If you’re looking for a big dog that doesn’t shed we’ll need to clear up a few things.
Firstly, all dogs shed at least a little. No dog is truly non shedding, as loose hairs will come out occasionally even on the lowest shedding dog.
But don’t panic yet! As fortunately for most people who think they are allergic to dogs, your allergies are possibly not actually triggered by dog hair!
So, this article is called ‘big dogs that don’t shed’. But it should really be called ‘big dogs that don’t shed that much’. As all dogs will shed a bit from time to time, but some shed a lot less than others.
Let’s take a look at what this means for you and your potential new furry friend.
All Dogs Shed?
Yes, all dogs shed. But although big dogs that don’t shed at all are not strictly possible to find. Big dogs that don’t shed much are.
Shedding is a natural process which is primarily a result of hormonal changes which are linked to how long (or short) the days are.
Shedding is affected by daylight, but things like health, diet, season, sunlight and temperature all play a part as well.
Dogs may also shed after a stressful situation like giving birth, travelling, or having surgery. Shedding can also be caused by malnutrition, injury and trauma.
All dogs shed, but some breeds shed a lot less than others.
You may assume that low shedding dogs would naturally have less hair than regular dogs, but you’d be surprised. The Komondor is a large dog that doesn’t shed, and the Komondor is basically all hair!
Why Are Some People Allergic To Dogs?
An allergic reaction is an abnormal response to something (normally a protein) which your immune system recognises as foreign and assumes is a threat (such as bacteria or a virus).
The reaction is often mild and just causes sneezing and itchy eyes, but allergies can also result in asthma attacks, difficulty breathy and (rarely) death.
If you are allergic to dogs you may assume that the more hair a dog has the more you will end up suffering. But pet allergies are normally triggered by microscopic particles which are found in dog urine, saliva and bits of dead skin (known as pet dander).
These particles are tiny enough to be airborne and so they are easily inhaled by humans.
All dogs produce a certain amount of pet dander, but dogs which are known as hypo-allergenic breeds typically spread less dander and are thus less likely to make you allergic.
It’s important to note that there is no such thing as a truly hypo-allergenic dog breed, but some dogs are more suitable for allergy sufferers.
You can find out all about hypoallergenic dog breeds in this article.
You may want to buy a low-shedding dog to help prevent allergies, but not all non-shedding dogs are also hypo-allergenic.
Many non-shedding dogs do produce less dander and are thus less likely to make you sneeze, but it is not always a guarantee.
If you are looking for both characteristics then make sure you discuss with your breeder/adoption agency so you know what your options are.
Some people think that shaving their dog (or buying a hairless breed) will stop allergic reactions, but this can actually make it worse as the skin is more exposed.
Why Buy A Big Dog That Doesn’t Shed?
Finding dog hair all over your house is one of the major downsides to having a dog at all, so a low-shedding breed offers some clear advantages.
Dogs which don’t shed much often produce less pet dander because the dander that is stuck to their fur won’t be shed and released into the air as much. This doesn’t mean the dog is allergen free, but less shedding definitely helps.
Dogs that shed often will leave hair all over your house, and naturally, the larger your dog is the more hair they have to shed!
If your dog doesn’t shed that much, it will definitely save time cleaning up. There will be less hair to hoover, your bed won’t be full of hair, and, whilst you will still probably find hair around your house now and again, it won’t be nearly as bad. It will cut the amount of time you have to spend on chores so you can spend more quality time with your pet!
Not all low-shedding dogs will have thinner coats, but those that do are less likely to get pollen trapped in their fur. If you have hay fever, you’ll want to avoid pollen as much as possible and, in that case, it may be better to choose a dog with a single rather than a double coat or a dog with less fur.
Last but not least, the ‘large dogs that don’t shed’ category includes many wonderful canines who make excellent and loyal companions.
What To Expect From Big Dogs That Don’t Shed A Lot
Low shedding dogs are not necessarily lower maintenance. In fact, some large low shedding large dogs are pretty high maintenance.
Matted hair can be really painful for the dog because, if left unchecked, it could pull on the dog’s skin. This could cause permanent hair loss, so it’s really important that you groom your dog regularly for their comfort and appearance.
