Small Dogs With Low Grooming Needs

Small breeds are often appealing for apartment dwellers, individuals who want to travel with their canines and those who can’t (or don’t want to) handle the physical presence of a larger dog.

When choosing a compact companion, many individuals don’t want to select a breed that will need an excess of grooming. Just because a dog is small, it doesn’t mean that it’s grooming needs will be! For example the Pekingese and the Toy Poodle both require a great amount of care to keep them looking their best. Even the breeds that are considered to be “non-shedding” require a large amount of maintenance as their hair will grow until it is trimmed.

Grooming is necessary for every dog in order to ensure that your pet does not have fleas or ticks. Occasional bathing will cut down on “doggie smell” and keep your pup looking shiny and clean! Trimming your pets nails is not only good for your floors, but is needed to keep your dog comfortable.

The breeds on this list all have relatively low maintenance grooming requirements. If you’re not looking forward to spending lots of time with a brush or clippers in hand, one of these breeds may be perfect for you!


The charming looks of the Affenpinscher lend themselves to the breed’s nickname of “Monkey Dog”. This small breed (7-9 lbs) is a member of the Toy Group and can make a wonderful and amusing companion.

Affenpinschers don’t know that they are small dogs; they are bold, active and at times, stubborn. This breed usually gets along well with other pets as long as introductions are done when they are young. Early, consistent training is key with this breed.

The Affen’s coat is wirey and shaggy and should not be clipped. Weekly brushing to remove dead hair should control the small amount of shedding that these dogs do. The area around their eyes should be cleaned as needed.

Boston Terrier

The ever-popular Boston Terrier is a small breed (10-25 lbs) and is one of few dog breeds that originated in the United States. These little dogs often look like they are wearing tuxedos and have earned themselves the nickname “the American Gentleman”.

Boston Terriers adore human companionship and are generally a friendly breed. They usually do well with children and other animals. Bostons are brachycephalic, meaning they have a short muzzle. This trait causes the dog to have a harder time cooling off in hot weather and care needs to be taken so that they don’t overheat. It also means that the Boston is prone to snoring and snorting.

The Boston Terrier has a very short coat that only needs occasional brushing to control shedding. The area around their prominent eyes should be cleaned with a damp cloth on a regular basis.

French Bulldog

Another snorting/snoring breed! The French Bulldog has grown in popularity as a companion in recent years. These muscular little (20-30 lbs) dogs have perk “batlike” ears and short muzzles. They are a brachycephalic breed, thus care must be taken to keep them cool in hot weather.

Frenchies love spending time with “their” people and don’t do well if they are left alone for extended periods of time. The breed is generally good with other animals but same-sex dog aggression occasionally does occur.

French Bulldogs have a very short coat that needs occasional brushing to help control shedding. Bathing should be done on an “as needed” basis. Cleaning around the eyes is sometimes required, depending on the individual dog. Ears should be cleaned carefully as well on an as-needed basis.


The Papillion is a spaniel type toy breed (7-10 lbs) that has unique ears resembling a butterfly (Papillion translates to butterfly in French). These tiny dogs may look delicate, but they are actually quite hearty! Papillions are very active and keep up on vigorous walks. They are known to excel in dog sports and catch on quickly to training.

While the appearance of the Papillion may lead you to think that these dogs need a great deal of grooming, they are actually quite low-maintenance! Their silky coats aren’t prone to matting so a quick brushing every other day is usually enough to keep them looking their best! Bathing should be done on an “as-needed” basis.

Toy Fox Terrier

The second dog on this list that was “made in the USA”; the Toy Fox Terrier is a compact and muscular small breed (3-7 lbs) of dog. These dogs are known to be highly responsive to training and clown like in personality. They are quite active, but can usually be physically satisfied with playtime inside and a good walk daily.

Toy Fox Terriers have an incredibly short coat that can be maintained with a brief brushing weekly. This should keep any shedding to a minimum. Baths should be given on an “as needed” basis. Keep in mind that TFT’s are sensitive to the cold and wet and often need sweaters or coats if venturing outside.

Chihuahua (smooth coated)

When many people think of tiny dogs, the Chihuahua is the first breed to pop into their heads. This Toy breed (2-10 lbs) is so popular that it is dire to find a good breeder if you are interested in purchasing a puppy. Impulsive purchases from back yard breeders can result in huge veterinary bills. There are also many Chihuahuas in rescues.

The Chihuahua bonds closely with its owners and will always desire to be close to them. Even though this breed is very small, they must be trained consistently; they can be prone to dominant behavior. Make sure you socialize your Chihuahua with dogs of all sizes from a young age. This breed isn’t ideal with small children as they may unknowingly harm the dog with rough handling.

The Smooth Coated Chi’s coat is exceptionally easy to maintain. Occasional brushing will help reduce shedding. You can even wipe them down with a wet cloth in between occasional baths.


