Hypoallergenic Infrequent Shedders
There are some fifty or sixty different-sized dog breeds that shed less often than many dog breeds or they may only shed at different times of the year (seasonal shedders).
This list, however, focuses on only small non-shedding dog breeds who have great temperaments. These breeds shed infrequently and are hypoallergenic for allergy sufferers. They require very little grooming and help to keep your home fur-free. These are devoted and playful little dogs who stay very close to their humans so they are not happy being left alone for too long.
- Temperament: Playful, Curious, Peppy
- Height: 9.5-11.5 inches
- Weight: 12-18 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 14-15 years
Just shy of a foot tall, the Bichon Frise is famous for his velvety white rounded head. The white hypoallergenic coat dramatically sets off the big brown eyes and black nose and lips. A Bichon is great around children and other dogs. He is alert and curious and friendly to strangers. Because of his small size and confidence he adapts well to city life. Training him is fairly easy and he can even learn and perform tricks. The personality of a Bichon is often described as ‘happy-go-lucky’ and he is irresistible to anyone he meets.
It is recommended to give your Bichon a brushing once a day but he will do fine with two or three brushings per week. Bathe and trim his coat once every 4 to 6 weeks (or have a groomer do it). The Bichon is considered hypoallergenic because he sheds infrequently. Any fur that does shed gets caught in the undercoat. To prevent matting, he must be brushed at least twice a week. Bichon’s nails should be trimmed regularly as well.
The Bichon can have long stretches of calm behavior but occasionally has bursts of high activity running around the house or yard. To keep him happy, provide him with daily play sessions and walks. A second dog as a companion is fine but this breed requires one-on-one play time with his owner. A fenced yard is great for a Bichon to run around in as he is a very fast runner. A Bichon likes participating in rally, obedience and agility competitions.
Positive training methods work best and he will do well with obedience, tricks and socialization. He is a little slow on potty training but just be patient and keep at it using positive rewards. As long as your Bichon is not left alone for long periods you shouldn’t have any behavior problems.
Provided you find a responsible breeder who screens out allergies, bladder infections, luxating patella, cataracts and other eye problems, the Bichon is generally a healthy dog. Regular dental care and tooth brushing is necessary to prevent early tooth loss and gum infections. Also avoid ear infections with regular ear cleaning. Recommended health tests: hips, patella and ophthalmologist evaluations.
- Temperament: Playful, Easy-Going, Devoted
- Height: 10-12 inches
- Weight: 5.5-9 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
Small and squarely built, the ‘Bolo’ is serene, inactive and devoted to his master and family. A little shy towards strangers, but with proper early socialization warms up quickly. Ill-suited for an owner with a 9-5 schedule as he is prone to separation anxiety. Bolos were prized gifts between royals and the wealthy going back to Roman times.
The all-white coat is soft and fluffy like cotton. The non-shedding coat of a Bolognese is unshaped and untrimmed except for around the eyes for sanitary reasons. Since a long coat requires regular grooming, most opt for the easier shorter coat of about one inch, leaving the untrimmed “mop head” around the face. An occasional bath will keep your Bolo clean and looking his best. Nails should be trimmed occasionally and ears checked regularly to avoid infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
With moderate exercise, the Bolo would make a great apartment dog. As a calm, easygoing dog, he would do well as a companion for a retiree or a senior. Low-energy yet playful activities for a Bolo could include walks, rolling a ball around the house, playing hide-and-seek, teaching new tricks or running around a fenced yard.
The Bolo is a healthy dog as long as the breeder screens for luxating patellas and eye anomalies. Recommended health tests: CERF and patellar evaluation
- Temperament: Gentle, Playful, Charming
- Height: 7-9 inches
- Weight: under 7 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
The Maltese is a charming and affectionate toy dog that weighs less than seven pounds. He has a compact body covered by an all-white, long, straight, silky coat. The overall look depicts free-flowing elegance and balance. The playful expression on the face of a Maltese is hard to resist – with its dark eyes and black gum drop nose.
Though he has an aristocratic bearing, he is a hardy and adaptable pet. Very alert watchdogs who are fearless in a cute toy-dog way, and little athletes on the agility course. Long-lived, low-shedding and willing to make new friends of all ages. Occasionally a little willful or stubborn but responds well to rewards based training.
The gorgeous white coat of the Maltese requires daily gentle brushing and combing to the skin to prevent mats and tangles. Regular baths and coat conditioning keeps his hair looking its best. Fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly. Ears should be cleaned weekly, and because he is prone to dental disease as he gets older, his teeth should be brushed frequently. If he has excessive tear-staining around the eyes, visit the veterinarian to determine a solution.
