There are basically two reasons why people want dogs that do not shed: allergies and housekeeping. Although the allergies that some will suffer around dogs are not actually only from the dog’s hair, but also from the dander, the hair is the more visible and gets the entire blame. Many dog owners really don’t care one way or another about hair that might be shed in the home, and just consider it part and parcel of owning a dog, but other people are fussier and find shed hair dirty and distasteful.
Most dogs undergo an annual or semi-annual shed when sometimes copious amounts of hair will find their way onto the floor and furniture. If you want a dog, but don’t want to have shed hair all over, or have a family member with allergy problems, there are a number of breeds of all sizes that either don’t shed at all, or shed very little.
Dog dander is actually composed of the flakes of skin and hair that the dog sheds every day. Proteins in these flakes and on the hair contain allergens, which are what irritate some people and cause sneezing, rashes, and other allergic reactions. We humans have dander, too, just think of all the shampoos that promise that they will cure your dandruff. And yes, we humans shed hair and our dander is now being investigated as a possible allergen.
Choosing the Right Breed That Doesn’t Shed
While there are a number of dogs that have in common that they will not decorate the home with large amounts of shed hair, there will be a range of activity level and personality traits that should also be taken into consideration.
Chinese Crested Hairless
Chinese Crested Hairless dogs are probably the ultimate in hypoallergenic dogs. Having hair only on the head, lower legs, and tail means that there is little hair to be shed to begin with. These dogs will bond strongly with one person, generally, but will be loyal to the entire human pack in the home. Chinese Crested dogs require very little exercise. The Chinese Powderpuff is actually a variation on the Hairless and litters can include pups of both kinds. The Powderpuff also sheds very little, so can be substituted for its more hairless sibling.
Italian Greyhounds are a more active small dog than the above, and as they possess a very short, neat coat, they shed very little. These dogs love to play and will enjoy a long walk every day. Attractive and elegant-looking little dogs, Italian Greyhounds are very affectionate, but should not be considered lap dogs. Italian Greyhounds are sensitive to the cold and need to be dressed warmly during the winter in colder climates.
If you want a dog with an amusing face that won’t leave piles of hair all over the home, the Affenpinscher is the pet for you. While these dogs do shed a bit more than some ‘hypoallergenic’ dogs, they have little dander to cause allergy problems. The Affenpinscher is very intelligent and easy to train and has low exercise requirements, making it good in any setting. These little dogs have a mischievous streak.
While the Puli may look like there would be hair all over the place, the Puli has a secret – it keeps all its hair to itself. The double coat on the Puli forms cords that not only incorporate all the shed hair, but also provide protection from weather. Originally a shepherding dog, the Puli does have fairly high exercise needs, but bonds strongly with his or her human family.
The Lakeland Terrier sheds almost no hair at all, making it ideal for those who are worried about drifts of dog hair in the home. This is a lively fellow with a cheerful disposition who will love to go on long walks with his or her owners, or even run alongside a bicycle. The coat should be plucked twice a year, however.
An attractive and impressive looking dog, the Standard Schnauzer is another good choice for active families that want a dog that doesn’t shed. In addition to being a great companion dog, the Standard Schnauzer is also a valuable watch and guard dog. This Schnauzer does need a good deal of exercise every day to stay happy and healthy; it is comfortable in an apartment as long as its exercise requirements are met. The coat is usually stripped two times a year, and this helps reduce shedding even further.
It may be hard to believe, that a dog with so much hair, the Standard Poodle, is also one that sheds the least. Well known not only for the fantastic topiary clipping done on their coats, but also for their friendly dispositions and trainability, the Standard Poodle sheds minimally, if at all. The curly coat can be kept in a rough or puppy cut, with the hair longer on the ears for appearance sake, and this will also help to minimize any shedding problems.
The Airedale Terrier is a popular and intelligent dog that sheds very little. One of the larger breeds, it makes a good watch dog as well as family member. The Airedale can be a bit stubborn at times, which could make training somewhat difficult, but giving this dog enough exercise and mental stimulation will produce a balanced, enjoyable pet. The coat of the Airedale should be plucked every six months.
If you are looking for a large, impressive dog that doesn’t shed, consider the Komondor. The long coat of the Komondor develops over time into cords, like the coat of the Puli. When the dog’s hair is released, instead of falling to the floor or ground, it works into the cords, helping to form an armor for the dog against weather and enemies. This is a dog that was bred to guard flocks of sheep or cattle, and takes its duties very seriously. However, although not suitable for an apartment, the Komondor is great in a rural setting where it can get exercise. It will guard its human family fearlessly.
Whatever your reason for seeking a dog that sheds very, very little, there are a number of breeds that will fit your requirements, whether you want a large, medium, or small dog. Regardless of the breed you decide upon, even if it’s the Chinese Hairless, you should brush the dog’s coat every day – the only exception to this is for the Puli and Komondor, they shouldn’t be brushed at all to preserve their cords. For those dogs that need their coats pulled or stripped, you can either learn how to do this yourself, or you can take the dog to a groomer.
If you have always wanted a dog, but have been worried about shedding or dander, the above dogs can provide a solution.