Owning a dog is one of the most fulfilling experiences you can have either as a single adult, couple, or family. There’s something about the unconditional love of a dog that truly encompasses the idea of “man’s best friend.”
However, that love is not without cost. There is the obvious costs of feeding and caring for your new pet, but if you’ve never owned an animal before, there’s one cost that you may not have factored in.
There are no two ways around it—dogs shed. There is not a dog breed available that will not, on occasion, shed hair. And while this is completely understandable (after all, we shed hair as well), it can pose a bit of a problem for anyone with a hypoallergenic home that’s particularly sensitive to dandruff, hair, and smells.
Larger and fluffier dogs may be cuter in photos or from the perspective of some dog lovers, but these breeds tend to shed piles and piles of hair, especially in the summer.
Of course, some opt to shave their dogs (more on this later), but in many cases, shaving only irritates the skin further and increases the output of dandruff that’s sure to irritate your nose. In many cases as well, shaving your dog is hazardous to your dog’s health.
You’ll need to learn to adapt and change up your leaning routine accordingly—but for those who want the least amount of shedding possible, there are dozens of shed-proof dog breeds that will keep your home as clean as possible with a furry friend in it.
If you want a dog but don’t want your allergies flaring up, we’ve assembled our top five picks for dogs that don’t shed. We’ll also be going over what you need to consider before purchasing one of these breeds in our Buyer’s Guide, as well as what you need to look for in a shed-proof dog.
With the right dog, you won’t need to worry about your allergies as you and your own enjoy their newfound family member.
What to Look For in a Shed-Proof Dog
First of all, it bears repeating—all dogs shed.
There are (almost) no hairless dogs and no type of dog that keeps its hair throughout its lifespan. Even with the shed-proof dogs we picked out, periodic cleaning and brushing are going to be vital to ensuring your dog either releases the hair outside or otherwise stays healthy as it grows.
However, that’s not to say that any dog will do. Generally, you’ll want the following in a shed-proof dog:
- Smaller size
- Shorter hair
- Wavy/curly coat
Each of the above is important for several reasons—and some more obvious than others. Let’s break it down:
To start, smaller dogs will have less hair just by the nature of the surface area. While a few of our picks border on the medium-to-large size, they also excel in some of the other criteria. Still, we recommend a smaller dog if you can find one.
Next, a dog breed with shorter hair will reduce pet hair as well as shedding. There are some exceptions to this (namely with curly coats), but this will help you maintain your home, and if your pet does shed, clean up faster.
Purebreds are important not because they shed less than their mixed-breed counterparts, but because you’ll get to know precisely what you pay for. For example, if you know that a certain breed is what you want, but you end up buying a mixed breed pet with genetics that shed more, you’ll be in for a rude awakening.
Finally, a curly or wavy coat means that your dog’s hair will stay on its coat even after it’s shed from the body. This allows you to take your dog either to the groomer or outside for combing and removing excess hair without it making its way back into your home.
These are just a few of the considerations we recommend taking before seeking out dogs that don’t shed. For more, be sure to check out our Buyer’s Guide following our overview of dogs.
How We Chose Our Ratings
Our ratings are chosen based on several factors.
First of all, metrics like size, hair type, hair length, and more as dictated above are heavily considered. We also have chosen a variety of dogs that we feel appeal to the broadest range of desires and interests for prospective dog owners. Whether you want a big dog, small dog, quiet dog, or energetic puppy, we’ve got you covered.
We also have utilized authoritative sources when possible and compared reviews of each breed from several sources. We can’t promise you’ll find each dog to meet your standards of shed-free, but we take pride in our picks in being the best options to purchase today.
Top 5 Best Shed-Proof Dog Breeds
Without further adieu, here are the top five dogs that don’t shed:
The Havanese, which doubles as both the singular and plural form of this breed, is a small, typically white-coated dog with long, fine, and wavy hair. While they have a few features that counteract our suggestions above, their status as a toy breed more than makes up for any perceived deficiencies.
Toy dogs like the Havanese are specially bred for presentation and looks—which makes them easier to maintain as a whole. While the Havanese have long, semi-wavy coats, they are also considered by the American Kennel Club to be a low-shedding dog.
Despite the personality of many toy dogs being dissimilar, the Havanese are known to be playful and energetic dogs without much attitude. Their independent quality and soft fur make them prime contenders for those who want a smaller, independent dog without the attitude.
