Choosing which dog to buy is a tough call do you want a small dog or a larger one, one with a short, easy to groom, coat, are you looking for one of the more challenging long-haired dog breeds?
If you decide that you are willing and able to invest not only money but also a great deal of time and effort into looking after and grooming your four-legged friend, then this guide to the top ten long-haired dog breeds is perfect for you.
Here, in no particular order, are the long-haired dog breeds we suggest that you take a closer look at:
Ask people to name a long-haired dog breed and the Afghan Hound will crop up regularly in the list of answers. A well-groomed Afghan Hound, standing upright with its head held high, is a thing to admire. This is due to their sleek shape and, of course, to their wonderful long hair that closely resembles human hair. Despite being a fairly large breed, this member of the hound family is a home-loving dog that is ideal for a family.
Afghan Hounds are popular dogs and are perfect for a family home. They weigh between 20 – 28Kg and can reach a height of 70cm with ease. The Afghan has fine long hair all over its body, finished off with a delightful curly tail. Afghans come in several colors, including black, but a honey color with black and or white streaks is commonplace.
Afghans are fast and can be difficult to keep in a garden but their exercise needs are only moderate – in fact, they can be quite lazy and the owner should take the initiative and insist on regular walks if the dog displays this tendency.
Top points about Afghans
- Afghans can be a bit reluctant to go for a walk and often prefer to lay by the fire
- Their coat has to be groomed daily, if it gets tangled you will probably have to cut off the matted hair or call in professional groomers.
- Unless you have good fencing around your garden they will try to escape and will often succeed – these dogs are fast!
- Afghans are fairly difficult to train and need a lot of patience
- Food bills will be medium to high
- They are mega-friendly and affectionate, great with children
- Afghans are not cheap, you will pay around £500 for a non-registered pup and easily double that for one with a good Kennel club pedigree.
- Life expectancy is around 10 – 12 years.
Old English Sheepdog
The iconic Old English Sheepdog is a familiar and much-loved breed that many people in the UK know and admire because they have long been used in television advertisements by the Dulux paint company – in fact Old English Sheepdogs are often referred to as “Dulux Dogs”.
The origin of this lovely, friendly, shaggy, long-haired dog is uncertain, but it is known to have been around for at least two hundred years with the first showing of the breed at a dog show in the UK being in Birminham in 1873. There is an Old English Sheepdog depicted in a painting by Gainsborough in 1771 although at the time it was referred to as a Bobtail Collie – it used to be common practice to “dock” the tails of this breed until it became illegal to do so in 2006.
Here are a few points to consider if you are thinking of buying an Old English Sheepdog:
- They are relatively easy to train
- They have an affectionate and loving temperament and good with children
- They are a faithful breed, loyal and protective to their owners
- Old English Sheepdogs need plenty of exercises and are fun to be with – they love it when you play with them
- If groomed regularly, which they need to be, they don’t shed much hair. Their coat, especially around the face, can become smelly if not groomed regularly so bath them often.
- Old English Sheepdogs have ravenous appetites – be prepared for substantial food bills
Although they are a friendly, playful breed they can get quite big, around 60cm in height and 30Kg in weight, so care should be taken when young children are around as they can easily be hurt accidentally by such a big strong animal while playing
You should expect to pay between £400 – £600 for an Old English Sheepdog with the higher prices being fetched by higher quality pedigrees. On average the life expectancy for a well looked after dog of this breed is 8 – 12 years.
A very large long-haired dog breed, originating from Hungary and often called Mop Dogs. The reason for that is obvious when you see their remarkable coats which really do resemble a mop.
You will probably be surprised to learn that these dogs don’t need a lot of brushing but they do need lots of attention to their mop-like coats to keep them clean. Therefore, they should only be considered by those who have the time to attend to this essential need.
The Komondor is usually mainly white in color, (although black ones sometimes turn up, as do grey ones), and grows to around 80cm in height and can weigh in at up to 60Kg, slightly less for females. It goes without saying that such large animals require plenty of space and require copious amounts of exercise.
Main points to consider about the Komondor are:
- Big and heavy with a large appetite, budget accordingly
- Their thick coats are designed to keep them warm which makes hot climates unsuitable for them
- They hate being left alone
- Komondors are intelligent and relatively easy to train if you start them young
- A rare and difficult to find breed, puppies can be very expensive when available
- Only moderate exercise required
This is a rare breed, originating from Italy and is one of the oldest recorded breeds of dog in existence having been around for at least 2,000 years.
You would consider Bergamasco Shepherds to be a medium or large dog that can weigh between 25 – 40 Kg and reach a height of 60+ cm. Their thick coats form matted clumps as a form of protection against extremes of temperature. The coat is usually grey but black and white examples are available.
Main points to consider about a Bergamasco Shepherd are:
- They have a long life expectancy of up to 15 years
- Lots of exercise required to keep them healthy
- They are fairly easy to train
- They shed very little hair
- Bergamasco Shepherds are very good with children but be sure to exercise the usual caution due to the dog’s weight and size when small children are around
- Bergamasco Shepherd pups may be hard to find in some areas and are likely to be expensive when you do locate one
There are lots of Collies to choose from, most of which are long-haired dog breeds of varying sizes, although there are a few smooth coated Collies as well. Here we focus on the Bearded Collie which has a fine body of hair that does require considerable grooming.
