So you've thought about getting a dog, but you're allergic to the dander. Red and watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, even coughing and trouble breathing for those particularly extreme allergy sufferers - it’s not a fun time. As a result, it's simply not worth bringing a pet into the home.
Some people may develop an immunity to these allergies from consistent exposure or simply outgrow them over time. However, there are many of us who simply can't tolerate spending even a small period of time in the presence of a dog, no matter how much we would love to have one in our home.
That's why these individuals may consider adopting a hypoallergenic breed. These are dogs that don't shed very often, reducing the amount of hair and dander that gets loose and triggers an allergic reaction. There are a number of different breeds that are best-suited for people who would like to have a pet despite their chronic pet allergies.
Related: 30 Best Small Dog Breeds
Low-Shedding Dogs and Allergies
Now let's get one thing straight before we continue: there is no breed, none whatsoever, that is entirely 100% hypoallergenic. All dogs shed without exception. But the following breeds shed far less than others which is what makes them potential candidates for adoption in a home with allergy sufferers.
Dog allergies are all due to dander. These are the dead skin cells that fall off dogs. Think of it as doggy dandruff. These flakes are often released with shed fur, and when these start to build up in the corners of your room, under the bed, and all over the couch or other furniture in the house, you can start to feel an allergic reaction coming on. That's when the watery eyes and sneezing start.
But with low-shedding dogs, you get far less of these irritants in the home. That makes it easier to share your home and your love with a pet.
Recommended: 120+ Boy Dog Names: The Best Names for Your Good Boy
Let's take a look at some of the most popular breeds best-known for their low-shedding qualities:
American Hairless Terrier
The best way to avoid an allergic reaction from shedding is to get a dog that won't shed. The American Hairless Terrier is just that kind of dog. These pups are energetic and friendly with a devoted loyalty to those it considers family. Just because the dog has no coat does not mean you won't have to practice some level of routine maintenance. A bath is going to do wonders for keeping your terrier's skin healthy and clean. Remember, dander is made of dead skin cells so this breed can still trigger an allergic reaction without proper attention to hygiene.
As a hunting breed that hails from South Africa, the Basenji demonstrates hound-like tendencies. This makes them smart and independent, although they sure do like to howl. This breed needs plenty of engagement or they can get bored and start to seek out ways to expend that pent-up energy (sometimes it can be through negative or even destructive behaviors). But what makes them ideal for allergy sufferers is the breed's tendency for self-grooming. They are more like felines than canines in this manner and the result is little to no shedding.
This breed comes highly-recommended for allergy sufferers because they were bred to be a hypoallergenic alternative. They are instantly recognizable by the white fluffy coat and the breed is known for its playful and outgoing demeanor. Ideally suited for smaller homes due to their diminutive size, the Bichon Frise is a typically happy and affectionate pup. You will need to groom this breed on a daily basis in order to keep the coat well-maintained. This breed doesn't shed but the coat can pick up foreign allergens that might trigger a reaction.
You're not shedding anymore Toto! Whether you live in Kansas or not, this breed has a coarse hair coat which makes it shed a whole lot less than other terriers. So it's a great choice for anyone who suffers from allergies but wants a dog that is intelligent, fearless, and loyal almost to a fault. The breed has gained in popularity because it was featured in The Wizard of Oz.
Another breed that doesn't have much hair to shed – that is if you get the Hairless variety. The Chinese Crested resembles a Chihuahua in temperament, size, and body type, which makes them a good choice for small homes. This breed does have some fur on the head, feet, and tail, so you can expect a very low level of shedding. One point of note is that this breed is more susceptible to extreme weather conditions, so you’ll need to protect the dog's bare skin when you go outside. A doggy sunscreen during the summer months and a comfy coat for the winter months will help to keep them safe and comfortable. There is another version of the Crested – the Powderpuff – which has a full coat of long flowing hair. This type of Crested may not be the best choice for allergy sufferers.
