Dog Breeds That Shed the Least…and the Worst
If you’re looking at adopting a new puppy, then chances are that you’ll want to be looking for one of the dog breeds that shed the least. Or, on the other hand, maybe dog hair doesn’t bother you all that much. After all, it’s not a big deal as long as you’re proactive in cleaning and don’t have allergies. In that case, perhaps one of the “worst” shedding dog species may appeal to you – after all, that would make them “underdogs.”
Regardless of whether shedding scares you away or not, these dogs all have diversity in their physical appearance, breed characteristics, and whether or not they may mesh well in your home. We’ve compiled a handy list of the dog breeds that shed the least and dog breeds that shed the most.
Dogs That Shed Very Little
These pups are known by the American Kennel Club and their owners for shedding very little, whether that’s a byproduct of their hair fibers or perhaps the fact that some of them don’t have much hair to shed in the first place! Give it up for… the hypo-allergenic dog breeds!
The Bichon Frise has lots of curly, hair – not fur – but it practically doesn’t shed at all. There are many different Bichon dog breeds, including the popular Bichon Frise, the Bolognese dog and the Maltese dog.
Bichon dogs do not shed, but they do require lots of care and attention. These breeds need to be brushed daily with special brushes, which will be recommended to you by a canine groomer. You should also pay special attention to looking after their eyes, tear ducts and nose to keep them looking tidy. Bichon dogs have sensitive skin.
The Bichon Frise was specifically bred to be a companion and tends to be one of the sweetest and most affectionate dog breeds. He’s often charming and can make an excellent family pet, although he might not be the best choice for families with young children or rambunctious older ones — he can easily be injured during rough play due to his small size, and he may nip at a child if frightened.
The Xoloitzcuintli — what a name. It’s pronounced “show-low-eetz-kweent-lee.” Or take the easy way out and just call him the “show-low.” He’s also known as the Mexican Hairless. These pups have a deep tie to Mexican culture. They were once regarded as spirit guides to the land of the dead!
Besides his bare-naked body, the Xolo is distinguished by a lean, smooth head; a wrinkled brow; large, thin-skinned ears that stand erect; thick but satiny skin; and a jaunty but low-set tail that wags behind the Xolo but not over his back. He can be black, grayish black, slate gray, red, liver, or bronze. Some have white spots and markings, but a dark, uniform color is preferred.
This animated breed moves lightly and gracefully, runs swiftly, and jumps and climbs with agility.
His webbed toes are somewhat prehensile, allowing him to grip toys with dexterity – or your neck in an affectionate hug.
Tranquil in the home, the Xoloitzcuintle is exceptionally attentive to his owner and needs a lot of personal interaction. He is likely to pine or act out when left too long without the companionship of people or other pets.
American Hairless Terrier
Although a fairly new breed, the American Hairless Terrier has gathered quite the fan club in its few decades of existence. Identical in appearance to the Rat Terrier, barring its obvious lack of hair, the American Hairless Terrier, or AHT, is a fairly small dog with strong shoulders, a well-muscled neck and powerful legs. And although it looks more like a toy breed, it is actually a highly intelligent working breed.
American Hairless Terriers possess traits that are characteristic of all terriers: They are energetic, intelligent, extremely loving and make excellent companions for a wide array of dog owners. They also make excellent pets for animal lovers that suffer from various allergies.
With its graceful, fairy tale look, a hairless Chinese Crested can’t be mistaken for any other breed. Even though he weighs only 10 to 13 pounds, he has a bit of a pony look, with furred feet, head, and tail, and a mostly hairless body. Similar to many toy breeds, the Crested is lively, charming, and portable, an entertaining and loving companion for gentle households.
A hairless Chinese Crested can suffer from the cold, but he doesn’t often have to put up with it. He’s a renowned lap dog, happiest when curled up with his family. As for warmth, he seems to give as much as he gets, radiating heat from his exposed skin. When he does go out, his bare skin needs protection from the sun, which means canine clothes and human sunblock. When cold days arrive, you’ll need to switch to a winter wardrobe: For this breed, sweaters are a necessity, not an affectation.
