While some dog owners avoid long-haired breeds, some of us love to cuddle with a giant ball of fluff, but because there are so many breeds that fit right into this box of being big and long-haired it can be tough to choose the right companion that fits your lifestyle and needs.
That’s why we’ve rounded up 20 of the best large breeds with long hair for you to start with. So, what are some of these breeds?
The Afghan Hound, Old English Sheepdog, South Russian Ovcharka, Newfoundland, Borzoi, Komondor, Tibetan Mastiff, Standard Poodle, Briard, Bouvier des Flandres, Gordon Setter, Bergamasco, Rough Collie, Great Pyrenees, Leonberger, Bernese Mountain Dog, and Golden Retriever are some large and long-haired breeds. As well as the long-haired Alaskan Malamute, Husky, and German Shepherd.
While all these dogs may share the two characteristics of being quite large or medium to large sized and having long hair, they are all different breeds and they have different traits and personalities.
So, Let’s dive into each breed and examine those traits their temperament, and of course their unique coats.
1. Afghan Hound
With their exotic, aristocratic demeanor, Afghan Hounds are known for their long, silky coat, which gracefully accentuates their unique lines and curves. This elegant hair traditionally left long, can come in various colors and requires regular grooming to maintain its lustrous sheen and prevent tangles. Plus they are hypoallergenic!
I know the Afghan Hounds look like they were meant to be on every hair shampoo commercial out there, but don’t let their show-stopping coat fool you, these model-like dogs aren’t just about looks.
This breed has a rich hunting history, they are fast, agile, and have a pronounced prey drive. They’re known for their independent and sometimes aloof nature, but they are also gentle and affectionate with their families and the people they are closest with.
Despite their dignified persona, they are quite playful and require a good amount of exercise. This is not an ideal first-time dog owner breed because training an Afghan Hound can sometimes be a challenge due to their independent personalities and this breed has a reputation among dog trainers for having a relatively slow “obedience intelligence.”
So, even if you do have experience, patience, and a positive approach are key. As with most breeds, early socialization is crucial to help your Afghan hound grow into a well-adjusted adult dog.
2. Old English Sheepdog
If you’re in love with long-haired dogs, then you should learn more about the Old English Sheepdog. Their shaggy double coat is weather-resistant and a hallmark of the breed. Keeping their beautiful coat in top shape requires regular grooming, including brushing to avoid matting, and you may want to think about using professional groomers.
These dogs are well-known for their coat’s distinctive “bear-like” look when it’s kept long, as it is neither straight nor curly, but they’re just as charming when clipped short for easier maintenance.
Despite their imposing appearance, Old English Sheepdogs have a clownish, friendly personality. They’re extremely loyal and love being part of family activities. They can also be protective and they are likely to become nuisance barkers. That being said, the Old English Sheepdog is great with children as well as other dogs and pets, so they are great for large families.
Their background as a working breed means they enjoy mental and physical challenges, so training and socialization should start at an early age by an experienced dog owner. You also need to remember as with most dogs, daily exercise helps maintain their health and happiness and avoid destructive and unwanted behaviors.
3. South Russian Ovcharka
Known for its white, dense, and woolly long hair, the South Russian Ovcharka seems almost to float like a cloud when they move. Their thick double coat is weather-resistant, and designed to withstand the harshest of winters. Regular brushing is crucial to prevent their hair from tangling or matting.
While this may not be the most well-known breed, if you’re someone who loves large, fluffy, white dogs then you will recognize the South Russian Ovcharka by their most distinctive feature, their coat. But that’s not all, their independence and protective nature also sets them apart
Originally bred to guard flocks the South Russian Ovcharkas are known to be somewhat standoffish with strangers but are incredibly loyal to their family. Exercise is vital to this large breed, but their independent streak might make training a bit challenging. As you can imagine, they’re more suitable for experienced dog owners.
Newfoundlands, affectionately known as “Newfies,” are characterized by their incredible size and thick, water-resistant double coats. This coat, which can be black, brown, gray, or Landseer (black and white), serves as a protective barrier against harsh weather conditions, especially their natural affinity for water.
Their coat requires regular grooming to keep their fur healthy, shiny, and free from mats. Though their long hair can shed and may require frequent cleaning, it allows them to comfortably swim and work in cold climates.
Beyond their distinctive coats, Newfies are treasured for their gentle and sweet-natured personalities. Their intelligence and eager-to-please personality make them quite trainable. They are patient, and famously good with children, often likened to a “nanny dog.”
