Choosing a long-haired dog means you'll spend extra time grooming and possibly vacuuming up the hair he sheds. It doesn't mean you're limited in which type of dog to adopt. Whether you want a guard dog, a hunting companion or someone to snuggle in your lap, there's a pup with long hair who'll fit your needs.
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Herding and Working
Not only do Old English sheepdogs have shaggy coats sure to turn heads, their personalities make them perfect for anyone who wants an intelligent, trainable and high-spirited pet. Be aware that they're high-energy dogs who will attempt to herd their housemates -- other dogs, cats, children -- if not exercised properly.
If the working group is more your style, look into Newfoundland. The dog, not the island. "Newfies" are gentle giants, so be sure you have enough space for one -- and the ability to handle a dog who weighs 150 pounds. Despite their size, Newfies tend to be sweet and placid, making them good family dogs. Long walks, intense play sessions and swimming will keep Newfies happy and healthy.
Sporting and Non-sporting
Looking for a beautiful bird dog? The English setter is it. If you adopt one, get ready to spend extra time grooming and playing, since their coats are prone to matting and they have a ton of energy to burn. These playful pooches bond intensely with their owners and need plenty of attention to stay happy.
Get ready, because once you've seen a Lhasa apso, you'll be in love. If you want a pup who'll lounge on your lap for hours, this is the breed. Despite their small size, they make good watchdogs, in part due to their natural inclination to mistrust strangers. You'll need to train these pups early to keep them from being aggressive.
Terriers and Hounds
When you think of terriers, do you picture pups with short, wiry coats? If so, check out Skye terriers and their long, silky-smooth coats. You'll need to socialize them early and well to keep them from getting aggressive with strangers. And keep in mind that, however cute they are, they're still terriers. Their natural instinct is to chase and take down prey. Watch them carefully around other pets.
So, you want a hound dog. Consider the long-haired Afghan hound. These tall, graceful dogs have thick hair that needs groomed regularly to prevent tangling. Their personalities tend to be as elegant as their looks. Frequent attention will keep their natural aloofness from turning into timidity.
Toys and Miscellaneous
If you love the long-haired look -- on dogs, at least -- but don't want to deal with shedding, a Havanese may be the pooch for you. You'll still have to groom their fluffy coats, but you won't have to worry about their hair getting on your pants, which is a good thing since these little dogs are happiest in your lap.
Say bonjour to the Coton de Tuléar, the so-called "royal dog of Madagascar." These white fluffy pups have smarts as well as beauty, and are playful and devoted. They can be stubborn, so be firm when training them. Make sure the Coton de Tuléar gets enough attention and remember that this sweet breed shouldn't be isolated or left outside for long.
By Caroline Jackson
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Old English Sheepdog
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Newfoundland
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the English Setter
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Lhasa Apso
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Skye Terrier
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Afghan Hound
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Havanese
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Coton de Tuléar
ASPCA: Dog Care
About the Author
Caroline Jackson began freelancing in 2005 with a stint as an editor for a respected small publisher. She soon switched to writing, where she found her niche creating health, sports and wellness content for various websites. Jackson attended Miami University where she studied comparative religion and English literature.