Dogs Who Don’t Shed: Separating Fact from Fiction

It's a biological fact that there are no non-shedding dog breeds, but some shed less than others.

Maltese dogs with ribbons in their hair.
Maltese dogs with ribbons in their hair. Photography ©Cynoclub | Thinkstock.

People seek out dogs who don’t shed for a wide range of reasons. Some folks are looking for the mythical hypoallergenic dog; others want a companion that is compatible with the allergies they do have. Others seek low-maintenance dogs with wiry or shorter hair, or even hairless dogs, who are easier to manage, groom and clean up after in the home. This may sound counterintuitive, but hairless dogs do have hair. All dogs shed at one time or another. It’s an inescapable biological fact that there are no non-shedding dog breeds. Here at Dogster, we want to clarify what you can expect from “dogs who don’t shed” and illustrate that hair length, maintenance and allergens are not necessarily or causally linked.

The art I’ve selected is obviously not comprehensive in terms of the number of dog breeds that don’t shed, but it is a representative sample. These photos show that dogs who don’t shed come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and coat lengths. Short hair doesn’t necessarily indicate no-shed dogs, and long or thick hair doesn’t mean a dog is prone to shedding. There is also plenty of lived experience and evidence to prove that even dogs who supposedly don’t shed much somehow manage to leave quite enough hair behind them around the house.

First, why do dogs shed?

A dog with a grooming tool or brush.
Why do dogs shed in the first place? Photography by Laures/Thinkstock.

Depending on the breed or the particular mix that constitutes a given dog, dog shedding is a natural and normal part of a dog’s life. In the main, dogs that shed often, frequently or voluminously do so for a variety of reasons. Natural shedding is linked to season, health, diet, temperature and exposure to sunlight. Shedding is also a consequence of completely natural, if irregular, stresses such as giving birth to puppies, travel, illness and allergies. Lower-frequency and less common reasons for dog shedding include injury, trauma and malnutrition.

Dogs who don’t shed are not the same as hypoallergenic dogs. Certainly, if you were to fashion a Venn diagram of dogs who don’t shed and so-called hypoallergenic dogs, there are a number of breeds that would overlap. Don’t mistake a low-shedding dog for a hypoallergenic dog. By the same token, it is important to remember that low-shedding dogs are not the same as low-maintenance dogs. Each dog, and every dog breed, is distinct with regard to size, temperament, disposition, and activity level. Dogs that don’t shed, or shed much, likewise run the gamut when you consider maintenance and grooming needs that vary based on coat consistency and thickness.

Small dogs who don’t shed

Chihuahua. Photography by Shutterstock.
Chihuahuas are among the small dogs who don’t shed that much. Photography by Victoria Rak / Shutterstock.

All dogs who don’t shed should be reclassified as dogs who don’t shed much, or dogs that shed less than others. Just as hypoallergenic dogs still produce allergens, including dander, which increases as a dog ages, shedding, even among non-shedding dog breeds, is situation and lifestyle dependent. Non-shedding small dogs are not simply those with short, wiry or little hair; many have long, thick, or double coats.

Small dogs who don’t shed much include, but are not limited to:

  1. Basenji
  2. Chihuahua
  3. Coton de Tuléar
  4. Dachshund
  5. Bichon Frisé
  6. Chinese Crested
  7. Havanese
  8. Maltese
  9. Miniature Schnauzer
  10. Lhasa Apso
  11. Puli
  12. Shih Tzu
  13. Xoloitzcuintli
  14. Many varieties of Terrier (Boston, Jack Russell, Scottish, Yorkshire)

Big dogs who don’t shed

A Bullmastiff sizes up against a young girl.
Bullmastiffs are a low-shedding large dog breed. Photography by Eduard Ly Senko/Thinkstock.

Under the category of “big dogs who don’t shed,” we’re including medium, large and extra-large dogs; in other words, dogs that are anything but small, though many have small or toy mixes. These larger dogs that don’t shed much vary greatly in terms of their coat length, energy levels and grooming needs.

Large dogs that don’t shed much include, but are not limited to

  1. Boxer
  2. Bullmastiff
  3. Doberman Pinscher
  4. Greyhound
  5. Komondor
  6. Old English Sheepdog
  7. Peruvian Inca Orchid
  8. Poodle
  9. Portuguese Water Dog
  10. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  11. Saluki
  12. Schnauzer

Dogs who don’t shed much can still be high-maintenance

Schnauzers are among the dogs who don’t shed that much. Photography by Grigorita Ko / Shutterstock.

