Are You Allergic to Dogs?
Hypoallergenic dog breeds could be your answer. Looking for a dog, but worried about allergies? You’re not alone. As many as 3 in 10 people in the U.S. have allergic reactions to cats and dogs, according the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. While there are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs, there are many types of dogs that are less likely to affect people with allergies. Here we take a look at our favorite 7 best hypoallergenic dog breeds for allergy sufferers.
What are hypoallergenic dogs?
The phrase “hypoallergenic dog breeds” is thrown around a lot but if you’re trying to find a dog that’s the right fit for you and your allergy restrictions, you’ll want to understand exactly what this means. Hypoallergenic dogs are the ultimate solution for those that: 1) want to own dogs and 2) are sensitive to allergens produced by dogs. These dogs usually have a predictable, low, or non-shedding coat, which produces less allergy-causing dander. Because these dogs don’t shed or shed very little, dander that sticks to their fur doesn’t get released into the air or onto the floor as much as with a shedding dog. Some individual dogs within the same breed may cause fewer allergy symptoms than others.
What causes allergic reaction to dogs?
The reason some people are allergic to dogs or suffer an allergic reaction is because their immune system reacts to specific proteins (allergens) in the dog’s dander, saliva, fur and shed skin cells. Most people with pet allergies aren’t allergic to dog hair. They’re allergic to pet dander (dandruff). What makes hypoallergenic dogs better for people with allergies? “Because they shed less, dogs with hair spread less dander around your home,” says Christa Holmans, founder of the dog training center Central Texas Balanced Dogs. You can even further reduce dander by having your pet groomed regularly.
What kind of hypoallergenic dogs are there for allergy sufferers?
Dogs that have consistent and predictable coats tend to cause fewer allergies in people. Some think that, because these breeds tend to shed less fur and require less grooming or regular brushing, they ought to shed fewer allergens. However, homes containing these hypoallergenic dogs may have the same dog allergens as homes with fuzzier dog breeds. In the U.S., studies show there are more than 15 hairless and low-shedding hypoallergenic dogs for people with allergies. Here are some of the best hypoallergenic dogs:
Poodles come in three sizes: standard, miniature and toy. Their thick, curly hair and wiry coats, never stop growing and produces far less dander than your standard dog. Poodles are smart and active and require regular exercise and love company. They are a good choice as a hypoallergenic breed.
2. Portuguese Water Dogs
These dogs have a thick, wavy, waterproof coat that produces very little dander. They love water and are very adventurous—great for active owners and families with children that can keep up! Portuguese water dogs are extremely loyal and devoted, making them excellent family dogs and a great choice for allergy sufferers.
The Maltese breed is tiny but pretty fearless which betrays their cute personality and devoted affection. They are known for being loyal to their owners, playful while sporting a long, silky white coat. If kept long, this coat must be brushed daily with regular grooming to prevent mats, but it’s a good choice for our hypoallergenic breeds.
4. Bichon Frise
These pups have cheerful, happy personalities and a cream-colored, marshmallow-like coat. The Bichon’s hair is always growing, but it produces less dander than that of other pooches which is a welcome relief to allergy sufferers. They are relatively common and as an added bonus they are extremely cute puppies as well!
Schnauzers, like poodles, are a solid hypoallergenic dog breed choice and come in miniature, standard, and giant varieties. Schnauzers are highly intelligent and great family watchdogs. Their two-layer coat is coarse and wiry and sheds less than typical breeds, so a lesser grooming schedule is needed as long as the undercoat is periodically clipped.
6. Chinese Crested
The Chinese Crested is the perfect hypoallergenic dog because it has very little hair. In fact you mostly see the dogs natural skin. These adorable creatures have just a plume of hair on their heads, tails and feet. They are extremely gentle and are playful companions.
7. Irish Water Spaniel
The hypoallergenic coat of the Irish Water Spaniel is dense, double-coated and repels water. These pooches are intelligent, playful, and excellent swimmers.
If you or a family member suffer from dog allergies, look into one of these hypoallergenic dog breeds. However, remember that even dogs of the same breed can each give off very different levels of allergens. So, before settling in on a your new best friend, it’s a good idea to spend some time with the pup (or puppies) first to see if it triggers any sneezing, coughing, or other allergy symptoms.
Choosing the Right Hypoallergenic Dog for People With Allergies
If you or a family member suffers from pet allergies but you love dogs, a hypoallergenic dog may be just the ticket for you. There are more than 20 hypoallergenic dog breeds, we have just listed our favorite 7 here, and even more that are considered “low shedding” dogs. With such variations in size, temperament, coat type, and color, there is a dog for everyone.
We’re here to help!
If you’d like professional advice on any particular breed, our online vets are available 24/7 to advise you and help you to make an informed decision. A low cost consultation now could save you from much higher bills if you develop itchy skin or need allergy shots to treat unnecessary allergies that result from a poor decision.