Allergy sufferers search for hypoallergenic dogs so they can experience the joy of living with a pet, but no dog breed is completely allergen-free. Most people who suffer from pet allergies can live with many low-shedding or medium-shedding dog breeds. Light-shedding hypoallergenic dog breeds like the bichon frise have very little pet dander.
Popular Hypoallergenic Dogs
Pet owners with allergies are not limited to just a handful of rare or designer breeds. Many popular dog breeds, including the poodle, do not produce significant allergic reactions because they either don't shed at all or they're light-shedding dogs, and some breeds are hairless. With that in mind, pet parents must decide if a particular breed lives up to expectations.
The tallest of all terriers, this breed makes a good family pet but loves the thrill of the chase and needs plenty of daily exercise. Breeders describe the Airedale's coat as dense, wiry, and low shedding.
This graceful dog is known to protect the family, and instead of barking, he yodels. The breed's short coat doesn't shed very often. Basenji hounds are known to self-clean and groom like cats.
The Bedlington terrier has the look of a lamb with a typical terrier spirit. It's a good idea for a groomer to trim the breed's nonshedding, thick coat, which can be overwhelming for new pet parents.
This breed loves to be the center of attention and doesn't enjoy being left alone. Sometimes known as the Tenerife dog, the bichon frise is a descendant of the French water dog and the poodle. The breed's curly coat doesn't shed.
The border terrier is a cheerful dog with a laid-back personality. The breed's harsh, dense coat only sheds seasonally.
Bouvier des Flandres
A Bouvier is not a good candidate for a novice pet owner. The Bouvier des Flandres is valued as a guard dog and family pet but needs an experienced owner. His coat is thick and doesn't shed.
The Cairn terrier is a sturdy dog breed, bred for hunting vermin and small enough to live in an apartment. The Cairn's dense coat barely sheds at all.
This small, intelligent breed is hairless. The Chinese crested needs a coat in the winter, and in the summer, he requires protection from the sun.
There are two types of a schnauzer. The only characteristic the giant schnauzer and standard schnauzer share is their wiry coat. The standard schnauzer is known for rat hunting, and the giant schnauzer has strong guarding instincts. Both dogs rarely shed.
The Havanese is the national dog of Cuba and loves to be the center of his family. The breed's soft, silky, wavy topcoat doesn't shed.
Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish water spaniel is an ideal companion for hikers. The breed's dark liver coat is waterproof, made up of dense ringlets and nonshedding.
Kerry Blue Terrier
The Kerry blue terrier has a silky bluish coat, but the breed is born black. The breed doesn't shed much, but the owner needs to brush the coat daily.
The fluffy 'little lion' or lowchen is a small breed known for competing in dog sports. The dog's hair is soft, long, and low shedding.
This ancient dog from the Mediterranean is mentioned in writings as far back as 300 BCE. This lively little dog's long, silky coat does not shed but is a major commitment. The Maltese breed is known for its chocolate-box appearance.
This highly intelligent, active dog is on every list of hypoallergenic breeds. The poodle's coat is nonshedding and a great candidate for anyone suffering from allergies. With that in mind, this breed needs an outlet for their endless energy.
Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese water dog is an excellent gundog for hunters. There are two coat types: long and wavy or short and curly. Both coat types are low shedding.
The 'dreadlock dog' or Hungarian puli is affectionate and quick to learn. The corded coat needs special attention but doesn't shed.
This ancient breed is intelligent and outgoing. The shih tzu's beautiful long coat requires daily grooming but sheds little or no hair.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
This breed adapts well to family life is an all-around farm dog. Pet owners typically use a special comb to smooth out any tangles on the soft-coated wheaten terrier. The coat is low shedding.
The Tibetan terrier is a loyal, devoted companion. Doesn't this breed resemble an Old English sheepdog? Yes! This terrier's long coat needs daily grooming but is low shedding.
West Highland Terrier
The West Highland white terrier is a perky and cheerful dog. This terrier's double coat is low shedding.
