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Chow chow dog sat on grass

If you’re looking for a fluffy friend, you’ll have some narrowing down to do. There are over 20 breeds of shaggy dogs in small, medium, and large sizes. People breed shaggy dogs for different purposes, like hunting or herding. Most shaggy dog breeds share more than their mane in common; they’re also known for being affectionate and loyal family pets.

Here’s a list of shaggy dog breeds guaranteed to steal your heart.

1. Old English sheepdog

The Old English sheepdog is a smart, gentle giant who is very fluffy. When this shaggy breed comes ambling toward you, you may think they’re just a big ole’ lazy ball of fluff (and where are their eyes?) Don’t be fooled. The Old English sheepdog is exceptionally athletic, agile, and courageous. They make excellent protective playmates and are known to be kind and patient. This loveable breed from England is easily recognized by the coat, which requires regular upkeep. Be prepared for thorough brushing weekly. You might also recognize this shaggy coat from the big screen as Max from The Little Mermaid.

Facts about the Old English sheepdog

  • Breed groupHerding breed
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Medium amount and loud
  • Life span — 10-12 years
Old English sheepdog show training

2. Afghan hound

The Afghan hound, with its signature long silky locks, was bred to withstand cold climates in the mountains of Afghanistan. Often described as aloof, they’re high-energy, strong-willed, and independent. Afghan hounds aren’t for everyone. In some ways, their temperament can resemble a cat. The breed is not typically one for high affection and cuddles, but they can have a silly streak. Owners should expect several hours of weekly brushing and regular shampooing of their long coats.

Facts about the Afghan hound

  • Breed groupHound breed
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Low to medium
  • Life span — 12-18 years
Afghan hound posing in public square

3. Bearded collie

At a glance, the Bearded collie can be mistaken for the Old English sheepdog because of their head-to-toe shaggy hair. The Bearded collie, however, is a medium-sized breed, topping out at about 50 pounds. Beardies are full of heart and guaranteed to make you laugh — and wear you out simultaneously. They’re friendly dogs and can get on swimmingly with other animals when they’re properly socialized. Bearded collies are the ideal dog for an active family with children.

Facts about the Bearded collie

  • Breed groupHerding breed
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — High
  • Life Span — 12-14 years
Bearded collie standing on a snowy road

4. Keeshond

The Keeshond is a medium size dog breed with a long triple-layered coat and shaggy appearance. Their distinguishing characteristic is the marking around their eyes, which gives the appearance of wearing spectacles. The Keeshond is an animated dog, highly affectionate, and highly friendly with humans. They’re vigilant watchdogs but rarely aggressive.

Facts about the Keeshond

  • Breed groupNon-sporting breed
  • Intelligence — Medium
  • Barking — High
  • Life Span — 12-15 years
Keeshond close up with tall grass in the background

5. Berger Picard

This extremely rare dog breed manages to be both refined and rugged, with a wiry coat and sturdy build. The Berger Picard looks like a shaggy breed but with medium-length hair that only requires monthly grooming. Berger Picards are naturally independent and can have a stubborn streak, so early socialization is important — if you can even find one. Only about 400 Berger Picard dogs are combined in the United States and Canada.

👉 Look familiar? The American Kennel Club says the Benji film franchise realized all their casting goals in the tousled-looking Berger Picard.

Facts about the Berger Picard

  • Breed groupHerding breed
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — High
  • Life Span — 12-13 years
Berger Picard resting on rocks by the ocean

6. Polished Lowland sheepdog

Polished lowland sheepdogs are bred for hard work and need high levels of exercise. The breed is unsuited for inexperienced dog owners because they can be strong-willed. With the right family, however, they can be the perfect choice since they’re so lovey-dovey and playful. This medium-sized dog comes in a wide range of colors, with a thick mop-like double coat that needs weekly brushing.

