Small Dogs That Don't Shed: A Deep Dive into Non-shedding Small Dogs 

Small Dogs That Don't Shed  by Janice Jones  Published 9-1-2023

The thought of a small, fluffy dog sitting on your lap as you read a book or watch your favorite TV show has an undeniably cozy and familial appeal.

But what about the prospect of continuously vacuuming dog hair from every nook and cranny of your house? Not so much, right? You're in good company!

Many prospective dog owners likewise yearn for adorable, small dogs that don't shed. if this sounds like you, then this article is for you!


Why Choose Non-Shedding Small Dog Breeds?

Non-shedding small dog breeds are a blessing for allergy sufferers, neat freaks, and those who don't fancy the idea of finding dog hair in our soup!

These breeds inherit a hair growth cycle that reduces shedding, making it easier for families and individuals to enjoy all the perks of dog companionship without the pesky clean-up.

With that said it does mean that your small dog will end up with a body full of hair. You have a choice: Pay for regular haircuts or learn to do it yourself. A third option is to embrace all that hair and keep your dog's coat long. That comes with a few challenges of its own.

Common Misconceptions About Small Dog Breeds That Don't Shed

There are several common misconceptions about small dog breeds that don't shed. One misconception is that these breeds are entirely hypoallergenic.

While they may produce fewer allergens than shedding breeds, they can still trigger allergies in some individuals. It's essential to spend time with the breed you're interested in and consult your doctor if you have allergies.

Another misconception is that these breeds are less active or require minimal exercise.

While they may not have the exact exercise needs as larger breeds, they still require daily physical activity and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.

It is essential to meet their exercise requirements to prevent behavioral issues and maintain their overall well-being.

11 Adorable, Small Dogs That Don't Shed

Here are 11 dog breeds that don't lose their hair through regular or seasonal shedding.

To learn more about the temperaments and breed characteristics, grooming, training, exercise requirements, health concerns, and more, click on the links below to read the complete breed profiles of these small dogs that don't shed.

1. Yorkshire Terrier


Yorkshire Terriers may be small, but they have no shortage of energy and charisma. They are known for their adventurous spirit and love to explore their surroundings.

Despite their lively nature, Yorkies are also affectionate and enjoy spending quality time with their owners. Their hypoallergenic coats require regular grooming to keep them looking their best.

Yorkshire Terrier Complete Breed Profile

2. Bichon Frisé

Two young Bichon Frise puppies posing in front of the camera

This breed can be described as a cloud on four feet; they are as fluffy as cheerful. If you're looking for a friendly, non-shedding small dog breed that loves playtime, a Bichon Frisé could be your new best friend.

The Bichon Frisé is a charming small dog breed known for its soft, fluffy white coat and playful demeanor. These adorable pups are called "curly lap dogs" and make excellent companions for individuals and families.

Despite their fluffy appearance, Bichons are hypoallergenic dogs that don't shed much, making them a popular choice for allergy sufferers.

Bichon Frisé Complete Dog Breed Profile

3. Poodle

A red toy poodle puppy is sitting in a forested areaToy Poodle

Poodles are highly trainable and excel in various activities, including obedience, agility, and therapy work. Their hypoallergenic coats require regular grooming to prevent matting and maintain their elegant appearance.

Poodles are known for their loyalty and make excellent companions for individuals or families seeking an active, intelligent small dog.

Toy Poodle Complete Dog Breed Profile

4. Shih Tzu

Shih-Tzu-Puppies.jpgShih Tzu Puppies

Regal and affectionate, Shih Tzu's make excellent companions. Sensitively bred for centuries to be pampered pets, they shed very little and love nothing more than lounging with their loved ones.

Shih Tzus are highly social dogs that thrive on human companionship. They are known for their gentle and loving nature, making them great companions for individuals of all ages.

Their non-shedding coats require regular grooming to maintain their beauty, but the effort is well worth it for those seeking a hypoallergenic dog that doesn't trigger allergies.

Shih Tzu Complete Dog Breed Profile

5. Maltese

maltese-dogs-and-mariguana.jpgMaltese Puppy

An epitome of elegance and friendliness, Maltese dogs are non-shedding small dogs that can quickly become cherished family members. Maltese dogs are known for their friendly and outgoing nature.

They form strong bonds with their owners and thrive on human companionship. Despite their small size, Maltese have a playful side and enjoy interactive playtime. Their hypoallergenic coats require regular grooming to prevent matting and keep them looking their best.

Maltese Complete Dog Breed Profile

6. West Highland White Terrier

west-highland-white-terrier-puppies.jpgWest Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, is a dog with a temperament that is as lively and spirited as its iconic white coat. These little dogs are full of personality and are known for their intelligence, independence, and a touch of stubbornness.

Initially bred for hunting, the Westie has adapted well to various roles, including agility and obedience competitions, therapy work, and search-and-rescue teams. 

