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Our dogs are very much a part of our families. We love them, even despite the smells and the messes. The worst mess, by far, has absolutely nothing to do with what your dog drags in the house and is completely out of their hands (or paws). Yes, we are talking about the hair and fur they shed.
It’s on the carpet, the couch, and all over your clothes no matter how proactive you are about brushing and sweeping. If your heavy shedding breed is already your best friend, then it is definitely worth it. That said, you are unfortunately out of luck when it comes to defense against the constant emergence of hair.
But if you have only just decided that a dog might be the perfect accomplice to life in your home, then there are some factors you can consider to help keep your home and sinuses safe from hair. Mostly, these factors have to do with breed.
While you may have always had your heart set on a Golden Retriever, just like you had growing up, you may have developed a slight allergy late in life that has you reconsidering. There is also no way of telling how your children will respond if they haven’t had all that much exposure to dogs in the past. And let’s call it what it is: you’re a neat freak.
Even if you’re nostalgia for a certain breed is strong, there are little lovers, future best friends, and puppies in need of a home across every shape, size, and color. So before your heart makes a decision that permanently eliminates sweaters from your wardrobe, consider the list below of the most popular non-shedding dog breeds, as well as some debunked myths, and some friendly recommendations.
On your search for a dog that doesn’t shed, it is important to consider a few realities.
All dogs shed: this may be a hard pill to swallow, but it is the truth. The misconception here is over lack of shedding versus volume of hair/fur shed. While there are breeds that shed very little, to the point that it is almost not noticeable, there is no breed that does not shed at all.
Dogs that shed very little are less work: Even if a breed sheds very little, it is still necessary to provide regular care to the coat. In fact, because of the limited amount of shedding, the potential for tangles in the coat increases, and so it may be that your future dog requires more brushing than one that sheds with more volume.
Dog hair causes allergies: Not true. It is not the hair or fur itself, but the pet dander that causes allergic reactions. Dander is basically dead, airborne skin that when inhaled by humans can cause symptoms consistent with allergies.
So, a short haircut does not necessarily mean no allergies.
Hypoallergenic dogs: Certainly there are dogs that less likely to cause allergies. That said, no dog is 100% hypoallergenic because all dogs produce dander. Dander is actually less of an issue than dog hair, so if it is allergies that has you apprehensive about a particularly hairy breed, fear not. Regular baths and brushing can substantially reduce the amount of lose dander in the air.
If all around low maintenance is what you are looking for, then a dog is probably not the best addition to your life right now. Dogs require a lot of love and attention, including regularly coat care, a consistent bathroom schedule, a bedtime, and some general training.
Also, different breeds behave differently, so it is important to search for a breed whose innate behaviors match your lifestyle. For instance, if you are a bit of a homebody, then it is a good idea to explore dogs that, for lack of a better term, are a bit lazy. By this, we mean they will not grow stir crazy if not super active like many breeds.
If the opposite is true of your life, and you are an extremely active person, forcing a low energy breed on a five mile hike shows a lack of respect for that dogs natural tendencies. It will feel a lot like punishment to the dog and will likely not be all that fun for you either.
The personality of a given breed is however overshadowed by that specific to your unique pup. So while breed characteristics do not always hold up to your particular dog, they are a good place to start in your research.
Below, you will find a list of the top low-shed breeds of dogs. The list is categorized by dog size. A small dog is a dog that is under twenty pounds. A medium dog weight anywhere from twenty to fifty pounds, and a large dog is fifty pounds and above. There are two dogs listed from each size range based on popularity.
Terriers in general are known for a lack of shedding and a long life. The Scottish Terrier should only need grooming two times annually. These dogs are short and stocky with very small strides. They are also extremely good watch dogs, known for alertness and independence. Sometimes, this also means they can be stubborn, so consistent, early training is important.
The Maltese is a toy breed that has become very famous for being one of the lowest shedding breeds. The hair of the Maltese is white and soft, mimicking that of Retriever but without all the pesky shedding. These dogs live on average for about fourteen years, but often longer.
Made famous by the First Dogs of the United States under President Obama, the Labradoodle is a mix of Labrador Retriever and Poodle. It draws its personality from both its parent breeds and is a people lover, smart, and moderately active. Their unique shaggy coat sheds very little but this can vary from dog to dog. Some Labradoodles are curlier like their Poodle parents, while others have longer, Retriever like hair.
The Schnauzer is a stocky, coarse haired dog. More importantly, it has an awesome walrus mustache. This breed originated in Germany as a herding dog. It is a lover and a great companion, following its owners at their heels and always looking for a warm snuggle.
The Golden Doodle is a more specific hybrid version of the Labradoodle. It parents are Golden Retriever and Poodle respectively, and while their color is golden, their coat structure is definitely Poodle. This breed has all the characteristics we love about Golden Retrievers without the nasty bulk of hair. The Golden Doodle is a great family dog. It is gentle, social, and loving and because of this, is often used as a service dog.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
This breed has a coarse coat that is almost impossible to tidy up even with consistent grooming. This makes them a pretty low-care breed as far as coats go. This is a high energy, former sporting dog. They are athletic and need to be outside moving. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is an eager pup, but once they’ve blown off some steam, they are loving and outgoing.
Whether it is because of allergies or an aversion to hair imbedded in your area rugs, there are plenty of low-shed options to explore as you search for the perfect family dog. Be sure as you do you consider the huge commitment of owning a dog and that you have done your research on what low-shed really means.
Often times, future owners find they do not need to limit themselves to hypoallergenic breeds. Regardless, there are wonderful dogs with tons of personality in every breed sure to offer love and companionship that solidifies its place in your family.