As a proud and devoted dog parent to be, you are well-aware of all the perks that come with the dog parenting experience.
The explosion of dog hairs on your furniture, clothes, and food plates, however, isn't one of those perks. If you think fur-covered surroundings could be a simple cosmetic issue, the bigger concern is dog allergies.
Statistics show that 10-20% of the world population suffers from dog allergies. These can cause severe issues, specially for people with co-existing respiratory problems, such as asthma.
Luckily, being allergic to dogs doesn’t mean you cannot be a dog parent. And perhaps the solution could be a hypoallergenic dog breed.
In this article, we'll fill you on in what a hypoallergenic dog means and show 20 of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds in the world.
20 Best Hypoallergenic Dogs
Before we dive into the details of what a hypoallergenic dog is and and whether it's a good idea, here is a list and a quick review of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds.
Playful and peppy, the cute-looking and fluffy Bichon Frise was bred to be the ideal low-shedding and hypoallergenic dog. In fact, its name literally translates to “fluffy white dog”.
Plus, its happy-go-lucky attitude and innocent curiosity will surely make you constantly smile.
Fun fact: Originating from the largest Canary Island, Tenerife, the Bichon Frise was notably popular among sailors and accompanied them during quests.
The profoundly loyal, aristocratic, and dignified Afghan hound is famous for its lustrous, glamorous, and silky tresses. However, its coat is not all about looks; prone to minimal shedding, this sight hound is ideal for people with dog allergies.
Fun fact: Considered to be one of the most ancient dog breeds, the Afghan hound is as fast as a racehorse, and it was one of Picasso’s immense inspirations.
Nobody can balance loveable and sweet with athletic and robust as the Lagotto Romagnolo. This Italian dog is affectionate and keen yet independent and undemanding.
Instead of regular fur, the Lagotto Romagnolo has waterproof, extremely low-shedding, rough, and tightly curled hair.
Fun fact: Commonly known as the “truffle dog”, the Lagotto Romagnolo is believed to be the forefather to all water dogs.
Wickedly smart, proud, and active, all three Poodle sizes are labeled as suitable for allergic people. Just because the Poodle is small and sheds so little, it doesn’t mean it is a low-maintenance dog.
If you decide to become a Poodle parent, you will need to spend some quality time at the dog park and at the groomer’s studio.
Fun fact: Don’t be fooled by the Poodle’s appearance, this dog was originally bred to be a skilled hunter.
Intelligent, poised, and independent, the tough-looking Basenji can be an affectionate companion. Plus, scoring one on the 1 to 5 shedding-scale, the Basenji is hypoallergenic and easy maintenance.
Fun fact: Vigilant in personal hygiene, the Basenji is often described to have a cat-like personality. The Basenji is the only dog that doesn't know how to bark. Instead, it yodels.
Cotton de Tulear
Playful yet regal-looking, the Cotton de Tulear has a unique coat that occurred because of an accidental genetic mutation. The coat's uniqueness is in the specific cotton-like texture.
However, being soft is not the only perk the Cotton de Tulear offers. The best thing about its coat is that it prefers staying on the dog and not on your furniture.
Fun fact: The Cotton de Tulear may be described as Madagascar's royal dog, but the American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize it as a breed.
Fluffy and white, the Maltese dog is the symbol of purity. However, don’t be fooled by the graceful appearance. The playful Maltese will happily get off its high-horse to roll in the mud or chase cats.
As for its hypoallergenic coat, even if kept short is needs frequent brushing and extensive maintenance.
Fun fact: The name of this dog is quite misleading. The Maltese dog wasn’t developed in Malta but somewhere in Asia.
Commonly known as the quintessential lap dog, the Shih Tzu is playful, outgoing, and affectionate. There is a saying that giggles follow wherever Shih Tzus go.
The Shih Tzu’s hypoallergenic coat needs extensive grooming. After all, getting the topknot right is much trickier than it looks.
Fun fact: With only 14 examples left, the so-called Lion dog was on the brink of extinction after the Communist Revolution.
Regardless of their actual size, all Schnauzers have enormous personalities. And they are exceptionally vocal dogs, capable of wreaking havoc on everyone’s eardrums.
Equipped with a soft undercoat and wiry, rough-looking topcoat, Schnauzers are hypoallergenic but also high-maintenance.
Fun fact: Unlike most terriers from the British Isles, Schnauzers come from Germany, and their name refers to their hallmark: the gentlemanly mustaches.
Unaware of its diminutive size, the Yorkshire terrier is confident and fearless. This is primarily because the Yorkie is true to its terrier origins. After all, its first job description was hunting rats.