Their high energy levels and strength demand regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight, but they’re equally happy to lounge around with their family. As with any breed, socialization from a young age is vital to ensure they grow into well-adjusted and confident adult dogs.
If you’re looking for the long-haired version of a greyhound, but you don’t want a high-maintenance dog like the Afghan Hound, then consider the Borzoi, also known as the “Russian Wolfhound.”
The Borzoi is a sight to behold with its long, silky coat and elegant physique. This breed’s coat might not be the longest on this list, but in some dogs, it can achieve great lengths, especially in their chest and belly area. The hair on the neck forms a noticeable frill, adding to their noble appearance. The coat can be any color or color combination and requires regular brushing to keep it smooth and mat-free.
Beneath their aristocratic looks, Borzois are quiet, intelligent, and somewhat independent dogs. They were bred to chase game over long distances, so regular exercise is a must and they also require an experienced owner that can keep their prey drive under control.
Though they’re not known for high-energy play, they love a good sprint in a secure area. They’re generally well-mannered and polite but benefit from early socialization and patient, positive reinforcement training methods.
With its distinctive, mop-like coat, the Komondor is probably one of the most recognizable breeds in the world. Unique is probably the only word that can describe their white corded coat that serves as camouflage and protection when they’re guarding flocks, at least that was their original purpose.
Grooming a Komondor’s coat is quite a task, it requires regular separation of the cords to prevent matting and to keep the dog clean and odor-free. I have a friend that owns a Komondor, and she spends a lot of her time bathing him and visiting the groomers.
This breed is known for being courageous and committed to its family. The Komondor is calm and quiet indoors but becomes a formidable protector when needed that’s why according to AKC “the dog should have learned to consistently follow commands by the time it is one year of age.”
Their exercise needs are moderate, but training can be a challenge due to their independent nature. Early and consistent socialization is critical for this breed to prevent over-protectiveness.
7. Tibetan Mastiff
The Tibetan Mastiff is so fluffy that most of us probably imagine the feeling of burying our faces in the softness of their coat, though I must add that not all Tibetan Mastiffs love to cuddle. While being simultaneously cute, the Tibetan Mastiff is also an imposing breed with a thick, long double coat that comes in a variety of colors, including black, blue-gray, and various shades of gold.
Their mane-like hair around the neck is especially dense, giving them a lion-like appearance. Their dense coat is designed for harsh weather, but it means they shed heavily, particularly during the shedding season. Regular brushing is essential to keep their coat healthy and to manage shedding.
Tibetan Mastiffs are known for their loyalty and protective nature. Despite their fierce appearance, they tend to be calm and patient but can be reserved with strangers. While they are great family dogs that do love kids. Early socialization and training are crucial for this breed, plus they’re not the best choice for a novice dog owner.
Being large, the Tibetan Mastiff requires regular exercise but is not as high-energy as some breeds. If you want to keep them fit and happy consider work-related tasks like patrolling their territory than playing fetch.
8. Standard Poodle
While Poodles are often wrongly accused of being not that bright, these dogs are incredibly intelligent and of course elegant. You may have seen this breed with their coats kept mostly short, but Standard Poodles have a unique, curly coat that can become quite long and it comes in many colors, including white, black, apricot, and cream.
This coat does not shed much, but it requires regular grooming to prevent matting. Poodles are often seen with elaborate haircuts, but a simple trim is sufficient for non-show dogs.
Beneath their fancy fur, Poodles are energetic, intelligent, and eager to please, making training a breeze. They excel in obedience, agility, and other dog sports. Standard Poodles require daily physical and mental exercise to keep them happy. Despite their sophisticated appearance, they love to play and make excellent family pets.
The Briard’s long, wavy coat is one of their most striking features. Their double coat can come in several colors, but the most common are various shades of fawn, black, or gray.
This breed’s coat is not only beautiful but also functional, protecting them from harsh weather conditions. Regular grooming is essential to prevent matting and keep their coat in top condition. According to AKC, “Begin grooming your Briard puppy long before he really needs grooming. Make sure that you make grooming time a happy period he will look forward to in the years when grooming is a necessity and can take a long time.”
The Briard is a lively and intelligent breed, known for its protective instincts and love of family. They’re energetic and require plenty of exercise, both physical and mental, making them a great choice for active families.
