It's every animal lover's nightmare: you fall in love with that doggy in the window and bring it home, only to discover that your new friend creates a perfect storm of allergy symptoms. Some dog breeds are naturally more likely to trigger allergic reactions in humans than others. On the bright side of the equation, however, other dog breeds are significantly less likely to trigger your allergies.
If you’ve found that you and anyone in your family is allergic to dogs, there are several allergy friendly dog breeds that might be a good fit.
Why Some People Are Allergic to Dogs
Many people assume their dog allergy is caused directly by a dog's hair. However, this isn't exactly the case. While exposure to dog hair can certainly trigger allergic reactions in vulnerable individuals, the real culprit is the dog dander lurking invisibly on those hairs.
Dog hair tends to accumulate a combination of urine traces, dead skin cells, and saliva left behind by grooming. The proteins in this debris make up a substance called dander -- and it's the proteins in dander that cause the allergic reactions.
Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds & No Shed Dogs
Many people are allergic to pet dander, meaning that to some degree they might have a reaction to any kind of dog. However, while there's no such thing as a 100 percent hypoallergenic dog, some dogs shed much more than others, making them especially troublesome for your allergies. That's why you want to seek out allergy friendly dogs that don't shed much. With that in mind, give serious thought to the following breeds.
- American Hairless Terrier - It's hard to imagine a more decisive solution to the shedding problem than a dog that has no hair at all. The American Hairless Terrier is a smart, fun-loving dog that is happy with a moderate amount of regular activity. But "no hair" doesn't mean “no care" – this hairless breed still needs bathing, nail trimming, and other forms of grooming.
- Brichon Frise - This toy breed strongly resembles the Poodle, with a fluffy coat that doesn't shed -- although it always seems to grow, requiring you to schedule frequent grooming appointments. These little dogs display a cheerful, friendly, mischievous demeanor that provides lots of entertainment without the sniffling, sneezing, or coughing of allergic reactions.
- Chinese Crested - If you have both allergies and young children, consider the gentle, playful Chinese Crested. Some Chinese Cresteds are mostly hairless, sporting isolated tufts here and there, while others have a long, silky coat. Whichever variant you choose, you'll have a pet that rarely sheds and leaves minimal dander around the house.
- Giant Schnauzer - If you'd like an allergy friendly dog that enjoys performing tasks, including the essential task of protecting your family, you may want to adopt a Giant Schnauzer. This energetic working dog has a territorial streak that makes it a wonderfully vigilant guardian. Its coat does need grooming, but at least it doesn't shed freely.
- Maltese - You might assume that a Maltese, with its long, impressive coat, might naturally produce tons of dander. In reality, the Maltese sheds relatively little. sparing your clothes, flooring, and upholstery from dander. This small breed is equally happy at play and at rest, making it an ideal companion for many families.
- Poodle (All Sizes) - Whether you prefer your four legged friends in standard, miniature or toy form, the elegant Poodle offers a perfect fit while leaving your allergies alone. This beloved breed is known for a fine, tightly-curled coat that doesn't shed much. However, that coat isn’t necessarily trouble free -- Poodles require regular grooming to look their best.
- Portuguese or Spanish Water Dog - Either the Portuguese Water Dog or the Spanish Water Dog will grace your home with its long, wooly coat. These breeds both have tons of energy and thrive on activity, so bear that mind as you choose your allergy friendly dog. Another difference between these two breeds lies in their grooming requirements. The Spanish Water Dog does fine with a yearly shave, while the Portuguese Water Dog needs more frequent maintenance.
- Xoloitzcuintli (All Sizes) - Like Poodles and Schnauzers, the Xoloitzcuintli comes in various breed sizes. Some are completely hairless, while others sport a flat, short coat. Either option will help you keep your allergy woes to a minimum. These dogs also present a calm and collected demeanor to make your life even more peaceful.
One further general point: If you really want to get serious in your search for allergy friendly dogs, think about adopting a female instead of a male, regardless of the breed. Male dogs produce an additional protein in their prostate gland that females obviously don't, so choosing a female eliminates one potential allergy trigger right off the bat.
Make Life Happier for You and Your Future Friend
Any of the dog breeds listed above should make a fine addition to your family without forcing you or your loved ones to go through mountains of antihistamines and tissues. Even as you enjoy the benefits of a hypoallergenic dog, your dog will enjoy the safety and security of a forever home. Visit your local animal shelter or consult your veterinarian to get your search off to a productive start.
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