West Highland White Terrier Complete Dog Breed Profile

7. Lhasa Apso

Three adult Lhasa Apso pose on the grass in their full show coatsThree Lhasa Apso Dogs sporting show coats

Elegant, vibrant, and non-shedding, Lhasa Apsos are small dogs that make up for their size with their brave hearts and loyal natures.

Originating from Tibet, the Lhasa Apso is a small breed with a rich history as a companion and watchdog. These dogs were considered sacred in Tibetan monasteries and were highly prized for their alertness and loyalty. Lhasa Apsos have a long, non-shedding coat that requires regular grooming to maintain its beauty.

Lhasa Apso Complete Dog Breed Profile

8. Brussels Griffon

Brussels-Griffon600.jpgBrussels Griffon

Small and sturdy, this breed's wiry coat sheds very little, and their endearing personalities will steal your heart. If you're looking for a small, hypoallergenic dog with a unique appearance and a big personality, the Brussels Griffon might be the perfect breed.

These little dogs are known for their adorable scrunchy faces, expressive eyes, and quirky nature. Brussels Griffons are hypoallergenic and shed very little, making them an excellent choice for individuals with allergies.

Brussels Griffon

9. Coton de Tulear

Two Coton de Tulear puppies are playing on a grassy yardTwo Coton de Tulear Dogs

The Coton de Tulear is a delightful breed known for its charming temperament. These small, lively dogs are intelligent, playful, and social, making them perfect companions for families of all ages. Whether you have cats, children, or other dogs, the Coton de Tulear gets along well with everyone!

Their friendly and outgoing nature makes them a joy to be around. They have an infectious, happy disposition, brightening up any room they enter. This breed is a bundle of joy that brings endless laughter and love to its owners.

One of the standout features of the Coton de Tulear is their unique coat. It is often described as cotton-like due to its softness and fluffy appearance.

Cotton de Tulear Complete Dog Breed Profile

10. Havanese

Two havanese puppies sitting between two puppiesTwo Havanese Puppies

The Havanese is a small breed with a joyful and happy-go-lucky personality. These dogs are known for their playful nature, friendly demeanor, and non-shedding coats. Havanese dogs make excellent companions for individuals and families seeking a small, hypoallergenic dog with a cheerful disposition.

Havanese Complete Dog Breed Profile

11. Scottish Terrier

A Scotish Terrier resting on a stump in front of a wooded backdropScottish Terrier

Known for their tenacity and spirited nature, these non-shedding small dogs are an excellent fit for a playful family or an active individual.

The Scottish Terrier, affectionately known as the "Scottie," is a small breed with a big personality. These independent and aggressive dogs have a distinctive appearance, featuring a wiry coat that sheds minimally.

Scotties are hypoallergenic dogs that make loyal and loving companions, especially for individuals who appreciate their unique charm and spirited nature.

Scottish Terrier Complete Dog Breed Profile

Caring for Small Dogs That Don't Shed: Tips and Tricks

What time you save by not needing to vacuum the hair that accumulates on carpets and furniture will be spent brushing and caring for your dog's long, thick coat.

This is usually not a problem for people who love dogs that don't shed because we'd prefer to be with our dogs and not behind a vacuum cleaner.

A Maltese dog is being groomed  by a professional groomerGrooming a Maltese Dog
  1. Find a good groomer if you plan to keep your dog looking his best.

  2. Invest in a good brush and comb at home between grooming appointments and learn how to properly brush your long haired dog.

  3. You will also want to plan to bathe your dog as needed in between grooming appointments.

Understanding the Genetics Behind Dogs That Don't Shed

If science is your thing, genetics can be tricky and not as simple as what you learned in high school biology. The genetics of coat length in dogs is no exception.

One gene plays a crucial role in determining coat length is the FGF5 gene.

This gene has different variants that influence whether a dog will have a short or long coat. The long coat phenotype is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait, meaning that dogs must inherit two copies of the FGF5 gene variant to have a long coat.

This remains consistent within breeds whose hair continues to grow. It is important to note that while the FGF5 gene controls hair length, other genes also influence other coat traits such as hair curls (Poodles) and the presence of mustache (Shih Tzu) and eyebrows (Miniature Schnauzer).

These genes work with the FGF5 gene to create the unique coat characteristics seen in different dog breeds.

It's also interesting to note that the inheritance of coat length is not solely determined by genetics but can also be influenced by environmental factors and selective breeding practices.

Small Dogs That Don't Shed: Conclusion

Choosing your canine companion should never feel like a gamble. It is a long-term commitment that should bring joy, companionship, and an enriching experience.

Small dogs that don't shed offer an ideal compromise between the fun and comfort of having a furry friend and a clean, allergy-free environment.

So, why not pick from our list, read a bit more about the breed, and invite one of these non-shedding, small dog breeds into your life? Trust me; they have a lot of love to give.

Dog Breeds That Don't Shed:  Pin for Future Reference

Pin image of small dog breeds that don't shed11 Small Dog Breeds that Don't Shed

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, beagles, English bulldogs, carin terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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