Facts about the Polish Lowland sheepdog

  • Breed groupHerding breed
  • Intelligence — Medium
  • Barking — High
  • Life Span — 12-14 years
Polish Lowland sheepdog walking through a field

7. Chow chow

The Chow chow dog breed hails from ancient China with a striking lion’s mane look and curled tail. They’re sturdy but compact, weighing up to 70 pounds and roughly 20 inches high. Chow chows tend to take to one person and are well known for being clean and attentive to their hygiene. They’re the ultimate level of fluff and are generally low maintenance. Chow chows adapt well to city or apartment life since they don’t bark much or require a lot of exercise and tend to be leery and aloof with strangers.

Facts about the Chow chow

  • Breed groupNon-sporting breed
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Only to alert
  • Life Span — 8-12 years
Fluffy white chow chow

8. Spanish water dog

The Spanish water dog is a cheerful shaggy dog breed with wooly curls, making them extra cuddle-worthy. The pup has several names, but no matter what you call this breed, a few things are certain: They’re full of energy, friendly, loving, great with kids, and resemble a cuddly teddy bear. Loyalty is their second nature, so your Spanish water dog may be wary of strangers. Owners shouldn’t brush their wooly coats but must clip the hair or allow it to grow into cords naturally.

Facts about the Spanish water dog

  • Breed groupHerding breed
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Moderately vocal
  • Life span — 12-14 years
Spanish water dog

9. Briard 

Briards are noble and intelligent herding dogs with long, coarse hair that is slightly wavy and dry.  This large dog breed is confident, tenacious, and known to be tireless. Briards serve as guard dogs and are highly devoted to their people, including children. They’ve even been known to defend small children from being disciplined by their parents.

They can be loving and affectionate, though their top concern is your protection. While often mistaken as outside dogs, Briards won’t tolerate being separated from family members when they know you’re inside and may act out as a result.

Facts about the Briard

  • Breed groupHerding breed
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Only to alert
  • Life span — 12 years
Briard dog posing at a dog show

10. Pyrenean shepherd

The tenacious Pyrenean Shepherd has a wind-blown look and a sunny disposition. They’re highly affectionate with their families, are among the easiest dogs to train, and are incredibly playful. This particular shaggy dog breed can outwork most and requires near-constant mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored (and overly barky). Bred initially with a specific purpose to herd in the Pyrenees Mountains, these driven little pups were accustomed to covering up to 25 miles daily, so active owners are a must.

Facts about the Pyrenean shepherd

  • Breed groupHerding breed
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — High, especially when understimulated
  • Life span — 15-17 years
Pyrenean Shepherd dog lying on grass

Grooming shaggy dog breeds

Shaggy dog breeds may have long flowing locks, soft fluff, wooly cords, or rough waves. Grooming needs will vary based on the texture and length of the hair, but almost any shaggy dog will require special tools for their mane. Remember that double-coated breeds may require combined effort, while others are okay with basic brushes. Talk to your groomer or vet for breed-specific tips.

Here are three of the most common grooming tools for shaggy dog owners to have at home.

Slicker Brush. Available in different sizes, slicker brushes reach deep into the layers of fur to remove dead or loose hair and are good for daily brushing. Removing loose hair will cut down on tangles, which is ideal for long-haired dog breeds like the Afghan hound, the Chow chow, Old English shepherds, and the Bearded collie. Self-cleaning slicker brushes are an option to save time.

Pin Brush. A good choice for fluffy dog breeds, the pin brush resembles a human hair brush with sturdy wide-set pins. Pin brushes can be used on almost any coat and are very effective at detangling. These brushes are best for low shedders like the Spanish water dog or small dogs with shag like the Pekingese, Brussels Griffon, or Affenpinscher.

Dematter. Also known as a mat splitter, a dematter may be used in the early formation stages for a dog with corded hair. Corded hair breeds like the Spanish water dog or Corded poodle can be brushed as puppies, but brushing stops when cording begins to form. Pet owners encourage cording by training hair into cords with their fingers and removing harmful mats for healthy fur.