The Havanese is a naturally energetic and inquisitive breed that lets you choose the length of their coat. While most owners will clip it short and tight to make it easier to maintain, you can let the coat grow out so it's longer and more luxurious. It's a toy breed so it can get vocal but if you're looking for a friendly pup that doesn't shed very much, you'd be smart to go with a Havanse as a longtime, loving companion. Just be ready to give your furry pal a good brushing on a regular basis.
Irish Water Spaniel
We've included a lot of toy breeds and more than a couple terriers on this list, but those aren't your only options when it comes to finding a hypoallergenic pup. The Irish Water Spaniel is a sporting breed that has an affinity for water. It says so right in the name and they back it up with a thick coat dominated by a curly texture that actually repels moisture and wetness. So you can bet this pup loves to go for a swim and won't be soaked to the skin afterward. These spaniels also crave playtime and exercise.
Another breed that has been engineered specifically for reducing allergic reactions, the Labradoodle comes in three different coat types. The two that are most hypoallergenic are the woolly coat dogs and the fleece coat dogs. With the former, routine grooming will help to reduce allergic reactions and the latter sheds less than all three breed types. This is a cute and unique dog that is laid-back, gentle, and playful.
A name that translates as “bark lion sentinel dog”, the Lhasa Apso has multiple benefits of ownership. For starters, yes this is a hypoallergenic breed despite the long, silky coat. That means you will have some grooming responsibilities for the purposes of good maintenance and reduced shedding. The other reason to get a Lhasa Apso is their typically suspicious nature towards strangers. If you're looking for a low-key guard dog, this is the breed to consider.
Friendly and charming, the Maltese is another hypoallergenic toy breed that seems to retain its youthful vigor through every stage of its life. But keep in mind that owning a Maltese is a full-time job when it comes to grooming. We're talking about daily brushing, routine bathing, and applying plenty of tender loving care to the coat of your Maltese. The breed barely sheds but you'll need to maintain its coat in order to keep your pup looking his or her best.
Active and big in personality, the Miniature Schnauzer is a good choice for homes with allergy sufferers as they shed so infrequently. That is due in large part to the length and texture of the dog's coat. Grooming is an important part of owning a Miniature Schnauzer due to the levels of clipping, trimming, and stripping that are needed in order to keep the coat looking lush and shiny. This will help to further reduce any allergens that could trigger an allergic response.
Portuguese Water Dog
Similar to the Irish Water Spaniel, the Portuguese Water Dog offers a waterproof coat that comes in wavy or curly texture and hardly ever sheds. As for the dog itself, this is a breed that wants to be around family and loved ones all of the time. They love to have fun and want only to make their owners happy. They are also very smart animals, easy to train and with an increased sense of empathy which is why they are sought out as therapy animals.
This breed has been around for centuries, originating in China from around the Tang Dynasty. A dog preferred by royalty, the Shih Tzu is otherwise referred to as a “lion dog” which might make you wonder how much shedding you can expect. After all, lions have thick coats and the Shih Tzu has a long and lush coat similar to a lion. It can grow very long and will need routine bathing and grooming. They love being brushed.
Don't worry about trying to pronounce the name (just shorten it to “Xolo”) but you can find this breed in three sizes and two variants. The dog can be hairless or covered in a short, easy to maintain coat. But allergy sufferers will rest easy knowing either version is a good hypoallergenic option. For the hairless dogs, caring for them is much the same as the Chinese Crested – protecting the skin during extreme temperatures. The coated dog need only be brushed semi-regularly.
The good ol' Yorkie. Fits in a purse or feels at home being held on your arm. The coat of this toy breed is more akin to hair than fur you would find on other dogs. This makes the breed a better choice for allergy sufferers. But don't even think about getting a Yorkie if you're not ready to do the routine maintenance necessary for keeping the coat silky smooth and knot-free.
Looking for more information to help you decide which dog is best for you? Check out the Two Tails Blog for more helpful articles!