Early training and socialization are key for this breed, as they can be a bit reserved or cautious around strangers, and they can become aggressive with other dogs or pets, so you need to stay on top of their training. Obedience training is a must, and it should be at the hands of an experienced trainer.
10. Bouvier des Flandres
The Bouvier des Flandres is an impressive breed with a thick, coarse outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat that provides protection against the elements. This coat can be fawn, black, or brindle, and requires regular brushing to prevent matting.
Despite their formidable appearance, being all burly and barrel-chested Bouviers are known for their calm, even temperament. They are intelligent, quick to learn, and have a strong drive to work, so mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise. After all, they are work dogs and AKC suggests that they make “excellent watchdogs and guardians, and eager participants in dog sports, especially herding trial.”
Early socialization and consistent training are crucial for this breed to prevent them from becoming overly protective or standoffish. That being said the Bouvier des Flandres are great family pets and they can get along well with other animals if raised with them.
11. Gordon Setter
Famed for their glossy, black, and tan coat, Gordon Setters are undeniably striking and much larger than the other setters. Their long, soft, wavy fur requires regular grooming to maintain its shine and prevent it from matting.
These elegant canines are more than just their beautiful coats. Renowned for their unwavering loyalty and deep bond with their families, Gordon Setters are also vigilant and confident, traits that make them exceptional watchdogs.
While they can initially be a bit reserved with unfamiliar people, they warm up quickly and become sociable once acquainted. Due to their energetic nature, this breed needs plenty of exercise. They love activities such as long walks, hiking, or even agility exercises.
Training Gordon Setters is generally rewarding, but they can exhibit a stubborn streak. Therefore, it’s best to employ consistent training methods paired with positive reinforcement.
The Bergamasco’s most distinct feature is their unique coat, which forms into flocks, flat layers of hair, and the best word to describe their coat is as a mop. This protective coat is a combination of three types of hair and typically takes about three years to fully develop. While it may appear high-maintenance, the coat doesn’t require much grooming once the flocks are formed.
Beneath that extraordinary coat, Bergamascos are patient, intelligent, and extremely devoted to their families. They’re herding dogs by nature, so they appreciate mental stimulation as well as regular exercise.
Training a Bergamasco is usually straightforward as they’re eager to learn and please their owners, but because they can be independent they still require an experienced owner. Socialization from a young age is crucial to ensure they get along well with other animals and people.
13. Rough Collie
Rough Collies, famously associated with the iconic Lassie, are known for their long, lush double coat that comes in various colors, including sable and white, tri-color, blue merle, and white. This beautiful coat requires regular grooming to keep it free from mats and tangles. However, all that grooming effort pays off as their mane-like neck fur and fluffy tail are head-turners!
Rough Collies may not be the biggest breed on this list, but they can still be large, and they’re not just beautiful but also intelligent, loyal, and great with families, including children.
Their energy level is pretty high when they are outside so you need to make sure this breed gets both physical activities and mental challenges. Early training and socialization are highly encouraged, as this breed is naturally sensitive and responds well to positive reinforcement.
14. Great Pyrenees
We’ve written many articles about the Great Pyrenees, also known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, including a useful growth chart, or their tendency to roam, but we haven’t really discussed their long fluffy coat yet.
The Great Pyrenees boasts a thick, double, weather-resistant coat that’s usually white or white with patches of gray, reddish-brown, or tan. This breed’s beautiful long hair requires weekly brushing to help with the shedding since it can be heavy, particularly in spring and fall. However, according to AKC “for all their abundant fur, Pyrs don’t require a lot of grooming, as their coat is dirt- and tangle-resistant.”
Beyond their coat, Great Pyrenees are known for their calm, patient, but also protective nature. As a former livestock guardian breed, they can be somewhat independent and sometimes wary of strangers, making early socialization essential. They are moderately active and require regular, though not necessarily strenuous, exercise.
Leonbergers are a charming blend of several large breeds, resulting in a sizable dog with a thick, medium to long-length double coat that can range from lion-yellow to red, and can have a black “mask” for added intensity. Grooming their magnificent coat, especially around their neck and chest is an ongoing task, with frequent brushing needed to reduce shedding and prevent matting.
Beneath the fur, Leonbergers are gentle giants. They are known for their friendly and affectionate nature, loyalty, and eagerness to please, making training typically enjoyable and successful.
