When it comes to owning a dog, nothing can be weirder than getting a dog with locks compared to one with a soft and smooth-flowing fur. As outrageous as it may seem, these canine mopheads can, nevertheless, make for a very definitive characterization of the hound. Canine breeds with braided hair are a groomer’s worst nightmare. But they are still a joy to behold.
It is important to realize that any dog breed with sufficient-length fur can have corded hair. They will require your assistance, however. Think of it as “controlled” or “purposeful” matting with a twist. However, there are also dog breeds that are genetically predisposed to the formation of dreads. They do require our assistance, though, to make sure the cords will grow as elegant and stunning as possible. Au naturel or not, these corded canines are adorable. Here are 5 of the world’s best dog breeds with dreadlocks.
A Hungarian native, the dreadlocks of the Puli are as natural as any other part of its being. It is an intelligent and active dog, helping Hungarian shepherds and livestock owners. Pulis have dense double coat, which is perfect for cording. On top of a soft and woolly undercoat is a long and coarse coat. This unique combination gives the Puli its natural tendency to form locks.
Pulis will usually start developing cords by the time they reach 6 to 10 months of age. With each month, these cords will grow longer. The cords are never clipped or shaved so that they can growing in length. However, care is taken so that the cords do not get entangled with one another. This can lead to the formation of a gigantic hair mat. Hence, it is crucial to give the Puli a helping hand.
Owners have to pull the individual cords so that they do not form a large tangled mess. They need to separate the cords so that they grow into the classic twisted strands of a string mophead. If the cords grow very thick, brushing them into thinner ones is crucial. This will give the Puli its amazing Jata look. One also needs to understand that it will take a minimum of 4 years to achieve the full length of the locks.
The Jata-like coat of the Puli requires meticulous care. Because each cord comes with very small nooks and crannies, dreadlocks are a natural magnet for particles. Keeping the Puli’s coat clean and healthy can be quite cumbersome. But if you can display the patience and perseverance of a dog groomer, then this canine mophead will be the dog world’s answer to Bob Marley.
The Komondor is known by many as the classic canine mophead. Why? Well, this dog only comes in one color – white. And if you haven’t noticed, the traditional string mop is almost always colored white (or off-white). Regardless, the Komondor is an affectionate, gentle, and calm herding dog. It also has its origins in Hungary like the Puli and can live up to 12 years. It may have a short lifespan compared to other herding dogs but the Komondor can live it to the fullest. It uses its mophead look to “blend” with the flock of sheep. Predators – both humans and other animals – will never know that there’s a guardian in the midst.
While the locks of Komondors are natural, they’re not born with them. Instead, puppies will have a white coat with very short fur. Over time, these furs grow into fluffy curls. As the curling of the fur continues, there’s the chance that they will turn into matted patches. This often occurs as the Komondor puppy reaches the age of 12 months. However, there are also cases wherein the matting will occur as early as 8 months of age. As soon as the Komondor’s dreads reach this stage, human intervention is important.
One needs to brush the thick patches to separate them into finer cords. Komondors require occasional baths complete with thorough drying. This will help remove surface oil, dirt, and debris that may be present on the individual cords. The full length of the canine braids can take about 5 years to complete. It is often wise to trim the cord ends so that they won’t drag along the ground or floor.
The Bergamasco Shepherd looks like a four-legged mop that never saw cleaning for several decades. Its gray coat has a ruffled appearance that makes the Bergamasco less appealing than either the Puli or the Komondor. However, it is this disheveled look that can make this Italian sheepdog a worthy protector of its owner’s flock. Its corded hair protects the Bergamasco against bad weather that is quite common high up in the Alpine regions of northern Italy. It is also what protects the Bergamasco against predators that it might have to face to defend its flock.
What’s interesting about the Bergamasco is that it comes with three different types of hair. Next to its skin is a dense, very fine, and oily undercoat. On top of this is a woolly outer coat. Interspersed between the undercoat and the outer coat are long and coarse hairs. Fanciers of the Bergamasco have a pun for the coat of these dogs. They say it’s a combination of goat’s hair plus sheep’s wool with classic dog hair. When these three types of hairs interact or get entangled, they form the classic mats.
Since there are three different types of hairs that interact, people call them a weave. Over the years, these will turn into flat mats or hair flocks, but never as cords. It’s important to understand that cords often have a cylindrical body. Hair flocks, meanwhile, are flat. Hence, the Bergamasco will not have the classic near-cylindrical dreadlocks of the Puli and Komondor. Regardless, it will still look dashing in its own brand of flat dreads.
Spanish Water Dog
Hailing from the sunny side of Spain, the Spanish Water Dog is another breed that looks lovely in dreads. It has a very curly coat that is almost similar to that of a Poodle. However, keep in mind that this does not mean that it will form locks without your help. An all-purpose farm dog, the Spanish Water Dog is an energetic and intelligent canine. It needs someone who understands its unique characteristics; hence, it’s never a good choice for newbie dog parents.
Unlike dogs that have double coat, the SWD comes with a single coat. This makes it quite unusual since it would be quite impossible to form knots or mats. Yet, there is one trait in the SWD’s coat that makes it ideal for turning into dreads. It is thick, rustic, and curly or wavy. The thick strands of fur plus its “wavy” form allows it to get entangled with other strands of fur. This is the secret to the SWD’s amazing dreadlock.
However, human intervention is necessary to help turn the Spanish Water Dog into a canine with dreadlocks. Owners allow the SWD to grow its coat the natural way. By the time the coat is about an inch long, the owner shaves the dog’s coat. This promotes the regrowth of the rustic fur, making them thicker this time around. The increased thickness and waviness of the fur increases the chance of “matting”. This is essential in the formation of the classic cord. The owner will have to help by “shaping” the individual cords, however.
Poodles are excellent entertainers as they are intelligent dogs. However, what many don’t realize is that they are also very prolific hunters. It is because of their hunting instincts that they need to grow a coat that can help protect them during any hunt.
Like the Spanish Water Dog, the Poodle doesn’t have a coat that will turn into dreadlocks on its own. It is also a single-coated breed. Hence, it needs your skill and attention in shaping the Poodle’s coat into hundreds of miniature cords. And like the SWD, the Poodle has a wavy fur, which makes it ideal into braid-formation. The fur of Poodles can be either soft and wavy or coarse and woolly.
This fur can get entangled with one another, forming patches of fur. These mats can come in irregular shapes and sizes such that the Poodle will have an unkempt appearance. That is why owners who wish to give their Poodles dreadlocks need to assist. It’s important to separate the mats into more uniform widths or sizes. This will make the Jata look more stunning.
In many cases, the original coat of the Poodle may undergo shaving or clipping. This will help facilitate the growth of a denser and wavier coat. The painstaking process of cord-formation can then begin in earnest.
Like all dogs that have dreadlocks, regular and frequent bathing is necessary. Frequent brushing is also needed to help keep the dog’s coat in pristine condition. Dirt and other particles can accumulate in the individual cords; hence, these must be removed.
Dogs with dreadlocks are beautiful to look at. However, they require more meticulous care and maintenance.