Dog Hairstyles

by Christina Stephens
    A puli's dreadlocks are his signature.

    A puli's dreadlocks are his signature.

    Dana Neely/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Short-haired breeds like Boston terriers, weimaraners, boxers and chihuahuas can live their entire lives without needing a hairstylist. However, breeds with longer, dense fur like poodles, pomeranians and Yorkshire terriers can sport a variety of coifs featuring everything from pom poms to hair bows and even dreadlocks.

    Chances are good that the next poodle you see will have his hair coiffed in the continental style. This classic French poodle hairstyle features shaved legs and a shaved face, rear end and tail with poufs of fur around the ankles and tip of the tail. The body, head and neck fur can either be left long and dense or trimmed to create a uniform shape. The continental cut originated as a means to help poodles swim more easily and prevent hypothermia. Their thick body fur protects their joints and organs from the cold, while their shaved legs aid in fluidity.

    Like the continental, the lion cut was originally used to allow working dogs more efficiency in the water. Breeds with extremely dense fur like Portuguese water dogs, pomeranians and chow chows often sport this hairstyle. The lion cut is named for its resemblance to a wild lion’s natural mane. A dog with this hairstyle features long, thick head and neck fur, a shaved body, legs and tail with poufs or “pom poms” of fur at the tip of the tail and just above the base of the feet.

    The topknot hairstyle is essential for breeds with long facial hair and “bangs” such as the Yorkshire terrier, Maltese and Shih Tzu. If left naturally long, the hair can mat, poke the eyes and even impede vision. No clipping is required with this hairstyle, just a brush, a hair tie or bow and some patience. Once the hair is pulled up and out of the dog’s face, there are a variety of ways to adorn and style it. Some owners choose to curl the hair pouf with a small curling wand, while others prefer the wild and free look. Either way, your buddy’s vision will thank you.

    Komondors, bergamascos and pulis all have hair that naturally forms cords, or as more commonly recognized “dreadlocks.” Their undercoats and topcoats naturally twist and mat as they grow, creating cords that reach the floor, but these dreadlocks aren’t just for show. Pulis and Komondors originated in Hungary, where their unique hairstyle protected them from the bitter cold. Though their cords are naturally constructed, they aren’t maintenance free. Corded dogs still require infrequent bathing, generally a few times a year, to keep their cords smelling fresh and free of mold.

    Photo Credits

    • Dana Neely/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.

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