Chinese Cresteds come in two varieties, the hairless and the Powderpuff. The Powderpuff is a relatively low-shedding dog and can sometimes be tolerated by people with mild allergies. He does need frequent brushing to keep his coat from tangling.
The hairless variety of the Chinese Crested has hair on his head — called a crest — from which he takes his name. He also has hair on his tail, giving it a plumed look, and on his feet, from the toes to the hock (the canine equivalent of the ankle). The hair on the feet makes it look as if he’s wearing socks.
The Giant Schnauzer is a smart, stubborn, and an independent thinker. This big guard dog will play with family and defend them and their home from any threats, but he isn’t for novice owners. He is the largest of the schnauzer breeds.
Despite being a massive dog, giant schnauzer shedding is not something a prospective owner who suffers from allergies should worry about because he does not lose his hair often.
While some sources will claim that “giant schnauzer” and “hypoallergenic” go hand-in-hand, the truth is that there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog breed, since the allergens are actually caused by dander in the fur of dogs, and that can vary from dog to dog depending upon its hygiene.
However, the giant schnauzer, much like the poodle and Yorkshire terrier, produces far less dander in their fur and therefore induces far fewer allergy symptoms to their human counterparts. So, do giant schnauzers shed? Not often, but giant schnauzer grooming still requires a bit of maintenance.
Due to his thick and weather-resistant coat, the giant schnauzer will require weekly brushing to reduce matting and knots. He will also need to be trimmed or clipped on a regular basis to keep his coat healthy and looking its best. Many owners spend a lot of time grooming their giant schnauzers, while others opt to take them to a professional groomer.
Here we are: the golden child of the hypoallergenic world. Poodles are regarded as a breed that doesn’t shed at all. Yes, Poodles shed. Like all animals with hair (including humans), sometimes a Poodle’s hair will fall out naturally or during grooming. This is normal.
While all dog breeds shed, the Poodle does earn its reputation as a low shedding breed, as compared to heavy shedders such as the Golden Retriever and Alaskan Malamute.
Many people have misconceptions about Poodles — that they look and act like “sissy” dogs.
That is one of the biggest myths in dogdom.
First, ignore the silly show-ring clips. Poodles can be clipped into shorthaired, normal -looking dogs who are a snap to brush. Poodles also have the advantage of being the lightest-shedding, most hypoallergenic of all coated breeds.
Second, Standard Poodles are elegant, energetic athletes who move with a light, springy gait. They excel in advanced obedience competition, where retrieving and jumping skills are required, and in agility (obstacle course) competitions, where they fly over and under and through the obstacles with a strength and grace that is breathtaking to watch.
Even better, a good Standard Poodle is one of the smartest and most trainable of all breeds. He is a “thinking” dog who pays rapt attention to his owner, learns quickly, and responds eagerly to positive training methods.
Indeed, Standard Poodles NEED some sort of mental stimulation in order to be happy — advanced obedience classes (not just basic), agility classes, or challenging games such as hide ‘n seek, or fetching a variety of named toys. This intelligent breed cannot simply sit in the backyard and be ignored.
Most Standard Poodles make great watchdogs and some even have mild (and sensible) protective instincts, but this is not an aggressive breed. Their attitude toward people varies from friendly to politely reserved. Early socialization is important to avoid excessive watchfulness or timidity.
With other dogs and cats, Standard Poodles are usually peaceful and accepting.
Regarded as the king of the Terriers, Airedales love to mess up the laundry, pull winter hats off their owners and inspect the garbage. A curious, rambunctious fellow, he needs lots of exercise and activity. Highly entertaining, the Airedale Terrier is a loving, devoted companion and a very light shedder.
Often called a “broken coat,” the Airedale’s outer coat is coarse, dense and wiry. It’s also either curly or wavy. The undercoat is softer and almost fur-like. The Airedale Terrier’s coat also is referred to as a short-haired double coat. To keep from shedding,
Airedales require some grooming. His coat needs clipping at least twice a year or hand-stripping to keep him comfortable and to eliminate fur piles. Brushing is essential because everything sticks to his coat. Take him for a romp in the field and be prepared to brush out thistles, burrs and stray twigs.
Some Airedales have hair that doesn’t seem to grow at all, while others must be clipped every three or four months. The coats that are longer and curly require more frequent clippings. The shorter and straighter hair may need a once-a-year trip to the groomer.
