Different Breeds of Shaggy Dogs

By Jane Meggitt

If short hair just won't do, you have plenty of different shaggy dog breeds from which to choose. Thick-coated canines appear in each of the American Kennel Club's seven different classification groups. If you want a nonshedding shaggy dog, an unclipped poodle or poodle mix should fill the bill.

Toy Breeds

A Yorkshire terrier sitting in a field of grass and dandelions.

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If you want to share your life with a little shaggy dog, consider the Yorkshire terrier. He's tiny, with true terrier spirit. The same holds true for the silky terrier, who strongly resembles the Yorkie. There's also the Affenpinscher, affectionately known as the monkey-face dog. The adorable Havanese fits the shaggy dog criteria, as does the bearded Brussels griffon.

Working Group

A giant schnauzer lying on a leather sofa.

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The working group isn't strong in the shaggy department, but there are exceptions. These include the large black Russian terrier and giant schnauzer, both dogs who require jobs to keep out of mischief. The smaller standard schnauzer is also on the list. The Komondor, perhaps the shaggy dog par excellence, looks like a larger version of the sheep he was bred to protect, only with dreadlocks.

Herding Group

An Old English sheepdog lying on grass.

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Many herding dogs are shaggy critters. In this group you can choose from the bearded collie, the Bergamasco -- whose breed standard includes matted hair -- the Bouvier des Flandres, the Briard, the puli -- another dog with cords -- and the Polish lowland sheepdog. Then there's the Old English sheepdog, a poster pup for the shaggy dog.

Sporting Group

A Spinone walking through a snowy forest.

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Few sporting group canines fit the shaggy mold. The easygoing Spinone Italiano does, as does the outgoing wirehaired pointing griffon. You can make a case for the brown Boykin spaniel, as well as the field and American water spaniels.

Terrier Group

An Airedale terrier sitting on a rock.

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An alternative name for the terrier group could be "the shaggy group," since so many members fit the profile. Small shaggy terriers include the Australian, the Scottish, the border, the cairn, the little-known Cesky, the Glen of Imaal, the Norfolk, the Norwich, the wire fox, the West Highland white, the Lakeland, the Welsh, Sealyham and Skye. Medium to large shaggy terriers include the Airedale, the Irish and the Kerry Blue.

Nonsporting Group

A Keeshond in a backyard.

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Nonsporting shaggies include the brave, small Lowchen and the Tibetan terrier, the latter described as "a little person in a dog suit." The beautiful, gray, mid-size Keeshond may be more hairy than shaggy, but perhaps shagginess is a quality in the eye of the beholder. This breed gets along well with people, dogs and cats, and makes a good watchdog.

Hound Group

A white Afghan walking in a park.

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The hound group is a fairly shorthaired bunch, but you do have a few shaggy choices. These include the Afghan, whose long coat requires extensive grooming, and the large, good-natured otterhound. Somewhat smaller is the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, whose natural coat is quite harsh.