The problem of dog shedding is one that many owners simply accept because they are very happy with their dog. They might not have done their homework, or failed to realize what a problem shedding can be for both the owner and the dog. The dog, if left ungroomed, will develop problems with its coat and look mangy. As for the owner, they will have to clean up their living quarters more than once a year in many cases, as many breeds shed during the spring and the fall.
But there is another reason for wanting a dog that sheds very little or not at all – allergies. Some people are allergic to the shedding fur while others are allergic to the dander that goes with the shedding territory. In either case, the less a dog sheds, the better. Add to that the less time you will have to spend cleaning up twice a year, and the benefits of a lightly shedding, 99% hypoallergenic dog will outweigh any extra you pay to get any one of the specific breeds on this list.
Several of the breeds on this list require some grooming to maximize their minimal shedding potential. There are a few breeds listed that require almost zero grooming. Whatever dog you choose, you need to be aware of the grooming demands even though all are low shedders and hypoallergenic to owners. The perfect fir for your situation requires you to think carefully and do your homework.
1. Shih Tzu
First on the list is the interesting looking Shih Tzu. This dog that looks like he constantly has an attitude has a coat that does not shed. Nada. The only time you will see fur come off of their coat is when they are brushed or groomed, or their fur becomes broken and falls off. Despite their look that has “attitude” written all over it, the dog is both friendly and loyal to their owner. By the way, that attitude is likely to be inherited as they were bred to resemble lions from the cultural art of China.
2. Yorkshire Terrier
The first of many Terrier breeds that made the list, the Yorkie is one of the most common and popular among dog owners. There are a number of reasons for this. It is a devoted and loyal dog that makes for a great family pet, regardless of the size of your house or apartment. Because they shed very little, they are also low maintenance. One of the problems with the Yorkie is that because they are very strong willed they can be difficult to train. If you are looking for a dog who believes that his size doesn’t matter, you have found the right breed. An early commitment to demonstrating leadership to a Yorkie is essential to enjoy them and their low maintenance characteristics.
Though a very popular dog since the 1980’s, it has become one of the most popular hypoallergenic dogs in the 21st century. The reasons are many. Labradoodles are great for families with young children as they are friendly and have a good deal of energy for children to play with. But the fact that the breed is a mixed breed by definition means that you have to choose carefully. One way to greatly increase the likelihood of buying a Labradoodle that is an easy shedder is to check and see if both the mother and father are Labradoodles. This will increase the chances that the traits passed on are consistent from one generation to the next. If not, you can take the chance that you may have to deal with some shedding, but it depends on your particular situation. Be prepared to spend more money on the guaranteed low shedder.
The Basenji may be the ideal dog for people who want what they consider the two most difficult reasons to own a dog – the barking and the shedding. Basenjis are known as the barkless dog, though they do make a sound but it is not anywhere near the decibel level of you standard barker. As for the shedding, there is virtually no shedding which makes it an ideal dog for people who like to keep their homes especially neat. They can be a difficult breed to train, but the rewards are worth it, especially when you add to the virtual absence of barking and shedding that they groom themselves very similarly to the way a cat keeps itself clean. It is hard to find a downside to this breed except it may be a bit of a challenge to train around children..
This group includes the three major varieties of poodles – toy, miniature, and standard. There was good reason to mix breeds with the Labrador Retriever to create the Labradoodle (above) because beyond their international popularity, they are considered to be one of the most hypoallergenic dogs. They are intelligent and responsive, making them easy to train. What many people do not know (or notice) about the poodle is that they have very little, if any, doggie odor. Some people prefer the clean smell of a dog (not the wet coat kind though) but the fact that it is virtually odorless is likely connected to its hypoallergenic qualities.
If the name of this dog is one of those things you can’t quite put your finger on, the answer is that the dog is Cuban (Havana). A dog of Cuban kings and nobles, this lapdog is very friendly and very low shedding. Their history makes them very sociable and so are ideal as a family pet. If you live in an apartment instead of a house, this dog is nearly perfect for your situation. They are easy to train and don’t require a lot of outdoor time. If you are a first time dog owner who is looking for a low grooming maintenance, high hypoallergenic dog, the Havanese needs to be high on your list.