The Pug is an easily recognizable small breed of dog that originated in China. The extreme facial wrinkles of this breed make them unique and endearing to many fanciers. Pugs are brachycephalicand care must be taken so that they don’t overheat in warm weather. Snorting and snoring are habits that Pug owners must embrace when living with this clownish breed.

Pugs are sensitive, thus harsh training methods should never be used with them. Positive reinforcement can accomplish much more with these sometimes-stubborn dogs. They are known as exceptional family companions who generally get along well with children and other animals.

While the pug is a moderate shedder, the short coat only needs a quick, regular brushing. The wrinkles of the face must be cleaned with a damp cloth on a weekly basis to prevent skin issues.

Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is a small (8-15 lbs), graceful breed with a slight build. This breed is the smallest of the Sighthounds, however they are still built to run. “Iggys” (as they are nicknamed) can achieve speeds of 25 mph!

This breed is fairly delicate (especially their limbs), so they do well in homes with older children who understand their special needs. Iggys are known to climb and jump in order to reach things they want. Owners report them sleeping on the backs of couches, much like a cat. As a breed, Italian Greyhounds are sensitive and can be a bit nervous. Owners should take care not to reinforce this behavior by reassuring the dog with petting. Remaining calm and matter-of-fact is the best way to raise a stable Italian Greyhound.

The Italian Greyhound sheds a very small amount and can be wiped down to keep the coat clean. When they are bathed they need to be dried well as they are sensitive to the cold.

English Toy Spaniel

The English Toy Spaniel is considered to be a rare breed of dog. It can be difficult to locate a reputable breeder of this toy breed (8-14 lbs). They are brachycephalic so owners must be cautious that they don’t overexert themselves in warm weather.

Personality wise, the ETS is truly an excellent companion dog. They love to be cuddled and pampered. They need the attention of their owners and can suffer from separation anxiety if they are left alone excessively. The breed is fragile and can be hurt by small children who play too roughly. Overall the breed learns quickly and responds well to positive training methods.

The English Toy Spaniel has a silky, feathered coat that does not require stripping to maintain its appearance. A quick brushing twice a week will prevent mats from forming. This breed is known to shed heavily.

Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher is a compact (8-10 lbs) breed that originated in Germany. Min Pins were originally used to control vermin and have now developed into companion dogs.

Miniature Pinschers make good watchdogs, as they are naturally alert. Sometimes this trait can lead to excessive barking. Many Min Pins are not fond of strangers, canine or human alike. Early socialization is absolutely necessary to quell any aggressive tendencies. They can be snappy with children, so they are generally recommended for adult households. This breed is active and should have at least 2 decent walks per day as well as playtime within the home.

The Miniature Pinschers short coat does not require much grooming. They can easily be wiped down with a damp cloth. Bathing should be done on an “as needed” basis.


The Beagle is a small (18-25) breed of Hound that originated in England as a hunting dog. Over the years they became a popular family pet due to their friendly and personable personalities.

This breed is an excellent choice for homes with children. They usually are friendly with other dogs, but should be introduced to cats and small animals at a young age due to their hunting roots. The Beagle can be stubborn and is known to follow its nose! Firm patient training combined with lots of exercise is needed to prevent behavioral issues and weight gain. This breed is prone to separation anxiety if they are left alone for extended periods of time.

Beagles shed an average amount but their short coats only need occasional brushing to keep them looking clean. Baths are suggested on an “as needed” basis.

Rat Terrier

The Rat Terrier is a small breed that was treasured by farmers from the 1920’s -1940’s for their amazing ability to control vermin populations. The breed comes in 3 different sizes: Standard (15-35 lbs), Mid-Sized (8-15 lbs) and Toy (4-8 lbs).

The Rat Terrier is all terrier! These dogs are fearless, active and friendly. They are generally wonderful companions for children. While Rat Terriers are not generally yappy, they will alert you to any guests - welcome or unwelcome. They must have a good amount of physical stimulation in the form of walks and playtime.

The short coat of the Rat Terrier only needs occasional brushing to be rid of dead hair. Wipe downs with a wet towel can get rid of any dirt on the coat.

Manchester Terrier

The Manchester Terrier was developed in England and was used to hunt vermin. This breed was exceptional at its job and was highly prized for this trait. The Manchester comes in 2 different sizes, the Toy (6-8 lbs) and the Standard (18-20 lbs).

The Manchester Terrier is a quick learn and responds well to consistent training. Without it, these dogs can try to “rule the roost”! They should be properly socialized at a young age to many people and other dogs in order to prevent aggression issues. Without proper stimulation and attention this breed can be prone to separation anxiety and excessive barking. With proper leadership these little dogs can be fantastic companions. They have been known to excel in obedience trials and agility.

The short, sleek coat of the Manchester Terrier requires the bare-minimum as far as grooming is concerned. They shed very little and any diet can be cleaned off with a damp cloth. Bathing only needs to happen on an occasional basis.


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