You will need to bath and brush/maintain your dog’s fur to stop their hair getting matted and dirty. Regular grooming is also important because it cleans away a lot of the pet dander which gets stuck to the dog’s fur. A well-groomed dog is better for your allergies.
What Big Dogs Don’t Shed?
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect, let’s meet some of the large dogs that don’t shed (much)!
Airedale terriers are the largest of all terrier breeds. They originate in Yorkshire and they’ve been around since the mid 18th century. The breed were first used to hunt otters and rats and they make good sport, working and guard dogs.
Airedale terriers are a great choice if you’re looking for a family dog, you have a back garden and you’re prepared to go on regular walks. But Airedale terriers are also independent, they can potentially be aggressive towards other animals and require lots of socialization to people and other pets from a young age.
Airedale terriers don’t normally shed much, but they will shed at certain times throughout the year.
These dogs have two coats (a softer coat underneath covered with a coarse top coat) and they require require regular brushing and annual hand stripping.
You will need to bath them every now and then, and it’s important that you clip/trim your Airedale’s coat every few months to maintain a nicely groomed appearance.
In the category of big dogs that don’t shed, the Airedale is a great choice for active homes with older children and who ideally don’t have other pets.
Schnauzers come in many sizes and the Giant Schnauzer is by far the biggest. The breed originates in Germany and was first used for driving cattle. Some Giant Schnauzers were also used in butcher shops, as guard dogs and later in the police force.
Giant Schnauzers tend to be sensitive, bold and protective. They are intelligent dogs and they require regular mental and physical stimulation. They are not recommended for households with younger children and they will need regular exercise. These dogs require thorough early socialisation to help them be accepting of new people and experiences.
Giant Schnauzers have wiry coats which don’t tend to shed often.
They need regular brushing (at least once a week) and their coats will need to be clipped or trimmed every few months.
Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel was ‘created’ by a man called Justin McCarthy who never revealed how he bred the first known Irish Water Spaniel, a dog called Boatswain. This dog may share ancestry with the, but it is a separate breed. The Irish Water Spaniel is a versatile dog which was bred for hunting and water retrieving.
The Irish Water Spaniel is a popular working and shows dog in Ireland, but the breed isn’t as well known in the US. Only around 125 Irish Water Spaniel puppies are registered each year, so this dog is pretty hard to find.
This breed loves to swim and they even have webbed feet to help them along. The Irish Water Spaniel is active, they have are relatively easy to train, but they also like to goof around and can be a bit of a handful at times.
Irish Water Spaniel’s love to have fun and they are certainly an entertaining addition to the family, but they do require early socialisation. They are also hunting dogs and they may not get on with smaller animals and birds.
Irish Water Spaniel’s have thick coats which need to be brushed three times a week to avoid mats and to remove dirt, debris and any bacteria. They are a low shedding breed and won’t leave hair deposits all over your house.
Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dogs are packed with loving personality.
The Portuguese Water dog was used by Portuguese fishermen for centuries to help them retrieve things from the water and communicate with nearby boats. This breed probably shares their ancestry with the Poodle.
This breed became popular when a Portuguese Water dog named Bo joined Barrack Obama and his family as First Dog of the White House.
As the name suggests, the Portuguese Water dog loves swimming and needs regulate exercise. They are clever, they get on with children, and they are very loving towards their family.
This breed is considered hypo-allergenic. Even though all dogs do shed sometimes, the Portuguese Water Dog sheds a lot less than many other breeds. These dogs need to be brushed every couple of weeks and they need to be trimmed every month.
Saluki’s are gorgeous, slim and delicate dogs.
The Saluki is an ancient breed and is probably descended from the first dogs. There are pictures of Saluki-like-dogs on Egyptian tombs from as long ago as 21000 B.C.E. These dogs were originally used for hunting and they were so adored by the Pharaohs that many were mummified so that they could join them in the afterlife.
The Saluki is aloof with strangers and needs early socialisation. They tend to be shy, they like to be clean and they tend to form a close bond with one special human in the family. These dogs like to lounge around for hours, but they still need periods of intense sprinting daily exercise.
These skinny dogs have been hunting for centuries and the instinct is still active, so keep your dog away from smaller animals and keep them on a leash outside as they are very fast.
