Love big dogs but don’t like hair all over your house, on your clothes, and in your food? You’re in luck because there are lots of big dog breeds that don’t shed. Some of these non-shedding breeds are also hypoallergenic. If you’re interested in a breed that doesn’t shed because you are allergic to dogs, it’s important to understand the difference between non-shedding and hypoallergenic (and also what the term “hypoallergenic” really means).
People who are allergic to dogs are allergic to certain proteins found in dog dander (dried bits of skin, saliva and urine). The more dander a dog has, the worse it is for the allergic person. Different dogs produce different amounts of dander. In general, larger dogs do produce more dander, but some breeds produce less than others. Hair follicles contain dander, so dogs that don’t shed leave less dander in the house.
Just because a breed is non-shedding or hypoallergenic does not mean it is guaranteed not to trigger an allergic reaction, but a hypoallergenic dog breed is less likely to cause a reaction in an allergic person. Before acquiring a non-shedding or hypoallergenic dog, test your tolerance by spending time indoors with adults of the breed. No dog is truly “allergy free,” and even non-shedding breeds are known to drop a few hairs here and there.
Read on to meet 11 big dog breeds that don’t shed.
01 of 11
The Airedale Terrier is known as the “King of Terriers” because it is the largest of all the terrier breeds. The Airedale was developed in England in the Aire Valley, where it was valued as a duck hunter and rat killer. The short, wiry coat may be straight, crinkled, or slightly waved. The coat does not shed, but it must be professionally clipped or hand-stripped three or four times a year. Brush weekly with a soft slicker brush to keep the coat tangle free.
HEIGHT: 23 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 50 to 70 pounds
Physical characteristics: Strong and well balanced. The hard, wiry, dense, straight, short coat is a mix of tan and black or dark grizzle, with tan head and ears.
02 of 11
The Afghan Hound is a very ancient breed that originated thousands of years ago in the mountain region of what is currently Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. Here, the swift dogs were used for hunting and prized as loyal companions by royalty and nobility. The long, thick, silky flowing coat does not shed, but it needs a lot of maintenance, including frequent bathing (using both shampoo and conditioner), as well as lots of brushing (up to several hours every week).
HEIGHT: 25 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 50 to 60 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Tall, lean and powerful, with very pronounced hipbones. The coat can be any color or combination of colors, including brindle and domino.
03 of 11
The Briard hails from France, where it has long been used to herd sheep and guard flocks from predators and thieves. The long, coarse, slightly wavy coat is dirt and water-resistant, and sheds very little as long as it is maintained correctly with plenty of brushing and combing (you might need to devote a few hours a week to this task). Bathe the Briard once a month, and have its hair trimmed by a professional groomer every few months.
HEIGHT: 22 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 55 to 100 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Powerful, strong and agile, with a coarse, long coat in black, gray, or tawny.
04 of 11
The Giant Schnauzer is the largest of three related Schnauzer breeds. It was bred up from the Standard Schnauzer, which was the original Schnauzer (the Miniature Schnauzer was bred down from the Standard). In Germany, the Giant Schnauzer drove cattle to the market, and worked as an all-around farm dog and guard dog. The Giant Schnauzer’s dense, wiry coat sheds very little. It needs regular professional grooming, but in between appointments can be easily maintained with weekly brushing.
HEIGHT: 23.5 to 27.5 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: About 55 to 85 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Robust, strongly built, and nearly square. The hard, wiry, dense coat forms a beard and eyebrows, and may be solid black or pepper and salt (gray).Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11
The Irish Water Spaniel hails from Ireland, where it has long been used as a versatile hunting dog, able to point, flush, and retrieve downed birds, including ducks, geese, pheasant, and quail. The Irish Water Spaniel is covered in covered with dense, tight, crisp curls, but the long tail is completely smooth tail, earning the breed the nickname of “Rat Tail Spaniel.” The coat does not shed and is considered hypoallergenic, but it requires frequent brushing and regular professional grooming to keep it looking its best.
