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Do you want to cuddle up to a cute, fluffy puppy but have allergies that make you cough, sneeze, and break out in hives? Don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, 10 to 20 percent of the global population has some form of pet allergy.1
Luckily, there are many solutions to this problem, including medication, frequently cleaning your home to reduce allergens, and hypoallergenic dogs. In this blog post, we will break down everything you need to know about hypoallergenic dogs and introduce 10 dog breeds that shed less and produce less dander.
- What Causes Dog Allergies?
- Are There Really Hypoallergenic Dogs?
- 10 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
- How To Minimize Shedding In Dogs
- Final Notes
What Causes Dog Allergies?
We often think that people allergic to dogs are allergic to dog fur. However, this is a misconception. Dog allergies are actually triggered by an exposure to the proteins in a dog’s skin cells, saliva, or urine. These proteins are easily carried by shedding hair or dead flakes of skin, also known as dander, and can stay suspended in the air for long periods of time due to their light-weight nature.2
People with dog allergies experience a range of symptoms, most commonly including nose, eye, respiratory, and skin irritation. In more extreme cases, however, there is the possibility of anaphylactic shock, causing hives, swelling, and trouble breathing. This is an emergency situation that requires immediate medical attention.2
Some common dog allergy symptoms in humans include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Shortness of breath
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Dry, itchy skin
- Hives and rashes2
Also, keep in mind that the more allergens a person is exposed to, the worse their symptoms will be. The best way to quell any discomfort associated with dog allergies is to limit your exposure to shedding hair and dander, which is where hypoallergenic dogs come in.2
Are There Really Hypoallergenic Dogs?
Unfortunately, no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic. We only consider certain breeds to be hypoallergenic because they have non-shedding coats that produce less dander. While their “hypoallergenic” merit stands on shaky ground, it is true that these dogs are less likely to trigger a reaction in people with mild or moderate dog allergies. Everyone’s reaction to hypoallergenic dogs is different, so it is important to listen to your body if you are still coughing or sneezing near them.
10 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
Dogs that are hypoallergenic come in all shapes and sizes, from toy-sized Malteses to 80-pound Giant Schnauzers. Long-haired dogs have a bad reputation when it comes to shedding, but you’ll be surprised how many furry and shaggy canines are considered hypoallergenic.
Knowing what dog breeds are hypoallergenic can be hard. Here are 10 hypoallergenic dog breeds that may keep your allergies at bay or simply allow you to tidy up less frequently.
Bichon Frises are well loved by people all around the world and have a major presence on social media due to their cute appearance that beautifully showcases a variety of haircuts. Their small stature in combination with their round head and white, curly fur gives them a distinct marshmallow or powder puff look that’s hard not to love.
The Bichon Frise is also an ancient breed that has made its mark on history, from being sailors’ companions on the Canary Islands to laying on the laps of French aristocrats. Their charming and happy-go-lucky personality makes them sought after companions. If you want a playful, adaptable dog that fits in easily with your family, Bichon Frises can be a perfect choice.3
All poodles are hypoallergenic dogs, including toy poodles, miniature poodles, and standard poodles. With a dense, curly coat that comes in a range of colors from blues to cafe-au-laits, poodles always carry themselves with an air of elegance. However, do not be fooled. Despite their proud and almost haughty look, this breed can be just as friendly and affectionate as others.
Poodles are also very athletic. They have high energy levels and prefer to get a good amount of exercise and play every day. Bred as hunting dogs, they excel at fetch and obedience. You can even try to train your poodle in dog agility and compete.4
Yorkshire terriers are dainty dogs often associated with proper English ladies of the late Victorian era. However, before becoming pampered lap dogs, they had a brief stint working in textile mills and coal mines as exterminators, which is much more in line with their more peppy and feisty disposition.
Despite the long, floor-length blue and tan coat typical of the breed, Yorkshire terriers shed much less than other dogs. They are also less likely to drool. These two traits make them ideal companions for people who are mildly allergic to dogs. If you are affected by dog allergies, hangout with a Yorkshire terrier and see how your body reacts.5
Portuguese Water Dog
As their name suggests, Portuguese water dogs were initially bred to assist fishermen who lived along Portugal’s coast in their daily tasks. From herding fish into nets to carrying messages from ship to ship, these dogs are trustworthy and hardworking. Even to this day, they are sometimes used for water rescue.
In terms of appearance, Portuguese water dogs have a medium, athletic build. The tight curls or waves covering their body shed very little, grouping them with other dogs that are hypoallergenic. Although every dog is different, Portuguese water dogs tend to be easier to train and very loyal.6
Maltese are known for their white, silky coats that hit the floor and sway gracefully from side to side as they glide around. Many owners of this breed also love to keep their hair in top knots or ponytails that make them extra adorable.
