When dreadlocks are brought up in a discussion, we are quick to think of Rastafarians men and women. A dog is the last thing that comes to mind when discussing dreadlocks. Contrary to that perception, there are actually some dog breeds that naturally have dreadlocks.
Dreadlocks on dogs are unusual and make them stand out in the crowd. My first encounter with one such breed made me stare so much at its strange uniqueness. I wondered how the dreadlocks came about, are they natural or is the dog’s grooming needs being neglected? Well for most of these breeds, dreadlocks are naturally a part of their hair/fur. For the most part, they don’t have to struggle to look the way they do, although some need a little help to maintain their unusual yet striking appearance.
There are variants of these breeds, but the notable ones are the Komondor, Puli, Bergamasco, Spanish Water Dog and the Poodle. In this article, you will get to know these breeds a lot better and also understand how to handle them. Who knows, you may even be inspired to get one for yourself.
The Komondor originates in Hungary and is popularly known as the Hungarian sheepdog (due to their natural ability to guard and watch over livestock). This breed is large with thick and long corded hair. A quick look at this working dog will make you immediately think of mops and rags. Its dreadlocks are not acquired at birth but develop as they grow.
The appearance of the Komondor helps it to blend in among the sheep in the field and it goes unnoticed by a predator. Due to this lookalike effect, they can chase off predators or any other risk to the flock. Therefore, they are a great investment for guarding your property or livestock. They are trainable with an amiable temperament and very intelligent indeed. These dogs are capable of independently making decisions on their own when it comes to the work they do.
They are mostly dormant during the day with little to no activity but spring into action at night doing what they do best – guarding. They patrol around the field, making sure that nothing fishy is going on. This breed of working dog is a perfect playmate for your family as it is noted for its playful and protective nature. Yet this temperament isn’t shown towards strangers as it has the potential of signaling danger when it sees an unfamiliar face. The Komondor would generally become friendly towards the stranger when they feel no imminent danger or when the stranger becomes familiar.
- Average life span is approximately 10-12 years
- Weight ranges from 40kg to approximately 60kg
- Height ranges from 64cm to approximately 76cm
Another popular ‘dreadlock’ breed is the Bergamasco shepherd. This breed was originally found in the Italian Alps and have the ability to withstand colder climates due to their coating. They are also naturally protected against sunburns.
Their coats help to protect them from predator bites due to its thickness. These coats come in different shades of black, gray, brown and so on. It has three types of hair that form its signature coating. The amazing thing about their coats is the fact that you don’t always need to keep maintaining it.
Just like the Komondor, the Bergamasco is also a working dog and it is naturally used in herding flocks. Due to its independence and sense of responsibility, many farmers and livestock owners employ their services to protect their flocks. They are very much able to guard flocks, cattle, and sheep with little or no supervision from humans.
The Bergamasco has a patient character and makes a great playmate for children due to its playful and affectionate nature. They are also very protective of other family pets and friendly to them as well. Generally, the Bergamasco is quite a stress-free dog to have around the house.
- Average life span is approximately 13-15 years
- Weight ranges from 26kg to approximately 38kg
- Height ranges from 54cm to approximately 62cm
The Puli is by far one of the most common types of dogs with dreadlocks. It also originates in Hungary. This dog, much like the Komondor and Bergamasco is a working dog – also used in livestock and property guarding.
Unlike the Komondor, the Puli is smaller and mostly black. The Puli’s coat is the kind that requires a little bit of grooming from its owners to keep it presentable and clean.
The Puli is an intelligent specimen and has the tendency of adjusting to its surroundings. They are fast and very playful and thus require regular exercise to keep them active. The absence of exercise (especially if kept indoors all the time) inhibits their need to explore, and as a result, they are at risk of becoming either overly shy or hyperactive – which could become problematic.
This type of dog is easily trainable, especially during their youthful stage, and are fun to have around. They are always there to wade off any potential risks to their owners or flocks. Just like their Hungarian counterparts (the Komondor), they are not welcoming to strangers due to their protective nature. They are sure to keep their distance well off until they are certain the stranger can be trusted (or has become a part of the family).
To have a Puli, you need to be ready to keep and groom it – not forgetting the fact that you should also be willing to go out for walks, exercises, and so on with them. If you’re looking for a partner to join you on your daily morning jog, the Puli dog is your best option.
- Average life span is approximately 12-16 years
- Weight ranges from 10kg to approximately 15kg
- Height ranges from 36cm to approximately 45cm
The Poodle is a highly intelligent dog and a favorite of many dog lovers particularly those who are keen on dog-specific sports, activities, and competitions. Originating from Germany, these breeds are versatile in many areas such as sports, tracking, performances, and so on. No wonder it is a favorite to many dog lovers! There are different types of Poodles, but one thing that makes them stand out of course is their coat. Now unlike most dogs with two layers of coat, the Poodle has just one. This layer of coat sheds but only a little at a time and has to be groomed via clipping in order to prevent matted hair.
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This breed is very loyal, calm, friendly, and rarely aggressive. One distinct characteristic of the Poodle is its love for water. Poodles are quite comfortable around pools and lakes and with some training can prove excellent swimmers. If you own a Poodle, you would come to realize that showmanship is in its genes and that the limelight and the great outdoors does it a lot of good. Are you going on a camping trip or hike? It would be a lot of fun to bring along your Poodle.
- Average life span is approximately 12-15 years
- Weight ranges from 5kg to approximately 30kg
- Height ranges from 24cm to approximately 60cm
Spanish Water Dog
Another dog breed with dreadlocks is the Spanish Water Dog. Unlike the Komondor, it is a medium-sized, agile dog. Also known to be a herding dog, the Spanish Water Dog is famous for its natural guarding instincts. Additionally, it does not need a lot of supervision to get its work done.
Just like the Poodle, the Spanish Water Dog also has just one coat and requires some amount of grooming to keep the coat from matting. Should matting occur, it is advisable to shed off the coat and allow it to grow again.
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The Spanish Water Dog is both a work and play dog and is intelligent and very efficient in being guardians at home. They are sociable dogs and can adjust to their surroundings very well. Yet they are also not friendly to strangers at first sight but can warm up to them after some time. Due to their sociable and affectionate personality, the Spanish Water Dog is a great companion for little children. They are athletic and can run around playing with their owners while also helping out with farm work.
- Average life span is approximately 10-14 years
- Weight ranges from 14kg to approximately 22kg
- Height ranges from 38cm to approximately 52cm
If you own a dog with dreadlocks or plan to own one, you should be willing to commit to keeping them active and well-groomed. With the exception of the Bergamasco, most of these dogs need some form of continuous grooming to keep them healthy and presentable. Invest in quality dog hair-grooming tools, provide them with a balanced doggie diet and daily exercise then ensure you pay a visit to the vet at least once a year. This will keep your hairy pooch happy and looking fabulous.