18 Best Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds for People with Allergies
Do dogs make your heart go thump, your eyes water, and your nose tickle? If you’ve got allergies, check out these hypoallergenic options.
No dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic
We hate to break the news to you, but even dogs that are considered hypoallergenic can set off some people’s allergies. What causes all of that sneezing and wheezing? It’s not usually an animal’s fur, believe it or not. The real source is often a protein found in the saliva and urine of dogs and cats, notes Jerry Klein, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer at the American Kennel Club (AKC). “This protein sticks to the dead, dried flakes from your pet’s skin, called dander,” he says. “Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a fully hypoallergenic dog, but there are a variety of breeds considered less allergenic that allergy sufferers tend to do well with.” Here are some other things you need to know before you get a new puppy.
What makes a dog less allergenic?
Hypoallergenic dogs usually have a predictable, low, or non-shedding coat, which produces less dander. “Because these dogs don’t shed or shed very little, the allergy-causing dander that sticks to their fur doesn’t get released into the air or onto the floor as much as with a shedding dog,” says Dr. Klein. “Some individual dogs may even cause fewer allergy symptoms than others. In fact, two dogs of the same breed can each give off very different levels of allergens.” These are the best pets to get if you’re allergic to cats and dogs.
How to make life easy and less sneezy
If you suffer from allergies, you’re likely to do better with dogs that have less fur, says Jeff Rockwell, DVM, owner of Atlantic Veterinary Hospital in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Plus, you can take extra precautions to cut down on potential issues. “There are shampoos that help to reduce dander, dried saliva, which lessens allergenicity,” adds Dr. Rockwell. “You can also wipe down your dog with unscented dryer sheets to make [him] less allergenic.” He adds that over time, people tend to acclimate to their own pet’s dander (but not necessarily the dander of other dogs). Still, there are some other ways your dog could be making you sick.
Opt for a purebred pup
While mutts are wonderful, it’s a good idea to choose a purebred if you have allergies. Why? You’ll have a better idea of what you’re getting and whether or not your new BFF will set off your sneezing. “The bonus of selecting a purebred dog is their predictability in size, coat, care requirements, and temperament. The coat is especially important for allergy sufferers,” explains Dr. Klein. “For someone with pet allergies, the American Kennel Club recommends that he/she visit an owner or breeder with the breed of interest for several hours to test allergy sensitivities before making the commitment of bringing a dog home.” But with so many dogs to choose from, how can you pick? Dr. Klein has a few ideas for allergy sufferers and created this list of 20 hypoallergenic dogs for you to check out.
Looking for a playful, loving, and utterly devoted hypoallergenic dog? Dr. Klein suggests the Chinese Crested. These dogs not only tend to be attentive housemates, but they’re also very in tune with their human families. This breed comes in two varieties: hairless and powderpuff. Aside from the obvious visual difference, the powderpuff needs to be brushed daily to remain clean and pleasant to pet. Its coat is different from most hairy breeds: The undercoat is shorter, and the outer coat is a veil overlay, making it easy to brush. On the flip side, the hairless Chinese Crested doesn’t have this type of hair, so shedding isn’t much of a problem—and there’s limited doggy odor.
This compact breed has a glistening, low-shedding short coat that generally requires no more than a quick once-over with a soft-bristle brush or a rubber grooming mitt every week. Dr. Klein refers to the Basenji as dignified and intelligent. But, he says, make sure you can meet their high exercise needs and the challenges that come with training this catlike canine.
The Bedlington Terrier is known for its curly, woolly, lamb-like fur. While its coat doesn’t shed much, it does grow fast, so regular clipping is necessary. In terms of demeanor, the Bedlington Terrier is gentle, lovable, fairly active, and likes to be the center of its family’s attention. Loyal to the core, this hypoallergenic dog also has a reputation for being protective of its loved ones. Do you have little ones at home? These are the best dog breeds for kids.
Bichons have plush, velvety hair that grows continually and doesn’t shed. Still, hypoallergenic dogs aren’t necessarily low-maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming. Dr. Klein says that regular brushing, monthly baths, and relatively frequent haircuts are musts for this breed. Personality-wise, Bichons are adaptable family companions who get along well with other dogs and children. Alert, confident, and curious, they are generally playful and happy. The Bichon Frise Club of America says that “a cheerful attitude is the hallmark of the breed, and one should settle for nothing less.”
Affenpinschers are known to be loyal, affectionate, and entertaining. Their small size and moderate exercise requirements make them great apartment dogs. But even better, the Affenpinscher’s medium-length, wiry coat is usually considered hypoallergenic, and this breed typically doesn’t bother allergy sufferers. Their coat, however, does require some regular maintenance and should be tended to twice a week. Don’t miss this official guide to picking the best dog breed for you.
Coton de Tulear
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The AKC calls this fluffy white dog charming, bright, and happy-go-lucky. It’s also silly and “naturally clownish,” known to make unique sounds and walk around on its hind legs. The bond between Cotons and their people is often very strong. In terms of being a hypoallergenic dog, the Coton barely sheds and rarely aggravates allergies, according to the Coton de Tulear Club of America. That said, its long coat does require daily care. Don’t miss these secrets pet groomers wish they could tell you.