Dogs are great. Dog
hair? Not so great, especially when it’s, y’know, all over everything you own. But hey, guess what? There do exist a number of friendly dog breeds that don’t shed — or at least, that shed very minimally. What’s more, a lot of these breeds are also considered hypoallergenic, so they’re less likely to cause problems for people with pet allergies. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a pupper parent, you could do worse than check out these options; not only are they cute and companionable, but also, your wardrobe and furniture will probably thank you for it.
First, though, a fundamental truth: All dogs with hair shed at least a little bit, and hypoallergenic dogs are not allergy-proof. Indeed, one study from 2011 explicitly found that so-called
“hypoallergenic” dogs produce just as many allergens as non-hypoallergenic dogs do. However, some breeds do shed less than others — substantially less, in some cases — so if the idea of getting dog hair everywhere kind of freaks you out, but you still love dogs, there’s still likely to be a furry pal out there just for you.
Besides, having a
dog around has proven health benefits for humans: They can help with depression, reduce your stress levels, and even aid heart health. If you’re thinking about adopting, these 13 breeds are both known for their sunny dispositions and their relatively low shedding habits. Could one of them be just the right companion for you? Maybe! Handout/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Portuguese and Spanish Water Dogs are low-shedding breeds with soft, curly coats. They’re also very similar in temperament, according to the website Dogvills; they are “intelligent and independent,” but also have “a strong loyalty and affectation at the same time.” These qualities make them very easy to train.
They were, however, bred for different purposes, despite the fact that both have a connection to the water: The
Spanish Water Dog was bred to herd livestock and retrieve waterfowl, while the Portuguese Water Dog was meant to be a fisher’s helper, retrieving broken nets and the like. (Fun fact: Sunny and Bo Obama are both Portuguese Water Dogs.) Malteses are small and quite playful; they’re also pretty fearless despite their size, so don’t expect a shrinking violet of a pupper. They often have long, silky white coats — but if the classic Maltese cut doesn’t do it for you (and honestly, I do not blame in the slightest if that is the case), you definitely don’t need to style your pupper in that fashion. My family had a teacup Maltese, and we just kept him with what’s called the “puppy cut” for his entire life.
Also, we named him Swiffer, which, in retrospect, is kind of perfect for a low-shedding dog.
Again, it’s not true that terriers simply don’t shed; all dogs shed in some capacity, and terriers are no exception. That’s especially true if you have a terrier mix — the non-terrier part of your dog’s makeup could indeed be of a shedding variety.
But generally speaking,
many terriers are low-shedding, including Cairn Terriers (like Toto from The Wizard Of Oz), Border Terriers, Boston Terriers, Welsh Terriers, and Yorkshire Terriers. Terriers were generally bred as hunting dogs, though, so before you get one, make sure your situation is such that your new friend will have lots of places to explore, dig, and play.
varieties of Schnauzer — miniature, standard, and giant — have wiry hair that does require some maintenance; regular brushing will stop mats from forming. They don’t, however, shed a lot, so hoorah for that.
According to Play Bar Run, all three
Schnauzers are smart, gentle, and affectionate. They do need a lot of activity, though; a bored Schnauzer can engage in destructive behavior. But if you’re looking for a playful pup who can keep up with you — and won’t have you brushing dog
Bred in the Congo to hunt small game and control rodent populations,
Basenjis are both low-shedding and low-maintenance when it comes to their coats. They’re also not big barkers, which should satisfy pet owners (or neighbors) who prefer quieter pups.
They do have… uh… “unique” personalities, though; according to DogTime, they’re fiercely intelligent, friendly, and love to play, but they can also be incredibly stubborn: “A
Basenji may know perfectly well all the commands you teach him, but whether he actually performs them will always be in question. He may think first and then obey, or he may decide there's really no good reason to do as you ask,” the website’s page on the breed reads. Be prepared for some pushback if you adopt a Basenji.
