The Best Dog Breed for Low Shedding & Smell

By Jane Meggitt

If you're looking for a dog who neither sheds much nor has a doggy smell, you don't have a wide choice of canines. Some breeds, like the Siberian husky, don't smell but shed like crazy. All dogs shed to some degree, but some shed far less than others. There's also no such thing as as truly hypoallergenic dog, although some people with canine allergies might react less to certain breeds. Some dogs fill the little shedding/no smell bill, but you must take other characteristics into consideration.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise sitting in grass field.

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The bubbly, white bichon frise doesn't shed or smell, but that cotton ball coat requires regular trips to the groomer. This good-natured little companion dog wants to be with his person at all times, so he's not a good choice for a person who has to leave him alone a lot. When full grown, the bichon frise stands between 9.5 and 11.5 inches high at the shoulder. The American Kennel Club breed standard doesn't specify a weight limit.

Boston Terrier

Boston terrier standing on hard wood floor.

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This American breed originated in Boston and originally was used for dogfighting. The modern Boston terrier is a complete gentleman, smart with a good disposition. While the breed standard doesn't list height requirements, the Boston terrier is shown in classes with weight limits. Those limits are under 15 pounds, between 15 pounds and less than 20 pounds, and 20 pounds up to 25 pounds. Besides the classic black and white "tuxedo" coat, acceptable colors include seal and white, and brindle and white. Brindle consists of black striping on a lighter base coat.

The Basenji

Basenji standing on tree bark outside.

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The basenji doesn't just lack doggy odor and shed little, he also doesn't bark. This African hunting dog matures between 16 and 17 inches tall at the shoulder, weighing between 22 to 24 pounds. While every basenji sports white feet, a white tip on the tail and white chest, acceptable body colors include black, red and brindle. Extremely clean, the basenji is feline in his grooming habits. Temperamentally, the breed can be somewhat aloof.

The Poodles

White French poodle laying on grass.

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No matter what size canine you prefer, there's a poodle that fills the bill. While these dogs with the curly coats don't shed or emit much odor, they do require regular visits to the groomer. Toy poodles mature at 10 inches or less at the shoulder, while miniatures stand over 10 inches but not more than 15 inches tall. Any poodle over 15 inches is considered a standard. This intelligent, remarkably athletic breed appears in various colors, including black, white, cream, brown, blue, cafe-au-lait, apricot, silver and gray.

Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniel puppy running across the beach.

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The Irish water spaniel's coat looks like that of the poodle, but you'd never catch a poodle with a rat-like tail. At maturity, this tallest of the spaniels stands between 21 and 24 inches high at the shoulder and weighs between 45 and 65 pounds. His brown coat is water repellent, and water is his second home. The Irish water spaniel makes both a fine hunting dog and family pet. While energetic, he's smart and trains easily.