So you’re ready to take the plunge and adopt or buy a dog. It can be quite daunting finding the right breed that works for you and your family. Considering temperament and size of the dog is key, but another thing you may want to consider is whether regular shedding dog breeds or low-shedding dog breeds are right for you, especially if you have allergies.
Do Dogs That Don’t Shed Exist?
If you are allergic to dogs, but are adamant about having a pup, dogs that don’t shed a lot are ideal, but do dogs that don’t shed at all exist?
“All dogs shed to some degree,” says certified dog groomer Suesan Watson. “And if you’re dealing with an allergy issue with your pup, it’s not the hair that’s causing you sneezing fits, it’s the dander.”
Dogs that shed a lot produce a large amount of dander, according to Watson. Naturally, dogs that shed less will have less dander. However, keep in mind not to be swayed by the length of their hair either. Believe it or not, some short-haired dogs shed more than the larger, long-haired dogs.
The Myth of Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
It’s also commonly believed that hypoallergenic dog breeds don’t shed. This is a myth.
“The ‘hypoallergenic’ dogs are labeled such because they shed less, which releases less dander,” explains Dr. Robert Trimble, co-founder of in-home veterinary care service, Fuzzy. “No dog is truly 100 percent hypoallergenic, but there are some breeds that cause fewer allergy problems than others.”
American Hairless Terriers and Chinese Crested dog breeds are an obvious choice, according to Dr. Trimble, since they’re as hypoallergenic as dogs can get. These dogs have very little hair and make great family pets since they’re loyal and affectionate. Here are some other low-shedding dog breeds to choose from, both big and small.
Small, Low-Shedding Dog Breeds
Small dogs are generally ideal for people who are busy, have a small amount of space and travel a lot. Small dogs are easily transportable and even if they do shed, for some breeds it can be quite minimal, especially with a daily brushing. Here are some low-shedding dog breeds, as recommended by Watson:
Basenjis, from the hound family, have a short, tight coat for little shedding. They are intelligent dogs that have a personality resembling a cat: reserved, independent and stubborn. Basenjis are known to make good family pets, especially ideal for families who are active, since Basenjis enjoy exercise.
Cairn Terriers, from the terrier group, are affectionate, high-energy pups. They are considered to be great family pets since they generally are loyal and friendly. They have wiry, shaggy coats and only need to be groomed once a week.
Yorkshire Terriers, from the toy group, are spunky, energetic and clever. Yorkie hair has been compared to human hair: silky and long. Because of this they don’t shed often. Yorkshire Terriers need to be handled with care and may not be suitable for families with small children that roughhouse since Yorkies may nip when threatened.
The Bichon Frise, from the non-sporting group, is known for its loud personality. They have a plush, curly coat that requires grooming often—at least two or three times of weekly brushing. Bichons are perfect for families since they generally are playful and gentle, especially with children.
Large, Low-Shedding Dog Breeds
If you have a lot of space and a lifestyle that is active, a large dog might be right for you. Here are some low-shedding, large dog breeds suggested by Dr. Trimble:
Wirehaired Pointing Griffons
Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, from the sporting group, have wiry, straight coats that shed little throughout the year. They are considered an ideal family pet since they are loyal, intelligent and willing to please.
Bouvier de Flandres
Bouvier de Flandres, from the herding group, don’t shed very much, but they do need a regular grooming regimen since their coats are extra thick and can get easily matted. This breed is known to be highly intelligent and quick learners, but can be stubborn, too. This breed is not recommended for first-time dog owners.
Standard Poodles, from the non-sporting group, generally have a peaceful and calm personality. They’re one of the many ideal family breeds since they tend to be smart, obedient and get along wonderfully with children. Though poodles don’t shed often, their coats require a lot of maintenance and need grooming every four to six weeks. If the standard size is too large for you, consider a miniature or toy poodle.
Airedale Terriers, from the terrier group, are smart, intelligent and protective of family. As for their wiry coats, they only shed several times a year. When it comes to grooming, they are low-maintenance.
Minimize Shedding With Grooming
Once you’ve chosen a low-shedding dog that’s right for you, make sure to keep them well-groomed to minimize shedding hairs.
Combing or brushing every day takes off a lot of debris and evenly distributes oils to keep their coat healthy and keep hair matts under control. For a professional, quality dog brush, try the FURminator Dual Brush that features a pin brush on one side for long-haired dogs and bristles on the other side intended for all coat lengths.
Using an after-shampoo conditioner can also be helpful.
“Conditioners and coat renewal release more hair from the body and leave them with a shiny coat,” says groomer Amanda Leung from Carroll Gardens Pet Grooming Salon in New York.
A conditioner that can help to reduce excessive shedding in your dog is the Earthbath Shed Control Conditioner, which is formulated to moisturize your pet’s coat and repair skin damage that can cause shedding.
Jasmine Chang has been a New York City-based fashion editor and consultant for over 25 years. She adores dogs because of their authenticity and the fact that they never judge what people wear. She lives in Brooklyn with her very spoiled Frenchie, Harry.
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