15 Shaggy Dog Breeds That Are Too Lovable for Words

Aside from being incredibly cuddle-worthy, shaggy dog breeds are eye-catching stunners! Whether the shag is soft and sleek, curly and wooly or rough and wavy, these dogs really know how to flaunt it. Every shaggy dog breed on our list also developed their coats for specific purposes. You’ll find lots of herding dog breeds and hunting pups, which means energy and intelligence. While many of these shaggy dogs tend to be a bit stubborn, grooming them will help build a bond that’ll last a lifetime. Oh yeah, get ready to groom. A lot.

Grooming shaggy dogs

Adopting a shaggy dog means signing up for grooming sessions and lessons. Grooming is not just about looking good. It’s healthcare for your pup - and it all starts with brushing. Almost all of the breeds on our list need to be brushed a few times a week to prevent their long coats from matting, which can lead to skin and mobility problems if left untreated. Mats are basically clumps of hair and dirt. Though tempting, it’s not wise to simply cut a mat out of your dog’s fur, which is why it’s important to prevent them from forming in the first place.

Brushing is especially important for double-coated breeds who have two layers of fur that tangle easily. Not only does brushing tackle knots, but it also stimulates circulation and promotes healthy hair growth. Always check with your vet or breeder to find out breed-specific tips for grooming your dog. In the meantime, here are a few basic brushes you may need for keeping a shaggy coat healthy:

It’s recommended you begin grooming dogs when they’re still puppies to get them used to the process. This is an excellent chance to teach them commands, too. Words like “sit” and “stay” will become second nature to your pup if instilled during grooming sessions. Keep in mind, these sessions may be shorter until your dog gets the hang of it. That’s OK!

Corded breeds

There are three corded breeds on our list—the Bergamasco Sheepdog, the Komondor and the Puli. These breeds do not need to be brushed! In fact, despite their complicated and intimidating looking coats, they are relatively easy to care for as long as you start off on the right foot. Breeders for each dog will have specific tips on how to best form the cords, but you’ll basically have to be ready when the pup turns 10-to-12 months old to sit for a few hours and separate their fur into matted cords.

Cords look a lot like dreadlocks. They aren’t harmful mats and actually developed to protect these breeds from harsh climates and predators, like wolves. Trimming them down isn’t an option. Bathing them is - and they aren’t known for harboring wet dog smell, if you can believe it.

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shaggy dog breeds barbet
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1. Barbet

Height: 19-25 inches

Weight: 35-65 pounds

Personality: Cheerful, Tireless

Activity Level: Moderate

Shedding Factor: Non-shedding

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Barbets, French dogs bred to hunt waterfowl, are literally named for their shaggy coats. (“Barbe” means “beard” in French!) Their coats are actually more like hair than fur, though they do need regular grooming to prevent snarls. Barbet coats keep them warm in cold weather (and water) and these cheery pups are always eager to work and play!

shaggy dog breeds bearded collie
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2. Bearded Collie

Height: 20-22 inches

Weight: 45-55 pounds

Personality: Willful, friendly

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Say hello to a shaggy dog from the Scottish Highlands! Bearded Collies were used to herd cattle and their lengthy coats kept them warm. Their outer coats tend to be rougher and wavy, while their inner coats are soft and sleek. Brushing regularly will keep a Beardie’s coat tangle-free. Though super friendly and social, these dogs do tend to have minds of their own, so training (and grooming) early is a must.

shaggy dog breeds bergamasco sheepdog

3. Bergamasco Sheepdog

Height: 22-24 inches

Weight: 57-84 pounds

Personality: Independent, Mellow

Activity Level: Low

Shedding Factor: Non-shedding

Life Expectancy: 13-15 years

The Italian Bergamasco Sheepdog’s coat can stop folks in their tracks. Made up of three unique types of fur, it’s quite easy to care for once you’ve separated them into flat mats. Around their first birthday, a coarse coat comes in, replacing their soft puppy coat. This is when you’ve got to “rip” the fur into mats (which takes about an hour). Check on the mats for the next few months to make sure they’re maintaining shape. By age five, a Bergamasco’s coat is full length and pretty hands off. Never brush or trim a Bergamasco’s coat shorter than five inches! Their mats regulate body temperature.

shaggy dog breeds black russian terrier

4. Black Russian Terrier

Height: 26-30 inches

Weight: 80-130 pounds

Temperament: Calm, protective

Shedding Factor: Moderate to High

Activity Level: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Initially bred to serve as military dogs in Russia, Black Russian Terriers are very smart, sensitive guard dogs. They thrive with jobs to do and lots of exercise. Their shaggy double coats can grow up to four inches in length and should be brushed every week. Unless you plan on winning Best in Show, two trips to the groomer’s every year should do it in terms of trimming. No matter what, leave those beards and bangs alone, though!

shaggy dog breeds bouvier des flandres
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5. Bouvier Des Flandres

Height: 23-28 inches

Weight: 70-110 pounds

Personality: Intelligent, active

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Bouvier des Flandres have double coats that protect them from the elements in their native Belgium. While energetic and active, these smarties are also known for being even-keel. As herders, they enjoy having a job to do and could get overly protective if strangers wander into their territory. Grooming and brushing regularly will keep them happy and healthy.

