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Owning a dog is a huge commitment, but is arguably one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have in your life. While there are a lot of decisions to make when it comes to choosing the right dog for you, you might find you’ll have to make some compromises. Temperament, exercise requirements, and level of maintenance are all important factors—nobody wants to bite off more than they can chew. When it comes to grooming, some people are a little frightened by anything more than a bath in the yard or a weekly brushing. But grooming can be an incredible bonding experience for you and your dog, and you will likely find it’s not as difficult as you once imagined. If you’re looking for the perfect companion and are willing to put effort into regular grooming, you might find that these breeds are totally worth it.

1. Poodle

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Poodles of all varieties are thought to be high-maintenance, pampered dogs. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however. Poodles are very intelligent, social, and active dogs. All three varieties—the standard, miniature and toy—make suitable companions for someone looking for an energetic, friendly companion. Originally developed as hunting dogs, Poodles make great running, swimming, and walking partners. Although they may need professional grooming, Poodles make very rewarding companions.

2. Bichon Frise

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The Bichon Frise’s coat is made of hair, rather than fur, and requires regular brushing or combing to prevent painful mats, and bathing and scissoring recommended at least once monthly. Bichons are very cheerful dogs, enjoying the company of friends and family, as well as making new friends. Their playfulness and energy make them great companions for families with children of all ages. Bichons desire to be with their people at all times and do best when taken on outings.

3. Afghan Hound

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The Afghan Hound is a large, powerful sighthound with a magnificent coat. Renowned for its grace and beauty, the breed does require regular brushing and bathing to maintain their luscious, flowing hair. Although somewhat aloof and dignified with strangers, the Afghan is very clownish and playful with friends and family. They bond closely with their families and enjoy being near their people at all times.

4. Portuguese Water Dog

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Active and intelligent, the Portuguese Water Dog makes an excellent choice for active families with children of all ages. Having hair rather than fur, their coats continually grow and, therefore, require regular brushing, bathing, and trimming. They shed very little, however, and are known to be somewhat hypoallergenic. Portuguese Water Dogs excel as running partners, swimmers, therapy dogs, and even competitive agility and obedience dogs.

5. Puli

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The Puli is a Hungarian herding dog known for its thick, corded coat. The breed needs considerable grooming to help these cords form and to keep them from becoming matted and dirty. That said, Pulik make outstanding companions. They are extremely active and intelligent dogs that enjoy spending time outdoors with their families and do well in performance sports like agility. Pulik make great companions for children of all ages.

6. Komondor

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Like the Puli, the Komondor comes from Hungary, but is a livestock guardian breed. Komondors also have thick, corded coats that resemble dreadlocks. Although the breed doesn’t need to be brushed, owners must keep the coat clean while the cords form in order to help them appear tidy. Once formed, they need to be separated in order to prevent painful matting. Komondors are deeply loyal and affectionate with their families; gentle and patient with children that are part of their “pack.” Due to their livestock guardian heritage, they are wary of strangers and remain protective of their families.
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