Most of the low-shedding dog breeds are smaller dogs, so you'll find a full array of terriers and other miniatures who won't leave handfuls of fur on your lap after a long petting session. In reality, there are no small dogs that don't shed at all, assuming they have fur (truly hairless dogs, like the American Hairless Terrier, don’t), but here we’ve rounded up dogs who tend to have slower growing coats which leads to minimal shedding. They also don’t undergo heavy seasonal shedding like some dogs who shed winter coats. Some dogs here can also be trimmed to have shorter hair, so you're less likely to notice mounds of hair when it is shed.
It's important to keep all of these low-shedding breeds groomed according to the needs of their coat. Just because these dogs don't shed much doesn't mean they can do without brushing or clipping. Some dogs, like the Shit Tzu and Maltese can have long fur, but because it is so fine it requires daily brushing to avoid matting. Make sure that you are willing to put in the time to keep your dog's coat maintained.
Here are some great small dogs that don’t shed much:
"Yorkies” are one of the most popular dog breeds (ranked 4th in 2012 by the American Kennel Club) because they are friendly, smart, and have big personalities in a tiny package. Their long blue-grey and brown fur requires daily brushing to keep looking its best. Yorkies don't need a lot of exercise, because they are so small, but do require a lot of love and attention.
Poodles can look so proper and prim, sometimes we forget they are water retrievers! The fancy “poodle cut” we think of as “high society” was actually intended to help them move through the water easier and keep their joints warm. The poodle cut keeps fur in important areas, so make sure you don't take the plunge to a full shave! You can also leave fur the same, short length, but professional grooming may be needed to work through their thick fur.
Shih Tzus actually have a double coat, but it grows so slowly that the chance of shedding is still very low. While it may be tempting to grow out the fur to give your Shih Tzu a full, noble appearance, a long show coat requires careful brushing every day. Many owners prefer to keep the hair short, with a trim every few months, which requires far less brushing. Either way, make sure you never groom their fur dry—use a coat conditioner before brushing.
These spirited watchdogs are a cute breed and are easy to keep well-groomed. Trimmed short monthly or bi-monthly, their coats need minimal brushing with a short wire brush. If you do find mats, you can cut them out instead of trying to work them out of the course fur. The Mini Schnauzer may also need their beard trimmed occasionally to keep it clean after meals.
The long, soft, white fur of the Maltese is an impressive sight, but it's easy to see some challenges in grooming. These dogs require daily brushing and careful cleaning to keep their fur pearly. Happy and playful dogs, Maltese make great companions, as they have been for royal and noble families across Europe for centuries.
These little white bundles of joy have a thick undercoat with a curly topcoat. This means they'll need monthly grooming to keep the hair short and clear out dander which gets trapped in the undercoat. Even if you keep the hair super short in a “lamb cut,” they will still need weekly grooming to prevent tangles and mats.
These dogs are so loyal, beautiful, and independent, you can imagine them protecting nobility and temples near the sacred city of Lhasa, in Tibet. Lhasa Apsos can be quite happy left alone—they don't require as much attention as some dogs, but taking care of their coat can be tricky. If the hair is kept long, it requires frequent grooming and brushing. If the fur is short, the Lhasa Apso should only need brushing once a week.
These terriers do shed, but very little. While daily brushing of their waterproof coat is important, they don't need to be clipped or bathed very often. These happy, affectionate dogs are great for cities because they can get most of their exercise indoors.
Most people only know about the “hairless” variety of the Chinese Crested, which only have fur on their feet, head, and tail, but these dogs can also have a “powderpuff” full coat, and both coats are low-shedding. Surprisingly enough, both hairless and powderpuff dogs are born in the same litter. Powderpuff Chinese Crested will need frequent brushing because their coat is so fine, and while the hairless variety doesn't have much to brush, they sunburn easily so make sure you use sunscreen if your dog will be out in the sun for a while.
More on Small Dogs
Small Dog Grooming
Small Dog Supplies
How to Train a Small Dog