shaggy dog breeds briard
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6. Briard

Height: 22-27 inches

Weight: 55-100 pounds

Personality: Protective, sweet

Activity Level: High

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Talk about a devoted friend for life! Briards are ancient herding and guard dogs from France who excel at keeping their loved one’s company—and well protected. Their shaggy coats are more coarse than soft and don’t shed very much. Since these pups thrive when they feel connected to their family members, grooming should definitely be a big part of your weekly routine

shaggy dog breeds collie
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7. Collie

Height: 22-26 inches

Weight: 50-75 pounds

Personality: Devoted, Athletic

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Seasonal

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Intelligent herding dogs in England and Scotland, Collies actually come in two coat varieties—smooth and rough. We associate rough-coated Collies with the breed more often. They’ve got longer, shaggier coats than their soft-coated counterparts. Both versions are family-friendly pets and enjoy being around people (especially kids). Get ready for an athletic, entertaining dog!

shaggy dog breeds irish water spaniel

8. Irish Water Spaniel

Height: 21-24 inches

Weight: 45-68 pounds

Personality: Playful, alert

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Hypoallergenic

Life Expectancy: 12-13 years

The Irish Water Spaniel’s waterproof coat is hypoallergenic, making them excellent choices for dog lovers who suffer from allergies. This dog’s shag is more curly-cued and comes in a deep brown color. Irish Water Spaniels also have a signature look when it comes to their tails: tapered and notably “shag-less” compared to the rest of them. They are extraordinarily friendly, good-natured pups.

shaggy dog breeds komondor
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9. Komondor

Height: 25-28 inches

Weight: 80-100+ pounds

Personality: Protective, independent

Activity Level: Moderate

Shedding Factor: Non-shedding

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

If there was an award for shaggiest dog breed, the Komondor might win it. Like Bergamasco Sheepdogs and Pulis, these canines have long, corded fur that sways elegantly as they walk. Komondors are Hungarian shepherds and have willful, independent personalities that require strong, steady training. The Kom’s corded fur also protected them from predators like wolves who would try to steal sheep from their flocks. Gorgeous and functional!

shaggy dog breeds old english sheepdog
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10. Old English Sheepdog

Height: 21-24 inches

Weight: 60-100 pounds

Personality: Smart, Sweet

Activity Level: Moderate

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-12 years

If you gave a Komondor a blow out, it might look something like an Old English Sheepdog. (Note: Do not give a Kom a blow out!) These fluffy dogs are affectionate, mellow and love hanging out with kiddos. Old English Sheepdogs are big, strong canines with double coats, so get ready for plenty of shedding and frequent grooming.

shaggy dog breeds polish lowland sheepdog
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11. Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Height: 17-20 inches

Weight: 35-55 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, adaptable

Activity Level: High

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are like miniature versions of Old English Sheepdogs, though they are actually thought to be the predecessors of Bearded Collies. These shaggy pups can be stubborn but easily become sweet, adaptable adults with proper training and socialization in puppyhood. Clipping a Polish Lowland Sheepdog’s coat shorter is an option, but that doesn’t mean you can skimp on brushing!

shaggy dog breeds portuguese sheepdog
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12. Portuguese Sheepdog

Height: 16-22 inches

Weight: 35-60 pounds

Personality: Smart, stubborn

Activity Level: High

Shedding Factor: Low

Life Expectancy: 12-13 years

Portuguese Sheepdogs have dense coats, but only one layer! Bred in the mountains of Portugal to watch over flocks of sheep, this pup enjoys having a job to do and makes a diligent watchdog. They are definitely lively and deeply affectionate with their families, but strangers could trigger your Portuguese Sheepdog’s protective streak.

shaggy dog breeds puli

13. Puli

Height: 16-17 inches

Weight: 25-35 pounds

Personality: Obedient, loving

Activity Level: Moderate

Shedding Factor: Non-shedding

Life Expectancy: 10-15 years

Smaller than Komondors, Pulis still pack a punch with their stunning cords and friendly dispositions. Products of Hungary, these dogs are very smart and require plenty of mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Though stubborn, Pulis learn quickly and are eager to please.

shaggy dog breeds schapendoes
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14. Schapendoes

Height: 16-20 inches

Weight: 26-55 pounds

Personality: Friendly, brave

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Shedding Factor: Low to Moderate

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Also known as Dutch Sheepdogs, Schapendoes hail from Holland and are incredibly friendly, lively pups. The Schapendoes Club of Canada says their “soft fleecy fluffy undercoat and … dry long tousled outer coat” requires regular combing to avoid knots and tangles from forming. Around a year old they’ll also shed their puppy coats to make way for adult double coats. The result is a shaggy dog ready to cuddle and play.

shaggy dog breeds spanish water dog

15. Spanish Water Dog

Height: 15-20 inches

Weight: 30-50 pounds

Personality: Active, Protective

Activity Level: High

Shedding Factor: Hypoallergenic

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Look at these curls! Spanish Water Dogs are shaggy, wooly, yet hypoallergenic pets. Unlike most dogs on this list, these pups do not need to be brushed out! Maintenance usually involves occasional baths (where you squeeze the curls to clean them, never rub, unless you want horrible mats) and a few trims a year.

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Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...