As dog lovers, we try not to have favorites. After all, all dogs are good dogs. But sometimes, we can’t help but steal a second glance at that gorgeous scruffy dog scampering along the sidewalk, its shabby coat bobbing with each step.
Don’t worry; we all do it.
With so many modern dog breeds, it’s only natural to be mesmerized by some more than others. And when it comes to scruffy dogs, we really can’t blame you.
While many people may be put off by such a scraggy coat of hair, there’s just something so charming about these fluffy, scruffy, and shaggy pooches.
But that’s not it; there’s more to these fluffy dog breeds than just their looks.
In this article, you will learn :
- there are lots of dogs that could be classified as scruffy
- which scruffy dogs need daily grooming
- how different scruffy dogs got their looks.
- about 6 of our favorite scruffy dogs
What Is A Scruffy Dog?
A scruffy dog is any dog that has an unkempt and disheveled look.
Often, these dogs have coarse, dense, and rough hair, especially around their muzzle, eyes, ears, and neck.
Hence, the term “scruffy dog” refers to a diverse range of dog breeds with one thing in common: their fleece-like coats and overall ragged and shabby look.
Scruffy Dog Characteristics
Just like with human hair, this broad category of dog fur can include various characteristics, such as:
- Long, coily fur with a thick undercoat, such as with a Shih Tzu or German Wirehaired Pointer.
- Short, wavy, and dense hair, such as with a Cairn Terrier or Airedale Terrier.
- Straight, silky, and smooth hair, such as with a Newfoundland or Golden Retriever.
- Fluffy and poofy ears, such as with a Cocker Spaniel.
- Thick eyebrows, snout fur, and beard, such as with a Border Terrier.
As you can see, “scruffy dog” doesn’t refer to any single breed.
Accordingly, let’s take a more detailed look at some of the most popular scruffy dog breeds, including Wire Fox Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Scottish Terriers, Irish Wolfhounds, West Highland Terriers, and Brussels Griffons.
Top 6 Scruffy Dogs
Wire Fox Terrier
Wire Fox Terriers have one of the most distinct looks. Their long snout, sculpted beard, fluffy paws, and cartoonish ears definitely earn them the title of a scruffy dog.
This heavy-fleeced terrier breed has a dense double coat, with the outer coat being wavy but not too coily. Despite this, though, they are not serious shedders.
While Wire Fox Terriers have always been a successful show dog breed, they were originally bred for hunting purposes; they would chase small game out of their dens.
Today, these wire-haired dogs make for great pets, owing to their high sociability and intelligence.
Wire Fox Terrier Characteristics
Physical Appearance – Wires have a strong build with highly symmetrical features. Their most prominent features are their v-shaped ears and scruffy beard.
Height – 36 to 41 cm (Males), 33 to 38 cm (Females)
Weight – 15 to 20 lbs (Males), 13 to 16 lbs (Females)
Life Expectancy – 13 to 14 years
Behavioral Characteristics – Wires are inherently friendly and sociable, easily trainable, protective of their owners, and have high energy levels.
Grooming Requirements – You need to brush Wires daily to avoid matting. Show dogs have much more demanding grooming needs.
Cairn Terriers are a terrier breed that best resembles a dog stuffed toy. The mane of thick hair that frames their face as well as their stubby ears makes them look like bear cubs.
Small as they may be, these sporting dogs are quite fearless. Originally, they would assist hunters in rooting out foxes and other prey from their dens.
As they became household pets, their sporting instincts turned into guarding instincts. For this reason, these scruffy dogs make for excellent watchdogs.
When they’re not manning the walls, though, Cairn Terriers enjoy lounging around with their family.
Cairn Terrier Characteristics
Physical Appearance – This toy dog breed has a fluffy and round face, with short ears and a petite snout.
Height – 10 in (Males), 9.5 in (Females)
Weight – 13 to 17 lbs (both Males and Females)
Life Expectancy – 12 to 15 years
Behavioral Characteristics – Cairn Terriers take pride in protecting their family but aren’t aggressive towards strangers. They can get very playful at times and require a lot of mental stimulation.
Grooming Requirements – Cairn Terriers don’t have any special or demanding grooming needs.
If there’s one breed of dog that pop culture adores the most, it’s the Scottish Terrier.
Jock, the animated Scottish Terrier from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, was the perfect portrayal of Scotties: independent-minded, feisty, dignified, loyal, and fiercely protective.
