There are a small number of dog breeds who, if you put them next to a mop in the kitchen it would be hard to tell the difference between the two. Some of this breed, known as “mop dogs” come with their dreadlock features au natural, and require no help to keep their looks as dreadfull as possible. Then there is the second group that needs some fashion help from their owners or other human friends to achieve a similar look. Here we will look at the short list and talk about their most unique features that makes them stand out from their other straight-laced furry friends.
To be clear, and technical, what we call dreadlocks the dog technical community has created other names for: they can be cords, flocks, or mats. The proper name is to be connected to the proper breed of dog – something to know should you run into a purist.
The most well-known of the breed and the most naturally dreadlocked is the Komondor. Originating from Hungary, their primary use for centuries has been to act as guard dogs for a farmer’s sheep and cattle. They have a natural white coat, so if a predator may mistake a Komondor for a sheep and run into a passel full of trouble. When winter comes in Hungary and the landscape is covered with snow, their white coat also helps to conceal their presence. The dreadlocks for this breed are called cords. Not only do they serve the purpose of providing warmth, but they also act as a shield against attacks from predators.
Next closest in the genetic line to the Komondor is the Puli. Many dogs have both an inner and outer coat of fur, and in the case of the Puli these coats get tangled up by an act of nature to form the dreadlock, or technically the cords. There are both similarities and differences between the Komondor and the Puli. They are both from Hungary but the Puli is a higher maintenance breed because of their coat. Their coat must be brushed regularly to prevent matting that can be painful for the pooch if neglected. While the maintenance level is higher, the Puli’s are often paired by owners to have the Puli guard the flocks by day, and the Komondor by night.
This breed doesn’t exactly qualify for the au natural dreadlock category, but they definitely fit the bill to be a mop dog breed. You may have heard them called Velcro dogs, not because of their coat but because they create a very close attachment with their owners. They were originally bred for Cuban aristocrats. Their unique personalities have them enlisting for services such as circus performer or an assistant to the owner. This breed has a much higher level of maintenance to create the dreadlock look, requiring groomers to form the sections of hair and keep watch to prevent matting. This process can go on for as long as 2 years before everything it set. Of course, maintain the look requires the same watchful eye, but it does get easier after those first 2 years. Their final look is called corded.
Spanish Water Dog
The last of the corded breeds on the list, the Spanish Water Dog has its origins in the old Iberian Peninsula, which geographically is largely Spanish land. It gets its name as a water dog from the fact that the specific region of origin is very humid, and their coat has evolved to keep it comfortable throughout the year. They are employed by herders and fishermen alike. But of all the corded breeds, the Spanish Water Dog is at the top of the list of maintenance requirements. To get the dreaded look it has to have its coat shaved down, and as the coat returns to its normal length you have to shape its cords. Not to be a doggy downer, but this breed may not be worth the trouble for creating the dreadlock look, even though it qualifies as a mop dog.
The last breed on the list stands out in a number of ways, from its country of origin to the name of its natural dreadlocks, to even the “shaggy dog” bangs over their eyes. The breed was not officially recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) until only a few years ago. Yet its origins include countries of the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. That makes verifying the breed difficult, but the task was more complicated as the breed’s origins go back more than 2,000 years. Their coat is made up of flocks of hairs, which is appropriately named as their primary purpose is to guard flocks of sheep. As they have had to adjust to a variety of climates, their flocks serve to keep them warm and act as protection against predators. Those aforementioned bangs keep the dog’s eyes from being blinded by the sun on days when the reflected light off of the snow can make seeing virtually impossible.