These lists of non-shedding dog breeds, or dogs who don’t shed much, are useful whether you’re looking for a companion that you can tolerate from the point of view of allergies or home cleaning. However, these dogs come in a variety of hair lengths and hair consistencies, and many dogs that don’t shed require regular grooming and maintenance to prevent problems like matted hair and infectious agents that can get trapped in short but thick coats.

The amount that a dog sheds isn’t equivalent to the amount of work, maintenance and care a dog requires. Whether allergies, cleaning or other reasons factor into choosing a low-shedding dog, due diligence is always recommended. Whatever reason we seek out dogs that don’t shed, as dog owners we need to keep in mind that the onus for controlling or managing dog hair in the house is as much our responsibility as it is a factor of dog genetics.

Share your experiences with low-shedding dogs!

A boxer lying in the grass.
Boxers among the bigger dogs who don’t shed. Photography by BarboraPeskova / Shutterstock.

Grooming and maintenance on a regular basis is vital for all dogs — with long, short or no hair — and that includes bathing and brushing. You should regularly clean and disinfect all parts and rooms of your home where your dog spends time, including the dog’s bed. If you have hardwood or tiled floors, regular sweeping, swiffering or mopping will help; for those with carpets or rugs, regular vacuuming is the order of the day.

Tell us: Do you own one of the dogs who don’t shed much featured in our lists? What have your real-world experiences with low-shedding dogs been? What are the challenges and joys associated with each of the breeds? Do you have a mix that sheds less than you imagined? Share your stories with us in the comments!

Thumbnail: Maltese dogs. Photography ©Cynoclub | Thinkstock.

April is Spring Cleaning month here at Dogster! Stay tuned for a few articles every week on all things spring cleaning and dog — whether that’s dog-safe ways to clean your home, spring-cleaning your dog’s grooming routine with advice on brushing and bathing — and much more.

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30 thoughts on “Dogs Who Don’t Shed: Separating Fact from Fiction”

  1. Pingback: | Lhasa Apso. The dog from the roof of the world

  2. I enjoyed reading through your article. So refreshing to see someone state clearly that all dogs do shed. If more people were aware of this fact, I believe we’d start to see the number of dogs relinquished to shelters due to their maintenance needs drop a bit.

  3. Pingback: Large Dog Breeds That Don't Shed

  4. I have an American Hairless Terrier who captured my heart. In the past I’ve had Shelties (major shedders). But Luca won my heart with his huge personality and charming character. The fact that he is hairless is a plus in grooming and no shedding, but requires a large wardrobe to accommodate him in cold weather. I can’t imagine ever having a haired dog again.

  5. I had to laugh when I saw chihuahua on this list. They may not be big, but they shed a lot, shorthair variety anyway. Ours leaves hair on everything.

  6. Evelyn Baldwin

    I have a Transylvanian Scent Hound! I have never seen such a thick slick coat with no shedding! I was curious as to why he never sheds! He’s has a little temper and jealous tendency! Very good pup!

  7. My aunt had a boxer pug mix, sweet dog I have never seen a dog that shed ad much as this dog. Piles of hair everywhere and she had a cleaning person in constantly. Then I met this patient of mine. I’m a caregiver. Her dog was I think a shistu mix with may be a pekinese. If spend all day sweeping up large amounts of long hair. I couldn’t take it. I’m used to my poodles and yorkies. I was supposed to be there for the lady not the dog. I never knew any long haired dogs shed.

  8. I’ve had Old English Sheep Dogs, totally high maintenance, hours of grooming and still leave hair balls in the house. Then I had Cavaliers, a Tri-color and a Blenhiem. The Blenhiem would shed year round and left white hair everywhere, the Tri-color never shed. Currently I have a Bolognese, (similar to Bicon) supposedly never sheds, however way high maintenance to remove the old hairs (which I knew at purchase). Has a long coat, some people give puppy cut, standard has no clipping. I’m retired so I can handle. I’ve been grooming him every night since I got him at 3 months, actually a good bonding time for us. I do have a grandchild with allergies who is not bothered by him.

  9. Christine Nazarian

    I have a ( soft coated wheaten terrier ) doesn’t shed at all no hair in the house need grooming every 3 month . Because I have allergies

  10. My dog Gonzo is a mutt…Mom was a Yorkshire terrier; Dad was a Yorkie / Chihuahua. He does not shed at all. He can get matted if we let his hair go Rastaman; but if we groom him every three months or so…he is fine. I had an English Sheepdog growing up and I recall he shed a bit, although the hair was long. It is not necessary for me to have a non-shedding dog, but when I go visit friends with shedders, I am reminded how sweet it is to have my Gonzo…although I love all dogs irregardless.

