Dogs can come in all shapes, sizes and color. What makes each breed unique are the physical traits they possess. One of the most interesting traits seen in dogs is a coat that makes them look like a mop. Some may even fool you!
Because most of these “mop dogs” don’t fit the conventional idea of “cute,” they may not be the most popular. And while they may not be the most glamorous, they do have their own unique appeal and there really is an interesting reason why some dogs look like mops.
For example, some were bred to look like sheep as a method of blending in. Others were bred with a water-resistant coat with texture that just happens to look like a mop. Here are the 7 “mop dog breeds” that are often mistaken for the cleaning tool.
RECOMMENDED: 57 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
Highlights: Protective, Loving, Loyal
The Komondor, otherwise known as the Hungarian Sheepdog, is a large and imposing dog that’s most known for its mop-like coat. They’re often referred to as “mop dogs” because when lying down, they look exactly like the loose strings of a mop.
However, you may be surprised to learn that they were actually bred this way for a reason. Komondors have been around for over 500 years, used as guardians for nomadic shepherds. This unique coat allows them to resemble the animals that they protect: sheep.
But why is this important? If a wolf or other predator never knows exactly when a Komondor is around the flock, they’ll be less likely to strike. The ability to camouflage will always keep predators guessing to the point where they may look elsewhere for a meal.
However, this isn’t all the unique coat provides the dog. These long cords of hair are thick and provides extra warmth for the Komondor during the harsh winters in Hungary. The coat also offers protection, as a wolf bite would likely get them a mouthful of fur.
The Komondor’s personality may surprise you. Most people don’t know what to expect because of their unique looks. But despite looking like a rough mop, they can actually be gentle and docile dogs when properly socialized.
Because Komondors spent a lot of time protecting their herd, they’re fiercely territorial and protective dogs in the home. They’ll be wary of strangers, but also shower familiar people with hugs and kisses. In most cases, they’re capable guard dogs.
Komondors are extremely loyal dogs. In fact, they tend to do well with older kids because they will look after them like their own. However, smaller young kids aren’t ideal because the Komondor is a large and powerful dog. They could inadvertently hurt them.
These dogs aren’t great for busy owners. Even though they don’t require an absurd amount of exercise, a Komondor is likely to develop separation anxiety. Keeping one at home for more than half the day will not be good for their mental health.
Highlights: Intelligent, Active, Confident
Like the Komondor, the Puli dog is an ancient Hungarian herding dog and easily one of the most unique-looking breeds in the world. The most noticeable difference is in size. While a Komondor can grow up to 130 lbs, the Puli will top out at around 30 lbs.
The dreadlocks are an instantly recognizable feature of the Puli. The natural locks are dense and wooly, providing them both warmth and a weatherproof coat. But whether their coat is corded, brushed or with a clipped coat, they’ll need regularly grooming.
Despite standing just 17 inches tall, the Puli is a compact and powerful dog. After all, they were bred to be the sole herding and guarding dogs for sheep. They needed to be fast and strong, as a means to fend off wild predators looking for a meal.
The purpose of their mop-like coat is similar to the Komondor. A Puli will easily blend into any flock of sheep and operate as a stealth guardian. When you’re able to keep your potential predators guessing, you are most effective in guarding.
The Puli’s temperament is what you would expect from a Hungarian guarding dog, especially now that you know what Komondors are like. They’re active and energetic, but also extremely smart. They don’t have a large frame and often rely on their intelligence to guard.
A big part of why they’re such capable and effective sheep guarding dogs is due to their dedicated and loyal nature. You can expect the Puli to be protective and caring with their friends and family. They may even treat their family kids as sheep.
Depending on how they’re socialized, a Puli can be wary or friendly with strangers. Nonetheless, they will always put family first. If their family is threatened, they won’t sit idly. They’ll bark, growl and do what most guard dogs and watchdogs do.
3. Bergamasco Sheepdog
Highlights: Smart, Loyal, Hard-working
The Bergamasco Sheepdog (or Shepherd) is a large and powerful sheepdog from Italy. For hundreds of years, the dog has been associated with the alpine town of Bergamo, where they were mostly used to herd both sheep and cattle.
But according to historians, these dogs may actually have origins that go back 7,000 or more years. It’s believed that these dogs were brought by Phoenicians from the Middle East. Eventually, they’d settled in Italy and become popularized by the Italians.
This ancient dog breed is famous for its shaggy, matted, and unique mop-like coat. They can come in a white, black, fawn, merle or silver coat. Though in some cases, they’ll be a mix of colors. But regardless of color, the coat will always have their signature matting.
However, unlike the Puli, the Bergamasco Sheepdog’s mop-like coat is not high maintenance. In fact, the Bergamasco is a hypoallergenic dog breed. They’re perfect for sensitive owners who are allergic to dog dander, lanolin, or wool.
Bergamasco Sheepdog Temperament
The good news is that the Bergamasco Sheepdog doesn’t need as much exercise as the average herding dog. But that’s not to say “no exercise at all.” They’ll still need roughly an half hour to 1 hour of walking a day, along with some fun play in between.
Bergamasco Sheepdogs are perfect family dogs. They’re excellent with kids, though supervision will be needed. Plus, they get along great with other dogs of the pack when socialized. Have a cat? Do not worry, they’ll tolerate them too.
Training is absolutely necessary with his dog breed. Bergamascos can go on their independent streaks, so a bit of obedience will keep them in check. And while they may be naturally friendly dogs, they’ll be wary of strangers. That said, they’re good watchdogs.
