Corded Coats

What is a Corded Coat?


A corded coat is similar to dreadlocks in a human. This type of coat consists of long rope or mop-like strands where the top coat has entwined with the undercoat. Usually, the coat will cord up naturally, although some breeds need some coaxing into place. Cords typically don’t develop until the dog is fully grown.


Breeds that have natural dreadlocks are:


The Komondor was bred to protect livestock on the open plains of Hungary. The cords on a Komondor are not only fascinating to look at, but they also protected them from wolf bites as well as helping them blend in with the flock of sheep!

The Hungarian Puli

The Hungarian Puli and Komondor often worked together.

The Bergamasco

The Bergamasco’s coat was designed to protect the skin from sunburn in the summer and the freezing temperature in the Italian Alps in the winter.

Some breeds that have a coat that can be coaxed into cords are:

  • Poodles
  • The Spanish Water Dog
  • Havanese

Maintaining a corded coat takes patience, as well as a lot of time and effort!


Bathing and Drying


When bathing a dog with a corded coat, you must do so with a heavily diluted and gentle shampoo. Remember to never rub or scrub at the coat; simply squeeze the shampoo solution through the coat. Do not stop this procedure until the water runs clear and all the shampoo has been removed from the coat. Total drying time on a corded coat can take 3-12 hours! The best way to do this would be to squeeze out as much water as possible with your hands, then use a towel to start blotting the cords dry. Again, do not rub or scrub the cords. Get the coat as dry as possible using this method. You may need to use quite a few towels!


Drying the coat thoroughly is essential for two reasons. One, due to the texture of the coat and two, if the coat has not been dried thoroughly bacteria will form inside the cords within a few days, creating a foul smell! Once the coat has been wrung out as much as possible, the dog must now be placed in a crate with circulating air. Because of the extra drying time, care must be taken to maintain a low heat temperature, or the dog will be at risk for heat stroke. Always remember to have fresh water available for the dog.