Types of Long-Haired Dogs

By Jane Meggitt

If dog hair doesn't deter you, there are plenty of long-haired breeds from which to choose. There's a long-haired breed in every one of the American Kennel Club's seven canine groups, although some groups have far more hairy dogs than others.

The Herding Group

Old English sheepdog playing in grass field.

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The herding group may boast the largest number of long-haired dogs of all. Well-known hairy breeds included in this group include the collie, the bearded collie, the Shetland sheepdog and the Old English sheepdog. Less well-known canines with abundant tresses include the Polish lowland sheepdog, the Bouvier des Flandres, the Pyrenean shepherd, the Icelandic sheepdog, the Finnish Lapphund, the Briard and the Belgian shepherd. Then there's the Puli, who wears his hair in the canine equivalent of dreadlocks.

The Sporting Group

English cocker spaniel looking up into the camera.

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The sporting group is made up of setters, spaniels and retrievers, and there's plenty of hair to go around. The American and English cocker spaniels, the field spaniel, the English and Welsh springer spaniels, the Boykin spaniel and the Sussex spaniel all fill the hairy dog bill. So do the Irish, English and Gordon setters. In addition to their hunting prowess, most members of the sporting group make fine companions and good family pets.

The Terrier Group

Black Scottish terrier standing in grass field.

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Most terriers have short to medium length coats. Long hair doesn't suit a dog bred for chasing and tunneling after vermin. There are some exceptions though, including the relatively calm Skye terrier, whose thick coat falls evenly on each side of his back. and the white Sealyham. The Scottish terrier's coat is long, but wiry, and requires stripping rather than clipping for show purposes.

The Hound Group

Pair of Borzoi dogs standing outside.

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The majority of hound dogs have short coats, but those originating outside western Europe and the United States sometimes have long hair. These include the Afghan hound, a sight rather than scent hound, and the Borzoi. Once known as the Russian wolfhound, this elegant animal was a favorite of the Russian aristocracy. Although the short-haired dachshund is perhaps the best known type of doxie, there's also a wire-haired and yes, long-haired version of the breed.

The Nonsporting Group

Large TIbetan terrier laying in the grass.

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The nonsporting group sports some longhairs among them. These include the friendly gray and black Keeshond, the white Coton de Tulear and another white breed, the American Eskimo. Long-haired Asian breeds in this group include the chow chow, the Lhasa apso, the Tibetan spaniel and the Tibetan terrier.

The Working Group

Profile of Siberian husky sitting in grass.

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Members of the working group originally served as guard dogs, drovers and general farm canines. Long-haired working dogs include the flock-guarding, white Great Pyrenees, kuvasz and komondor. Sled dogs with heavy hair include the Alaskan malamute, Siberian husky and Samoyed. A relatively recent addition to the working group, the massive black Russian terrier, was long used for protection in his native land.

The Toy Group

Pomeranian laying on wooden floor.

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If you enjoy putting bows and barrettes in your dog's hair, the toy group is probably your best choice. Littlest but not least, long-haired members of the toy group include the snow white Maltese, the "butterfly-eared" papillon and the Pomeranian. Although they're terriers, both the long-haired Yorkshire terrier and the silky terrier are considered toy dogs by the AKC. Similarly, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel and the English toy spaniel are part of this group, rather than the sporting. Long-haired Asian breeds, including the Pekingese, Japanese Chin and Shih Tzu are also toy dogs.