Because Airedales shed little if they are kept groomed, they are a good choice for some allergy sufferers.
Small in size but big in personality, the Yorkshire Terrier makes a feisty but loving companion. The most popular toy dog breed in the U.S., the “Yorkie” has won many fans with his devotion to his owners, his elegant looks, and his suitability to apartment living.
The Yorkshire Terrier is categorized as a non-shedding dog due to having hair opposed to fur. Do Yorkies shed at all, though?
To many people’s surprise, the answer is yes. Even some long-time owners will disagree about this and it is usually because this is not as noticeable as one may think.
With dogs that have fur, there is often clear, distinct periods throughout the year when shedding happens rapidly…One will find hairs everywhere….And since the coat is often short on heavy shedders, those loose hairs do not have anywhere to go except on the furniture, your clothes, etc.
Now, with the Yorkie, the body pushes out older hairs and replaces them with new ones on a never ending, continual basis. If this did not occur, your adult dog would have the same coat as your puppy did! It would be dull, dry and a mess. Therefore, the nice, shiny hairs that you see are, in part, due to the year-round shedding process.
Yorkies are still a fantastic option for people who suffer from allergies since they shed significantly less than other dog breeds because they have hair. Since it grows evenly, rather than in intense bursts and cycles of growth then shedding, the Yorkshire Terrier’s coat is much more manageable than many other dog breeds.
Peruvian Inca Orchid
The Peruvian Inca Orchid is an ancient breed. Its coat comes in three varieties – entirely hairless, with partial hair, or the extremely rare full-coated variety. For the most part, these pups are totally hairless, or have little puffs of hair on their heads and tails. Occasionally, some are born with a full coat. These coated dogs look much more like traditional pooches than the hairless variety and sport cute, floppy ears. They also are more likely to have all of their teeth—the hairless gene is linked to missing a tooth or two.
Thanks to clues on Chimu, Chancay, and Incan pottery, experts believe the dog existed as far back as 750 CE. When Spanish conquistadors arrived in Incan territory, they quickly took notice of the bald dogs. Some believe that the invaders bred their sighthounds with the PIO to create slightly larger dogs than the pups depicted on the scraps of pottery.
Peru is proud of its unusual-looking pet and declared it the national dog in 2001. To date, they are Peru’s only internationally-registered breed.
If you’re wondering why you haven’t come across any of these pups at the dog park, it’s because they’re incredibly rare. Thanks to their unusual appearance, they haven’t enjoyed the same amount of popularity as other breeds. Peruvian Inca Orchid dogs are not widely bred, and as a result, there are only about 1000 in the world.
Dog Breeds That Shed A LOT
Now, onto the opposite end of the spectrum. These dogs are renowned for having crazy amounts of shedding. That hasn’t stopped some of these breeds, though, from being among the most popular dog breeds in the world.
Golden Retrievers are an absolute joy to have around and share your life with, but if there’s one thing about them that should come with a warning, it’s their shedding. With such beautiful glossy coats, you’d be forgiven for thinking their hair is easy to manage – before you find it all over your furniture and clothes!
These beautiful dogs shed hair somewhat moderately throughout the year. And by moderately, we mean that you’ll find a fair few of their short, coarse hairs straying across your furniture, clothes and probably your carpets.
However, for many golden retrievers, this shedding ramps up twice a year during the spring and fall seasons. If the shedding during the rest of the year doesn’t convince you to get a high-powered dog hair vacuum, we’re willing to bet you’ll want to during the shedding seasons! You should expect a lot of hair to escape from your golden at this time as they blow their coats, ready to grow in entirely new ones for summer and winter, respectively.
It’s impossible to define exactly how much your dog is likely to shed as it varies so hugely between individual dogs, but suffice to say you’ll need to regularly vacuum your house and brush your dog if you want to keep on top of it.
A beautiful snowy white dog, the Great Pyrenees has a heritage as a flock guardian, but these days he’s primarily a loving family companion. He’s big, smart, and strong-willed, so it takes a special person to be able to train him effectively.