Height: 21 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 45 to 68 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Strongly built and well-boned. The dense, crisp, and tightly curled coat comes in solid liver (brown).
06 of 11
The Komondor comes from Hungary, where it has been used for centuries as livestock guardian, protecting sheep from wolves and other predators, as well as guarding the farm and family. The coat is traditionally corded, which means the hair is encouraged to grow into long white dreadlocks, which allow the dog to blend in with his flock. The cords of hair are so thick they can serve as armor against attacking wolves and keep the dog warm in harsh weather. Though the corded coat does not shed, it requires an enormous amount of care to keep it healthy, clean, and dry.
HEIGHT: At least 25.5 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 80 to 100 pounds or more
Physical Characteristics: Large and muscular with plenty of bone and substance; covered with a heavy coat of white cords.
07 of 11
The Peruvian Inca Orchid, also known as the Peruvian Hairless Dog (Perro sin Pelo de Peru) is a very ancient breed that developed naturally in Peru. Images of the breed can be found in pottery dating back to 750 AD. The Peruvian Inca Orchid comes in hairless and coated varieties, as well as three sizes (small, medium, and large). The hairless Peruvian does not shed; it is usually entirely free from body hair, though some may have a very small amount of short hair on the head, feet, and end of the tail. These dogs need skin protection when spending time outdoors, including sunscreen in warmer months and sweaters in cold weather.
HEIGHT: 19.75 to 25.75 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 26.5 to 55 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Elegant and slim; hairless with smooth and elastic skin.
08 of 11
The Poodle comes in three size varieties. The largest is the Standard Poodle, followed by the Miniature and Toy Poodles. The Standard was the original Poodle, developed in Germany as a water retriever. The naturally harsh, dense curly coat is hypoallergenic and does not shed, but it is high maintenance. The Standard poodle must be professionally groomed every one to two months and brushed every other day (daily for longer coats) to prevent mats.
HEIGHT: Standard: More than 15 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: Standard: About 40 to 70 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Squarely built, well-proportioned and smoothly muscled. The harsh, dense, curly coat comes in many solid colors, including but not limited to white, black, silver, brown, and apricot.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11
The sporty-looking Portuguese Water Dog has been known in Portugal for hundreds of years, where it helped fishermen, swimming from boat to boat or boat to shore, to deliver messages, retrieve broken nets, and even herd fish into nets. The waterproof coat does not shed and is considered hypoallergenic. The PWD requires weekly brushing and combing, and professional grooming every month or two.
HEIGHT: 17 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 35 to 60 pounds
Physical Characteristics: A robust dog of medium build. The profuse coat may be curly or wavy, and comes in black, white and brown, with or without white markings.
10 of 11
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was developed in the Netherlands in the late 1800s to be a versatile hunting breed. Today, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon remains an excellent pointing and retrieving dog used to hunt upland birds. The straight, wiry, harsh, water-resistant double coat does not shed, but it must be brushed out thoroughly at least once a week. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon also needs professional trimming or handstripping three or four times a year.
HEIGHT: 20 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder
WEIGHT: 35 to 70 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized and strong of limb. The harsh, wiry, straight coat may be steel gray with brown markings, mchestnut brown, roan, white and brown, or white and orange.
11 of 11
The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced “show-low-eats-QUEENT-lee” or “show-low” for short), also known as the Mexican Hairless Dog, evolved naturally in Mexico at least 3,000 years ago. The Xolo comes in three sizes: standard is the largest, followed by miniature and toy. The breed is hairless with tough, smooth skin, though some dogs have a small amount of short, coarse hair on top of the head, on the feet, and on the last third of the tail. The coated variety is completely covered in a short, smooth coat. Like the Peruvian Inca Orchid, the Xolo needs skin protection, including sunscreen in warm weather and a sweater or coat in winter.
Height: Standard: 18 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: Standard: 30 to 55 pounds
Physical Characteristics: Lean, sturdy and muscular. The skin is tough, protective, smooth and close fitting and comes in a range of dark, uniform colors including black, gray black, slate, red, liver, and bronze.