When we mentioned that there were nearly no hairless dogs, this is one of the breeds we were making the exception for.
The Xoloitzcuintli, also known as the Aztec dog, or the Xolo for short, is an ancient breed that’s all-natural. Due to the hot Mexican climate, they have evolved to be hairless dogs, and as such, won’t shed.
This makes them perfect hypoallergenic dogs for many of those who are fans of the hairless look. However, there’s a large percentage of the population that expects something more fluffy than a Xolo. In many cases, the unique look can be off-putting to some.
Still, if you’re in the market for a dog that won’t shed, this is most likely your best bet. We also wish to stress that this doesn’t mean the Xolo won’t mean maintenance and bathing to keep them healthy and strong.
This Italian variant of one of the most popular dog breeds in the world is great for those who want a stark, sharp-looking dog without the need to be on top of it all of the time.
The Italian Greyhound is a short-haired toy dog that’s gained popularity for its independence. Even more so than the Havanese, the Italian Greyhound enjoys solitude and running about outdoors, so you won’t need to play fetch quite as often as you might with a retriever breed.
Because of this, however, we’re hesitant to recommend this breed to those with children, as the Italian Greyhound most likely won’t make for a great babysitter. When it comes to its coat, however, there’s a lot to like about a thin, sharp coat such as this.
If you’ve been waiting to hear about a breed with a lust for life, the Labradoodle might be your best option on our list.
The Labradoodle—a mix between a Poodle and a Labrador Retriever—offers the best of both worlds when it comes to the breeds. The curly poodle coat means that, while the hair is long, it won’t shed much until its time to brush the dog. However, what the Labradoodle is known for is its personality.
The Labradoodle is one of the most loving and energetic dogs on our list. This interdependent (and often codependent) nature is what makes them perfect for families with small children. This dog will love running, playing fetch, being pet, and almost all other traits stereotypically associated with a dog.
For families that will not be home often or otherwise won’t be in the mood to give the Labradoodle the attention that it deserves, then this breed might be too intense. For the sake of yourself and the dog, make sure that you can handle anything this breed can throw at you.
As made popular by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Scottish Terrier is a ubiquitous and well-loved dog that splits the difference between the excitable Labradoodle and smaller toy dog breeds.
The Scottish Terrier is a small dog, with an almost black coat that’s longer around the mouth—giving it a distinctive appearance. Their personalities are often a mixture of independent and loving, which has earned them a reputation for being a dignified breed.
They are often associated with lower shedding as well, due to their complex and layered coat holding onto hair long enough for you to take them to a groomer. However, this is a bit of a blessing and curse with the Scottish Terrier, as this coat needs to be tended to often to ensure the dog’s health.
This isn’t a problem if you can manage to brush your Scottish Terrier often, but if sneezing sessions outside doesn’t sound ideal for you, perhaps the similar but lower-maintenance Havanese coat is more up your alley.
You may have noticed a few recurring factors in our overview of dogs that don’t shed—one of them being the need to comb the dog often.
Contrary to popular belief, there is still a need to regularly comb and wash your dog’s coat. Many dog breeds have been bred to be dependent on humans for this need, so there’s no way to avoid regular brushing without putting your dog’s health at risk.
With certain breeds, matted fur can lead to serious pain and irritation, which could even make the problem of shedding and dandruff worse.
We’d also like to stress that each breed has an upper limit for how short you can cut their hair. While home haircuts might seem useful to cut down on the thickness of a dog’s coat, many breeds need this coat for protection and warmth. Cutting a dog’s coat completely off without the advice and approval of breed experts is extremely dangerous as well as inhumane.
You also need to take into account the personality of your dog as well. Purchasing larger dogs or dogs with more vivid personalities means that you need to either have a larger living space or be up for the task of taking them to parks more often than not.
Likewise, more aloof dogs are going to need their alone time, or you’ll be in for quite the shock between your expectations for a dog and the personality of the dog you’ve purchased.
In any case, purchasing a dog for hypoallergenic reasons is much like purchasing a dog without such considerations. In other words, you need to take the time to deeply consider what sort of pet best matches your living situation, your personality, and the number of people willing to help raise and care for the dog.
While the wrong match can spell disaster for the home, the right dog that won’t shed paired with the right loving family will grant you all of the benefits of dog ownership—without the sneezing.