Home Dog BreedsPoodle Poodle with Dreads: The Ultimate Guide

Poodle with Dreads: The Ultimate Guide

by Joel
Poodle with Dreads

You may think you’ve seen every unique animal trend out there – from cats wearing hats to dogs in tutus – but have you ever witnessed a Poodle sporting dreadlocks? Yes, you read that correctly. A Poodle… with dreads. It’s not every day you encounter such a distinctive sight. Crossing paths with a poodle flaunting dreadlocks will surely draw an immediate reaction – astonishment, curiosity, perhaps even jubilation.

What was once reserved for the Rastafarians of Jamaica, dreadlocks have found their way into the hairstyle repertoire of a creature you least expected – the poodle. This fluffy and curly-haired canine, generally known for their well-groomed appearance, are breaking stereotypes and making quite a style statement!

This article will guide you through this peculiar trend, discussing its origins, maintenance, and how it’s added charm to this already lovable breed.

history of poodles with dreadlocks

Believe it or not, poodles were not always the prim and proper pets traipsing across dog shows – they initially enjoyed a different type of hairstyle altogether. The corded poodle is a very close cousin of the modern-day “dreadlocked” poodle, a grooming style with deep historical roots.

Derived from the French word “Caniche,” which translates to “duck dog,” poodles were originally bred as water retrievers. Their distinct coat played a significant role in keeping them agile and warm while fetching ducks and other game from ponds and lakes. In the 18th and 19th centuries, corded poodles were particularly favored due to the belief that the cords aided in water resistance.

To achieve the corded look, poodle coats were allowed to mat naturally, forming tight, rope-like cords. These cords varied in thickness, ranging from pencil-thin to a broader finger width.

Revival of An Old Trend: The Birth of Dreadlocked Poodles

As times changed, so did the taste in poodle grooming. The corded aesthetic eventually gave way to a more refined look with neatly trimmed, poofy coats.

However, 21st-century dog lovers have rekindled an interest in returning to the roots of corded poodles. With the rising popularity of dreadlocks in human fashion, poodle owners sought to combine the traditional corded style with a modern twist, giving birth to the fascinating and enchanting “dreadlocked” poodles you see today.

These contemporary dreadlocked poodles are reminiscent of the poodles’ historical aesthetic and display an artistic twist on the conventional look. Achieved through intentional grooming rather than purely natural matting, the dreadlocked poodle has become more than just a fashionable statement; it has evolved into a visual celebration of their past.

Embracing the Unconventional

Poodles with dreadlocks have defied the conventional image of the breed, representing an out-of-the-box approach to canine hairstyling. Just as college students are encouraged to embrace new ideas and diverse perspectives, these dreadlocked poodles celebrate individuality and the beauty of standing out.

Pros and Cons of Having a Poodle with Dreadlocks

Having a Poodle with dreadlocks, also known as a corded Poodle, is a unique and distinctive grooming choice that can bring both advantages and challenges. Corded Poodles are a rare and visually striking sight, but they require special care and attention to maintain their unique appearance. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of having a Poodle with dreadlocks:


  1. Distinctive Appearance: Corded Poodles have a truly distinctive and eye-catching appearance that sets them apart from other dog breeds. The cords give them a unique and regal look that can be a conversation starter and draw attention wherever they go.
  2. Low Shedding: Because the hair is intentionally corded and not cut, corded Poodles tend to shed less than traditional, clipped Poodles. This can be a relief for people who have allergies or simply prefer a cleaner home environment.
  3. Low Maintenance Grooming: Once the cords are established, the grooming requirements for a corded Poodle are generally less frequent than those for a traditional Poodle haircut. The cords prevent matting and tangling, reducing the need for regular brushing and trimming.
  4. Protection from Elements: The cords provide natural insulation and protection from the sun, cold, and other environmental factors. This can be especially beneficial in extreme weather conditions.
  5. Unique Bond with Your Pet: Maintaining corded Poodle dreadlocks requires close contact and bonding with your pet. The grooming process can strengthen the bond between you and your dog, as it involves spending quality time together.


  1. Intensive Grooming Process: While corded Poodles require less frequent grooming in terms of brushing and trimming, the process of establishing and maintaining the cords is labour-intensive and time-consuming. It involves meticulous separation of the hair into cords and regular maintenance to prevent matting.
  2. Prone to Tangling and Matting: If not properly maintained, corded Poodle dreadlocks can become tangled, matted, and dirty. This can lead to discomfort for your pet and potentially cause skin issues.
  3. Limited Styling Options: Once a Poodle is corded, the styling options become quite limited. The cords need to be preserved, so you won’t be able to change your dog’s hairstyle as you would with a traditionally groomed Poodle.
  4. Grooming Skill Requirement: Maintaining corded Poodle dreadlocks requires significant grooming knowledge and skill. It’s important to learn proper techniques to prevent matting and ensure your dog’s comfort and well-being.
  5. Not Suitable for All Lifestyles: Corded Poodles are best suited for owners with the time, patience, and commitment to devote to their grooming. If you have a busy lifestyle or are not able to dedicate the necessary time to grooming, a corded Poodle might not be the right choice for you.
  6. Heat Retention: While the cords can provide insulation in cold weather, they can also retain heat in warm weather. This can cause discomfort for your dog during hot months.

