water Dog

dogs with dreads

Spanish Water Dogs, known for their unique single coat, may develop natural mats or require some assistance to achieve their characteristic corded look. These cords aren’t just for appearance; they serve a practical purpose in aiding the dogs in their work.

True to their name, these dogs hail from Spain, where they were traditionally used for various roles, such as guardians, hunters, retrievers, and sheepdogs. Bred initially as herders and water dogs, they spent much of their time assisting farmers and fishermen. Their matted coat acts as a waterproof barrier, protecting their organs and keeping them warm and dry during water activities.

This Spanish breed is exceptionally loyal and thrives on spending time with its owner. They enjoy hunting, outdoor activities, and relaxing at home. Energetic, inquisitive, and playful, Spanish Water Dogs are wonderful companions but may be challenging for first-time dog owners due to their high energy levels and curious nature.

4. Bergamesco

dog with dreadlocks breed

The Bergamasco, originating from the Italian Alps near Bergamo, stands out among herding dogs with its unique coat. Unlike many other breeds, the Bergamasco’s coat consists of three types of hair. It features two undercoats: one short and smooth and another longer and more wiry, complemented by a curly top coat.

This breed, with a notable lifespan of around 15 years, doesn’t fully develop its distinctive coat until it’s about a year old. By the time a Bergamasco reaches five years, its coat has achieved its full length and texture. This layered coat isn’t just for show; it serves practical purposes, like regulating body temperature in both the cold Alpine winters and summer heat. The long hair over their eyes also acts as a visor, protecting against sunburn in snowy, reflective environments.

With a rich 2,000-year history tracing back through the Middle East, Asia, and into the European Alps, the Bergamasco is an ancient breed. Their independent, sociable, and intelligent nature makes them excellent at herding, reflecting their deep-rooted history in pastoral life.

5. Havanese

dreadlocks dogs breed

Havanese dogs, though smaller than some other breeds on our list, are incredibly adorable and make excellent family pets. These pups don’t naturally have a dreaded coat, but it can be achieved through considerable effort by the owner. Their fur grows quickly, requiring owners to regularly section and check the hair to prevent matting, a process that can take up to two years!

Originating in the 1800s as cherished pets of Cuban aristocracy, Havanese dogs form exceptionally strong bonds with their human companions, often earning the nickname “velcro dog” due to their clingy nature. They thrive on being the center of attention in any family.

These dogs are playful, intelligent, and curious and can even serve as assistant dogs. Their loving nature means they can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. Havanese dogs are great with children and other animals, enjoying the company of a playmate.

6. Poodle

dogs with dreads name

Poodles, famous for their distinctive curly coats, can also sport dreadlocks or mats, although this is not a natural style for them. Unlike other dreadlocked breeds, Poodles have a single coat of fluffy curls. Their hair doesn’t naturally mat; instead, owners must actively create and maintain the dreads.

Creating dreadlocks in a Poodle’s coat is a demanding and meticulous task, which is why it’s not a widely adopted hairstyle. Notably, Poodles are excellent swimmers and skilled at retrieving in challenging terrains. They are also considered hypoallergenic due to their minimal shedding.

These dogs are incredibly intelligent and enjoy learning new tricks. They can be somewhat stubborn, so they benefit from an experienced owner who can effectively manage this trait. Poodles are highly energetic and require a lot of daily exercise. They love playing, running, and chasing, making them perfect for active families or individuals.

Taking Care of the Dogs with Dreadlocks 

Caring for a dog with dreads requires extra attention. To prevent painful matting, it’s a good idea to have a reliable groomer nearby.

Cleaning Dreads: Regular cleaning is essential to keep dreads healthy and odor-free. Unlike other dogs, each dread needs individual soaking and thorough drying to prevent oil and dirt build-up. Professional groomers are equipped with drying machines to help with this.

Brushing Dreads: Generally, you shouldn’t brush dreads as it can be painful and unnecessary. However, for some breeds like the Havanese, it’s important to gently separate cords to avoid matting and brush out any forming mats.

Trimming Dreads: The need for trimming depends on the dog breed. Some dogs may need trimming to avoid dragging dreads that can collect dirt or to prevent obstruction while eating or seeing. Dreads around the ears and eyes, especially, should be trimmed to prevent infections.

Always consult with your groomer about the best grooming practices for your dog’s specific breed and coat type.

Conclusion

Breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, such as certain herding dog breeds and companion dogs, showcase a fascinating variety of coats. From the woolly outer coat resembling a ‘walking mop’ to the lusciously curly coat of a playful pup, each breed’s adult coat is a marvel of nature.

Some, with their thick cords and white coats, form naturally into striking designs, while others, with an oily undercoat, require a bit more grooming to form cords. These dogs, with their unusual appearance, ranging from a dense, woolly outer coat to a neatly curled one, not only excel in their traditional roles but also bring unique charm and character to any home.

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