GENERAL BREED INFO

Top Hypoallergenic Dogs: Choosing The Best Companion When You’re Allergic

Best dogs for people with allergies
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Hypoallergenic dog breeds are supposedly dogs that allergic people can keep and handle as pets. It is believed that as much as 10% of the population in the USA is allergic to dogs due to their specific allergens found in the saliva and dander. Some studies claim that there is no real scientific basis for this, but the others say that there are the hypoallergenic dog breeds which have significantly more allergen in their coats than the non-hypoallergenic breeds.

Even though there isn’t a dog that is 100% hypoallergenic, there are the breeds that are more suitable for people who have strong allergenic reaction to pets’ dander. This article will provide you with a simple guide on which dog breeds are most likely to be hypoallergenic and suitable for those who are allergic.

The most suitable dog breeds

Dogs that shed less are most likely to be hypoallergenic due to the fact that their saliva and dander stick to their coats instead of being released into the environment and getting into touch with humans’ bodies or getting through air into their lungs. Dander is composed of skin cells and it is a term for a material shed from the bodies of various animals, including dogs and cats. It is the primary cause of allergies in humans.

Best small breed hypoallergenic dogs

However, it is important to remember that even though these kinds of dogs are most likely to be hypoallergenic, even if a dog does not have hair at all, he will still produce the allergens. Therefore, it means that a particular person will react differently to each dog and the allergenic reaction is individual.

Additionally, the amount of produced saliva and dander vary by each dog breed and if a dog is bathed regularly, it will probably not trigger the allergic reactions as often as before.

Another important thing is size. It is the fact that a smaller dog will leave less dander and pollutants because of its small body surface and the dogs that spend more time outdoors are most likely to bring into the house outdoor allergens such as pollen and mold. All in all, there are many factors that influence the allergenic reactions in people.

Top 10 recommended dog breeds

These top 10 hypoallergenic dogs are best suited for people who are sensitive and prone to allergies, so they are worth checking out.

Bedlington Terrier #1

The Bedlington Terrier is a small dog breed that was originally bred in North East England in the 18th century. This breed is described as a very playful and active dog whose original purpose of hunting vermin switched to the one of being a companion and sports dog. They are also stubborn and contradictory, since they can be great with children, but on the other side very aggressive to other dogs of their size. They can be also jealous of other dogs and they do not lack in courage and bravery.

Bedlington Terrier

Some pet owners also accused them of being lazy, but they can be very fast runners and swimmers and they have been praised for their versatility, loyalty, gentleness, and dominant personalities.  They are very intelligent and tenacious when it comes to hunting vermin and smaller animals and their speed and endurance have always been tested in dog agility competitions.

 

When it comes to their appearance, they basically resemble lambs. The coat is shaggy, wooly, rugged and linty in texture. It consists of hard and soft hairs and it is very difficult to maintain, but if it is not done regularly it can start deteriorating. Because of this kind of unique nonshedding coat, they make a great candidate for a hypoallergenic dog breed.

Bichon Frise #2

The Bichon Frise is another small dog breed that was originally bred in Spain or Belgium and then taken to France. It is one of the merriest and most cheerful dog breeds in the world, and a very popular companion and toy dog. They are sensitive, playful, affectionate and loyal to their owners. They are also charming, gentle and happy. They are known for having a lot of energy and they get along with children. However, they can also get territorial and they can be easily trained from an early age.

Bichon Frise

They are known as dogs that do not shed and their white fluffy coat should be trimmed, brushed and bathed every four to eight weeks in order to remain its beauty and to control dander and other allergens. Since the coats are curly, they also prevent dander from getting into the environment. Even though these allergens are minimized, they can still be found in small amounts and get stuck to carpets and clothes, which can still trigger a reaction in a sensitive person.

Chinese Crested dog #3

The Chinese crested dog is believed to be originally bred in Africa and it comes in two varieties, the type with fur and without fur, the former being called the Powder Puff and the latter the Hairless.

The hairless crested dog is one of few hairless dogs in the world and due to its lack of coat is what makes him a great hypoallergenic breed. However, it is not uncommon for this breed to have patches of fur on his head (the beard on the muzzle), paws and tail. They are called the socks, plume and crest. The skin can vary from being a pale flesh to pitch dark. This breed is great for those suffering from allergies since it is odorless, non-shedding and therefore hypo-allergenic.

