Love dogs but have allergies? It can be a complicated intersection for pet lovers who also want to maintain their health and wellness. Don’t worry. You don’t have to give up on your dream of a faithful Fido as a furry friend just yet. Thankfully, not all dogs trigger allergies, and some breeds are well-known for being more allergy-friendly than others.
What Is a Hypoallergenic Dog Breed?
That’s right. There is such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed. Well, at least to some degree. With doggos, the term hypoallergenic translates to less likely to provoke sneezing fits and itchy eyes.
What makes these pups easier on the allergies? According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s probably a very different culprit than you think. You might imagine that pet fur triggers allergies, and that’s sort of true. The real problem, though, is protein. Pets like dogs and cats often have a particular protein in their saliva and urine that causes your allergies to flare up. It sticks to the dander from their skin, and when dogs shed, that protein-packed dander is free to float about on your pet’s fur, irritating your senses and sinuses.
In addition to the fur factor, Mayo suggests looking for smaller breeds, keeping pup outside when weather permits, no co-sleeping in the human bed, frequent bathing, no carpet (or regular carpet shampooing), and a HEPA filter as more considerations for pet owners looking to alleviate their allergy suffering.
How To Choose Your Hypoallergenic Dog Breed
With those considerations, there are also some general characteristics of hypoallergenic dogs. Breeds that are considered hypoallergenic usually don’t shed. That can mean one of a few things. They don’t shed because they have a non-shedding single-layer coat, for example. Or, on the other hand, they’re hairless.
DoggyAdvice knows that life just wouldn’t be the same without man’s best friend, and we understand that you want to be able to love on your pup without a full-blown allergy attack. So, we’ve put together a list of 14 of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds that folks with allergies can befriend.
14 Best Hypoallergenic Dogs
Poodle’s top the list because, well, who doesn’t love a poodle? Certainly, poodles are among the most common and coveted dog breeds. Best news about this breed is that every single variety, standard, toy, and miniature, is hypoallergenic.
Poodle’s naturally shed very little, one of the defining traits of hypoallergenic dogs, but caring for your poodle pup’s curly coat is essential. The traditional haircut for this breed, known as the “poodle clip,” is a low-maintenance, highly-adorable look that helps avoid your allergy problem and the need to comb mats out of your poodle’s locks if you let it grow.
2. Bedlington Terrier
The cute mop of curls on their heads might make you mistake this lovable, fluffy pup for another four-legged friend. Bedlington terriers are known for their coats that appear similar to a wooly sheep. They’re all dog, though, and this breed loves to romp and play at the center of the spotlight.
Their unique coats don’t shed, making them an ideal animal companion for people prone to allergies. They have soft yet stiff curls, and while it’s not the trademark wiry fur of many terrier breeds, their coats do require regular grooming.
3. Afghan Hound
One glance at the long silky fur of this captivating canine might make you second guess how suitable it would be for an allergy sufferer. Quite the opposite, these beautiful dogs shed very little. Their coats will need to be cared for appropriately, so you’ll definitely want to find a regular groomer.
Originally bred to withstand the mountains of Afghanistan, this hound bears a striking and noble profile. They’re also remarkably allegiant animals, and once you’ve established a bond, you’ll have a glossy-fringed friend for life.
This breed might be your dream dog if you’re not actually into an overly dog-like demeanor in your pet companions. They’re known as the “barkless dog” because they don’t do a lot of talking. At least not in terms of barking or yapping. When they do speak up, they make a sound that could be compared to a yodel.
Another bonus of this breed is that they generally don’t smell like a dirty dog. In fact, Basenji’s bear a trait more similar to our feline friends in that they groom themselves. Bathing and grooming will be minimal with this intelligent and independent pup.
5. Portuguese Water Dog
Even presidents love this pup. Bo and Sunny brought the breed to fame as the “First Dog’s” in the Obama White House. Before they were famous as first-family companions, they’ve long been recognized as a bright and playful, water-loving medium-sized breed. Add in ultra-trainable on top of all that, and you’ve got yourself the complete pup package.
Their generally thick and curly coats will shed seasonally. Impeccable grooming habits on the part of their human counterpart will ease any allergic reactions that might flare-up.
6. Bichon Frise
This sweet little fluff ball features all-white fur that’s pretty and practical. When the pups shed, it tends to get caught in their undercoat rather than free-floating about which means less allergy suffering for their humans.
An all-around excellent choice for families, Bichon’s are energetic and friendly and are just as happy at play with the kids as they are snuggled in your lap.
7. Chinese Crested
These strangely charming and cuddly creatures come in two varieties, hairless and coated. Adorably, Powderpuff is the common name for this breed’s coated canines, an admitted boost to their cute factor.
Although neither type sheds, regardless of which variety you choose, you’ll have to keep up with their grooming schedule. The hairless type will need skincare, especially if they’ll spend a lot of time in the sunshine, while the coated powderpuffs will need their tangles tamed.
Their funky mane of hair around the head and ears combined with their naturally frisky nature make this dog a uniquely loveable companion.