The nickname “Diehard” reflects the Scottish Terrier’s boundless bravery and determination.
In fact, Scotties are probably the feistiest out of all terrier breeds.
These scruffy dogs are truly scruffy through and through, with an equally rugged personality and appearance.
Scotties have a pretty distinct silhouette.
Their short, stubby legs are hidden underneath layers of long, shabby fur.
Moreover, their overgrown beard and mustache give them a charming, disheveled look.
Scottish Terrier Characteristics
Physical Appearance – Scotties have a short but substantial silhouette, with stubby legs, long, erect ears, and a wiry double coat.
Height – 10 in (both Males and Females)
Weight – 19 to 22 lbs (Males), 17 to 22 lbs (Females)
Life Expectancy – 12 to 15 years
Behavioral Characteristics – Scottish Terriers exude confidence and determination. They are extremely loving towards their family and will constantly want to socialize with you.
Grooming Requirements – Their dense and wiry double coat needs constant grooming. Hand stripping is the best way to get rid of dead hair from deep within the coat.
The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. While they were originally bred as fearless game hunters, these gentle giants are calm, kindly, and agreeable as house pets.
As such, they might not make the best guard dogs for your home. But these giant, muscular, and sporty dogs are extremely patient and overall great around kids.
With a Greyhound lineage, Irish Wolfhounds are impressive runners. Despite their imposing size, they don’t mind the occasional galloping session or hike through the woods.
Irish Wolfhound Characteristics
Physical Appearance – Irish Wolfhounds are extremely tall with a strong, graceful build. Their long, coarse, and thick double coats can be grey, black, red, fawn, or wheaten.
Height – Minimum of 32 in (Males), minimum of 30 in (Females)
Weight – Minimum of 120 lbs (Males), minimum of 90 lbs (Females)
Life Expectancy – 6 to 8 years
Behavioral Characteristics – These gentle giants are graceful, introverted, and intelligent. They don’t have high energy levels but will enjoy the occasional run.
Grooming Requirements – Irish Wolfhounds shed all year-round, though not excessively. Brushing twice or thrice a week, especially around the neck and under the beard, will be more than enough.
West Highland Terrier
The West Highland White Terrier is arguably the most popular terrier breed among pet owners, and it’s easy to see why.
These medium-sized dogs have round, fluffy faces with short, erect ears.
But don’t let their plush toy exterior fool you.
Their all-white wiry double coat isn’t as soft and fluffy as you might think.
Instead, their shaggy and wavy fur feels hard to the touch, while the undercoat is even more dense and scruffy.
Furthermore, this deceptively cute terrier breed has a very high prey drive.
This makes sense since they were originally bred for hunting rodents.
If you’re going to keep them as a pet, just remember that West Highland Terriers will chase anything and everything that is small and moving.
West Highland Terrier Characteristics
Physical Appearance – Westies are medium-sized, with a round face and coarse, scruffy hair. Their coat color is exclusively white.
Height – 11 in (Males), 10 in (Females)
Weight – 15 to 22 lbs (Males), 13 to 15 lbs (Females)
Life Expectancy – 13 to 15 years
Behavioral Characteristics – Westies are extremely playful and relentless chasers. They make for good watchdogs but will rarely be aggressive.
Grooming Requirements – Regular hand stripping and clipping is necessary to keep the dense double coat healthy.
One look at this beady-eyed, scowl-faced dog, and you’ll be smitten. These toy dogs may be tiny, but they boast huge personalities.
Haughty, devoted, intelligent, Brussels Griffons will definitely keep your hands full.
Appearance-wise, Brussels Griffons have one of the most expressive faces when it comes to dogs, second only to the Border Terrier.
The contrast of their black muzzle earned them the nickname “bearded dogs.”
Their fringed beard and overgrown mustache definitely make them more muzzle-heavy, but their giant, bulging eyes make them even more charming.
Brussels Griffon Characteristics
Physical Appearance – Brussels Griffons are toy-sized, with large, human-like eyes and a draping beard.
Height – 7 to 10 in (both Males and Females)
Weight – 9-12 lbs (Males), 7 to 10 lbs (Females)
Life Expectancy – 12 to 15 years
Behavioral Characteristics – While mostly aloof and unbothered, Brussels Griffons are actually very friendly, sociable, and easily trainable.
Grooming Requirements – Smooth-haired Brussels shed a lot and require regular brushing and baths. Their rough-haired counterparts do not shed as often.