4. Spanish Water Dog
Highlights: Loyal, Affectionate, Smart
The Spanish Water Dog has an interesting and complex history, where few historians can agree on a multitude of things. But, it’s commonly believed that this water dog appeared in the Iberian Peninsula after being Brough over from Turkey in the 10 Century.
Like all the other breeds on this list so far, the Spanish Water dog was originally bred to herd livestock. But their unique wooly coats were special with some water-resistant properties. So, they ended up as a water retriever and herding dog.
The water dog’s coat resembles that of the Poodle’s. And when grown out, it does actually does look a bit like a mop. But just like the Poodle, the Spanish Water dog is a hypoallergenic dog. They’re great for those that are allergic to dogs.
Despite being around for hundreds of years, the Spanish Water dog didn’t receive official recognition by the Spanish Kennel Club until 1985. And it took another 30 years for them to get recognized by the AKC! They’re definitely underrated dogs.
Spanish Water Dog Temperament
According to owners, the Spanish Water dog strikes the perfect blend of playfulness and affection. In fact, they’re extremely social animals that love being the center of attention with their humans. That said, don’t leave them at home for long hours at a time.
The down side is that the water dog needs plenty of exercise. They have very high energy levels and will bounce off the walls with excitement. Try to aim for at least one hour of physical activity per day at the bare minimum. High-intensity activities (catch, swimming) is a plus.
These dogs tend to adapt very well with any family. They get along great with kids, especially older kids with a lot of energy. As long as they’re socialized, Spanish Water dogs tend to mesh well with other dogs and household pets (even cats!).
Highlights: Bright, Obedient, Energetic
Poodles are some of the most popular dogs in America. And depending on the hair cut of your Poodle, they can also look like a mop. Even if you just decided to just grow out the fur on your Poodle, they will also look exactly like a mop.
Despite the mop-like texture of the Poodle’s coat, there is a lot of benefits to their coats. Did you know that Poodles were bred to retrieve waterfowl? Their coat actually keeps vital organs dry and warm when swimming through cold waters.
And if you’re allergic to dogs? Not to worry. Just like many of the dogs on this list, the Poodle is indeed, a low-shedding hypoallergenic dog breed. They’ll still “shed” to a certain extent. But it’s more like losing a few strands of hairs compared to a typical dog shedding a coat.
The Poodle is one of the most popular breed for a reason. And no, it’s not because they resemble a part of a mop. They have a great temperament and high intelligence to go along with their stunning good and unique looks.
The Poodle is a very obedient and trainable dog, thanks to their high intelligence. In fact, they’re the 2nd most intelligent dog breed (only second to the Border Collie). With some consistency, you will be able to breeze through obedience training with no problems.
However, because they were bred to be hunting dogs (retrievers), they tend to require a lot of physical activities. Pro tip: Poodles are excellent swimmers, so going for a swim is an easy and efficient way to get them their exercise.
Expect the Poodle to be active, energetic, lively and fun-loving. They love to play with their family and they’re well suited for older kids. If you give them plenty of attention and socializing, they’ll turn out to be outstanding family dogs with very little bad habits.
Highlights: Loving, Cheerful, Gentle
Few dogs are as happy, cheerful and playful as the Havanese. They’ve become popular toy lap dogs for a reason. In addition to looking like a teddy bear, the Havanese can also resemble a mop if their coats are fully grown out with minimal grooming.
What’s truly special about the Havanese is their origins. They’re native to Cuba. In fact, the Havanese is the national dog breed of Cuba. And despite originating from a small Caribbean island, the Havanese has made its way all over the world.
However, the coat of the Havanese is a bit different from the other dog breeds that look like mops. Their coats have a silky texture that’s both smooth and soft. In some cases, the fur is long and straight when fully grown out. That’s far from the Puli or Komondor.
But like the Poodle, Spanish Water dog, or the Bergamasco, the Havanese is also hypoallergenic. Their coats are high maintenance if fully grown out though. They’ll need brushing on the daily. Plus, baths every couple weeks are highly recommended.
The Havanese was bred to be a companion dog and that’s exactly what they intend to do: provide you or your family with companionship. They’ll thrive in all types of family, as long as you give them a lot of care and attention. A Havanese needs human interaction.
What’s interesting about the Havanese is their love of heights. Much like a cat, you can find a Havanese next to the window watching down on street dwellers. You may also find them perched on top of a table or back of a couch, watching over the family.
The good news is that the Havanese is highly intelligent and very trainable. They respond well to training due to their strong eagerness to please. It’s possible they develop separation anxiety though. So make sure you don’t leave one home alone for a long time.
Which “Mop Dog” Should I Get?
Dog breeds that look like mops are the result of several different factors. While some dog breeds have a genetic “mutation” that causes their hair to grow long and coarse, others were bred to have longer and rougher coats. Thus, resembling a mop.
No matter the reason, all these mop dogs have a very unique coat that makes them special. And, it really doesn’t matter which one you pick because they’re all excellent dogs. Make sure you read over about the breed and its temperament.
Find a dog that matches your personality and needs. If it were up to me, I think the Komondor or Puli, which most resemble a mop are fantastic. They make a great conversation starter and ice breaker for any guests you may have over.
So do you own one of these dogs that look like a mop? How are they? Let us know in the comments section below! And if we missed a breed, let us know!
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