These dogs are social creatures who love being included in all family activities. Given their size, they require consistent exercise to maintain a healthy weight, but they also love to lounge with their loved ones. Early socialization helps ensure they’re well-rounded and friendly with other dogs and people.
I also want to add that while this breed may look like one that can’t stop drooling they actually don’t drool as much!
16. Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog’s thick, silky, tri-colored coat is one of their most distinctive features. Typically black with rust and white markings, their double coat is designed for cold weather, but it does mean they tend to shed quite a bit. Regular brushing will help keep their coat beautiful and manage shedding.
Beneath that luxurious coat, Bernese Mountain Dogs are known for their friendly and affectionate nature and they are incredibly gentle and affectionate with children. They’re intelligent, eager to please, and relatively easy to train. This is an excellent choice for first-time owners.
However, they’re also a large and active breed, so they need plenty of exercise. They enjoy outdoor activities but they don’t like staying outside because it means they won’t be around their favorite human. So, while these dogs love being active, they can also be very laid back, and a half-hour of moderate exercise a day can satisfy their needs.
17. Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamutes are quite fluffy, but they don’t exactly have super long coats, however, long-haired Alaskan Malamutes, often called “Woolies,” are a thing, even if they are less common. Their longer, woolly coat is thick and plush, providing excellent insulation against harsh cold weather. However, it also requires frequent grooming to prevent mats and keep the coat looking its best.
Additionally drying the coat can take a long time so bathing and grooming your fluffy Alaskan Malamute might be quite the challenge.
Woolies are known for their strength and endurance, as well as their friendly and affectionate nature, but they can be quite dramatic and vocal if their needs aren’t met or they don’t get enough attention.
They’re intelligent and independent, which can sometimes present a challenge during training, so firm, consistent methods work best. In other words, if you don’t have prior experience with dogs and training this breed may not be for you.
This breed is active and requires plenty of exercise, including walks, playtime, and even pulling tasks, a nod to their sled-pulling ancestry.
18. Siberian Husky
Similarly to the Woolies above, long-haired or “Wooly” Huskies are recognized by their majestic, fluffy double coat, which is longer than the standard Siberian Husky. This striking coat comes in a variety of colors and patterns and requires regular brushing to manage shedding and prevent mats. Despite the extra grooming effort, the coat gives them an incredibly distinctive and beautiful appearance.
Like their standard-coated counterparts, Wooly Huskies are just as energetic, and intelligent, and most Huskies enjoy the company of their family and get along with other dogs.
They need plenty of exercise to keep them happy and healthy, so they’re best suited for active households. Training should start early with a Wooly Husky, using positive reinforcement techniques, as they can be a bit stubborn. Socialization is also crucial, as it helps curb their strong prey drive.
19. Long-Haired German Shepherd
There are different types of German Shepherds, including long-Haired German Shepherds who are distinct for their luxurious double coat, which is plush, straight, and flows beautifully when they move. Their coat requires regular grooming to maintain its sheen and prevent matting. While the long hair does mean more shedding, it also accentuates their noble and confident presence.
But there’s much more to these dogs than just their coat. German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility. They’re eager learners, making them highly trainable, and they excel in various roles, from family pets to service dogs.
Exercise is vital to this active breed, both to keep them physically fit and to provide mental stimulation. Early socialization is equally important, helping them develop into well-rounded, sociable dogs.
10. Golden Retrievers
This might not be a breed with the longest coat, but the Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds and are instantly recognizable by their beautiful, dense, water-repellent double coat with the long hair growing especially long around their chest, belly legs, and tail.
This coat can vary from light to dark golden and requires regular grooming to maintain its health and luster. Despite their tendency to shed, their coat gives them the iconic “golden” look that many people love.
Beneath their beautiful coat, Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly and tolerant attitudes. They are reliable, trustworthy, and eager to please, making them highly trainable and great with families and kids.
They love playtime and walks, and being retrievers, they’re naturally good at fetch. They need plenty of exercise to keep their spirits high and their bodies healthy. Regular socialization from a young age ensures they’re friendly and confident around other animals and people.
If you’ve been thinking of adopting a large, long-haired dog then this list should help you get a better idea of the breeds out there that have these characteristics. Additionally, you’ll find some extra information on how much care they need, and whether they will fit into your everyday lifestyle or not.
Whether you actually choose one of these breeds as your ultimate companion one thing is certain, you will be able to cuddle with the most unique, long-coated doggy that will take up most of your living space!