8. Yorkshire Terrier
This itsy-bitsy doll of a dog, more commonly called a Yorkie, has silky-fine fur that’s much more similar to human hair than many other canine coats. Their soft and shiny strands won’t aggravate your allergies, although they will need to be brushed frequently to maintain their beauty and prevent tangles and mats.
They may be teeny-tiny, but they pack a powerful personality, and you’ll instantly fall in love with their precociousness. Plus, how fun is the fact that they will fit in a portable pet carrier or your purse!
Another toy size breed, the Maltese, is a miniature vision with their long and luxurious locks of pure white. No worries about the allergies either, because, similar to Yorkies above, this ancient Greek breed has an extremely hypoallergenic coat.
You can choose their cut according to your access to good grooming sessions. A shorter, sportier cut will need less maintenance and look spunky on this sweet pup.
This devoted and doting little doggo will want to snuggle up to you all the time. You can keep your Yorkie happy and healthy by getting in with a good groomer and maintaining at-home brushing sessions, too.
10. Irish Water Spaniel
If your ideal getaway is a cabin on the lake, ocean-front property, or a room with a pool, this waterproof pup could be your perfect canine companion. The bit about waterproofing isn’t even an exaggeration. These doggos come from the sporting group and are champion swimmers. Their coats literally repel water while they swim. They can hop in for a swim and go from wet to dry, over and over again, and they’ll love you for indulging them.
They’re among the more rare breeds registered with the American Kennel Club, and they’re both the tallest and the oldest variety of spaniel. They don’t shed much outside of seasonally, and their coat won’t trigger allergies. The class clown of the spaniel breed, they have a trademark tapered rat tail, and they’re known to be curious and exuberant. While devoted, they’ll need training time if you plan to have this breed as a family dog around little ones.
11. Cairn Terrier
Follow the yellow brick road to find this furry friend you’ll recognize from the famed role of Toto, Dorothy’s dearest companion in the Wizard of Oz.
Cairn terriers boast the classic coarse-haired, wiry coats of many varieties of the breed. They originate from the Scottish highlands, and, like the Irish Water Spaniel above, their coats are well suited for the wet and rainy climates.
It’s essential to find a groomer you and your doggo love because this breed needs to have their coat hand-stripped (a process of removing dead hairs by the roots) to avoid damaging the outer coat.
12. American Hairless Terrier
Hypoallergenic doesn’t get better than hairless, and as suggested by its name, this bald breed will keep your allergies at bay. Like the Chinese Crested, there is a coated variety as well. If you go with the hairless breed, you’ll need to remember to pack the sunscreen to avoid sunburns as their skin can be sensitive.
Hailing from Louisiana, this breed is derived from the rat terrier and was specifically bred for hairlessness from that line. They possess the characteristic traits of the terrier breed through and through. Full of energy and extremely loving, these pups make for fantastic pet companions.
Don’t let the tongue-twister of a name make you shy away from this breed. The name is commonly shortened to Xolo (show-low), making it much more manageable.
This hairless breed from Mexico is the south of the border cousin to the American Hairless Terrier above, and both a hairless and coated variety exist. Neither type will aggravate your allergies as the hairless dogs don’t shed, and the coated ones shed very little. Sensitivity to the sun is another similarity between hairless breeds, and skincare will be necessary for this fur-less fur baby. a
14. Lagotto Romagnolo
This hypoallergenic breed is an Italian water-dog that comes with a superpower, truffle hunting. Because these furry friends have an ultra keen sense of smell, these medium-size fluffy pups were initially bred for hunting and water retrieval, then later for their ability to locate treasure troves of truffles.
Like the other water dog breeds we’ve seen, their coats are thick and curly, double-layered, and extremely water-resistant. They hardly shed but will need the proper grooming care to keep their coats and skin healthy. With endless energy and endurance, you’ll never be bored with this breed as your companion.
Which Hypoallergenic Breed is Best For You?
Humans have had domesticated dogs as furry best friends for tens of thousands of years, and there’s nothing like the bond between a devoted doggo and their human. From our list today, we’ve learned that folks with allergies don’t have to resign themselves to life without a canine companion.
Now you’ve learned the fantastic news that hypoallergenic breeds do indeed exist! Plus, we’ve found that the options are plentiful, so you’re sure to be able to find the breed that best suits your style and personality. Still, the question of which hypoallergenic breed is best for you is an intensely personal matter.
Our list includes dogs ranging in size from itsy-bitsy fur babies to considerably colossal canines. You can also choose from hairless or coated breeds. Want a pup who’s ready to play? Choose one of the high energy doggos. Need a more calm and collected companion? Choose a furry companion with a more laid-back demeanor.
Also, don’t forget to take into consideration the grooming needs of your pup, as well. Some will need frequent trims and treatments, while others will be much more low-maintenance.
There are many factors to consider when integrating a new pet into your life, especially when allergies are at play. Most importantly, it’s about connection and companionship and enjoying the journey to finding your very own furry best friend. Here’s to you and your faithful Fido finding your forever match together!