6 Dog Breeds with Dreadlocks and How That Even Works

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No, it’s not a mop with a tongue, it’s a delightful achievement in furry engineering!

A handful of dog breeds are adorned with vibrant dreadlocks. Some come naturally, like Komondor, Puli and Bergamesco. Others—the poodle, Spanish water dog, and Havanese—can pull off this look with just a little help from their human friends. But whether functional or aesthetic, this headdress is sure to turn heads. And before we go any further, it’s worth pointing out that the correct terms for canine dreadlocks are ropes, herdsY Carpet.

Komondor

flickr/serteq

flickr/serteq

This herd watcher phenomenon is (officially!) a national treasure in Hungary, where the breed has made a living herding sheep and cattle for centuries. Komondor’s name means “Dog of the Cumans” and refers to the tribe that brought dogs to Hungary in the 12th and 13th centuries. The dogs’ white fur helps them blend in with their herds and the winter landscape. During the puppy phase, the coat is soft and wavy. But as the dog matures, the outer coat becomes rougher, trapping the softer undercoat to form cords that repel predators and provide warmth.

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pouli

Flickr / Cani.com

Flickr / Cani.com

A close relative of the Komondor, the Puli features thinner cords that also form naturally as the outer and inner layers intertwine. The Puli is also native to Hungary and is prized for its ability to graze. (Many shepherds paid a full year’s salary for their working dogs.) Pulis were often paired with Komondors to herd a flock: Komondors kept watch at night, while Pulis stood watch during the day. Its white, gray, or cream-colored laces provide warmth and protection, but its coat needs grooming to avoid painful tangles.

Bergamosco

Flickr/Red Allavilag

Flickr/Red Allavilag

The bergamot wasn’t officially recognized by the American Kennel Club until 2015, but it’s an ancient breed with a 2,000-year history stretching from the Middle East to Asia and the European Alps. Their independent, sociable, and intelligent nature makes them perfect for herding. And just as they are used to protecting their flocks of sheep, their “fur flocks” keep them warm in extreme mountain winters and protect them from predators. The long hair covering his eyes serves as a protective visor to prevent sunburn on sunny winter days surrounded by reflective snow.

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Spanish water dog

Flickr / maesecalim

Flickr / maesecalim

This handsome and hardy breed from the Iberian Peninsula is not naturally “laced up” but still sports significant tufts of fur. Spanish Water Dogs are keen observers and their aim is to please. Hunters, ranchers and fishermen have long relied on them as faithful companions. Their loose locks are perfectly adapted to their native humid climate, but to achieve a corded look the owner must shave the coat, then let it grow out and shape the cords along the way.

poodle

Flickr/lesliezemenek

Flickr/lesliezemenek

This easily recognizable breed is known for its versatile coat and graceful demeanor. Shoelaces do not come naturally to a poodle, but a meticulous and observant owner can modify the coat and create fine shoelaces such as those worn by the elegant lady shown here. The coat should be trimmed first and never brushed. As the cords are formed, they must be separated again and again. Shampoo is out of the question: you need to soak the rope animal in warm water and then pat the ropes dry. Like milking a cow, yowsa!

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Havanese

Flickr/Boutsy

Flickr/Boutsy

Bichon Havanese were bred as companion dogs for the Cuban aristocracy in the 19th century. They are sometimes referred to as “Velcro dogs” because they are very attached to their owners. Known to be fun, outgoing, and playful, Havanese have worked as circus performers and service dogs. This breed looks amazing on a leash, but getting there requires some serious grooming. Owners have to train sections of hair that need to be checked repeatedly to prevent tangling, and the whole process can take up to two years!

Whether organic or specially laced, a dog with dreadlocks deserves nothing but admiration. Because grooming has helped the breed thrive through centuries of hard work, or because the dog that turns heads has a hardworking groomer by its side. However you style it, big hair deserves big accessories.

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