Many allergy sufferers search for hypoallergenic dog breeds so they can experience the joy of owning a pet.
The Myth About Hypoallergenic Dogs
To cut straight to the heart of the matter, there is no single breed of dog that is completely hypoallergenic. There are simply breeds that produce less allergic reactions in people with pet allergies. Dog breeds that are typically grouped as "hypoallergenic" are usually low-shedders that produce very little dander.
Although many people believe that a dog's fur is what produces an allergic reaction, the reaction is usually caused by dander. Dander is a combination of skin flakes as well as dried saliva. There is a certain type of protein found in dog saliva that produces allergic reactions in many people. When a dog licks himself or anything else, the saliva dries and breaks down into tiny flakes that can easily become airborne or transferred on loose hair.
Sometimes dander isn't the problem. A thick-coated dog can actually carry dust, pollen and other allergens that produce virtually the same reaction.
List of Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
The following list contains dogs that many people believe do not produce significant allergic reactions. However, you must judge for yourself if a particular breed lives up to your expectations.
American Kennel Club Recognized Breeds
- Airedale Terrier
- Bedlington Terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Border Terrier
- Bouvier des Flandres
- Cairn Terrier
- Chinese Crested Hairless
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Shih Tzu
- Soft Coated Wheaten
- Tibetan Terrier
- West Highland White Terrier
- Wire Haired Fox Terrier
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Coton de Tulear
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- Peruvian Inca Orchid
- Spanish Water Dog
- Cavachon - A mix of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Frise
- Cockapoo - A mix of Cocker Spaniel and Poodle
- Labradoodle - A mix of Labrador Retriever and Poodle
- Maltipoo - A mix of Maltese and Poodle
- Schnoodle - A mix of Schnauzer and Poodle
- Shihchon - A mix of Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise
Tips for Allergy Sufferers
Choosing a fairly hypoallergenic dog as a pet is just the first step for people who suffer from pet allergies. Here are a few more tips that will help.
- Brush the dog daily (if it's a coated breed) to remove loose hairs that would normally collect on floors, furnishings and clothing.
- Use a moisturizing pet wipe to remove dander from hairless breeds.
- Vacuum carpets and furniture on a daily basis if possible. It's also a good idea to vacuum drapes and blinds.
- Keep your sleeping quarters off limits to your pet.
- Make sure you continue to take any prescribed allergy medication to further reduce any chance of a reaction to your pet.
Some people have light allergies, others have much stronger reactions. If you or someone you live with has pet allergies, it's important to visit breeders of hypoallergenic dog breeds to see how much of a reaction you or your housemate has to the particular breed in which you're interested. That's the only sure way to gauge what kind of a reaction might be produced. You may need to visit multiple breeders before you find a dog that is hypoallergenic enough to fit into your life.
If you know of a hypoallergenic breed not mentioned in this article, please tell everyone about it in the comments box below.