The Yorkie’s silky, hypoallergenic, and low-shedding hair is very human like. It is also prone to tangling and matting.
Fun fact: The Yorkshire terrier is one of AKC’s original breeds and the first canine to become a therapy dog.
Irish Water Spaniel
Hardworking, brave yet playful and affectionate, the Irish Spaniel is the canine world's champion swimmer.
The breed's hallmarks are the water-repellent and hypoallergenic double coat and the tapering, rat-like tail. The tail may seem quirky, but it has a purpose: it serves as a rudder while swimming.
Fun fact: The Irish Water spaniel is the oldest of the spaniel family, and it is known as the family's clown.
Bouvier des Flandres
The Bouvier des Flandres was originally bred to be a sturdy and restless, all-purpose working dog. However, its friendliness and hypoallergenic coat catapulted this dog on the list of companion canines.
Strong-willed and courageous, The Bouvier des Flandres is a tough-looking dog. Its mustaches and beard add to the toughness but need extensive care to stay debris-free.
Fun fact: The Bouvier has many nicknames, including Vuilbaard (dirty beard), toucheur de boeuf (cattle driver) and koehond (cow dog).
Cuba’s only native dog, the Havanese, is funny, cheerful, and outgoing. The hallmark of the breed is the silky coat. In fact, this breed was originally called the Havana Silk Dog.
Scoring one out of five points on the shedding intensity scale, the Havanese’s silky coat is not just low-shedding but also hypoallergenic and suitable for hairdos.
Fun fact: The clownish Havanese is remarkably easy to train and loves performing tricks.
Thriving in isolation in the Himalayan Mountains, the Lhasa Apso is the favorite dog among Tibetan Buddhists. Highly prized, one cannot buy them but only receive as a gift. As such, they are a symbol of luck and good fortune.
The Lhasa Apso is an adorable and affectionate little lap dog. This miniature and hypoallergenic dog enjoys grooming and pampering.
Fun fact: Buddhists believe that they are reborn into Lhasa Apso dogs just before being reincarnated into humans.
The unique-looking Brussels Griffon started its canine career as a rat dog but ended up as part of the Belgian Royal family. Now that is an envy-worth promotion.
The Brussels Griffon comes in two coat varieties: smooth and rough. With a shedding season that lasts less than a week, both coat-types are classified as hypoallergenic.
Fun fact: The Brussels Griffon is an exceptionally skilled climber. Their climbing abilities are described as cat-like. However, while cats prefer climbing on trees, Brussels Griffons prefer climbing on laps.
Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dog’s initial purpose was herding fish. Today, his central role is being an affectionate companion. The fact that the Portuguese Waterdog has a hypoallergenic coat only adds to its popularity.
America’s former first dogs, Sunny and Bo, prove the breed’s popularity outside its native Portugal.
Fun fact: The B.A.R.K. (Baseball Aquatic Retrieval Korps) unit comprises six Portuguese Waterdogs trusted with the distinguished task of fetching rogue baseballs hit from the Pacific Bell Park into the San Francisco Bay.
Don’t be deceived by the Bedlington’s innocent, lamb-like appearance. Members of this breed are extraordinarily skilled hunters that can reach speeds of up to 35mph. However, they are also affectionate companions.
The Bedlington’s terrier hypoallergenic and low-shedding coat comprises two different hair types: harsh and soft.
Fun fact: Bedlington terriers got their signature coat from the Poodle, endurance from the Otterhound, feistiness from the Bull Terrier, and speed from the Whippet.
There are two hallmarks to the Wheaten terrier dog: immense and deep-seated loyalty towards his family members and low shedding tendency.
The wheaten-colored coat is hypoallergenic and so soft the breed is often called soft-coated Wheaten terrier.
Fun fact: The Wheaten terrier was known as the poor man's dog as Irish farmers could not own other dogs such as hounds, spaniels, or Beagles.
As one of the oldest terrier dogs, the Cairn terrier is called “the best little pal in the world”. He was initially bred to work as an efficient vermin exterminator. Therefore, his two personality traits are assertiveness and tenacity.
The Cairn terrier’s hypoallergenic, wiry, and water-repellent coat is two-layered and shaggy-looking.
Fun fact: The most popular Cairn terrier was Toto, the legendary canine sidekick from the “Wizard of Oz”.
Kerry Blue Terrier
Alert, people-oriented, and smart Kerry Blue terriers once worked as all-purpose farm dogs. Today, they are skilled watchdogs and enjoyable companions.
The strikingly blue coat is the breed’s hallmark. Besides being uniquely colored, the fur is soft, dense, wavy, and hypoallergenic. Plus, it is effortless to maintain.
