Pet allergies can be a real nuisance for those who desire the love and companionship of a dog. Exposure to proteins found in an animal’s dander, urine, blood, or saliva can cause an allergic reaction. These exposures can occur anywhere but are usually at their worst in a home environment. Pet allergy symptoms can range from sneezing and stuffy nose to facial pain and watery eyes. In some cases, a person may have coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, skin rash, and recurrent hives. Although not suitable for all allergy sufferers, a hypoallergenic dog may be the solution to your pet woes.
What Exactly Is a Hypoallergenic Dog?
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, up to 30 percent of Americans have some pet allergy. However, cat allergies tend to be more common than dog allergies. Although no dog breed is 100 percent hypoallergenic or allergen-free, some breeds are less likely to cause allergies in people. Hypoallergenic dogs usually create less skin dander which is the main element found in dog hair. A hypoallergenic dog’s ‘hair’ coat is what sets it apart from other dogs with a ‘fur’ coat.
Hypoallergenic Dogs for Allergy-Sufferers
Maltese are gentle, affectionate toy dogs that generally weigh less than seven pounds. They are known for their glamorous white, straight, and silky coats composed of hypoallergenic hair. These non-shedding, low-dander dogs have a single layer of hair with no undercoat. They are also low-drool, reducing the likelihood of saliva allergies. Maltese are brilliant family dogs that are perfect for families of allergy sufferers.
2. Yorkshire Terrier
With hair instead of fur, Yorkshire Terriers are hypoallergenic dogs that don’t shed seasonally and produce fewer allergies than most other dog breeds. Yorkies also benefit from having just one layer of hair, unlike many other breeds that have an undercoat and overcoat, which are shed as new fur grows in. However, their long hair can collect dirt, dust, and pollen from the outdoors, which may aggravate those with allergies.
With their distinct demeanor and charming looks, the Schnauzer is truly one-of-a-kind. The adorable breed is also the ideal candidate for allergy sufferers. Schnauzers are low-dander, low-shedding, and slow-slobber. They also don’t leave behind protein-filled cells commonly found in dog hair, drool, and urine. Schnauzers do have a double coat that is thick and wiry, which requires more maintenance than the norm.
4. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise has fluffy, white corkscrew fur that is smooth to the touch. Their coat is double layered, low dander, and non-shedding. When these cute dogs shed, the extra hairs tend to get caught in their coat instead of furniture and floors. Regularly brushing and bathing your Bichon Frise can help eliminate loose fur and reduce the likelihood of an allergic reaction.
Although no dog breed is completely hypoallergenic, Labradoodles do come fairly close. These dogs have a tightly curled coat that does not shed, which is a must-have for allergy sufferers. They also require very little grooming and don’t need frequent bathing. The type of coat that a labradoodle has directly contributed to its level of allergy-friendliness. The three coat types are woolly, fleece, and hair (straight, curly, or wavy).
6. Afghan Hound
With its long, flowing hair, the Afghan Hound may not seem like the most hypoallergenic breed. However, this dog is surprisingly low-shed and low-dander. The Afghan Hound is an independent pooch with silky hair and no thick undercoat. Adult Afghan Hounds shed each spring and fall, and unspayed females lose their hair each season.
Known for its high intelligence and loyal nature, the Poodle makes for an excellent family dog. They are known for their wool-like hypoallergenic coat that is non-shedding and low-dander. You can find Poodles in various sizes, ranging from the small Toy Poodle to the larger Standard Poodle. Although Poodles are great for allergy sufferers, they require plenty of physical and mental exercise to avoid behavioral problems.
8. Chinese Crested
The Chinese Crested dog is a loving, playful breed that is devoted to its humans. They shed little to no hair and are an excellent option for those with pet allergies. This unique breed is available in two varieties: Hairless and Powderpuff. Hairless varieties have hair only on their head, tail, and feet. Powderpuff varieties have a moderately long, soft, and silky coat that covers their body.
Affenpinschers are curious and loyal pets with a neat but shaggy coat that is fairly dense. The breed has been described as ‘ape terriers’ and ‘monkey dogs’ due to their unique appearance. Despite their thick, rough coats, Affenpinschers are considered a low-shedding dog breed. However, they do shed more when the seasons change, which may cause problems for severe allergy sufferers.
10. Wire Fox Terrier
Wire fox terriers can range from small to medium-sized. As these dogs hardly shed or drool, they are considered hypoallergenic. Their non-shedding coat also minimizes the dander left on the skin, meaning allergy sufferers are less likely to experience a reaction. While wire fox terriers are not high maintenance, it is important to bathe them properly to wash away loose hair, dander, and debris.
Which Is Right for You?
Being allergic to dogs does not necessarily mean you can’t enjoy the company of a four-legged pooch. Many allergy sufferers find that choosing the right dog with hypoallergenic qualities is enough to ward off uncomfortable allergy symptoms. Before choosing a low-allergy dog:
- Speak with your doctor, especially if your allergies are severe.
- Be careful when selecting a mixed breed dog as the level of shedding and dander can be unpredictable.
- If possible, spend time with the dog before deciding to see if you have an allergic reaction.