The Great Pyrenees was once known as the royal dog of France and, with his stunning white coat and imposing presence, is considered to be one of the most beautiful breeds. His heritage is that of a flock-guarding dog in the Pyrenees mountains of France and Spain. Rather than herding sheep or other livestock, it was his job to protect them from predators such as wolves.
This is a giant breed. That cute little white ball of fluff will grow up to weigh 85 to 115 pounds. Because they are guardian dogs, Great Pyrenees are suspicious as a rule. They will graciously admit anyone you invite into your home, but intruders or unexpected visitors will get a very different, much more intimidating reception. If none of that fazes you, a Great Pyrenees may be your dog of choice.
It is a running joke among many Great Pyrenees owners that if you own one, you’d better have all-white furniture, floors, and clothes, because this is one of the heaviest shedding breeds. Not only does he shed in intense cycles twice a year much like the Golden Retriever, but this fluffy buddy has a very thick, long triple-coat that contains a lot of hair to lose whenever he molts!
The Akita is both beautiful and intimidating in appearance. It somewhat resembles a mixture between an extra fluffy wolf and a bear. The Akita may be the only breed in the world considered a natural monument in his home country. He is a Japanese breed, developed to hunt big game such as bear, elk, and boar. In Japan today he is often found working as a police or guard dog.
If you intend on adding an Akita to your life, make sure you also purchase a good vacuum cleaner. Although your dog’s heavy on the seasonal shedding, he’s a clean canine. Akitas actually groom themselves, much in the way cats do.
Akitas don’t actually shed year-round, although it might seem that way. They’re a double-coated breed, “blowing” out their undercoats twice a year. That happens at six-month intervals, generally winter and summer. However, that blowout cycle can take between two to four weeks, so in a worst-case scenario you’re looking at two months of heavy-duty dog hair. You’ll have large clumps of Akita hair all over the place. Regular brushing helps reduce the volume of hair in the house.
The American Kennel Club describes the Akita’s double coat as consisting of a straight, harsh outer coat standing off the body and a dense, short, thick undercoat. At the shoulders and hind end, the hair is about 2 inches long, a little bit longer than the hair on the rest of the body except the tail. The tail boasts the most hair on the Akita.
If you have your dog professionally groomed, he’ll get a bath and brushing, but no clipping according to the breed standard. If you ever get frustrated with the shedding, resist the temptation to clip the topcoat. There’s a possibility it will never grow back in. Brush your dog several times a week with a metal slicker brush for his topcoat and a “rake” tool for his undercoat.
As soon as you first see an Alaskan Malamute, it’s easy to be impressed by their large stature, wolf-like facial markings, and huge plumed tail waving at you. It’s often believed that Malamutes are part wolf. They might play a wolf on TV or in the movies, but in truth they’re all domestic dog.
The Alaskan Malamute possesses tremendous strength, energy, endurance, independence, and intelligence. They were originally sought to pull heavy sleds over long distances as well as to hunt seals and polar bears. Now chosen primarily for companionship, Alaskan Malamutes succeed in several dog sports, including conformation, obedience competition, weight pulling, skijoring, backpacking, and recreational sledding.
Alaskan Malamute features a powerful, sturdy body built for stamina and strength. It reigns as one of the oldest dog breeds whose original looks have not been significantly altered. This intelligent canine needs a job and consistent leadership to avoid becoming bored or challenging to handle.
Novice owners, beware. Dogs of this breed are sensitive and need plenty of companionship and open space. They are not well-suited to apartment life, and they are certainly high-shedding pooches who need plenty of grooming to keep their coats healthy. Expect to clean up dog hair all year long, and especially during shedding season.
Alaskan Malamutes are high-energy dogs, and therefore require vigorous exercise. If you plan to leave them home while you’re at work, you may see some anxious, destructive behavior. A dog walker or pet sitter during the day is practically a must if you can’t be home, yourself.
An Alaskan Malamute will do well with an experienced owner, lots of open space to roam and burn off energy, and a cooler climate. However, if you can meet this breed’s needs, you’ll have an intelligent, highly-trainable, loving companion for life.
Blowing the undercoat is part of the natural growth cycle of a chow chow’s fur. Your chow chow sheds in clumps, which makes removing her fur from the floor by hand easy, but plays havoc with the vacuum cleaner. The natural shedding cycles of chows are generally in sync with seasonal needs.