The Maltese has a lot of energy but requires only occasional exercise to keep him healthy and happy. Daily walks or bouncing around in his fenced yard, or even indoors, will usually suffice to keep him fit. Learning over the centuries how to get exactly what he wants from his human companion, the Maltese is considered very intelligent. He would enjoy putting that brain and athletic build to good use in competitive sports such as obedience or agility.
In general, the Maltese is a healthy little dog. However, the breed is prone to PDA (patent ductus arteriosus) a congenital heart defect and a neurological disease called “white shaker dog syndrome”. Other health conditions that sometimes appear include deafness, hypoglycemia, collapsing trachea, pyloric stenosis, luxating patella, eye issues, and liver shunt. Responsible breeders It is paramount to find a responsible breeder who will screen their stock for these conditions. Recommended health tests: cardiac exam and patella evaluation.
Wire Fox Terrier
- Temperament: Confident, Alert, Gregarious
- Height: 15½ inches
- Weight: 18 pounds (male), 15-17 (female)
- Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
The coiled-spring Wire Fox Terrier is a sturdy and symmetrical hunter with fire and intelligence shining in his dark eyes. The predominantly white coat is rough and wiry; the V-shaped ears are neatly folded forward, pointing down to the face’s adorably comedic expression.
A delightful companion, the ‘Wire’ is upbeat and friendly with loads of personality. As a terrier, he possesses the typical feisty independence and prey drive of the breed. He is smart but training can be a challenge. An excellent athlete, natural comedian and charming housemates, the Wire is long-lived and low-shedding.
For showing, you will need to learn to hand-strip his coat or pay someone else regularly to do it for you. Or clipper into a trim similar to a show trim with much less effort. Regular brushing required to avoid matting and nails should be trimmed monthly. Ears should be checked weekly for excess wax and debris.
The Wire keeps mentally and physically fit with long walks with his owner, chasing a tennis ball in the backyard, or playtime in a large, securely fenced area. Because of his natural prey drive, never allow him to run off-lead. The spunky and happy-go-lucky Wire is very smart but somewhat independent. He can get bored easily during training so you just have to have a good sense of humor and be patient and consistent. If treated harshly he will shut down so use positive training methods.
The Wire Fox Terrier is healthy in general but prone to these health issues: cataracts, primary lens luxation, glaucoma, luxating patellas, elbow and hip dysplasia and a neurological condition known as “wobbler’s gait”. Find a good breeder who regularly screens their stock for these conditions. Recommended health tests: cardiac exam, patella evaluation.
- Temperament: Friendly, Bright, Amusing
- Height: 15-17 inches
- Weight: 12-25 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 11-13 years
The Boston Terrier is a compact, well-balanced dog with a short-tail and “tuxedo” white coat with either black, brindle or seal (dark brown) patches. The head is square with a short muzzle and large, round eyes. Named for a large city and perfect for the urban life with his portable, people-oriented skills and always up for a brisk walk to the park or outdoor cafe. A Boston is a bright dog with a comedic and dapper personality that makes everyone smile.
The Boston’s need for exercise varies, a brisk walk once or twice a day will be enough for some, while others will need more time to run and play to let off steam. Leaving a Boston out in the backyard doesn’t count as exercise—he’ll probably just sit at the door waiting to be let back in. The Boston will tend to become frustrated and develop undesirable behaviors if left alone for long periods of time. Channel his energy by playing ball with him or participate in some dog sports like agility, obedience, flyball and rally. Early socialization will help him develop into a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult. Treats make a great training incentive. Many Bostons are quite sensitive; for them, gentle corrections should be followed by warmth and praise.
Check your Boston’s prominent eyes daily for redness or irritation. Carry saline eye drops to flush out dust or debris. Responsible breeders screen their stock for problems such as cataracts, corneal ulcers, and glaucoma, as well as deafness and patellar luxation. Like all flat-faced breeds, Bostons can experience difficulty breathing when not given adequate shelter from excessive heat or humidity. Recommended health tests: patella and ophthalmologist evaluation and BAER testing.
Toy and Miniature Poodles
- Temperament: Active, Proud, Very Smart
- Height: 10 inches & under (toy), 10-15 inches (miniature)
- Weight: 4-6 pounds (toy), 10-15 pounds (miniature)
- Life Expectancy: 10-18 years
A Poodle is not a “sissy dog” but a very eager, athletic, and wickedly smart “real dog”. Remarkably versatile, a Poodle can be trained with great success. At dog shows, a Poodle usually sports the elaborate “Continental Clip”. For this style the Poodle must be brushed down to the skin daily to keep the fur from matting. Most pet owners prefer the simpler “Sporting Clip” performed by a groomer once every 4 to 6 weeks, in which the coat is shorn to follow the outline of the square, smoothly muscled body. A bath and nail trim are done at the same time.
