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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

We are a family of 4 living in Chicago burbs and hoping to get a dog soon. We had following dilemma - if we want to get a dog with very little shedding but NOT hypo-allergic, what are our options? I hate the hypo-allergic dogs and my wife is super scared of having a dog due to maintenance so we need to find something which has low maintenance and NOT a hypo-allergic dog :) Hope this community can help!!

Thanks
Cage
 

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First of all, there are no truly "hypo-allergenic" dogs, although there are certain breeds that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions than others, and even that varies within the breed. Also, pretty much all the breeds considered "non-shedding" require a considerable amount of grooming, because they tend to be long-haired breeds. Designer mixes, like Poodle crossed with Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Australian Shepherds, and the like, require even more grooming (despite what some people claim), and can shed and mat like crazy without regular grooming, so it's either a trip to the groomer every 6 to 8 weeks or you learn how to clip them yourself. And there is still the weekly maintenance of brushing and combing.

Other things to consider that are just as, if not more important, than grooming needs are temperament, size, health, and activity levels, as well as the resources you have available to care for a dog, like time and money. If, for example, you can't meet the exercise and mental stimulation needs of a large, active sporting or working breed dog, then both the family and the dog suffer the consequences of a bored dog with pent up energy who starts destroying the house and yard through sheer boredom.
 

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Check out miniature schnauzers. Lots of personality in a compact package
Minimal shedding, but will require regular grooming.
 

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There is really no such thing as hypo-allergenic dogs. It's a marketing gimmick. I wouldn't purchase from a breeder who labeled their dogs hypo-allergenic, because it's just not true! Just research breeds that are low-shedding, and purchase from a reputable, ethical breeder.

Low-shedding breeds include Poodles (Standard and Miniature), shi tzus, bichon frise, etc. Many do require regular trips to the groomer, though, the trade off for that low shedding!

With any dog, though, there will be some amount of hair loss on flooring and furniture. More irritating to me is the mud tracked across my floors, the slobber on windows, and the mysterious brown smudges that appear on my walls in high traffic areas, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks a ton for your responses. I should add more details and preferences, looking at @LeoRose 's reply:

1. Size: We are looking for a medium sized dog.
2. Activity Level: Moderate. We live in a single family house with size-able backyard but considering Chicago's weather, we don't want to go in for dogs which need very high activity like Border Coolie.
3. There is no one allergic in the house. We can go for regular dogs with minimal shedding as well.
4. Temperament: Strong priority for great temperament levels.
5. Health: Every dog will have some vulnerability but we don't very sensitive/delicate dogs.

Thanks again!
 

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Suggest to look at Standard Schnauzer or Miniature Schnauzer, Miniature or Standard Poodle, any Terrier breed. Generally, these are high intelligence and low shedding but will require regular grooming. They are more robust than most realize.

These are just a few to review. There are many breeds that will fit your wants.

I have a mini-schnauzer and we live in central Iowa. This past winter we had weather in the -30F windchill range. Yes, we went out for our walks. The only thing for the dog was an insulated vest and booties with short but frequent walks. Me....well, I hated every second of walks in that weather. My dog didn't mind so much.
 

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A nice family dog that doesnt need much grooming and is great with kids, a Beagle.
Mine walk in all weather from warm summer to minus 10 c and snow.

Or one of the breeds suggested above such as the Schnauzer or Poodle
 

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You'd be looking for a dog with a very short, smooth coat then. Think doberman, pit bull, smooth dachshund, boxer, etc. Aside from the hair coated dogs (poodles etc.) and the rare few hairless breeds, they will typically shed the least (and, unlike dogs with a hair coat or no hair at all, do not need much coat maintenance or specialized skin care).

Sighthounds might fit the bill. Greyhounds might be a bit on the larger side, but many are wonderful companions, and if you have a local rescue that places dogs off a racetrack, you can get a trained, chill adult pretty easily.

