If you're looking to share your life with a small dog who isn't going to leave hair around the house, you have a variety of choices -- but there's no such thing as a dog that never sheds. Even dogs who barely shed require regular brushing and trips to the groomer to keep them from becoming shaggy messes.
Toy and Miniature Poodle
The poodle's curly, tight coat makes it the classic non-shedding breed. The difference between the toy poodle and the miniature poodle is size. Toy poodles stand no more than 10 inches high at the shoulder in maturity. Miniature poodles are over 10 inches but less than 15 inches tall when full-grown. Poodles require regular clipping to avoid becoming curly masses of tangles. Available in a wide variety of colors, small poodles are crossed with other breeds to create so-called designer dogs, the poodle passing on its non-shedding coat. These include the schnoodle, a schanuzer/poodle mix, and the cockapoo, a cross with the cocker spaniel.
The friendly, good-natured white bichon frise matures between 9.5 and 11.5 inches high at the shoulder. Males are larger than females. When freshly bathed, this little dog resembles a powderpuff, according to the American Kennel Club breed standard. The bichon is a true companion dog who loves to be with his people. Although the bichon's shedding is limited, the breed requires grooming several times a week to prevent matting, and regular visits to the canine beauty salon.
The Chinese Crested doesn't have hair, other than on her tail, feet and head -- the crest. The "powderpuff" version of the breed has light, silky hair on the body. Chinese Cresteds mature between 11 and 13 inches tall at the shoulder. The hairless dog's skin requires special care, including sunscreen when going outdoors in hot weather.
While the Havanese has a naturally silky coat, the breed standard allows the coat to cord, which means adult dogs can appear covered in the equivalent of canine dreadlocks. Any color is acceptable in the breed. At maturity, the Havanese stands between 8.5 and 11.5 inches high at the shoulder.
The tiny Yorkshire terrier, often referred to as a Yorkie, is a much tougher character than his purse-dog appearance. This blue-and-tan terrier was bred to hunt vermin, like many of his British terrier cousins, and he retains that determination and bravery. While the AKC standard doesn't indicate a height limit, a mature Yorkie can't weigh more than 7 pounds. If you show your Yorkie, he must adhere to a high standard, with floor-length body hair and head hair tied with bows. If your Yorkie is primarily your best friend, you can give him a simpler cut, with or without the bows.