Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
You can buy one of those new super-performing vacuums, you can add omega fatty acid supplements to your dog's diet, you can even change all of your clothes so that you always dress like your dog... It doesn't matter what you do. Dogs shed.
Some dogs shed a lot, and some hardly shed at all. If you are looking for a small dog that does not shed much, here is a list of five of the best.
1. The Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is one of the cutest small breeds. These little lion dogs from China have a long coat that reaches to the ground and needs daily brushing, and since they do not shed, they need to be groomed every few months.
A lot of Shih Tzu owners just keep their dogs in a “puppy cut” so that the dog does not need to be brushed so much. However, they still need to go to the groomers periodically for a haircut.
An adult Shih Tzu weighs only about 6 or 7 kilos (13 to 15 pounds) with large eyes, a short face, and an underbite.
Besides breathing problems (because of their faces), some of them also have hip dysplasia, a problem usually found in large dogs but also seen in Pugs and some other small breeds. Shih Tzus are also one of the breeds affected by IVDD, a back disease that can cause paralysis.
They also have some dental problems because of their crowded teeth and really need their teeth brushed every day.
Shih Tzu live about 14 years, and sometimes a lot longer! They have a great temperament, do well with kids and adults, and, since they don’t shed much, make a great dog for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with loose hair.
2. Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzers weigh between 5 to 9 kilos (11 to 20 pounds) but act like a big dog when it comes to barking and defending their territory.
They live about 12 years, but some of them are around for a lot longer!
Miniature Schnauzers do have some health problems, like pancreatitis and diabetes, and should have regular check-ups at the vet.
Most of them are salt and pepper, but some dogs are black, silver, or even solid white. If you can handle the barking and want a good dog that does not shed much, a Miniature Schnauzer is out there waiting for you.
3. West Highland White Terrier
One of the best small breeds that does not bark much, the Westie is also one of the cutest small white dogs. They are good with kids that treat them well but do tend to bark a lot—although it is usually for a reason.
He might bark when acting as a watchdog, or when hunting in the garden. (Westies were originally bred to hunt rodents and they are still good at it.) He might even bark just because!
West Highland White Terriers are small, weighing only about 6 to 8 kilos (12 to 17 pounds).
They do have some health problems, like allergies and an unusual disease of the skin. Some of them are also affected by inherited problems like “westie jaw” and “white dog shaker syndrome.”
Westies live about 14 years. If you have plenty of energy to exercise them, they are an attractive and fun breed that does not shed much.
4. Bichon Frisé
Are you looking for a cute small white dog that looks happy? The Bichon Frisé is a dog that won’t shed much but will meet a lot of your other needs.
The Bichon is great with kids and small (only about 3 to 5 kilos or 7 to 11 pounds) so they do well in an apartment.
Like all small dogs, they do have some problems with dental disease. Besides needing regular brushing and serious grooming every month or so, a Bichon really needs his teeth brushed every day. Some of them are prone to liver shunts but they are a pretty healthy breed of dog.
This dog usually lives about 12 years. They are usually cheerful, so if you are looking for a happy dog that does not shed much, the Bichon Frisé is a great choice.
Okay, in this article the best dog has been left for last. Am I showing some favoritism here? Well, I guess you could say so, but then again we are talking about the best small dog that does not shed much.
The Maltese is actually tiny (usually under 3 or 4 kilos, less than 8 pounds) so he may not even fit in this category. He has all sorts of things going for him, however. The Maltese is a good dog for a first-time owner.
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They get along with cats and most other little animals you might have around the house. And as far as the house goes? They are okay with a big house, a small house, or even a little apartment.
Maltese do not shed much, but their hair is very fine and needs to be cropped close or brushed every day. They look good with a nice haircut and a dye job, but some dogs are prone to tear staining so that needs to be taken care of.