A Poodle is a very eager and active dog who requires good exercise every day. Swimming is great exercise and the Poodle loves to get in the water and get sticks and balls since he was bred as a hunting dog who retrieves. He also thrives on going for jogs or long walks with his human. The Poodle is the #2 most intelligent dog (after #1 Border Collie) and is easily trained. Besides brains, he is agile and excels in a variety of canine sports, including agility, obedience, and tracking. He is an excellent water-retriever and enjoys competing in dock diving and retriever hunt tests. Since the Poodle is very people-oriented, he will be quick to please you if you’re training routines are fun, positive and consistent.
Because of the efforts of dedicated, responsible breeders who routinely test their stock, most Poodles live long, happy, healthy lives. Some health issues can occur though, including hip dysplasia, idiopathic epilepsy, sebaceous adenitis, von Willebrand’s disease, and immune-mediated disorders can occasionally be seen in the breed. Two orthopedic problems, Legg-Calve-Perthes and luxating patellas, can occur in Toy and Miniature Poodles. Recommended health test: hip, patella and ophthalmologist evaluation, PRA optigen DNA test.
- Temperament:Affectionate, Sprightly, Tomboyish
- Height: 7-8 inches
- Weight: 7 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 11-15 years
The tiniest of the terriers, the Yorkshire Terrier, is a seven pound, compact dog whose claim to fame is a long, silky coat of steel blue and rich golden tan. Do not let the Yorkie’s daintiness fool you. Displaying the typical terrier traits, the Yorkie is tenacious, feisty, brave, and sometimes bossy. An extremely popular breed and particularly a favorite of urbanites all over the world. The Yorkie packs lots of big-town attitude into a small but self-important package. He makes a fine little watchdog and has a big personality. A close companion, he provides years of love and laughter.
The Yorkie is long-lived and has a hypoallergenic coat that is more like human hair than animal fur. If the coat is kept long, it needs to be brushed daily. To avoid eye irritation, the hair on the upper part of the head should be trimmed short or pulled up into a topknot. The Yorkie will need a bath every week or so. Check the ears weekly for signs of infection.
To stay mentally and physically healthy, even a tiny dog like a Yorkie requires moderate exercise. Two short and steady walks will be enough for your Yorkie to see some new sites and burn off some energy. And chasing a tennis ball around the yard will help too. The tiny Yorkie even likes to participate in dog sports such as obedience or agility.
The Yorkie is very intelligent and eager to please his owner. Effusive praise and treats for good behavior work best. Start socializing your Yorkie early and in a gradual way so he can adjust to strange situations, people and dogs. Always make it a calm and happy atmosphere so these can be positive experiences. A Yorkie can participate in and excel at canine activities such as rally, agility, obedience, and roles in therapy work.
Yorkshire Terriers are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as eye anomalies and luxating patella. To help avoid problems with luxating patella (“trick knee”), care should be taken to limit the Yorkie’s jumping height, especially as a puppy. Recommended health tests: patella and ophthalmologist evaluations.
- Temperament: Affectionate, Alert, Lively
- Height: 11-13 inches
- Weight: 8-12 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 13-18 years
The Chinese Crested, is a lively and alert toy breed characterized by fine-boned elegance and graceful movement. He can be hairless or coated. The hairless variety has smooth, soft skin and tufts of hair on the head, tail, and ankles. The coated variety, called the “powderpuff,” is covered by a soft, silky coat. The hairless variety has no doggy odor, and shedding isn’t much of a problem. A Crested is fun, playful, loving, and devoted to his human. Both varieties are attentive and totally in tune with their family.
Because the hairless Crested has his skin exposed, grooming will center around taking care of his skin with skin treatments, sunscreens and acne lotions. The Powderpuff version needs to be brushed daily to maintain his fluffy coat. The Powderpuff’s undercoat is shorter than the longer overlay, which is the opposite of most haired breeds. This makes them easier to brush, but the coat can mat quickly.
Daily short walks and play-sessions in the backyard should satisfy the exercise needs of the Chinese Crested. Outdoor activity is great but care must be taken to use either sunscreen or place protective clothing on him. This is a tough little dog who can be very competitive in canine sports.
The Chinese Crested loves to spend time with his owner and he is great at competitive sports such as agility, flyball, and obedience, and he’s a great therapy dog. He also does well at lure coursing. Gentle patience is required when training because of his sensitive nature. Any harshness can ruin the training permanently.
Responsible breeders consistently screen their breeding stock for inherited eye problems that are known to occur in the Chinese Crested, including progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, and primary lens luxation. Occasionally, Epilepsy occurs in the breed. Patellar luxation can affect Cresteds. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease has no DNA test to screen parents, but it does sometimes show up on X-ray. Recommended health tests: ophthalmologist and patella evaluations and cardiac exam.
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