As pretty as your chow chow’s fur is, it’s not there for beauty. The heavy double coat protects her from the sun, both warm and cold weather, pests and thorny vegetation. Shaving a chow to stop shedding or to keep her cooler in the summer defeats the protective qualities of the coat. Believe it or not, a chow can get sunburned.
Shaving her removes the insulation her coat offers, and interferes with her natural shedding cycle. Shedding is triggered by light, not temperature. If your chow chow lives indoors with artificial light, she will shed evenly throughout the year.
Just as with other breeds, hormones and gender also affect shedding in chows. Chows who are spayed or neutered have a more distinct undercoat, making them appear cottony all over, and they won’t blow their coats to the extent that an unaltered dog will.
A female chow’s shedding cycle is affected by her heat cycle and pregnancy. Anywhere from one to three months after giving birth, a female chow will rapidly blow out her coat, sometimes leaving her with thin hair along the rib cage, flanks and her lower back area. The scraggly look improves within two to four months, as her fur fills back in.
The Siberian Husky is a beautiful dog breed with a thick coat that comes in a multitude of colors and markings. Their blue or multi-colored eyes and striking facial masks only add to the appeal of this breed, which originated in Siberia.
Siberians can come in a variety of colors. Most tend to have white legs and paws, facial markings and a white tipped tail. The most common color is black and white. They do come in other colors such as grey and white, brown and white, reddish and white, cream and white, silver and white, all white and mostly all brown/reddish (very rare). Their coat consists of two layers, an undercoat and a topcoat.
All Siberian Huskies shed. Most Huskies will blow there undercoat twice a year (usually before a big season change). Some Huskies will only blow there undercoat once a year. Since Siberians shed constantly, bathing is very minimal (as when they shed the dirt falls off as well). It is recommended to brush your Siberian constantly during the “blowing of their coat” and after at least once a week to control there shedding around your home.
Siberian Huskies should not have their coat cut, clipped or shaved! (Unless there is a Medical reason.) Their undercoat keeps them cool during the hot summer days and warm during the winter. Shaving your Husky can cause heat stroke during the spring/summer seasons.
Dealing with Shedding
Ahh spring has arrived, and so have the little furry bunnies that scurry across my hardwood floors and augment in size as the minute’s progress. I guess that is what I get for having 3 hairy dogs and one hairy cat in my house all of the time!
Spring and fall bring a kind of molting period for 2 of my dogs. They resemble wooly buffalos as their fur cascades slowly down their bodies. If I am quick I can grab a handful of fur as they fly past me galloping and playing with one another.
I hate to say I am a neat freak, because I don’t think anyone with multiple animals really can be, but I am as close as you can get for someone with a pack of pets. I hate fur in my eyes, up my nose and swirling about my floor. I do my best to vacuum daily to keep dirt and fur at bay, but during shedding season sometimes daily is not enough!
There are a few tricks of the trade to help keep the fur and dirt at bay, at least for a while!
What to Do?
- Quality dog food and good nutrition helps keep shedding at bay. Healthy coats shed less!
- Daily brushing and basic grooming can be crucial! If you are not brushing it out…it’s going to land on your floor!
- Bathing can dramatically reduce the amount of fur that ends up on your floor! Warm baths help loosen that voluminously loose fur!
- Blow drying can also help to free fur from your dog’s body.
- Some dogs will even allow their owners to vacuum their bodies to get fur out.
And My Bonus Favorite Tips!!!
Take your dog somewhere else for his bath and grooming! You don’t have to drop him off at the groomer if that makes you uncomfortable; there are plenty of Do It Yourself Dog Grooming Facilities where you are supplied with tub, water, shampoo, blow dryers, nail trimers, brushes and all your doggy grooming needs. And, the best part…you get to leave the fur and the mess SOMEWHERE ELSE!!! Clean up post bath is my most dreaded task!
In between baths when your dog has that “not so fresh” smell…I recommend wiping them down with a scented baby wipe which helps get the dirt out of their fur and also gives them a fresh scent! Use a brush immediately after their wipe down to add sparkle and shine!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.