The famous Schnauzer comes in two sizes – miniature and standard. Either one is a great choice for minimizing shedding and clean up time. One of the most versatile dogs when it comes to serving people, they have been used in Search and Rescue missions, to sniff out drugs, and as police dogs, among many other duties. But their popularity extends to the average person because they are very loyal. Though the coat of the Schnauzer appears to be high maintenance, it isn’t.
8. Border Terrier
This dog has a number of unique traits and characteristics that you will have to take into consideration before spending money to get one. It definitely is a low shedding dog, in part because of its wiry fur coat. A weekly brushing of their coat is required. The breed is also very intelligent, so it is very trainable and ideal for many families. One of its problem traits is that it comes from a history of its ancestors being hunters, which includes family pets such as rabbits and hamsters. So none of these rodent types can be considered to be out of harm’s way around this Terrier breed.
9. Scottish Terrier
We all know about the “Scotty” and their tendency to be very territorial and independent. But many people choose the Scotty because it is very low maintenance and very loyal. That makes for a great family pet. But there clearly is competition down the line with the Labradoodle as the once iconic Scotty dog as a Monopoly game token has been unceremoniously replaced by the same. It may have been replaced because the legs of the Scotty are so short it couldn’t keep up with the other symbols on the board (though no official statistics can support this claim). With the emotional makeup of the Scotty being very sensitive to both praise and blame, it is likely the entire breed took this news hard. The last president of the United States to own a Scotty dog? George W. Bush.
10. Bouvier des Flandres
The Bouvier des Flandres may be considered as a surviving dog breed that was almost brought to extinction during World War I. Its heritage is that it was the resulting of mixing three different dog breeds, all three becoming extent during the first Great War. This means that their low shedding qualities are almost entirely pure, having s relatively short history of only 150 years compared to other dogs on this list. The major downside is that its coat requires a lot of grooming to benefit from its low allergy content. The advantages of owning a Bouvier des Flandres is that it serves multiple roles, such as a police dog or a guard dog.
11. Australian Silky Terrier
With all the Irish and Scottish dogs that made this list, it was only right to add a dog from the Land Down Under. It is a close relative of the Yorkshire Terrier but don’t be fooled by its relatively small size. Like the people of the land it is associated with, it is a bold dog. Maybe it is because it is the only dog that is truly thought of to be 100% Australian. So much so that they changed the dog’s name from the Sydney Terrier (a major Australian city where the breed was very popular) to its commonly known name – the Australian Silky Terrier. A normally groomed Australian Silky Terrier will look like he sheds a ton, but in this case appearances are deceiving.
12. Irish Water Spaniel
One of the bigger issues with a shedding dog is not being allergic to the fur but to the pet dander that comes with the shedding. Enter the Irish Water Spaniel who has the least amount of pet dander than almost any other breed on this list. Some pictures you will come across will make you think he comes out of the 1960’s or 70’s. But while you won’t avoid the grooming responsibilities, when properly taken care of this dog will leave you and your home virtually dander free. You can look at this breed as a tradeoff of sorts. You get the fun of fur but without the problems caused by pet dander. Maybe it is because they love the water so much and are always willing to make a big splash when possible. The closer you are to a body of water, the more likely it is you will have a happy dog.
13. Portuguese Water Dog
Lucky number 13 on this list is an amazing looking dog and one of the rarest available on this list. Like several other dogs on this list, the key to maximizing its low shedding quality is to keep it groomed regularly. If you think this dog looks like it has had a permanent bad hair day, you are not far off. This dog made the media headlines as it was owned by former President Barack Obama and given as a gift to his two daughters on the day of his inauguration. A good choice by the former president, as the dog is loyal and high energy. Being the president means that the grooming duties were likely handed off to a presidential aide. I had to look up the price of this allegedly pricey pup, and it turns out that the average is about $2500 with a high asking price of $5000.
14. Brussels Griffon
You may already have seen this breed if you are a fan of Jack Nicholson movies. In As Good As It Gets with Helen hunt, do you remember the dog that changed him (to a point)? Yes, it was the Brussels Griffon. They are the adorable combination of being both friendly and a good watchdog (you saw that in the movie) so make for a great pet if you have children or a cranky, reclusive elderly man in your home. The movie actually reveals one very important trait of this dog, which needs to be a serious consideration before buying. While they do have a low shedding trait, they also tend to be a “one person dog.” In the movie, the dog had to choose between Melvin (Nicholson) and Simon despite the fact that Simon had spent mountains more time with the dog. So choose wisely.