Saluki dogs are a low shedding breed which tends to avoid that ‘doggy smell’. They need weekly brushing to maintain their appearance and keep their coats clean.
Who doesn’t love a Poodle? Although pocked sized toy and miniature Poodles are very cute, there is something wonderful about the full sized Standard Poodle.
The Poodle is an old breed which is probably a cross between several other dogs. There are images of dogs which look a lot like Poodles decorating ancient Egyptian and Roman artefacts.
Poodles were used for duck hunting, and some Poodles were also used as performers in the circus. The Poodle is currently one of the most popular dogs in America.
Poodles are clever, they are loyal and they are proud. They love to have fun and they are pretty easy to train, but they can be wary of new people.
The Poodle doesn’t shed much at all and they are thought to be one of the most ‘hypo-allergenic’ breeds around. This breed needs semi-regular grooming to maintain their fur and will need to be clipped about once a month.
Even though the Poodle is famous for their unique hairstyles, you are under no obligation to make your Poodle look like a show dog.
Some mixed breed dogs shed less, or are meant to shed less, than other breeds because one or more of their parents is a low shedding dog. But this is not always the case.
Labradoodles are a very popular mixed breed which is a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle.
These dogs were originally bred in Australia and they were designed to be hypo-allergenic dogs with non-shedding coats.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
The problem with hybrid dogs is that you can’t determine which traits the puppy will have. Some Labradoodles are more Labrador, and some are more Poodle. Whilst some Labradoodles have non-shedding coats, others shed with abandon.
If you have your heart set on a non-shedding dog then a Labradoodle may not be the best choice, but they do still have a lot to offer.
Labradoodles are generally intelligent, easy to train, they are friendly and they get on with other pets, children and strangers.
The Schnoodle is a cross between a Schnauzer and a Poodle. Most of these dogs tend to be smaller breeds, but you can get a standard Poodle cross with a Giant Schnauzer and end up with a bigger dog.
The Schnoodle is a newer breed which was only developed in the ‘80s. They were designed to be a low-shedding hypo-allergenic breed as both Schnauzers and Poodles are low-shedding breeds.
Hybrid dogs tend to be a bit unpredictable when it comes to temperament, but the Schnoodle is designed to be protective, loyal, fun and intelligent. These dogs need early socialisation to get them comfortable in different situations.
Schnoodles are a low-shedding breed which requires regular trimming. Schnoodles may either have a soft coat, like a Poodle, or a wiry coat like a Schnauzer, and both types of dog need to be brushed once a week.
Big Dogs That Don’t Shed
Some of the dogs on this list are pretty rare, and unfortunately, there are some breeders out there who do not follow appropriate procedures and are not concerned with the dog’s health.
Many dogs get abandoned because their owners are not able or willing to care for them any longer.
These dogs need a loving home with people who will give them a good life. If you’re considering buying a dog, why not adopt an adult dog instead?
You will know what their final size will be, and what their shedding will be like too.
If you are looking to buy a dog then remember to choose a responsible breeder who follows recommended guidelines and, if possible, also has a family history of the dog’s ancestors to ensure that there are no hereditary problems or unnatural unions.
We are big fans of the Standard Poodle mixes, but not all of these will be non or even low shedding. Make sure that you know all about both parent breeds and are aware of the risk that your pup will be high shedding despite having one low shedding parents.
Are you struggling to pick the right breed for you and your family?
Then you will want to read ‘Choosing The Perfect Puppy‘.
From the best selling author of Total Recall and The Happy Puppy Handbook, comes a complete guide to finding the best dog for you.
- Hypoallergenic Dogs: The Facts About Non-Shedding Breeds
- James T C Li, M.D, Ph.D, ‘Are there any hypo-allergenic dog breeds?’, Mayo Clinic, 1998-2017,
- A. McKenzie Andre & Z. Holloway Andre, ‘Allergies to Pets’ in ‘Animals, Diseases and Human Health: Shaping Our Lives Now and in the Future, ed by David R.G, 2011
Shatz M & Schatz C, ‘Correcting Myths and Misconceptions about Allergies to Pets’, Taylor Francis Online, 2015
- Cat’s That Don’t Shed – A Guide To Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds