by Anna Burke
Not everyone enjoys cleaning up copious amounts of dog hair. If you are looking for a small dog with equally small amounts of shedding hair, you are in luck. From small dogs that don’t shed at all, to dogs who shed minimally, here are the dog breeds you need to know about to help you decide which breed is right for you.
Affenpinscher means “monkey-like terrier,” and this breed’s intelligence and appearance are true to its name. Despite its small size, this Toy breed is fearless, and with an Affenpinscher keeping an eye on things, you don’t need to be afraid of unannounced guests or of finding dog hair in your food. The Affenpinscher’s wiry coat sheds very little and also has almost no doggy odor. A twice-weekly brushing with a slicker brush and comb is all that is needed to keep the Affenpinscher looking shaggy yet neat, and this low-maintenance little canine is famous for its sense of humor.
For people who love hounds but don’t enjoy their distinctive odor and shedding habits, the Basenji might be the perfect small dog breed. The Basenji sheds very minimally, and its short, fine coat requires little care beyond the occasional brushing. Basenjis are also famously quiet, which makes them an ideal dog for apartments – as long as they get daily exercise and playtime.
The Bichon Frise is truly a non-shedding small dog breed. These playful and affectionate dogs are an ideal dog breed for people with allergies, but they are not maintenance-free. The Bichon Frise’s hair grows continuously, requiring frequent grooming, brushing, and the occasional bath in order to keep up with their powder-puff looks.
Like the Bichon Frise, the distinctive fluffy coat of the Bolognese is composed of hair rather than fur. The Bolognese does not shed, although dead hair must be brushed out regularly, and the coat requires daily grooming to keep these lovable lap dogs looking their best.
Despite its small size, the Brussels Griffon is not a dog that requires pampering. Both smooth-coated and rough-coated varieties of the Brussels Griffon thrive with regular grooming and are minimal shedders. Their small size means that a daily walk and indoor play is usually enough to satisfy their exercise needs, and this loyal little dog does best with families who are frequently home.
One way to avoid shedding is to select a small hairless dog breed. Chinese Crested come in two coat types: hairless and powderpuff. Hairless Chinese Crested have hair on their heads, tail, and feet, while the powderpuff is covered with a coat of fine hair that sheds very minimally. Hairless dog breeds require extra care and attention when it comes to their skin. Without hair, they need protection from the sun and cold and are more prone to skin irritations.
Coton De Tulear
The Coton de Tulear has a distinctive, long, fluffy coat that is considered hypoallergenic, making it a good choice for allergy sufferers and those who want a small dog that doesn’t shed. Coton de Tulear do require daily grooming to maintain their coats, but their lighthearted and gentle natures make the effort worthwhile.
These native Cuban dogs offer owners both their patented spunky charm and a coat that doesn’t shed, which means less time spent lint rolling the furniture and more time romping with the playful Havanese. Their coat requires weekly brushing and regular baths to keep them clean and healthy.
Maltese have charmed their human counterparts for three millennia. This ancient dog of Malta has not changed much over the past 28 centuries, perhaps in part because their long, white coats shed very little, making them an ideal lap dog. Their coats do require regular brushing to prevent mats from forming, and an occasional bath removes any unwanted dirt and debris from their long, silky hair.
This small dog breed from Tibet makes an excellent companion. Calm yet playful, the Lhasa Apso enjoys brisk walks and resting in their owner’s lap. Lhasa Apsos don’t shed, but their coats do require maintenance. Many owners keep their Lhasa Apsos clipped in a “puppy cut” to avoid daily grooming and brushing of their long hair.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a smart, trainable, and cheerful little dog that strongly resembles his Standard Schnauzer cousin. This Terrier sheds very little, and their adaptability makes them at home in the city or the country, as long as their people are close by. To keep Miniature Schnauzers looking their best, incorporate weekly brushing and regular grooming into their schedule.
Most people think of Poodles when they hear about small dogs that don’t shed, and with good reason. Poodles are non-shedding and hypoallergenic. Miniature and Toy Poodles offer these qualities in petite, intelligent packages that differ only in size from Standard Poodles. All Poodles are highly intelligent, making them easy to train, and they are an active, proud breed. Their hair does require regular grooming.
The Scottish Terrier, or Scottie, is a Terrier breed known for its boldness, confidence, and big personality. The wiry, weather-resistant coat sheds very little, although they do need regular brushing, grooming, and the occasional hand-stripping to keep their coats healthy and to maintain the breed outline. Scotties are clever and independent dogs with strong prey drives, which means owners must take care around smaller animals.
The Shih Tzu is another breed with a long pedigree. The favored house pet of the Tang Dynasty, these “little lions dogs” come in a variety of colors and patterns. Their long, silky hair is very low-shedding and looks exceptionally regal when brushed out, befitting their royal ancestry. This Toy breed is sturdy and lively, with a carriage often described as arrogant, due to their proudly held heads and curling tails. Shih Tzu were bred to be house pets, and their gentle, trusting nature makes them exceptional companions.
West Highland White Terrier
The coarse, white hair of the West Highland White Terrier, referred to affectionately by fans of the breed as Westies, sheds very little. This sturdy little dog is intelligent, loyal, happy, and highly entertaining. They are curious dogs with moderate energy levels and an independent streak common among all Terriers, that can make training a challenge at times.
Also known as the Mexican Hairless, the Xoloitzcuintli is an ancient and rare breed of dog that can be hairless or coated. Hairless varieties retain a small amount of hair on their heads, and the coated variety has a very short, fine coat that sheds minimally. As with any hairless breed, the Xolo needs a little extra attention when it comes to their skin to protect them from the elements. Xolos make attentive watchdogs and affectionate companions, and while they enjoy physical activities like walks and vigorous play, they are well known for their tranquil personality around the home.
Sprightly, tomboyish, and affectionate, the Yorkshire Terrier, often called the Yorkie, is a Toy breed full of personality. These spunky lap dogs are the seventh most popular dog breed in America, and for good reason. Yorkshire Terriers do not shed, and their silky coats are beautiful when brushed out daily, which is made easy by their small size. Don’t be fooled by their regal carriage – Yorkies have working-class roots. These fearless terriers hunted rats in English clothing mills, although today they are just as happy to sit on their owner’s lap as they are running down a rodent.
Other Small Dog Breeds That Don’t Shed
The Terrier group is full of small dogs that don’t shed or shed minimally. Wiry- and coarse-haired Terriers shed less than other breeds, making Terriers ideal small dogs for people who don’t enjoy excessive shedding.
Here are some other non- or low-shedding Terrier breeds:
Wire Fox Terrier
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
There are many breeds of small dogs that don’t shed, but just because your dog doesn’t shed doesn’t mean your pet requires zero maintenance. Take the time to carefully research non-shedding dog breeds to find the dog that best matches your lifestyle and personality. To avoid health problems, always purchase a dog from a reliable breeder, feed your dog a high-quality diet, and take your pet to the vet for regular checkups.
by Anna Burke