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What is a Topknot for Dogs?

In the world of dogs, there is a wide array of colorful terms and the word "topknot" is surely one of them. You might have never heard about this term, or perhaps you heard it and are unsure of what it means. Or even better, perhaps you never heard the word " dog topknot'" before and you are curious about how this term pertains to dogs. Here's a little hint: owners of certain dog breeds are quite familiar with this term, especially those folks who are in the dog showing business. So today's questions is:

What is a Topknot for Dogs?

A It's a special hairdo of certain dog breeds

B It's a special knot made on top of a leash for better grasping when grooming

C It's the technical name for a special knot made to prevent an elastic band from sliding off a dog's hair

D It's a special type of barrette used to keep a dog's hair in order

The correct answer is: drum roll please...


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The correct answer is A, a top knot is a special type of hairdo of certain dog breeds.


What is a Dog Topknot?

So what on earth is exactly a dog's topknot? In simple terms, a dog's top knot is a type of pony tail on the top of the dog's head that is often held in place with a flashy bow or barrette.

Of course, not all dog breeds may boast a top knot considering that it requires a certain length of hair!

Most dog breeds that can be adorned with a topknot have long, flowing hair over the forehead, something commonly seen in dogs breeds with hair covering their eyes.

Dogs may boast a topknot in the show ring when they are being exhibited or they may just carry their hair this way to look neat or cute and/or prevent their hair from covering their eyes.

A topknot also comes handy in keeping a dog's hairs free of moisture or debris such as when the dog is drinking or eating.

Four Dog Breeds with Top Knots


Perhaps, one of the most popular dog breeds boasting a topknot is the shih-tzu. A dapper topknot indeed is the shih-tzu's signature style, one that many people associate the breed with. You won't typically see shih-tzu puppies with this hairdo as the hair doesn't grow long enough until shih-tzu are at least five months of age, explains the American Kennel Club. 

Another cute dog breed who sports a a topknot is the Maltese. The Maltese has a glorious flowing coat which in the show ring gives the impression of these dogs to be floating on air. A Maltese topknot is one of the most charming features of this breed especially when adorned by two cute little bows. You may see the breed sport one single top knot, mostly seen in puppies or a double top knot as seen in adults once they have sufficient hair.

The Yorkshire terrier is another breed known for sporting topknots adorned with cute red bows. Indeed, a little bow-ribbon has become one of the first identifiable features of this breed.

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Do All Dogs Have an Occiput?

Whether all dogs have an occiput is something that many dog owners may be wondering about. Yes, we're talking about that prominent bump on a dog's head.

And then comes the Lhasa apso. This breed is not typically shown in the show ring with a top knot, as normally they are shown naturally with their hair parted down the middle, but many dog owners enjoy adorning their faces with this practical hair-do.

Did you know? The term top knot is also used sometimes to refer to the hair on the dog's skull, starting from the stop to the dog's occiput.

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How to Make a Dog Topknot


Perhaps the hardest part of making a topknot is keeping a dog still! If your dog breed is one that requires frequent grooming, training a dog to stay may come helpful.

Don't forget though to also train a release cue, so that your puppy or dog know when's he's free to move about again! A common release cue used in dog training is "done!" which is more preferable than "OK" since, the word OK is used commonly in every day language.

Once your puppy or dog learns to stay still, you can then incorporate working on his hair for gradually longer and longer periods of time. Just make sure to talk to your dog in calm, soothing voice as you groom him and don't forget to thank him for staying still with a tasty treat!

Be careful not to hurt your dog when handling his hair, be very gentle. You always want to make touching the hair a pleasant experience so that your dog remains calm and collaborative.

Once your dog has learned to stay still and cooperative (this may take from days to weeks of practice), part the hair over the top of your dog's head using a fine toothed comb. Comb the hair thoroughly section by section until it is completely free of mats. Using some bow gel may help keep the hairs sleek and static-free.

Next, comb the section straight up, as if you were making a ponytail but create a poof and hold it in place by twisting a tiny elastic band around it. Depending on the size of the elastic band you are using, you may have to wrap it around anywhere between 2 and 4 times. Make sure it's not too tight or pulled too closely to the head.

Finally, wrap the hair coming out of the elastic band behind the elastic band and use another elastic band to secure it. This last step will form a cute fan at the top that can be embellished with a cute bow.

These are instructions for a simple topknot for dogs, but more intricate variations are possible. If your top knot doesn't look anything close to the ones you have seen in pictures, don't be discouraged; consider that it may take months of practice to master a professional looking topknot for dogs! There's a reason why groomers go to school to master the art of grooming!

And now for some eye candy, let's take a look at some dogs breeds sporting their topknots!

Shih-tzu With Topknot


Yorkshire Terrier With Topknot


Maltese with two topknots secured by two bows


Lhasa Apso with Topknot


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