Also known simply as Xolos,
Xoloitzcuintlis are ancient dogs, bred 3,000 years ago by the Aztec civilization. They come in three different sizes, as well as with two different hair situations: Small, medium, or large Xolos might be totally hairless, or they might have short, flat coats. The hairless variety obviously won’t shed at all, but you’ll still to give your pal some maintenance on a regular basis: Baths about once a month are recommended, followed up by a good moisturizer. You’ll also want to make sure you apply sunblock to your Xolo if they’re going to be outside for an extended amount of time.
Poodles are both recommended for novice dog owners and of a low-shedding variety; indeed, according to Dog Time, a lot of people who are typically
allergic to dogs can keep Poodles with little to no reactions. Poodles’ wiry, curly hair lends itself well to styling, if that’s your thing; it can also come in a variety of different colors. It does, however, require a lot of maintenance — expect to get your Poodle groomed every three to six weeks. (Also, WOW, get you a Poodle that can do backflips like this one, please.)
Poodles, by the way, are often one of the breeds used in a variety of hybrid breeds — think Goldendoodles (Golden Retriever and Poodle), Yorkiepoos (Yorkshire Terrier and Toy Poodle), and Cockapoos (Cocker Spaniel and Poodle). These Poodle hybrids are sometimes recommended as low-shedding dogs, but be warned that when it comes to hybrid dogs,
whether or not your pup will shed is quite unpredictable. If the other breed used to create the hybrid tends to shed a lot, there’s still very much a chance that a “hypoallergenic” hybrid will end up shedding after all. Theo Wargo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
German Shorthaired Pointer and the German Wirehaired Pointer are affectionate, high-energy puppers who don’t shed a whole lot. Weekly brushings will keep their already minimal amounts of shedding down even more. But make sure you’ve got time to play with them and space in which they can exercise; these two related doggos were originally hunting dogs, so they’re made for the outdoors. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Originally bred as water retrieval dogs for the marshes of Romagna, Italy,
Lagotto Romagnolos were unfortunately out of a job when the marshes were drained in the 19th century, according to Petful. However, they were re-trained to hunt for truffles — an activity they took to magnificently.
Although this breed is pretty rare — Pet Guide reports that there are only about 500
Lagotto Romagnolos registered in the United States today — they’re quickly gaining a reputation as an excellent companion breed. They’re active, affectionate, and shed very little. Everybody wins!
Also, Lagotto Romagnolos are adorable. I think they look like Muppets, but maybe that’s just me.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
If you have kids or other pets, a
Bichon might be the pup for you; they’re cheerful, sociable, and do well with children and animals. They can be a little tough to housebreak, so consider yourself warned — but they’re also easily trainable, so that quality might help a bit. Their coats do require some maintenance — make sure you brush your Bichon regularly — but they’re not big shedders, for which your allergies, furniture, and wardrobe will probably thank them. Oh, and if you’re an apartment dweller, Bichons are good picks; they don’t need a ton of outdoor space in order to get their zoomies out.
If you like bigger dogs,
a Redbone Coonhound might be for you. They’re great with kids and make terrific family dogs; they do need a lot of room to run around, though, and can be a bit howl-y. They shed moderately — perhaps a bit more than some of the other breeds on this list — but they’re easy to groom, requiring only a weekly brushing and occasional baths. Charles McQuillan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Both regular-sized and miniature Shar-Peis shed only minimally; however, their coats can be one of three different varieties, with some shedding more than others. The short “horse” coat sheds the least, while the longer “brush” coats shed more. Generally,
shedding will correspond with the seasons — specifically fall and spring, according to the organization North American Shar-Pei Rescue.
Dogtime describes Shar-peis a “a naturally clean dog with little odor”; however, periodic baths — once every three months or so — can help. Make sure you
dry your Shar-Pei pal carefully after their bath, though; if their folds of skin aren’t kept dry, they might develop fungal growths. Desiree Navarro/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
If you like soft and furry dogs, but don’t want to deal with too much shedding,
take a look at the Papillon — this breed will satisfy both those desires. Small and energetic, these little pups get their name from the shape of their ears; they resembled a butterfly’s wings — and the word “papillon” is French for “butterfly.” Regular brushings with a pin brush, rather than a bristle one, will keep your doggo’s coat silky smooth.