Not quite in the “big dog” category these dogs can reach 50cm in height and achieve a weight of around 20 Kg. They love people and plenty of exercise making city center or apartment living unsuitable.
Main points to consider:
- They are intelligent and easy to train, this breed is traditionally a working dog
- Lots of grooming is required for their lovely long coats
- Bearded Collies are playful and lovers of exercise
- They have a lifespan around 10 – 15 years
As the name suggests, these popular small sized dogs originate from Yorkshire in the north of England and have very attractive, long, coats. They are often called “Yorkies”. Their coats can get quite long and be tricky to groom effectively.
These dogs normally stand at around 20cm and weigh an average of 2-3 Kg. Despite their diminutive size these dogs can easily cost well upwards of $600.
Main points about the Yorkie are:
- Can be difficult to house train.
- Very energetic, need moderate amounts of exercise
- Dislike very hot and cold weather
- Not so keen on children and can easily be injured by them
- This a small breed so it is best kept indoors
- Yorkshire Terriers can live up to 15 years
- This is a “companion” dog that prefers to be around people
- Need plenty of patience when grooming which should be a regular occurrence
For more options head over to our guide on Dog Food for Yorkies.
If you are looking for a big dog with a long coat, then the Newfoundland may well be the one for you. Often growing up to 75cm plus in height and weighing up to 70Kg this is a serious dog for experienced owners who can allocate the time and money to look after such an animal.
Most examples are brown or black in colour and their coats are thick. Despite their size they are nimble and need lots of exercise. Unsuitable for apartment style living and they do not like being left alone.
Here are the main points to watch for:
- Intelligent and Very easy to train
- Quite energetic, lots of exercise is a must
- Lifespan is around 8-10 years if well looked after
- Don’t like being left alone
- Affectionate and child friendly
- They have a tendency to slobber
- Newfoundlands require lots of grooming
Shih Tzus may be small but they really pack a punch when it comes to personality and companionship. Shih Tzus originate from China but are now popular the world over and renowned for their friendliness and sociability.
These small dogs have a wonderful coat that can get quite long and which requires regular daily grooming to keep it looking good and in good condition.
These dogs only grow to around 20 – 25 cm in height and achieve a maximum weight of around 7Kg. Shih Tzu’s coat colours include single solid colours or combinations of several colours and shades including white, black, rust, brown, and blonde.
Here are the main things you need to know about Shih Tzus:
- Great jumpers but prone to self-injury if not supervised
- Easy to train, but start them young, training older dogs can be troublesome
- Playful and intelligent
- Require only moderate exercise
- Child and family friendly
- Shih Tzus are well suited to city and apartment living
- Price of a puppy ranges from £450 unregistered to over £1000 for a KC registered animal
Another small breed with some similarity to the Shih Tzus is the Lhasa Apso.
Lhasa Apso are a long-haired dog breed that are small, (average height of 25cm). They can weigh up to 7Kg or thereabouts when fully grown. Lhasa Apso have lovely long fur that can easily reach the ground and they come in a variety of colours that are, in the main, solid shades of white, black, or grey.
This dog is well suited for small indoor spaces and does not require a huge amount of daily exercise.
Here are the main points about Lhasa Apso, at a glance:
- Unlike many other small dogs, doesn’t mind being left alone
- Easy to look after, well suited to novice owners
- Require long and frequent grooming, only shed lightly
- Playful and intelligent
- Have a lifespan of between 12 and 15 years if well looked after
- Average price tag for a pup, $500 plus depending on pedigree
Popular as pets but still in regular use as a working dog, the English Setter ticks many boxes as a potential pet choice. The term “Setter” refers to the crouching, ready to pounce, position that the breed assumes whilst working
English Setters have long hair which is flat and silky and is often quite wavy. English Setters have large eyes and a dark nose with long ears that tend to hang downwards. A fully-grown male English Setter can be up to 68cm in height and can easily reach a weight of 36Kg whereas the females are usually a little smaller.
English Setters at a glance:
- The average life span of an English setter is 12+
- English setters are gentle and friendly, mild-mannered and sensitive.
- They are alert, intelligent and protective of their owners
- English setters are very sociable dogs that enjoy being with people
- They get on well with other dogs
- The active English setter needs plenty of exercise
Expect to pay around $500 upwards, depending on the quality of the pedigree which could easily take the bill northwards of $1K. Vet and feeding bills should not be excessive if the animal is well looked after and regularly exercised.
The English setter is a very sociable and friendly dog. He does not like to be left or confined to a garden or backyard. More so than many other dogs, the English Setter needs to be with people and to be included in their daily lives. They are a long-haired dog breed which is still used for working purposes to this day and are a good all rounder with a reasonably long coat that does not require too much by way of grooming.
- Long-Haired Dogs: Top Breeds and Grooming Needs – Petfinder