How to Groom a Poodle’s Hair into Dreadlocks


Step 1: Understanding Your Poodle’s Hair

First and foremost, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with your poodle’s hair type. Unlike the straight hair of most dogs, poodles sport thick, curly hair that grows in clusters. This hair’s unique structure makes it ideal for shaping into dreadlocks.

Step 2: Gather Your Grooming Supplies

Next, assemble your grooming toolkit. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A grooming comb with both wide and narrow teeth
  • A pair of sharp grooming scissors
  • Hypoallergenic dog shampoo and conditioner
  • A towel for drying

Creating Dreadlocks

Step 3: Wash and Dry

Begin by giving your poodle a good wash with the hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner. Ensure the hair is squeaky clean, as any residue or dirt can influence the dreadlock formation process. After a thorough rinse, pat your poodle dry with a towel.

Step 4: Sectioning the Use

Use your grooming comb to separate the fur into distinct sections per your dog’s hair directions. The size of these sections will determine the thickness of the dreadlocks. Remember, the smaller the section, the thinner the dreadlock, and vice versa.

Step 5: Forming the Locks

Now, the magic happens. Start twisting each hair section gently from the root to the tip. This might take some time and patience, but the result will be worth it! Keep twisting until the hair begins to clump together, resembling the beginning of a dreadlock.

Maintaining the “Dreads”

Step 6: Regular Grooming

Maintaining your poodle’s dreadlocks requires consistent grooming. Regularly wash and dry your poodle’s hair, then re-twist any loose locks. Depending on your dog’s hair growth and overall lifestyle, this could be a weekly or bi-weekly routine.

Step 7: Don’t Forget to Pamper

Amid all the grooming, don’t forget to treat your poodle to some well-deserved pampering. After each grooming session, reward your patient puppy with a favorite snack or a calming belly rub.

Health Risks Associated with Dreadlocks in Dogs

While dreadlocks or corded hair on dogs can create a unique and visually striking appearance, this grooming style has potential health risks and concerns. It’s important for dog owners to be aware of these risks and carefully consider whether this grooming choice suits their pets. Here are the details on the health risks associated with dreadlocks in dogs:

Skin and Coat Issues:

  • Matting and Tangling: Dreadlocks can become easily tangled and matted if not properly maintained. Matting can lead to skin irritation, discomfort, and even pain for the dog. Matting can also create an ideal environment for bacterial and fungal growth.
  • Skin Infections: Matting and tangling can trap moisture and debris close to the skin, leading to the development of skin infections. The damp and warm environment under the cords can provide a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
  • Hot Spots: Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, can develop beneath the cords. These areas of inflamed and infected skin can be painful and itchy for the dog.

Hygiene and Cleanliness:

  • Difficult Bathing: Properly bathing a dog with dreadlocks can be challenging due to the thickness and length of the cords. Incomplete drying after baths can contribute to the growth of bacteria and fungi in the damp environment under the cords.
  • Debris Accumulation: Dirt, debris, and other foreign particles can become trapped within the cords, leading to discomfort and skin irritation. Regular cleaning is essential to prevent these issues.

Overheating and Discomfort:

  • Heat Retention: Dreadlocks can retain heat close to the skin, which can be problematic in hot weather. Dogs may struggle to regulate their body temperature, leading to overheating and potential heat-related health issues.
  • Restricted Movement: Very long and heavy cords can limit a dog’s range of movement and natural behaviours. This can result in discomfort and a decreased quality of life for the dog.

Parasite Infestations:

  • Flea and Tick Infestations: The dense cords can provide a hiding place for fleas, ticks, and other parasites. These pests can be difficult to detect and remove from within the cords, leading to infestations and potential health problems.

Behavioural and Psychological Impacts:

  • Stress and Anxiety: The grooming process required to maintain dreadlocks can be stressful and uncomfortable for some dogs, potentially leading to anxiety and behavioural issues.
  • Social Isolation: The unique appearance of a dog with dreadlocks may attract unwanted attention or negative reactions from other dogs and people, potentially leading to social isolation and stress for the dog.

Regular and Skilled Grooming Required:

  • Time and Skill: Properly maintaining dreadlocks on a dog requires a significant investment of time, effort, and grooming skills. Many owners may find it difficult to dedicate the necessary resources for the consistent and meticulous care required.


Can dogs have dreadlocks?

Yes, dogs can have dreadlocks!
Dreadlocks are the result of long hair that becomes tangled, matted, and knotted. They’re formed when individual hairs become intertwined with each other. The more they get tangled, the harder it is to comb them out, which causes more entanglement and knots, which causes more knots… you get the idea.

Final Thoughts

Well, certainly poodle with dreads is a sight for all those with sensitive eyes. It’s good to know some things are just better left unwritten or undreaded.

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