When choosing the right dog breed, many pet parents find that they would prefer dogs that don't shed, either because of allergies or past experiences with messes of fur. There are a lot of claims about breeds of dogs that don't shed or are hypo-allergenic, but all dogs shed unless they are truly hairless, like the American Hairless Terrier.
All dogs (and humans!) shed to get rid of old or damaged hair, and many dogs with thick coats will experience a shedding season where they get rid of a lot of hair at once. The claim to being non- or low-shedding breeds refers to dogs who have very slow-growing hair that can be trimmed or clipped (but this also puts them at risk of matting). Dogs that shed thick winter coats require a lot of grooming. Generally, it is just a frequent brushing to keep their fur out of upholstery and clothes, but not everyone wants all that work.
Dogs are sometimes called “hypo-allergenic,” if their shedding is limited and predictable. It's important to note that all dogs have the dander that causes allergic reactions, and according to recent studies, low shedding may not reduce the amount of dander in the home. If someone in your family suffers from allergies, you can reduce dander problems by keeping the dog out of their bedroom or by using HEPA filters to remove dander from the air.
If you're looking for a dog who won't require daily brushing and cleaning, you may be worried that you'll be limited to only a couple breeds. Fear not! There are a large number of breeds in various sizes that wont turn your living room into a fur covered wasteland.
Small low-shedding breeds are great for urban living because they don't need much space and won't cover your studio apartment in fur. The Yorkshire Terrier and Shih Tzu are wonderful companions who can have long or short hair, depending on how much time you are willing to commit to grooming and brushing. The Miniature Poodle's thick fur may require professional grooming and frequent brushing, but they generally have low-maintenance coats.
This group of dogs have a lot of energy and personality because most were bred as working dogs. You'll love petting the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier or exercising with the Portuguese Water Dog (which, despite having a double-coat, is very easy to care for). Long-time racing dogs, Whippets, will bring energy into your home without leaving much fur on the couch.
Just because you love big dogs doesn't mean you have to put up with shedding! The Standard Poodle can be given a simple cut to minimize grooming needs, and the beautiful Airedale Terrier only needs serious grooming (hand-stripping) once a year. The Bouvier des Flandres has a medium-length black coat but only requires weekly brushing and rarely needs a bath.
More On Dogs That Don't Shed
Skin and Coat Care
The Causes of Dog and Cat Dandruff