15. West Highland White Terrier
A Terrier breed that was the result of two other low shedding breeds, the Cairn Terrier and the Scottish Terrier, it inherits the hypoallergenic qualities that make it an ideal dog for those who love the outdoors. Though they are small, they are active with a fair amount of energy. The West Highland White Terrier actually has a double coat, which makes its low shedding quality even more amazing. The reason for breeding two other Terrier breeds? Apparently there are other Terrier breeds that could be mistaken for a fox when hunting. Some dog experts rate the West Highland White Terrier as a breed that requires a significant amount of grooming and has a high shedding potential, but it is important to note that as with many breeds on this list it requires you to do your homework and find the specific breed that matches your needs.
16. Kerry Blue Terrier
I’ll admit this dog was added not only because of its minimal shedding qualities, but also because its coat changes color from black to a noticeable blue after about two years. Now how many dogs can do that? It is also known as the Irish Blue breed. Its fur is actually close to human hair, but if you’re looking for someone to blame when hair is found around the house, pass the blame elsewhere. This breed sheds zero. You are likely to want to give this dog some space to roam, as its history is that it was used for herding and hunting. Think of it as a Blue Collar breed. But also be aware that it does not get along well with other dogs and needs plenty of exercise.
17. Tibetan Terrier
The Tiberian Terrier is another in the Terrier group (you may have noticed it is quite a common breed for low shedding dogs) and is said to be a close relative of the Maltese Terrier below. To choose the right breed of this dog to maximize its hypoallergenic potential means you need to be a consistent and careful groomer. Its coat is bushy, so it has the advantage of being a cuddly dog but at the same time it requires an investment of your time. If you can afford it, much of your grooming time can be recouped by taking it to a dog groomer on a periodic basis.
18. Maltese Terrier
One of the odd things about the Maltese Terrier is that among all the Terrier breeds it is the one whose actual origins are the most uncertain. But who cares! They have these amazing silky while coats but there is little hair to be found anywhere. I know, you wouldn’t believe it from looking at them, especially when they are just puppies. Your furniture and clothes are safe from fur finds. As for the breed itself, the dog has the characteristics of being both very loving and very playful. They are high enough energy to be fun, but no so high that they will require too much of your attention and time.
19. Chinese Crested
OK, so you’re looking for a dog that has a minimal amount of fur and shed potential but you also want a dog that is soft and cuddly. Look no further than the Chinese Crested, which comes in two varieties. There is a Hairless breed and a Powderpuff Breed, which has soft hair covering its body. However, the history of the dog is that its ancestry is from Africa and was used to hunt vermin on incoming boats. They are natural hunters and may be more difficult to train than other dogs on this list. But that history makes them both agile and alert at all times, so you can depend on it to be a security alarm.
20. Bichon Frise
Though the name of this dog sounds like something you might order at a French restaurant (please don’t) the Bichon Frise is one of the most sociable dogs and also one of the most hypoallergenic. You will need to keep their coat clipped regularly in order to maximize the shedless characteristics of this dog, but the grooming does not require extensive work. You won’t have any problems giving this breed a bath, as they love the water and are easy to train.
An important point that needs to be made about any of the dogs on this list is that no specific bred or dog can be 100% guaranteed to be an easy shedder. As with people, it’s all in the DNA. Modern technology has made it possible for you to determine which shedding traits the dog you will buy has, so you can be confident in tour decision. If you are paying top dollar for one of these breeds, the cost of a DNA test and analysis is minimal. The dog may be a mixed breed that has a more dominant shedding gene, in which case you will have spent good money for a future furry problem.
In most dogs on this list you will see there are some grooming requirements on a wide scale. Low shedding and low maintenance does not mean no shedding and no maintenance (in most cases). When discussing the DNA testing above, while you can and should do a doggy DNA test you also have to recognize that in basic genetics there is a thing called the recessive genes. That is why there are human redheads in the world. No DNA test can account for the potential of a recessive gene determining the shedding quality of any specific dog. Any dog needs to be taken care of, so determine the importance of the shedding factor before you decide and be prepared to live with your decision. This is especially true if you are picking from the best of the litter.