Chinese Crested dog

Their temperaments are lively, playful and gentle. They like to be part of the family and make great companion dogs. They get along with gentle children and they can be shy around strangers. They are also not aggressive towards them or other animals.

Coton de Tulear #4

The Coton de Tulear is a small dog breed from Madagascar. It is known for its cotton-like coat which is very soft and fluffy. It can be medium to long and it does not shed with low amounts of dander which makes it a great choice for a hypoallergenic breed.

However, grooming Coton de Tulear can be really challenging since it must be done on a daily basis in order for it to remain its beauty. Small puppies may shed their coats but later on, their matted hair should be removed by brushing. That is because they do not shed and lose hair into the environment; the shed hair gets trapped in the wooly coat and if you do not brush it daily, it will have to get shaved off. The color of the coat is primarily white and it should not have black hair on it.

Coton de Tulear

This dog breed is cheerful, affectionate, intelligent and playful. They are known for being very vocal and great with children and other animals. They are easy to train since they always want to please and they are curious and easy going.

Irish Water Spaniel #5

The Irish Water Spaniel is one of the largest and oldest breeds of Spaniels that originated in Ireland. They have beautiful, chocolate coats which are sturdy, cobby, water repellant and curly. They almost do not shed at all; however, they require daily grooming in order to maintain their coats healthy and beautiful. They are unique for their rat-like tails which do not have long hair at all, and the faces are smooth coated and they usually have a beard.

Irish dogs

When it comes to their tempers, they are active, willing to please, energetic, intelligent and strong. They make great family dogs and even though they are not aggressive, they can be very protective and territorial, plus they have deep and fierce barks.

They would love to be lazy and sleep at home, but they must be taken on regular walks in order to keep them contented and healthy. They are known for being in many competitions such as obedience tests, agility, show rings etc.

Kerry Blue Terrier #6

The Kerry Blue Terrier is also known as the Irish Blue Terrier and it is a beautiful and unique dog breed. Originally bred to hunt vermin, just like the Bedlington Terrier, today he is a companion and working dog. Their coat which comes in several shades of clue is what makes them unique, including the fact that is it like human hair – soft, curly and without undercoat.

They do not shade, and that makes great hypoallergenic dogs. The coat should be groomed at least once per week and clipped every six weeks in order to preserve its blue shade and beauty.

Kerry Blue Terrier

They are also known as strong-headed and cheerful dogs. They are loyal and affectionate towards their owners and they can get pretty nasty and aggressive towards other dogs, but they are gentle with children. They are intelligent, fast, strong and able to compete in various dog competitions and shows. An active and skilled owner is required so the dog can be controlled and properly trained.

Mexican hairless dog #7

The Mexican hairless dog or Xoloitzcuintle, is a small and hairless dog breed originating in Mexico and it is a national dog there. It has been proved that this breed has existed in Mexico for more than 3,000 years and they were considered sacred dogs by the Aztecs. They come in the varieties, the coated and hairless type. The hairless Xolo is completely hairless and the color of the skin is dark, almost black. The coated variation is the original form of this dog before the occurrence of the hairless mutation which probably enabled this breed to survive in a tropical climate.

Mexican hairless dog

When it comes to their temperament, they are known for being intelligent, sensitive, energetic, curious and strong with social and hunting instincts. Both coated and uncoated Xolos have maintained good health and physical appearance because they have not gone through selective breeding as other dogs.

They are usually noted for their calm demeanor, however, puppies are usually very vocal and noisy, at least until they reach maturity. They require regular exercises and mental stimulations and they should never be kept as outdoor dogs, especially in colder climates. They go along with children and make ideal family dogs.

Lagotto Romagnolo #8

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a dog breed of medium size originally found in Italy. The name means “the lake dog from Romagna” and it was originally bred as a gundog, and nowadays is often used to search for truffles.

Their coats are waterproof, wooly, thick and curly. The colors vary from brown and white to orange and roan. In order to prefer mats, they should be brushed and groomed regularly and the mats should be carefully pulled apart from the coat in order to prevent tearing it apart. Sometimes the hair can grow so much that it would cover their eyes and they would be unable to see.

