Long-haired dog breeds, especially when it comes to small breeds, require a lot of special care and attention. Make sure whatever haircut you decide on for your little dog, fits your lifestyle and grooming expectations, as well as the breed standards if you intend to show your dog.
The Long Coat
The long coat for dogs like the Yorkshire terrier, Maltese and shih tzu are the breed standard, so if you intend to show your dog, it is your only option. With a show coat, the hair is left long and sweeping, reaching all the way to the floor. This cut requires daily brushing and regular shampooing.
Chinese Crested-Type Cut
Even if your dog is not a Chinese crested, you can still achieve a similar look by having the hair on your dog's body trimmed closely and leaving the hair long on the tail, ears, head and sometimes the back legs. This cut gives you the benefit of having long hair to play with and adore without as much maintenance.
A Westie cut, named after the cut typically used on West Highland white terriers, is another great choice for long-haired breeds. This cut leaves the body about 2 inches long, a little shorter around the neck and shoulders and longer on stomach and legs in the "skirt" area.
Understanding the Time Commitment
Most dog owners enjoy the thought of having a long-haired dog, but few understand the time commitment and consistency required. Longer cuts require regular brushing and bathing. If your dog's coat is long enough to touch the ground, you must clean out the debris daily to avoid mats and tangles.