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8 Adorable Dogs with Beards

These dogs with beards are full of personality and pep—though they do require just a bit more grooming than other pups

Brussels Griffon in autumn on a walk in the Park
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The cutest dogs with beards

Have you ever fallen for a handsome fellow with a beard? Or how about a little lady with a lush forest of hair on her chin? We’re talking about dogs, of course! Dogs with beards include some of the most popular dog breeds out there, as well as several lesser-known pedigrees. And those beards aren’t just there to look cute and catch kibble. Most bearded dogs were bred as hunters of small prey, like rodents, mice and burrowing animals, per the American Kennel Club. The beards were there to protect their muzzles from defensive animal bites, as well as thorns, branches and anything else a fearless pup might run into when he’s on the hunt.

Today, those beards probably don’t do much ratting, but they can get pretty ratty. Did you know that whether a dog has facial hair is controlled by just one gene? And that gene also determines whether their legs are covered with long hair rather than just feathered at the backs of the legs? Notice that all dogs with beards also have fluffy legs. Let’s take a look at some of the best-known bearded dog breeds, plus what’s involved in taking care of those distinctive chin hairs.

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Reviewed for accuracy by: Caroline Coile, PhD, an award-winning journalist specializing in canine breeds, health and science. She’s the author of 34 books, including Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds.

Close-Up Of Airedale terrier Dog Outdoors
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Airedale terrier

Airedales are known as the King of Terriers for their tall, sturdy stature and stellar reputation as hunters, wartime messenger dogs, athletes and companions. But we say they’re also the King of Bearded Dogs, as few breeds sport ‘staches and long beards quite like these guys do—perhaps because of their stately long noses. Whether it’s mud, water, dog food or other detritus, those beards will find it, so be prepared for daily washings of their muzzles, as well as mopping up the drips they leave behind.

Scottish Terrier in park
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Scottish terrier

Scottish terriers, or “Scotties,” as they’re affectionately known, are one of the most iconic dogs with beards. They once earned their keep chasing down varmints in Scotland’s rugged terrain. Today, they’re better known for their quizzical expressions, shiny black fur, floor-sweeping coats and distinctive mustaches and beards. While they don’t shed that much, they need regular grooming, including what’s called “hand-stripping”: the removal of their dead hairs by hand. All that facial hair can quickly turn into a soupy mess, so prepare for frequent face-washing.

beautiful bearded collie
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Bearded collie

With his bouncy, boundless energy, a bearded collie can easily romp his way right into your heart. Bred as herders, these lovable family dogs are known for their clownish antics and, of course, their long, flowing coats and ample beards and mustaches. Because these medium dog breeds need a weekly brushing that includes de-tangling, it’s best to get them accustomed early to brushing, as well as having their paws handled—you’ll frequently be washing and de-gunking those furry mitts!

Close-Up Of Miniature Schnauzer
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Miniature schnauzer

A long, fluffy beard and mustache, plus perpetually raised eyebrows, give miniature schnauzers one of the more human-like expressions in the dog world—it’s almost as if these toy breeds know something we don’t! What their owners do know is that these smaller-size versions of their cousins, giant and standard schnauzers, are terrific little companion pets who never want to leave your side. Their wiry coats don’t shed much, but they do need regular grooming—as well as beard-washing. Because of their instinct as ratters, these pups shouldn’t be around small mammals like gerbils or hamsters.

Brussels Griffon in grass
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Brussels griffon

These sweet, sensitive canine souls come in two varieties: smooth or rough coat. Rough-coated Brussels griffons—or griffs, for those in the know—sport a bushy beard that makes their otherwise flat faces look downright comical. Their coats are usually trimmed short, leaving just the beard, which does require frequent washing. These intelligent dogs will bond with their humans and be loyal, long-lived pets. They need a moderate amount of exercise and are well suited to apartment living.

Lhasa Apso sitting inside at home
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Lhasa apso

With big personalities tucked into a small package, Lhasa apso dogs are known not just for their long beards and mustaches but also for their long bangs and flowing, floor-sweeping coats. This luscious long coat evolved for protection from the harsh weather of Tibet, where these pups once served as pint-size protectors of homes and palaces. Today, owning a Lhasa almost certainly means trips to the groomer, as well as daily brushing and frequent baths to keep that long beard and coat smelling good. They’re also one of the longest-living dog breeds, with a life expectancy of up to 14 years.

German wirehaired pointer dog outdoors in nature
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German wirehaired pointer

Their bushy, wiry eyebrows, muzzle hair and beard give German wirehaired pointers a slightly goofy look, but these fleet-footed working dogs with beards are no dummies. Originally bred as hunting dogs, their funny facial hair kept them out of trouble when they chased prey into the thick underbrush. Today, these energetic, fast dogs need lots of exercise—such as daily runs or long walks—but just minimal grooming. They’re low shedders and don’t need to be trimmed, though you might have to wash their face from time to time!

two soft-coated wheaten terriers playing outside
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Soft-coated wheaten terrier

Loved for their buoyant personalities and soft, wavy coats, wheatens are tall, sturdy terriers who were bred for ratting and keeping all the barnyard animals in line. Today, these energetic dogs with beards still need a way to burn off energy, but they shouldn’t be allowed off-leash in open areas, as they’ll chase other animals, cars and even kids on bikes. These silky beauties need to be brushed regularly to remove dirt from their coats, then combed to remove any tangles.

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At Reader’s Digest, we’re committed to producing high-quality content by writers with expertise and experience in their field in consultation with relevant, qualified experts. For this piece, Elizabeth Heath tapped her experience covering dog behavior, and then Caroline Coile, PhD, an award-winning journalist specializing in canine breeds, health and science, gave it a rigorous review to ensure that all information is accurate and offers the best possible advice to readers. We verify all facts and data, back them with credible sourcing and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.

Elizabeth Heath
Elizabeth is a travel writer based in rural Umbria, Italy. Her work regularly appears in national and international publications, including Reader's Digest, the Washington Post, Discover Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Smithsonian and U.S. News & World Report. A full-time resident of Italy, she is the author of several guidebooks on Rome, including the Rome sections of Frommer's travel guides, and has written scores of articles about travel and culture in Italy, elsewhere in Europe and further afield. A lifelong "dog person," she also writes about dog breeds for Reader's Digest and her current mixed-breed pooches, Toppi and Winnie, distract her from work way too often.