On this site, we talk an awful lot about cleaning up pet fur. In fact, it’s the whole reason we started the site! Of course, the best way to make your cleaning easier to handle is to reduce the amount of pet hair you have to deal with in the first place. That’s why shedding is something to consider when you decide on a specific breed of animal to take home.
Why exactly do dogs shed?
Dogs have furry coats for a few reasons. The first is to keep them warm, and to regulate their body temperature. The second is to protect their skin, which is a dog’s (and human’s!) largest organ. And finally, it helps with sensory perception.
As far as shedding is concerned, the first purpose is the most relevant. In order to keep their body temperature constant from winter to spring and summer, dogs need to “blow out” their undercoat, which is like dropping a layer of insulation. They’ll replace it with much lighter fur to suit the season. Come fall, they’ll shed all over again in order to grow a fresh winter coat.
Is there such a thing as a non-shedding dog?
Strictly speaking, no. All dogs will leave hairs behind. So, in the practical sense, all dogs shed. The term “non-shedding” is usually used to refer to dogs like poodles, which have hair rather than fur. With dogs that have fur, you end up with clumps of “blown-out” hairs each season, while most so-called non-shedding dogs just drop a few loose hairs here and there.
So, you can certainly choose breeds that will make your life easier, but you’ll still need a reliable, capable vac to help out! Find reviews and recommendations for the best pet hair vacuums on our homepage.
Dogs that shed the most
Akitas are big, loyal dogs originally bred for hunting in Japan. Recognize them for their curly tail, and for their outgoing personalities. They’re super cheerful and love outdoor activities, without being hyper. You’ll want to take them outside as much as possible for brushing, since they produce an ungodly amount of fur!
The Alaskan Husky is a big, strong dog built for exercise and endurance! They’re bred for pulling sleds, so these are great companions for runners and hikers. You’ll also find that they’re refreshingly independent. They don’t mind being home alone as long as they’ve got an area to play outside. Since they’ve come from a colder environment, it’s no surprise that they shed buckets.
Labradors are one of the most distinctive breeds out there. Whatever their color, they have relatively shaggy coats, and they shed big clumps come spring and fall.
Like labs, German Shepherds are incredibly distinctive. They don’t shed quite as much as Goldens or St. Bernard’s, but you should still be prepared for quite a lot of vacuuming with one of these. The key is to take advantage of their love for outdoor time, so you can leave as much hair as possible in the yard!
What you don’t see from the idyllic pound pictures or All-American Lassie imagery is the sheer amount of fur these pooches produce! They’re veritable fuzz machines, so you should plan to brush them as much as humanly possible.
Siberian Huskies, like Alaskan Huskies, are bred for cold weather and plenty of exercise. So, not only do they produce bales of fuzz, but they spread it around your house in record time.
The St. Bernard’s ability to shed is matched only by its ability to produce drool! These are shaggy, big dogs that require daily brushing and vacuuming twice weekly just to stay somewhat on top of the hair. Don’t get a St. Bernard unless you’re comfortable living in a carpet of fur at all times!
Dogs that shed the least
Poodles are one of the most common dogs suggested for people with pet allergies. That’s because they have just one coat, and no undercoat insulation layer. They don’t shed in the classic sense, since their hair is more like human hair than dog fur. They’ll lose a few loose hairs now and then, but they’re very easy to clean up after if you keep them trimmed.
These curly little charmers are similar to poodles in that they lose the occasional hair but don’t shed large amounts. They’re easy to maintain, as long as you trim them twice a year or so. And since they love water, they end up staying cleaner than other lap dogs.
Exactly what they sound like, these are smaller versions of your average poodle. They’re hypoallergenic, they don’t shed in clumps, and they don’t get smelly.
Yorkies were originally bred to hunt rodents around mills and factories in England. They have big personalities, and are fiercely loyal! They shed very little, and only need to be brushed occasionally.
These tiny toy dogs have big personalities for their small frames! They’re friendly, unaggressive, and mildly playful. Their white coats are long, but relatively hypoallergenic. Just be sure to brush them daily and trim them regularly.
If you’re into miniature pooches, few are more distinctive than the Chihuahua. They’re super outgoing, and their short fuzzy coats are easy to maintain. Chihuahua’s do shed seasonally, but since they have short hair and such small frames, there’s not too much to clean up.
These are crosses between Labrador Retrievers and poodles. They’re increasingly popular these days as a hypoallergenic option. We think they’re much more manageable from a housekeeping perspective than your average lab. They’re friendly, active, and super cute. Make sure to find a good breeder and make it clear you’re looking for a low-shedding pooch, though. These are a crossbreed so there aren’t consistent standards.
Like a Labradoodle, Goldendoodles are crossbreeds. They’re a mix between Golden Retrievers and poodles. If you want that classic Lassie look and personality without all the mess, they’re a great alternative.