There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog.
It is good practice to consult with your local doctor and veterinarian before bringing home a dog to learn more about the potential issues you could face.
However, there are some breeds that are better suited for those with an allergy than other dogs.
Imagine being a dog lover but suffering from an unfortunate allergy to dogs.
You may be surprised to learn the sheer volume of people who suffer an allergic reaction to our four-legged friends.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology issued a report in 2012 that suggested as much as 10 per cent of the population are allergic to dogs.
The good news for dogs is that the same institution say you’re twice as likely to be allergic to a cat rather than a dog.
In this article, helloBARK! will examine which dogs are better suited to allergy sufferers.
What does hypoallergenic mean?
Hypoallergenic is defined as something that is relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
This term was first coined by the cosmetic industry to denote a product that was “below normal” or “slightly” allergenic.
When researching different dogs, you’ll more than likely stumble across a question asking whether the breed is hypoallergenic. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one such breed.
However, it is important to note that there is no such thing as dog that is 100 per cent hypoallergenic.
The good news is the American Kennel Club says are there are a variety of dog breeds that are better suited to allergy sufferers.
They go on to explain that these dogs tend to have a predictable coat that doesn’t shed and produces less dander.
The American Lung Association define pet dander as tiny flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers.
These bits of skin, which can be microscopic in size, is what causes an allergic reaction to dogs and other pets in most humans.
19 dog breeds suitable for allergy sufferers
1) Afghan Hound
You’ll probably recognise Afghan Hound for their sheer elegance and beauty. Their flowing, silky coat was designed to protect against harsh conditions and temperatures in Afghanistan. While these dogs look hairy, the AKC recommend these dogs for allergy sufferers. They don’t shed but do require regular grooming and baths.
2) American Hairless Terrier
Granted recognition by the AKC in 2016, the American Hairless Terrier is a medium-sized dog that is a good alternative for those with an allergy to dogs. As the name clearly indicates, the breed don’t have hair. But what about the dander you say? Well the oil secreted by their skin can trap the dander. You’ll have to remember regular baths to wash away dander but not so often that their skin becomes dry and irritated.
3) Bedlington Terrier
You’d be forgiven for thinking the Bedlington Terrier was a sheep – not a type of dog. The AKC aptly describe them as a “graceful terrier in sheep’s clothing”. As you’ve probably figured out, the Bedlington Terrier has curly, woolen fur. These “sheeps” don’t shed and have less dander than other dog breeds. However, their hair grows fast and will require regular clipping.
4) Bichon Frise
You’ve more than likely encountered a Bichon Frise at some point. These dogs are very popular due to their size and loving temperament. Their curly hair makes it difficult for dander to escape. The breed will require a lot of grooming. They require brushing two to three times a week, a bath once a month and their hair needs to be trimmed every month. In doing so, trapped dander will be disposed of.
5) Chinese Crested
The Chinese Crested have two varieties: hairless and powderpuff. While the powderpuff variety do have a shiny, silky coat, unlike their hairless brethren, they are still considered to be more hypoallergenic than most dogs because they shed very little. While the powderpuff are great, the hairless don’t have body odor or shedding issues at all.
6) Coton de Tulear
Probably a dog breed that you’re unlikely to have encountered before, the Coton de Tulear is a companion dog with a merry personality. More importantly for those with an allergy to dogs, Coton are often described as “hypoallergenic”. Their skin tends to be dry and doesn’t produce much dander. Coton’s with longer coats will require daily brushing.
7) Giant Schnauzer
The Giant Schnauzer are impressive looking specimens. Larger than a regular Schnauzer, these dogs can grow to 28 inches and weigh up to 95 pounds. The breed have a double coat which requires weekly brushing. However, the Giant Schnauzer don’t shed a lot and don’t drool excessively unlike some other messier dog breeds.
8) Irish Water Spaniel
A popular breed for people allergic to dogs is the Irish Water Spaniel. They’re one of the biggest spaniels and recognised for being excellent swimmers (the hint is in the name!). The Irish Water Spaniel is described as a “hypoallergenic” dog breed because they don’t shed. The AKC’s website says the breed’s hypoallergenic coat requires brushing at least weekly and trimming every two months to neaten and shape it.
9) Kerry Blue Terrier
Just like their Irish counterparts above, the Kerry Blue Terrier has a reputation for being a great option for people with an allergy to dogs. They don’t produce much dander, while their beautiful blue coat doesn’t shed. Their coat may be suitable for allergy sufferers but it requires a lot of grooming. It must be brushed and combed once a week to avoid matting.
10) Lagotto Romagnolo
We’ve discussed the Irish Water Spaniel and it’s now time to take a look at an Italian water dog. The Lagotto Romagnolo (which translates as lake dog from Romagna) has a beautiful curly coat. Those curls can help to trap the dander, making them a suitable dog for allergy sufferers. Their soft, wooly coat doesn’t shed too much either.
The Maltese have earned worldwide notoriety for their fluffy coat that reaches the ground. They’re origins are in Malta, as their name suggests. These historic pups don’t shed a lot, so they’re a great option for those who suffer with an allergy to dogs. While they don’t shed, their coat does require daily grooming.
12) Miniature Schnauzer
We’ve had the Giant Schnauzer – and now it’s time for the Miniature Schnauzer. The AKC’s website described these dogs as a generally healthy, long-lived, and low-shedding companion. Given they leave little to no hair around the home, they’re often described as “hypoallergenic”. However, the Miniature Schnauzer requires frequent brushing, combing, and grooming to look its best.
13) Peruvian Inca Orchid (Hairless)
The next hairless dog on our list is the Peruvian Inca Orchid. Aside from their cool name, one of their notable features of the breed is they can come hairless or with a coat. The hairless members of the breed don’t shed, so they’re a good option for people looking to find a “hypoallergenic” pup. The Peruvian Inca Orchid does require regular baths, though.
Now for a breed that every dog lover knows and loves: the Poodle. These dogs are the second-most intelligent dogs in the world. Not only that, but they’re also perfect for those with an allergy to dogs. The AKC’s website explains that their relatively non-shedding coat makes the breed a good choice for people with allergies.
15) Portuguese Water Dog
We’ve had an Irish and an Italian water dog – and the Portuguese Water Dog is the third to make it on our list. These dogs require a lot of exercise and a lot of grooming. However, the extensive brushing of their waterproof coat is a small price to pay given these dogs are described on the AKC’s website as hypoallergenic.
16) Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is yet another Irish breed considered to be hypoallergenic. This Irish farm dog has a soft coat that is considered to be non-shedding. Their silky wheaten coat is thought to be well suited to those with an allergy to dogs. However, it does require extensive grooming.
17) Spanish Water Dog
The Spanish Water Dog completes our set of four. They only have one coat unlike some other dogs that have an outer and inner coat. Their wooly fur doesn’t shed either, which makes them more suitable for those with allergies to dogs. This breed doesn’t require brushing but their chords do require trimming every couple of months or so.
18) Standard Schnauzer
The Standard Schnauzer, like the Giant and Miniature varieties is often described as a “hypoallergenic” dog breed. The AKC recommend that their beard and leg hair should be brushed often to prevent mats. Their coat requires a lot of maintenance.
This breed was the Aztec’s dog of the dogs. The Xoloitzcuintili comes in two varieties: coated and hairless. The Xoloitzcuintili Club of America offer this suggestion on their website: “you can wipe a Xolo down with a damp cloth. This helps reduce the dead skin cells, and remove any outside pollen from weeds and grass. The skin (hide) of these dogs exudes an oil that protects the dog’s skin and reduces the dry dander that may constitute a large portion of the allergens.”