Shaggy dog breeds are among the top dogs to hunker down with since they’re excellent to cuddle. Beyond their dum-dee-dum looks, these breeds are social and affectionate (even outgoing) and place their guardians on a pedestal. It might be a furry pedestal, but they’ll adore you nonetheless.
They’re bred to be hunting and herding dogs, and as such, they need lots of exercise and stimulation. If you love canines with hair a plenty that may even be prettier than your own, then keep reading.
We’ll get into shaggy dog breeds’ personalities, shedding and intelligence levels, plus much more. Do you need to bathe them more often? Are they full of energy or more laid-back pups? Stay with us as we answer these questions and give you the lowdown on these adorable dog breeds.
Shaggy Dog Breeds
I think we can agree that all dogs are beautiful, even the Chinese Crested(!), but shaggy dog breeds take beauty to a whole new level. If you can handle consistent grooming and providing lots of exercise for your companion, this breed might be the one you want to rescue.
They come in all types, so there’s a broad selection, and medium or large is just as wonderful. A bunch of them are herding dogs, which makes them agile and smart. All that hair certainly doesn’t get in the way. So, let’s get into the wonderful world of shaggy dog breeds.
1. Bearded Collie
|Fur and color||Single-coated – Black, blue, brown, fawn|
These medium-sized dogs are big on hair and heart, and they need daily brushing plus a weekly regimen with a pin rake, brush comb, and anti-tangle spray. Herding breeds are quite intelligent and are playful, happy, and loyal dogs.
But beware, bearded collies are not so quiet as their barking tendency is high – They like to talk.
Once used primarily by Scottish shepherds, the Beardie (nickname for the bearded collie) was a faithful, hard-working dog that loved to be around his guardian. That trait continues until this day.
2. Bergamasco Sheepdog
|Fur and color||Double-coated – Corded – Gray, black|
These dogs are covered in major hair that’s corded like dreadlocks. Their coats grow continually according to their age, so it’s rather easy to see how old they are. Use a slicker brush to get dirt and other unwanted things out of their skin and hair.
You only need to bathe them about once or twice yearly, and using shampoo isn’t recommended since it interferes with the natural oils produced by their skin.
Patient, protective, and tolerant, the Bergamasco plays well with children and loves the entire family rather than just one person like some dogs. They are intelligent and may not respond right away to commands to “sit” or “stay,” finding them boring.
They’re not aggressive dogs but will protect their home and property if challenged. The Bergamasco requires medium activity, and would truly enjoy long walks or hikes if you’re up for it. They’ve been associated for centuries with the town of Bergamo near Milan in Italy.
This breed has little need to bark, or so it thinks, so you can count on a quieter dog than most.
|Fur and color||Double-coated – Corded – White|
This gentle, fearless, and affectionate breed was developed in Hungary and bred to be sheep guardians. Also corded, you should start splitting the cords when they’re 9-10 months old. They also shed little, so that’s a reason for celebration.
They’re vocally in the medium range, meaning they will probably only bark if there’s a problem or a stranger approaching. With an admirable work ethic, these dogs also make wonderful service dogs in between rescuing people and pulling sleds.
Their activity level is medium to high, so count on long walks, playtime, and puzzle games daily to encourage physical and mental health. Just don’t go to the dog park. They might find a “pack” of dogs threatening.
|Fur and color||Double-coated – Black, tawny, silver, white, wolf gray and 6 possible color combinations|
These dogs love everyone, including people and other dogs. They’re affectionate and gentle. Look forward to only brushing them once a week with a pin brush and bathing them every 4-6 weeks.
This breed, developed in Hungary, definitely needs daily exercise, but a long walk or a rowdy romp with dog-mates will make them ready for a nice snuggle with you.
They are prone to barking, but other than that, they’re perfect for families. Obedience or 1-on-1 training can curb excessive barking as well as other bad habits.
5. Berger Picard
|Fur and color||Double-coated – Fawn, brindle|
You might consider this dog to be scruffy, but it’s in the cutest possible way. Their hair is crunchy to the touch due to its low oil content. They’re medium shedders, and with those double coats, they’ll “blow” it (shed) in a big way twice yearly.
Since dirt doesn’t easily stick to them and they virtually have no odor, bathing every 3-4 months is all that’s needed, and brush them with a coat rake made for crisp coats.
They have a smooth stride, exude confidence, and are even-tempered and mellow. They could be wary of strangers but, with early socialization, can be almost welcoming.
This sturdy, muscular, shaggy dog breed is intelligent and sensitive, so obedience training isn’t too difficult of a task. Hailing from the Picardy region of France centuries ago, shepherds taught Berger Picards what an honest day’s work is.
|Fur and color||Double-coated – Black, tawny, gray, black & gray, black & tawny, white, tawny & gray|
Contrary to popular belief, the Briard can see through its hair that often hangs straight over its eyes. They shed very little and bark minimally, so you’ll have little to no problems there. Have a pin brush and undercoat rake on hand for their weekly undercoat brushing.
Hikers, bicyclists, joggers, and rollerskaters will be happy to know this dog will be right by your side while you’re enjoying these activities since they’re highly active.
This breed was developed in France and was named the official war dog of the French Army. They’re named after the region of Brie. They’re really intelligent, don’t bark a lot, and are known for their sheepherding and guardian abilities.
7. Irish Water Spaniel
|Fur and color||Double-coated – Liver|
This low-shedding breed will have allergy sufferers standing up and applauding. They require weekly brushing with a slicker brush, and leave the grooming to the professionals if the coat concerns you. (They’re yummily fluffy.)