That being said, you have pretty general requirements that a lot of dogs will fit into. I'd actually suggest looking into local shelters and rescues to see what they have that fits the bill. I'd suggest a young adult if possible. Cleaning up after dog hair can be a pain, but if your wife is concerned about maintenance, a puppy is a lot messier and more work. Pee, poop, chewed rugs and furniture, shredded toys and paper... trust me, I'm deep in the teenage phase with my 10-month-old right now, haha. An adult that already has basic house manners may just be what you're looking for!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all. I have put following in my scope, based on your recommendations:

Greyhound/Sighthounds, whippet and basenji
Airdale terrier
Beagle or Schnauzer or Poodle

Will let you know when we pull the trigger :)
 

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Hi there, check out dog time.com they have a match up tool you can put your preferences into to find dogs that would suit you.
 

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I really like Poodles but if you're looking for a chill, lower-energy dog, I'd say ix-nay on the oodle-pays. Poodles tend to need a lot of mental stimulation and if not kept busy will come up with "creative" outlets for their energy (mine, for example, has figured out how to open windows and turn on water taps). Smart is overrated when it comes to pet dogs. I'm thinking my next dog will be a cross between a Basset Hound and a pet rock so I can finally be smarter than my puppy.

Basenjis don't bark but they do make other noises which can be even weirder and more annoying. They also tend to be hard to train AFAIK.

I second Miniature Schnauzers, although make sure you get one from a breeder that's focusing on good temperament - ill-bred minis can be snappish rather than endearingly bold - Airedales, sighthounds including greyhounds and whippets. Maybe also think about bulldogs - they tend to be comparatively lower energy, and their coats are low-maintenance. Basset hounds are also lower energy, amiable, low maintenance dogs, but if you've never dealt with houndy stubbornness before they might not be right for you.

I also second the recommendation that if you're not big on messes, noise, or big piles of effort, you look for an adult dog. Puppies and adolescents (even from the mildest breeds and the best lines) are flaming balls of destruction and require a lot of work. If you get an adult dog, you don't have to worry so much about getting one of a specific breed or breed mix, as their personalities tend to be pretty established - just pick an individual dog that's friendly and chill and has the type of coat and stature you want.

One thing to watch out for if you do get an adult from a shelter or similar is that if they seem extremely quiet and low-key it might just mean that they've mentally "shut down" in response to the difficult situation. You want to look for a dog that's still alert, engaging, outgoing, just not boisterous. You want a dog that's genuinely mellow, not one that's just quiet for the moment because it's shell-shocked.
 

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I was going to suggest looking at a Wheaton Terrier but your wifes comment about being "super scared" of having a dog is concerning. There is a lot of responsbiity and expense in owning any dog. A small dog might more fit her bill. Perhaps a Westie IF your children are older. First get your wife on board with the decision. Good luck.
 

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The short coated breeds are actually THE ABSOLUTE WORST shedders. Have you ever stroked a Lab? HAIR EVERYWHERE. I refuse to have a lab for that reason even though I do like them, in general! I still get a sizable amount from my longish haired Aussie/Collie mix, but my god, the amount of hair in the houses of people with short coated dogs is unreal. And it sticks in fabric, on your clothes, in the carpets.

I clean furniture once a week for hair, and unless he's blowing his coat it's not really bad. Blowing coat season is pretty gross, but other than that I can handle it, and I'm a neat freak.

Make sure to go meet some of these breeds and pet them. You'll pretty quickly get an idea of how much the shed once you look down at your clothes!
 

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Hi there, check out dog time.com they have a match up tool you can put your preferences into to find dogs that would suit you.
I took one of those tests many years ago and it kept telling us to get an English Bulldog. No offense to anyone who has one, but I didn't want an English Bulldog, so I kept retaking the test and adjusting my answers until it recommended a lab. Then we got a lab, which turned out to be the best dog I've ever had or ever will have. (Your results may vary.) So I guess, in a way, the test helped clarify what I really wanted.

And, yes, labs shed like it's their life's work and, because of the undercoat, they shed in two colors. I used an undercoat rake outdoors on ours and robins would gather 'round to line their nests.
 
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