Surely this small dog has some other negatives? Well, Maltese do like to bark. They need to have their teeth brushed every day to delay the onset of dental disease, and of course, they need to go for a walk every day, just like any other dog.
But they don’t shed much!
Adopt, Don't Shop!
If you have found the perfect dog breed on the internet, the next step is to get him home. Take a moment and check with your local animal shelter before searching anywhere else. You may end up finding a dog that has been abandoned when his owners had to move, or maybe even a dog that was picked up as a stray. Small dogs are usually adopted pretty quickly so be sure to check soon.
You can also look at the site for Petfinder.com. They have listings for dogs in your area and the small dog you are looking for may be just a short drive away.
Consider a breed rescue too. All you need to do is open up your search engine and type in the name of the breed, the word rescue, and the name of the area you live in.
Just don’t buy a puppy from a pet shop or through an internet wholesaler. Besides supporting a puppy mill, you may end up buying a small dog with housetraining and other behavioral issues.
If none of the other sources work, visit a dog show and talk to the breeders of the type of dog you are interested in. They can let you know when a dog will be available and how you can set things up for your new puppy.
Good luck on finding that new small dog!
More About Dogs...
- Five Little Dog Breeds That Don't Bark Much
If you are searching for a small breed of dog that does not bark much, check out the five best! Videos, photos, and a description of each dog will help you make the right choice.
- Five Best Small Watch Dog Breeds
Are you looking for a dog that will keep your lap warm AND warn you when a stranger comes prowling? Here are photos, videos, and great descriptions of the five best small watchdogs available.
- Five Fierce Dog Breeds Your Family MUST Be Afraid Of
This is a list of the five most dangerous dogs, beasts that will rip your throat out as soon as pee on you. Beware of the vicious family dog.
Questions & Answers
Question: When is a puppy ready for a bath?
Answer: As soon as you get her home, if you want and need to. Just use a mild shampoo or even just plain water so that you do not remove the oils from her skin and dry them out.
© 2013 Dr Mark
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 28, 2020:
Leah, are you looking for a low shedding dog? The Shih tzu and Lhasa Apso are both good dogs. The Lhasa personality is a lot more like a Chow Chow, so would probably be a good choice.
Leah Prue on July 28, 2020:
I’ve always have had chow chows. I will be moving into a condo with a 25 lb weight limit on dogs. So once my chow passes, she is 11 now slowing down but still happy and healthy,I will have to move. Unfortunately there are no 25 lb chows so I will have to find something that is also quite and chow like in behaviour. I need and love laziness and I also don’t tolerate heat. My choices so far are the Frenchie or Pekingese. Which would be better or could you suggest a better choice. I’m used to a lot of grooming and shedding. I like something somewhat brachycephalic. Don’t like skinny muzzles and well in a condo quite and clean. I’m retired so the dog would only be alone for short periods but I’m not real good at playing that’s why I love chows and their cat like behaviour. Help?
oldiesmusic from United States on October 10, 2013:
I think a toy poodle should be included too. I have no problem with my toy poodle, she doesn't shed much and she's not "balding" :)
Healing Herbalist from The Hamlet of Effingham on May 17, 2013:
Great hub. We have a Cocker Spaniel, and have had several in the past. Love the fact they don't shed much.
Abdus Salam from Bangladesh on May 16, 2013:
very useful and interesting hub. thanks
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 16, 2013:
Uh oh my bias is showing? Actually the only bias I cannot understand is people that say "I only like big dogs" or "I only like small dogs" or "I only like Goldens (or some other breed". Everyone should have an attitude like yours, since you are a fan of everything from the Min Pin to the St. Bernard!
Mary Craig from New York on May 16, 2013:
Another very informative hub though I do sense some bias ;) My son has a Bichon and I think its the happiest dog I've ever known. He suffers from skin growths all over his body and they have a problem with him scratching them. He is twelve years old and quite the family member. You know, my MinPin sheds very little ;)
Voted up, useful, and interesting.