Lagotto Romagnolo

This dog has sharp senses and the eyesight is more sensitive. They are loyal and affectionate and make perfect family companions. If you socialize them from an early age, they would get along with other animals and dogs.  They have active minds and love to play and dig so you should always keep them occupied. Some of them easily trained and some are naturally born swimmers, however, some only paddle and get stubborn if not trained properly. All in all, they would make excellent companions and their coats do not shed.

Poodle #9

The poodle is a group of poodle breeds, originally bred in Germany and standardized in France. There are three varieties: the Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle and Toy Poodle. Their coats come in various colors, but the all share the same characteristics – the coats are of single layer (no undercoat) and it is dense, curly and it sheds minimally, which makes the poodle a great candidate for a hypoallergenic breed. When the poodle sheds, the hair gets stuck in curly coat and it becomes tangled inside. That it is why it is important to brush and groom poodles regularly.

Poodle dog breed

When it comes to their temperament, the poodles are known as ones of the most intelligent dogs. They are active, elegant and cheerful. They require not only physical training, but the intellectual one too. They are shy and reserved around strangers, but later on they reveal their friendly personality.

They are also known as highly trainable dogs since they appear in many dog competitions such as obedience training, agility, fly ball, dock diving, field tracking and many more. They love playing games and their soft, almost nonshedding coat makes them a great choice for a hypoallergenic breed.

Maltese #10

The Maltese is probably one of the most popular dogs in the world. It is a small dog breed, originally from the Central Mediterranean Area. It belongs to the group of toy dog breeds. The coat is white, silky, long and it has no undercoat. The Maltese are known as dogs that do not shed, and that makes them a good choice for sensitive people. Some owners even decide to cut the coat short and keep it that way. That is called the “puppy cut” and it involves trimming the whole body.

Maltese dog

The Maltese are known for being cute, small and cuddly. They are also cheerful, gentle and playful.

However, even though they are small, they are also known for being energetic and territorial towards their owners. They should be trained from an early age in order for them not to grow up being snappy or nervous around children or other dogs, because they are known for going against dogs that are 3x bigger of their actual size.

What options do you have?

Other hypoallergenic dog breeds worth mentioning:

  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Afghan Hound
  • Peruvian Inca Orchid (Hairless)

To sum up, there is not a concrete scientific proof that claims that some dog breeds are definitely hypoallergenic, however, those that shed minimally or not at all are more likely to keep the amount of produced saliva and dander in their coats instead of spreading them around the house.

Those breeds are also more indoor dogs, and that means that they will probably not bring into the house outdoor allergens such as pollen and mold. You should also remember that this can be very individual, and one person would react differently to various dog breeds and even some hypoallergenic dog may trigger the reaction unlike some other breed.

If you are ready to live with a dog, then you should know that if it is a breed that does not shed at all, a regular grooming, brushing and trimming is a must. If you do not do this, the mat would get tangled inside the coat and you will need to shave it. Also, you need to bathe your dog regularly and take care of his basic needs. There is no 100% hypoallergenic breed, but there are some dog breeds that can minimize the negative factors.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Lucy Wilde

    The thing is, before buying or adopting a dog one must first spend some time with the dog. Especially when the prospective owner has an allergy. You can never know how you will react, if the dog is particularly fond of licking or of the pup is really prone to shedding, even though the dog is supposed to be hypoallergenic. Always meet the dog first and adopt later. For your own sake and the dog’s.

    • John Walton

      I agree, Lucy. There should be an affinity or connection. In this case, I support love at first connection and not love at first sight.

  • Anna Tomson

    My sister in law wants to get a new dog for her growing family. Problem is her son is highly allergic. After much research they decided on a Bichon Frise since its a hypoallergenic dog. Do anyone here have a dog like this? Does anyone have a fur allergy that came into contact with a Bichon? What was the outcome of it?
    Thanks everyone!

    • Leandra cox

      C Miniature Pinscher

      • John Walton

        Unfortunately, Miniature Pinschers are not hypoallergenic but they do shed less.

    • John Walton

      A Bichon Frise is an ok choice. However, it requires consistent grooming and brushing to make sure its hair doesn’t clutter around the house. I would recommend a Toy Poodle in this case because of its size, and considering the fact that it sheds a lot less compared to other dogs because it grows hair that does not just grows and then shed. It continues to grow unless you trim it.

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