There are various breeds of dogs that can grow what is known in the human world as “dreadlocks” whether this be naturally or if the coat is trained to grow that way. Dogs with dreadlocks stand out from the crowd due to their unique and unusual appearance with people often comparing them to the “mop dog”.
The correct terms for a dreadlocked coat are cords, flocks or mats and you may think that this means the coat can be left to its own devices however, it can’t. It requires quite some work to get started and then to continue to maintain as cords are normally started manually by splitting the fur into appropriately sized sections which are maintained until the fur is long enough to maintain each cord on its own. Cords are very high maintenance as they tend to pick up twigs, mud and dust and if not cared for correctly they will mat which becomes difficult to sort and extremely uncomfortable for your dog therefore keeping the cords in good condition is priority.
Here are five popular dog breeds that you may come across with the corded coat:
Quite unusual in the UK and originated in Hungary with a history of working as a herding dog, the Komondor is a gentle, calm, affectionate dog with a life span of around ten to twelve years. When Komondor puppies are born they are not born with dreads, they have a short, white coat that gradually forms into fluffy curls and as the dog grows so do the curls. At around one years old the curls form into matted patches and that is when human intervention is needed to separate into individual cords. Once the Komondor has reached age five the coat will have reached its full potential length and you will probably need to trim the ends so that it is not dragging along the floor. An occasional bath with thorough drying is essential to clean and dirt and surface oil the cords may have contracted.
The Puli is very similar to the Komondor, sharing more than just the same coat but their origin - Hungary. The cords of this intelligent, active dog start to develop around the age of six to ten months and they are a breed that must never be shaved or clipped. Their cords can tend to clump together so they will need human intervention to pull the large clumps apart to avoid any matting. When thick cords form they need to be carefully brushed apart to form thinner ones and any dirt that the cords contract needs to be removed. With the Puli it is important that you check their ears regularly as too many hairs can stop the air circulating which can lead to yeast infections therefore plucking the hairs out is vital. If you choose this small to medium breed to join your family you will find they form a strong bond with one member of the household and require a minimum of forty minutes exercise a day.
Originating from the Italian Alps near Bergamo this breed was originally a herding dog and with its large head and thick tail that hangs down to the hock their most distinctive feature is their coat. Their coat is characterised by three types of hair: a fine, dense, oily undercoat, long harsher hairs and a top woolly outer coat. As the dog gets older, the three types of hair weave together to form flat mats or flocks ranging anywhere from one and a half inches to three inches wide – their coat does not cord. You will see this muscular breed in a solid grey colour or graduations of grey including black.
Owning this bichon type toy breed requires serious maintenance for their double coat from their owners. Owners must form sections of hair that continually need checking so that mats don’t form as the fur grows very fast making it easy to become tangled. Due to their dense and curly coat they are more prone to tangling or matting so should be combed at least twice a week to prevent this from happening. It can be difficult to achieve the corded look if you have never done it before and the entire process can take around two years – it may be worth consulting your local groomer. They are however the ideal family pet and a true companion dog – also known as the “Velcro dog” by owners as they become very attached to their family.
The poodle is bred in three different sizes – miniature, toy and standard and all boast single layer coats which are dense and curly with minimal shedding. However, when the poodle does shed its fur it becomes tangled in surrounding hair which can cause matting. The poodles coat can be corded when the adult coat is in, although this is very rare nowadays as it can be very difficult to keep clean and takes a long time to dry. The texture of their fur can be coarse and woolly or soft and wavy and they come in a wide variety of colours such as; black, brown, white, cream or sable. It is crucial you take proper care when it comes to this breed, frequently bathing and brushing them to keep their coat in its best condition.
If you decide to choose a dog with dreads maintaining their locks is not an easy task. If you need help or advice on your dogs corded coat then it would be best to contact your local groomer.