There are several breeds of dogs that feature shaggy coats. They come from all over the world and are instantly recognisable for their long, thick fur that hangs down from the body and often over the face. From herding dogs to lapdogs, shaggy breeds have at least one thing in common: a soft undercoat that is protected by a thick overcoat that gives these dogs a distinctive look.
Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog is one of the most famous dog breeds that possesses a shaggy coat. Because some are born with bobbed tails, they are also known as bobs or bobtails. These dogs originated in northern Europe, most likely in Scotland or England. They became popular with some of America's most prominent families and the socially elite in the early 1900s. Today, they are rather uncommon, although not rare. The Old English Sheepdog is a large breed that weighs from 36.3 to 45.4 Kilogram. Common colours are grey and blue tones with white markings. The shaggy coat is actually a double coat, with long, thick outer fur and soft, waterproof inner fur. The sheepdog's coat requires a serious commitment to grooming to keep it healthy and free from mats. This large, hairy breed is fiercely loyal and craves human interaction.
The Bearded Collie is a hardy, medium-size dog that originated in Central Europe but has been used in Scotland for centuries. Because of its long history in the region, it was once called the Highland Collie but was eventually renamed for its distinctive facial fur. The fur around the cheeks and chin of the dog grows down toward the chest to form the famous beard. Like the Old English Sheepdog, this collie has a double coat. The undercoat is soft and fluffy and the outer coat is harsh and strong. The hair is dense, providing protection from the elements. Extensive grooming is necessary to keep the fur healthy, but the coat should remain shaggy, never silky. Bearded Collies come in a few colours, including black, brown, blue or fawn, and can be born with or without markings. They make excellent companions, thanks to their friendly personalities, and have a long history of working and living with humans.
The Briard is a very old breed that came from France. These shaggy dogs were originally bred as working companions and used for herding. Thomas Jefferson imported Briards to America in the late 1700s, and they were eventually registered with the American Kennel Club. Like any dog bred for herding, Briards have strong protective instincts. While devoted to their families, they can be suspicious of strangers. They are highly intelligent and loving, but because of their independent streak, they do require proper training and discipline. The shaggy Briard also carries a double coat that has harsh outer fur and soft inner fur. The coat can be anywhere from 6 inches to a foot long and they have a short beard under the chin. These dogs come in shades of black, grey and tawny and are known to change colours as they age.
Not all shaggy dogs are large herding breeds. The Pekinese, considered part of the Toy Group by the American Kennel Club, is small in stature but muscularly built and once considered sacred. For centuries, Pekinese dogs could only be owned by Chinese royalty. They would eventually be taken outside China in the 1800s, when the British invaded and took some of the imperial dogs home with them. The Pekinese can be easily spotted by its shaggy coat. Over the stocky body is an abundance of fur. The outer coat is very long, coarse and straight and puffs out from the soft inner coat, though not so much that it hides the shape of the dog. The Pekinese also features a mane around the neck that extends down to the shoulder area. They come in all kinds of colours and have a variety of markings. These dogs have affectionate personalities, but they can be moody and difficult to housebreak. Pekinese dogs make excellent low-activity pets for individuals willing to train and care for them.
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