Doggy Dreadlocks: All About Corded Coats in Dogs

Every dog and breed is unique in terms of its appearance, temperament, and its abilities. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of any dog breed is its coat. Dog coats come in all lengths, colors, and textures but one of the most unique types of coat is the corded coat. Corded coats are seen in only a few specific dog breeds and they are more difficult to maintain than the standard single or double coat. We’re going to go over the basics about what a corded coat is, which breeds have it, and how to maintain it.

What is a Corded Coat?

A corded coat on a dog looks similar to the way dreadlocks look on people. This type of coat consists of long rope-like strands where the top coat is actually entwined with the undercoat. Dog breeds that have corded coats typically do not develop cords until they are full-grown and it takes a while for the cords to develop. Maintaining a corded coat takes a lot of time and effort, especially if you plan to show your dog. Regular bathing is not a possibility for dogs with corded coats because the cords repel water and it is difficult to completely rinse out the shampoo – it is also very difficult to thoroughly dry a corded coat. For these reasons you need to be very careful about avoiding fleas and skin problems in dogs with corded coats.

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Which Breeds Have Corded Coats?

Some dog coats simply do not take well to cording – they do not have the right length or texture to develop cords. There are other breeds, however, that naturally develop a corded coat, though it still takes work to maintain the cords properly. Technically, any dog breed that has a permanent coat can be corded. Some of the breeds that are known for having corded coats include the following:

How to Maintain a Corded Coat

Maintaining a corded coat can be difficult, even though you do not need to brush the coat. Bathing a dog with a corded coat can take hours because it takes a while for the water to penetrate the cords and then it takes even longer to rinse out all the soap. Drying a corded coat takes a long time as well and it is a step that cannot be skipped because wet cords can foster the growth of bacteria and mold – letting a corded coat air-dry can take 48 hours or longer which is why it is often best to blow-dry the coat.

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Corded Coat Tips:

  • Avoid bathing a corded-coat puppy once the coarser hair starts to grow in and cords begin to develop.
  • Separate your dog’s coat into sections as the cords develop using divisions no wider than your thumb.
  • Use a mat splitter and/or scissors to separate the layers into smaller sections as needed, cutting the coat into strips.
  • Allow your dog’s coat to naturally cord into the divided layers – it could take up to 2 years for a dog’s coat to become fully corded.
  • If you do not plan to show your dog, consider cutting the cords back to 3 inches long all over the body once per year.

Maintaining a corded dog coat is by no means an easy task. If you have trouble working with your dog’s coat or simply need some advice, ask a professional groomer for further tips.

kate-Bio_PicKate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor’s degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.


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