When you're introducing a canine companion into your home, it's important to know what you're looking for. After all, you'll be living with your new housemate for many years. If your ideal pup is medium-sized, laid-back, with a low propensity for shedding, you have a few choices. If you're willing to go up or down a few pounds in size, you'll have more options.
The bad news is if you're looking for a medium-sized dog who doesn't shed at all, you'll have to stick to a play toy. All dogs shed. It's how they lose their old, damaged hair. The amount they shed depends on their health and breed. Health issues that impact shedding and hair loss include allergies, parasites and immune, kidney, adrenal, liver and thyroid disease. It's important to note that just as there are no dogs who don't shed, there also are no "hypoallergenic" dogs. Dander, attached to pet hair, is the primary trigger for people with pet allergies, making a low-shedding dog a good choice for a dog lover with allergies. Fortunately, there are dogs who have a minimal amount of shedding.
You Can Call Him Show Low
If you're looking for a medium-sized, calm dog who doesn't shed much, the Xoloitzcuintli is probably the perfect dog for you. His name is a mouthful -- pronounce it show-low-eats-queent-lee -- and he's one of the oldest dog breeds around. This guy doesn't have much hair at all, is intelligent, affectionate, easy to train and calm; he may just be your dream dog. He comes in three sizes: toy, miniature and standard, and ranges from 9 to 30 pounds.
Maxing out at about 23 pounds, the Bedlington terrier just makes it into the medium-sized category. Though he's part of the active terrier group, this guy is a little more low-key than his busy cousins. The Boston terrier, weighing up to 25 pounds, has a similar personality. The Chinese Shar-Pei comes in at the other end of the medium range, weighing between 40 and 55 pounds. Known for his wrinkly skin, the Shar-Pei is independent, but devoted to his people.
Ways to Compromise
Getting all three things on your wish list may be difficult, meaning you may have to compromise on something. If you're most interested in finding a low-key companion to stretch out on the couch with you, the English bulldog and Skye terrier are mellow, medium-sized dogs, though they aren't low-shedders. If calm and little shedding are more important than size, consider the little affenpinscher who is generally a quiet, playful guy. The komondor is a big guy, and with proper training will be a calm, protective family member. If you're up for a bit more activity, the soft-coated wheaten terrier or standard schnauzer make nice medium-sized dogs with low shedding coats. Both make great family members, but require some exercise and training to channel their energy positively.
Living With Compromise
If you're having a tough time finding the dog that hits all the marks, consider what you're willing to live with. You can find the right size and activity level and cope with shedding by brushing your dog regularly -- weekly if he's a short-haired dog and more often if he has long or curly hair. Get on friendly terms with your vacuum cleaner, and keep a room designated as a dog-free zone so you have one fur-less space. If you decide less hair is more important than more calm, spend time training your dog and giving him ample exercise. A tired dog is a calm dog, less apt to get into trouble.