Wire Fox Terrier
An energetic and vocal terrier, this dog loves long walks in the country. The cheerful wire fox terrier is low shedding and needs regular grooming and plucking to remove any shed hair.
The Yorkie breed's coat is long and silky. They don't shed much, but their coats are high-maintenance. Checkout their topknot!
Hypoallergenic Rare Breed Dogs
One of the breeds on this list is a specialized truffle hound. Rare breeds believed to be hypoallergenic include:
The Bergamasco sheepdog is a sheepdog and guard dog. The breed's weatherproof coat is greasy to the touch and low shedding.
This breed forms a close relationship with its owner. Like the bichon frise, the Bolognese has a nonshedding coat.
Coton de Tulear
This small, long-haired dog is known for its happy temperament. The coton de Tulear doesn't shed, but the owner must brush the dog's coat every day.
This truffle hunter is suited for country life. The lagotto Ramagnolo's characteristic curly coat is low shedding.
Peruvian Inca Orchid
Other than the spiky mohawk, this breed is hairless. The Peruvian Inca Orchid is known for alleviating stomach pain with a hug. They produce a lot of heat!
Spanish Water Dog
The Spanish water dog is an adaptable working dog that makes a good companion. The breed's long, corded coat doesn't shed.
Also known as the Xolo breed, the Xoloitzcuintle is a calm and delightful companion. This hairless breed is an excellent choice for people that suffer from allergies.
Low-Shedding Designer Crossbreeds
These designer breeds or adorable crossbreeds may be the family pet you're looking for if you have allergies. Designer dogs believed to be hypoallergenic include:
A mix of Cavalier King Charles spaniel and bichon frise, the Cavachon breed has a silky coat with slight waves and rarely sheds.
The cockapoo is a mix of cocker spaniel and poodle. This crossbreed has the low-shedding quality of the poodle.
A goldendoodle's coat is very similar to the poodle's double coat. A mix of poodle and golden retriever, this crossbreed is one of the most popular dogs with allergy sufferers.
There are many poodle mixes, and the labradoodle is another one of the most popular crossbreeds. This mix of Labrador retriever and poodle rarely sheds at all.
This designer breed is a cross between the Maltese and poodle. The Maltipoo is known to be a low shedder.
The Schnoodle mix of schnauzer and poodle doesn't shed a lot but is known for having skin problems.
Find the Best Hypoallergenic Dogs
Suppose you or someone you live with has pet allergies. In that case, it's important to visit reputable breeders of hypoallergenic dogs to see how strong the allergic response is to the particular breed. You may need to visit multiple breeders before you find the perfect dog.
Most Common Allergen Is Pet Dander
Although many people believe that a dog's fur produces an allergic reaction, dander is the cause. Dander is a combination of skin flakes and dried saliva. There is a specific type of protein found in dog saliva that produces allergic reactions. When a dog licks his fur or anything else, the saliva dries and breaks down into tiny flakes that can quickly become airborne or transferred on loose hair.
Sometimes pet dander isn't the problem. A thick-coated dog can carry dust, pollen, and other allergens that produce the same reaction.
Tips for Pet Allergy Sufferers
Choosing a hypoallergenic dog as a pet is just the first step for people who suffer from pet allergies.
- Brush the dog daily 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 floors and furniture daily if possible. It's also a good idea to vacuum drapes and blinds.
- Close the bedroom door to keep your sleeping quarters off-limits to your pet.
- Make sure you continue to take prescribed allergy medication.
- Create an allergy-free sanctuary in your house other than your bedroom where pets aren't allowed.
Hypoallergenic Dogs Produce Less Pet Dander
The best way to find a dog breed that is low shedding or nonshedding and recommended for people with allergies is to work with a reputable breeder. The bichon frise and poodle dog breeds are popular with allergy sufferers and make great family pets. Pet lovers struggling to find the perfect hypoallergenic dog are not limited to only designer breeds.