From the island of Malta, Maltese were well loved and even revered by Greeks and Romans. Known to have a geometric beauty and to be perfectly proportioned, Maltese were often depicted on ceramics and other artifacts. They were even documented in poems, myths, and other stories.7
The Giant Schnauzer is one of the bigger hypoallergenic dog breeds. Their counterpart, the Standard Schnauzer, is smaller but considered hypoallergenic as well. These dogs have a rugged look and cool, effortless aura. Their bold, distinctive eyebrows and beard frame their rectangular face and deep-set eyes.
Their rugged look also matches their role as working dogs. Giant Schnauzers have had a range of occupations since their conception in the Bavarian Alps. They have been guard dogs for merchants, cattle transporters for farmers, and even police dogs in certain European countries.8
American Hairless Terrier
American hairless terriers are what many would imagine when thinking of hypoallergenic dog breeds. Despite their name, however, American hairless terriers come in both coated and hairless varieties. The coated variety has a very short and dense coat with a noticeable sheen. The hairless variety, on the other hand, usually sheds its birth coat around 8 to 10 weeks of age.
The American hairless terrier is known to be an energetic and curious dog. Bred to get rid of vermin on farms, these dogs are very avid hunters. Although they are no longer used for this purpose, they still retain a lot of their hunting instinct. American hairless terriers can be easily trained for a variety of dog sports.9
Like the American hairless terrier, Chinese cresteds can be either coated or hairless. They have a very distinct appearance that cannot be mistaken for any other hypoallergenic dogs. What sets them apart is their slender frame and long tufts of hair on their head, ankles, and tail. It almost looks as if they are wearing a matching set of accessories.
Although they may look fragile, Chinese cresteds were at once expert exterminators on board many trade ships, traveling from port to port. Because of their history, they are still very active dogs nowadays. Owners of the hairless variety must remember to apply sunscreen on their canine companions during long periods of sun exposure.10
Bedlington terriers are hypoallergenic dogs that almost look like lambs from certain angles, primarily due to their plush, wool-like coat. Not only are these dogs soft in appearance, but they also have a more gentle disposition. Looking at them, you would never know that they were once bred to catch vermin and engage in dog fights.
The Bedlington terrier’s coat almost never sheds. However, it does grow very quickly. Owners should take care to get it trimmed every 2 months or so. Like other terriers, Bedlington terriers are also fairly energetic, but they also love to cuddle up to their family.11
The Lowchen is another long-haired hypoallergenic dog breed. Named after its mane and plumed tail, its name means “little lion” in German. A descendant of the Barbichons, the same ancient line that gave us other hypoallergenic dogs like the Maltese and Bichon Frise, Lowchens were extremely popular amongst the nobles of Spain, Germany, and Russia. They can even be spotted in numerous historical artworks.
Although Lowchens were bred to be companions, they can actually be rather adaptable and protective. They can also love to play and can be trained to learn many tricks.12
How To Minimize Shedding In Dogs
While it is impossible for a dog to not shed at all, certain dogs, such as most dogs that are hypoallergenic, have what are considered non-shedding coats. Shedding is a natural process for dogs. It helps them get rid of old, damaged hair and make room for new hair that is shiny and healthy. Hypoallergenic dogs with non-shedding coats shed a lot less or virtually don’t shed at all.
Of course, there are a few tips and tricks to minimize shedding in dogs. Other than uncontrollable factors such as breed, weather, and if your dog has allergies or sensitivities that could trigger shedding, you can reduce how much hair your dog sheds through improving their diet and nutrition, increasing their water intake, and using the correct brush and shedding tool. Adequate bathing and de-shedding sessions at the groomers will also keep your pup clean and free of dead hair.
If you are allergic to dogs, knowing which dogs are hypoallergenic will help you make a more informed decision on whether you can welcome a pup into your home. Of course, remember that even hypoallergenic dogs are able to trigger allergic reactions. Everyone reacts differently, so keep your medical provider in the loop with any changes and symptoms you are experiencing.
If you want to chat about hypoallergenic dog breeds or learn more about how to be a better pet parent while allergic, speak with a Dutch vet. Dutch is an online vet service that provides unlimited care over video chat whenever you need. When local vets are all booked up, Dutch can get your pet the prompt, high-quality care they deserve.
"Pet Allergy." Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, https://aafa.org/allergies/types-of-allergies/pet-dog-cat-allergies/.
"Allergic to your dog? Easy tips to prevent and control your allergy." The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, https://vet.osu.edu/sites/vet.osu.edu/files/legacy/documents/pdf/education/mph-vph/allergic%20to%20your%20dog.pdf.
"Bichon Frise." American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/bichon-frise/.
"Poodle (Standard)." American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/poodle-standard/.
"Yorkshire Terrier." American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/yorkshire-terrier/.
"Portuguese Water Dog." American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/portuguese-water-dog/.
"Maltese." American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/maltese/.
"Giant Schnauzer." American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/giant-schnazuer/.
"American Hairless Terrier." American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/american-hairless-terrier/.
"Chinese Crested." American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/chinese-crested/.
"Bedlington Terrier." American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/bedlington-terrier/.
"Lowchen." American Kennel Club, https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/lowchen/.