Fun fact: Cairn terriers are born black. Later on, thanks to the coat-fading gene, they turn blue or slate grey.
Why Do Some Dogs Cause Allergies?
The craze around hypoallergenic dogs is thanks to their low-shedding nature.
So, if a dog doesn’t shed hairs around the house, it won't trigger allergies, right?
Well, even though there is some level of truth behind this concept, the lack of shedding isn't the only factor hypoallergenic dogs should feature.
To be more precise, it's often the dog's dander (dead skin cells that flake off) that causes various allergies.
Since dander travels through dog hair, getting a low shedding dog might decrease the risk of allergic reactions.
Also, it is worth mentioning that some people can be sensitive to dog saliva. In such cases, the intensity of shedding and dander production doesn't affect the dog's allergy triggering potential.
What Does A Hypoallergenic Dog Mean?
Hypoallergenic dogs are both low shedders and they produce less dander than other dogs. These two factors combined is believed to decrease the risk of triggering allergic reactions, even in particularly sensitive people.
However, it's not really clear where the term "hypoallergenic dog" originates and whether such a concept exist at all.
In fact, a study suggested individual factors of a dog affected the allergenicity much more than breed.
Do Hypoallergenic Dogs Shed?
Yes, some hypoallergenic dogs shed. In fact, except for hairless dogs, all dogs shed.
We often use the terms non-shedding dog breeds and low-shedding dog breeds interchangeably. This is a common mistake, as low-shedding is not the same as non-shedding.
It is impossible for a hair-covered dog not to shed. All dogs shed. The only difference is in the amount of shedding. Some are profuse shedders, and others shed almost none.
Hairless dogs are the true non-shedders of the canine world.
The group of hairless dogs includes the following dogs:
- Chinese Crested
- Peruvian Inca Orchid
- Jonangi Dog
- Hairless Khala
- American Hairless Terrier
- Argentina Pila Dog
- Abyssinian Sand Terrier.
In simple words, if there is no hair, there is nothing to shed.
However, considering the dander and saliva factors, it is safe to say that not all hairless dogs are hypoallergenic.
Managing Allergens When You Have A Pet
A study into asthmatic patients allergic to dogs found out washing your furry friend at least twice a week greatly reduces the allergens in the environment.
Regular vacuuming and cleaning your house should also reduce dust, and dander that accumulates in your home.
Unfortunately, the best advice for people with severe allergies is simply avoiding getting a dog that you might have allergic reactions to.
How Many Hypoallergenic Dogs Are There?
There are many hypoallergenic dog breeds but they can classified by size: small, medium, and large hypoallergenic dog breeds. The best hypoallergenic dog for you depends on several factors including lifestyle and personality.
However, there's a an argument in favour of smaller breeds as the total surface area of a smaller dog could be indicative of lower allergen production. A smaller dog would produce less saliva, dander and other allergens in your environment.
Luckily, having a dog allergy doesn’t necessarily mean you may not experience the joys of dog parenting.
Considering the large number of hypoallergenic dog breeds in the world, there might be breeds that could work for your needs.
However, it's important to mention once again that research into hypoallergenic dogs is not conclusive and people with allergies should consult their doctor and a vet before getting a dog.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that parenting a hypoallergenic and low-shedding dog doesn’t mean you are free from grooming duties.
On the contrary, some of the most sought-after hypoallergenic dogs are high-maintenance when it comes to grooming and pampering.
It's a concept used to refer to dogs that sheds less hair which is believed to reduce the dander in the environment. However, there is no such thing as universally hypoallergenic dog.
For example, the Bichon Frise is a hypoallergenic dog, but that doesn’t mean that this dog cannot trigger an allergy. It means that allergies to Bichon Frise dogs are rare.
Research is inconclusive whether certain breeds of hypoallergenic dogs can cause less allergic reactions.
It, however, helps greatly to wash your dog twice a week at least and regularly vacuum and clean your house to reduce the allergens in the environment.
These dogs are believed to be convenient for people with dog hair and dander allergies. However, they aren’t good for people allergic to dog saliva.
Labradoodles and Goldendoodles were bred exclusively for people with dog allergies. Breeders added the Poodle gene to the mix because of its low-shedding nature.
However, with mixing breeds, there are no certainties regarding the outcome. While most Labradoodles and Goldendoodles should be hypoallergenic, some members may not be.
No, unfortunately the Pomeranian isn’t a hypoallergenic dog breed. The Pomeranian produces a fair amount of dander, which is the reason why this dog isn't on the list of dogs good for people with allergies.
Yes, they are among the most popular hypoallergenic dog breeds. They are small and suitable for apartment living, have reasonable exercise requirements, and make excellent companions.
So, what's your favourite?
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