Water dog breeds are highly energetic and want you to be with them as they take that long hike or swim since they adore the water. Irish water spaniels are hard workers and courageous which makes for a wonderful pet. Snuggling up with you is high on their list of priorities, so you can look forward to a larger dog that thinks he can sit on your lap.
They don’t bark a lot but do have a deep desire to be challenged mentally. Get those puzzle games out and ready. Curly-coated Irish water dogs have appeared in Renaissance writings, and it was Justin McCarthy who set the breed’s type.
8. Pyrenean Shepherd
|Fur and color||Double-coated – Fawn, brindle, black, gray, slate gray, blue merle, fawn merle, brindle merle, black & white, white|
If you want your dog to be around for a long time, and who doesn’t, here’s your dog. The Pyrenean shepherd has herded flocks for eons, and still do today, in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. In fact, their herding partners are often the popular Great Pyrenees dogs.
These dogs need brushing weekly with a slicker brush or metal comb. His shaggy coat consists of short and long hair, and with the double coat, they can look rather scruffy. They’re high-energy and love having a job, so strap a backpack on them and take a long hike.
9. Old English Sheepdog
|Fur and color||Double-coated – 14 possible colors or color combinations|
Talk about fluffballs! One of the more popular shaggy dog breeds, these dogs are naturally gorgeous. Muscular and large, you’ll definitely know it’s barking when he talks to you.
They need to be brushed weekly all the way down to the skin with a slicker brush and a stainless steel comb.
This shaggy dog breed needs regular exercise daily, but the level of activity largely depends on the particular dog rather than the entire breed. Coming from the British Isles, the “Bobtail” (its nickname) was most likely developed in West England.
10. Polish Lowland Sheepdog
|Fur and color||Double-coated – 25 possible colors and color combinations|
Highly intelligent, this shaggy dog breed is territorial and wary of strangers, so you’ll have an excellent watchdog. About half the size of his close relative, the Old English sheepdog, this medium-sized dog is known for its energy level, which is pretty high.
Alert and adaptable, they fit in perfectly as the companions of Polish inhabitants.
Bred to be flock and guard dogs, they’re agile and stocky. That gorgeous coat needs weekly brushing to prevent mats and debris from taking over.
|Fur and color||Double-coated – Corded – Black, silver, white, rust, brindle, cream, brown|
All you need to do to keep this shaggy dog breed’s fur clean and sassy is bathe them and separate the cords every couple of weeks or when they start to mat. Keep this dog as busy mentally as you do physically. He excels at herding, obedience, and agility, as well as other sports.
You may get a barker, and you may not, depending on the dog. They’re right in the middle. They come from Hungary and are traced back to the Magyars. Pulik (the plural) are strong and (underneath that mop of hair) love to run.
They’re generally steady and calm but absolutely train hard at around 4 months old. They can be strong-willed.
12. Spanish Water Dog
|Fur and color||Double-coated – Corded – 14 possible colors or color combinations|
Intelligent, adaptable, and energetic, this shaggy breed is also corded, so you know the drill. They’ll let you know when something is amiss, but other than that, they’re fairly quiet. They’re easy to train, adore water (duh), and can even be happy living in an apartment as long as they’re exercised sufficiently.
Shaggy dog breeds just want to be with you due to their affectionate nature. Since Spanish water dogs are rare in America, you might get lots of attention while you’re out and about, so get ready for some friendly conversation.
13. Portuguese Sheepdog
|Fur and color||Single-coated – Yellow, brown, gray, fawn, wolf gray, black|
This dog breed with a shaggy coat is extremely intelligent and called a “monkey dog” in Portugal. He’s suspicious of strangers and will alert you if they’re around.
They have a low shedding level (yay!) and will be fine with weekly grooming with a slicker brush.
Active and alert, be prepared to go on a hike or a long walk with this sweetie pie.
Maintaining Shaggy Dog Coats
If you’re looking for easy grooming, you’re looking for the wrong dog. Long-haired dog breeds require meticulous care, and the best thing may be to take them to the groomer. Big shaggy dog breeds need some extra TLC to keep them moving and grooving. It’s also important for their healthy hair growth.
- Get your tools together: Pin brush, slicker brush, shampoo, comb (wide-toothed), towel.
- Brush their coats thoroughly, focusing on mats and tangles, using a pin brush.
- Wet them really well. Make sure the water is getting through to the skin.
- Use your fingers to gently brush through the hair/cords.
- Use a small amount of shampoo throughout small areas and rinse with warm water.
Important: Rinse thoroughly. Dried shampoo will dull their coats.
- Pat your dog, don’t rub, with a towel.
- Use a wide-tooth comb when they’re wet to run through their fur/hair to make sure there are no knots.
- Run the comb through again when they’re dry.
And now you have a shaggy in all its glory.
Do Old English Sheepdogs Lose Their Fur?
Since the fur continuously grows throughout the dog’s life, most shaggy dogs don’t shed profusely unless it’s that time of year (twice) and they’re blowing (shedding) their fur.
What Kind of Dog Is the Shaggy Dog?
Besides the ever-popular Old English sheepdog and the bearded collie, there are many other shaggy dog breeds.
Are Old English Sheepdogs Hypoallergenic?
No dog is completely hypoallergenic dog since all of them shed dander (tiny flecks of skin) through their saliva, urine, and fur. However, since these breeds often don’t shed, they’re less likely to aggravate allergies.
Oh, the wonder of shaggy dog breeds… Their love and devotion will shower you with affection until they quickly become your family’s best friend. Since many are working dogs, their energy will keep you on your feet and active. Just expect “Oohs” and “Aahs” when you’re outside exercising with fluffy dog breeds.
Sure, they will need extra grooming care, but just imagine the tradeoff – a lot of brushing for a spectacular companion. Sounds fair to me.