  11. We have a yorkie terrier. He does not shed. Mind you we also get him groomed every few months. He is an indoor dog so he doesn’t really need the extra coat. Some of our family are allergic to cats and dogs but our Yorkie does not bother them.

  12. both my greyhound ans whippet shed… not alot.. the whippet less.. but still find her hairs on my bed, her favorite place for a nap.. the greyhound sheds more though.. not alot.. but some.
    Yes.. after adopting our greyhound and changing her food to something much better.. her hair is much nicer and she sheds less

  13. This article was so repetitive I had to just put it down. You information then repeated it over and over by changing the wording. Does Dogster have an editor?

  14. I agree that poodles should definitely be on the non-shedding list. They are also much less allergenic than most dogs. They have hair, not fur. It’s the dander of fur bearing dogs and cats that typically causes allergic responses.

  15. What about poodles? Can’t find them on your list. They are considered a major hypoallergenic and non-shedder breed. We have a schnoodle and a schnauzer/spitz/mixed terrier and they do not shed at all. Of course they are fed a natural raw food diet with fish oil supplements and at the age of almost 15 years old each are in good health — except for those pesky “schnauzer bumps!”

  16. Oh my, I believe you have forgotten the Airedale Terrier and the Wire Fox Terrier. These breeds do not shed unless people ignore doing a brushing of the dog every so often!

  17. Pingback: Sizing Up 5 Medium-Sized Dog Breeds – Pets World

  18. We have a Maltipoo (Maltese & Poodle). I am an asthmatic & have several allergies. Our Sammie doesn’t cause any problems for me as long as I get him groomed every 5-6 weeks.

  19. I bred long haired and smooth dachshunds for many years. I found that the longs tended to only shed in spring. Smooths shed more often. Also I did not OVER bathe my longs. Once a month to 6 weeks was plenty. They did not have a doggy odor and a weekly brushing was sufficient. Doggy Grandma

  20. We have a havanese, 2x maltipoos (poodle/maltese), a lhasa apso and a Tibetain Terrier, none shed (or if they do we certainly don’t notice it at all). All wonderful breeds. Many with dog allergies have met them and don’t react to them so I guess they are pretty good for allergy suffers too

  21. I live in Spain and have a Perro de Agua Espanol cross with possibly a poodle- She was an abandoned dog I found near death on a river bank. She has been with me for over 13 years and has NEVER shed a hair! Purebred Perros de Agua Espanol grow ringlets which you don’t brush out – just use your fingers to separate and tidy them. They do need cutting short for the summer and baths – obviously they LOVE swimming! PLUS they DON’T shed!!

  22. I have two shih tzus. They really don’t shed. My girl has a single coat and never sheds. My boy has an undercoat which he “blows” in the spring. I keep them short… and I groom Danny Boy often in early spring… it helps. They also are hypoallergenic. Wonderful dogs. I’ve had many different breeds of dogs , Springer, cavalier king charles, westie… they all shed… and all are great , lovey dogs.

  23. greyhounds and salukis – HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    some are low shedders, i had a male who did not shed, he had no undercoat. i also had a female ex racer (with a very good track record too) that shed her undercoat in the late spring and regained it in the late fall, i could brush her and get enough hair to knit a new dog. oddly, she was brindle and white, but the undercoat was all grey. they are generally low allergen as a breed tho.

    same with my current saluki cross. her discarded hair, especially the tail feathering can and has stopped a dyson animal hoover.

  24. Thanks for being clear on the “no shedding” term. All dogs will shed to some degree. If you want an animal that doesn’t shed at all, a dog may not be the right pet. I also commend you for clearing up the difference between a dog that doesn’t shed a lot and a dog that is hypoallergenic. These terms are tossed around a lot by people who don’t really understand what they mean.

  25. No dog was meant to shed a lot , it’s because of the junkie dog food . The dog isn’t getting the proper nutrients from 97% of dog foods , plus they are full of cancer causing chemicals . Dogs need “saturated “fat from whole milk [ room temp] eggs , red meat, real butter like they ate before dog food ,they do not need fruits / veg because they produce their own vitmin C .
    Throw away the dog food is Satanic . There was a point in time when there was no dog food . Think about it .

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