9 Small Long-Haired Dog Breeds (Show Trim Explained)

As a groomer who works with show dogs, I’m required to be knowledable in all things dog hair.

This is particularly true with show dogs – the stunning breeds you see elegantly trotting through a competition ring.

These dogs are usually in what we call Show Coat or a Breed Trim.

On the other hand we have Natural Coat, which is letting nature do it’s thing and letting the coat grow out.

Whether you choose show, breed, or natural coat, you’ll be committing to a lot of daily maintenance.

Be Prepared For Daily Brushing

You’ll notice me make the same recommendation for each breed sporting a long coat – daily brushing.

Long hair tangles quickly, and if you were to skip brushing it may turn into an unmanageble mess.

Always brush all the way down to the skin.

But that’s not all… You’ll need to visit your groomer much more often to make sure your dog is properly conditioned and blow dried.

As you can see, long coats can be a challenge. But one that some owners happily accept.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu’s come in a variety of styles and trims. The show coat is a used almost exclusively for the show ring (mostly because it requires so much work to maintain).

Most Shih Tzu owners to go for a shorter hairstyle, like the teddy bear trim.

However, if you like the look of the long coat, then I would recommend looking into a Breed Trim – which is a modified version of the show trim that’s much easier to maintain.

That still means you’re brushing everyday, and visiting a groomer once every two weeks at least, yet still doing your own maintenence and baths at home.

For show, this breed is banded and wrapped unless in the show ring – which is carefully wrapping the excess hair in hair bands. Pet trims can be any style the owner likes.

Chinese Crested

A small white Powderpuff Chinese Crested dog standing on the lawn looking very elegant.

This unique breed, the Chinese Crested, displays two distinct and markedly different coat types: hairless and hairy.

The hairless variety, as the name suggests, is mostly devoid of hair, except for their head, feet, and tail.

In sharp contrast, the full-coated Chinese Crested boasts long, silky hair that gracefully drapes their body from head to toe.

This particular subgroup is often affectionately referred to as “Powder Puffs” and is relatively less common compared to their hairless counterparts.

Maintaining the appearance of the Powder Puffs requires a weekly grooming effort. Due to the nature of their silky hair, these dogs are prone to matting and tangles, necessitating regular and thorough brushing to keep their coat in optimal condition.

Hairless often have a thinned out apperance and can be clipped into the traditional “pony clip”.

Powder Puffs are banded and wrapped for show unless in the show ring. Retired pets are often trimmed into a short version of the powder puff clip which includes a very short nose, throat, and ears.

American Cocker Spaniel

Grooming the American Cocker Spaniel to it’s full, lavish show coat requires a skilled hand. As I previously mentioned, a modified pet trim is a similar look that’s easier to handle.

As per AKC standards – the facial hair should be short and fine, while the back is stripped and carded to a medium length.

You’ll notice a decent length on the ears as well, the tops are clipped to expose about 1/3 of the ear leather, and the bottoms are left longer which are brushed out and trimmed.

But most importantly, is the texture of the coat. It should be silky, flat, or slightly wavy. We’re trying to avoid excessive curls or ‘cottony’ textures.

Finally, the outline is carefully scisssored to give shape.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies have two primary coat types: Cotton/Wooly and Silky.

As the names imply, the cotton or wooly coat is thicker and harder to maintain.

On the other hand, the Silky coat is thinner, extending to the floor to achieve the sought-after long hair look, meeting the standards set by the American Kennel Club.

Maintaining a show or breed trim on a long-haired dog demands considerable effort, as mentioned earlier.

The ideal presentation involves achieving a proper show groom with hair that is long, straight (without waves), and glossy, with an almost metallic sheen.

Silky coats undergo careful grooming to fashion a skirt of hair that gracefully touches the floor, complemented by long flowing muzzle and head hair that is tied back in a bow.

This breed is banded and wrapped while showing unless in the show ring, but many owners can keep an almost showable coat by brushing daily.

Long Haired Dachshund

The length of hair on a long-haired dachshund can vary, with some dogs having a much more profuse coat than others, especially after spaying or neutering.

Longhaired dachshunds have longer ears, tail hair, belly feathering, and rear leg feathering. The feet should be trimmed often to prevent tangles between the toes.

Due to their low-to-the-ground stature, matting is more common along the chest and belly areas.

To ensure thorough grooming, use a long-pinned comb and brush. These tools help reach down to the skin, ensuring the removal of any hidden tangles.

Regular and attentive brushing not only maintains the aesthetic appeal of your dachshund’s coat but also contributes to their overall comfort and well-being.


Havanese dogs offer various hair styles, with long coat variations such as Natural, Show Trim, and Short Kennel Cut.

As mentioned earlier, Show Trims cater to those seeking a long, natural coat for potential competition.

The Show Coat essentially remains untouched, with minimal trimming along the body to prevent hair from dragging on the ground.

On the other hand, the Modified Pet Trim is designed for owners desiring the appearance of a show trim with reduced daily maintenance. This trim maintains the long and natural hair but incorporates strategic “shortcuts” such as trimming around the eyes, belly, and bum. Long body hairs are also trimmed to prevent dragging on the ground.

Finally, there’s the Natural style, suitable for those less concerned about adhering to AKC standards.

Regardless of your preference, it’s crucial to remember that daily brushing and regular visits to the groomer are essential for maintaining the health and appearance of your Havanese’s coat.

This breed is banded and wrapped while showing if not in the show ring. Due to the thickness of the coat, many will clip them right down after retirement.


Maltese dog in the green park

Similar to the Havenese, the Maltese come in a variety of hairstyles, but the two long styles (as pictured above) are the show trim and modified pet trim.

A Maltese in show coat should have no wrinkles, kinks, curls, or wooly textures. It’s all flat, silky, and brushed to perfection. Many owners will carefully tie the head hair in a band.

And just like every other breed on this list, there’s a lot of upkeep. Brushing, bathing, and blow drying are a regular occurance.

This breed is banded and wrapped while not showing. Many owners will keep the bodies short with longer legs and faces to keep a more maintainable style.


Originating from China, the Pekingese is a unique breed known for its distinct hairstyle.

These dogs are double coated, featuring long, straight hairs in the top coat and a thick, fluffy undercoat. This double coat means they shed, necessitating regular brushing.

Unlike some other double-coated breeds, Pekingese specifically develop long hair around their mane, a desirable trait in the show ring. A prime example of this long and thick coat can be seen in the 2021 Westminster winner, Wasabi.

Many owners will clip out the bellies of these dogs to help with tangles and overheating.

Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terrier portrait in fall landscape

Scottish Terriers boast a distinctive grooming style featuring a long skirt, beard, and “furnishings” (beard and eyebrows), complemented by a top line that is hand stripped.

In accordance with AKC Standards, the coat is ideally “broken,” possessing a hard and wiry texture while maintaining a soft underlayer.

This breed is almost exlusively handstripped, with only the neck being clipped close.

The coat is carefully blended to create a distinct outline. The long skirt, meticulously stripped, imparts the illusion of a longer-haired dog without veering into a “fluffy” appearance, aligning with the breed’s unique aesthetic standards.

Katlin Primrose

Katlin Primrose

​​Katlin is certified master groomer with over 10 years of experience, a registered veterinarian tech assistant (working in emergency, exotics, and general practice), and has won multiple awards in the show ring with her dogs at AKC and CKC.

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