Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dogs that don't shed

Do you want to know which dog breeds don't shed? The truth is there aren't any.
Fur and hair are the same thing.
What matters is: How much hair falls out and how often? What kind of hair is it? And where does it go?

Whew. That feels better.

If you're allergic to dogs, the thing that makes you wheeze is not the hair, but dander that sticks to it. Coat hair in so-called hypoallergenic breeds falls out, but gets tangled in the coat rather than the furniture.  Because the hair and most of the allergens are removed with grooming, the breed  throws fewer allergens into the air, that is, as long as you don't groom the dog in the house.

Out with the fur and
out with the allergens.
I can't explain why Poodles are traditionally groomed with fancy cuts and other water spaniels are not.  Some historians say the exaggerated cut reduced drag in the water, but skeptics like Dr. Barkman think it was for entertainment value. See below.

I rest my case.

What makes dog coat textures different?  Combinations of mutations in only three genes. Each follicle bundle in the canine coat is made up of a stiff outer coat primary hair, and multiple secondary accessory hairs of different textures, from silky to fuzzy to wiry.  In the process of artificial selection, we've selected for different combinations of hair.
Source: Miller's Anatomy of the Dog

 Like wolves, German Shepherds, Huskies and many other breeds have the full coat.  When they shed each spring, there is usually enough hair to make several other dogs.

A little hair of the dog? 
Poodles, Pulis, water spaniels and some other breeds have coats devoid of the course primary hair. Whereas most canine hair follicles are instructed to stop growing somewhere between less than an inch to as long as 12 inches, the Poodle's hair is programmed to grow very long.  To create the chorded coat, the groomer twists naturally occurring tightly curled fur,  then locks it into regular patterns to encourage dreds. Popular in the Victorian era, it's a look rarely seen these days.

Terrier coats are combinations of secondary stiff, 
wiry accessory hairs with small primary hairs.

For more information on all types of dog hair, read this no-nonsense article on canine coats.
And this link takes you to a list of breeds least likely to cause allergic reactions.
And, if the idea of hair all over your house is too overwhelming, you can check out a list of
animals that don't shed here.

As for me, an outfit without dog hair is an incomplete fashion statement.


  1. My guy gets the thick undercoat so even with brushing, I vacuum up enough hair each week to weave a blanket, lol.


  2. Very interesting post!! My Schipperkes have a double coat and can shed quite a bit from Winter into the warmer months! Because of the varying lengths on the body, which provide the distintive silhouette ie. the ruff around the neck, and the cullots on the back legs, it's not recommended to trim the coat, although I know some people do shave their dogs for the summer months to prevent the 'blowing' of the coat and the mess it creates. I don't think I could bring myself to do that to them LOL!!!!

  3. Great post and a link to STKE, one of my favorite publications.

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