A hypoallergenic dog breed is one that is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. There is no such thing as a breed guaranteed to not inflame allergies, but there are some breeds with characteristics far better than others when it comes to making life easier for those suffering from allergies.
Many people believe that because they have severe allergies, they won’t be able to own a pet. This is not necessarily the case, and by combining thorough cleaning practices, managing air quality, and a hypoallergenic breed, some allergy sufferers can control their symptoms enough to enjoy the company of the dog.
The most important part of this relationship is choosing a hypoallergenic breed. There are several breeds that will help avoid allergy symptoms. Below is a list of the best options, as well as some information on controlling and managing allergies and their symptoms.
What Are the Best Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds?
All hypoallergenic dogs have a few characteristics in common, principally their propensity to minimal shedding. While most people think that it’s actually the hair that causes an allergy response, it’s actually a specific protein that’s found in the dander and saliva of dogs.
Hypoallergenic dogs aren’t prone to dandruff problems, and they generally don’t shed much either: while the hair itself doesn’t cause an allergic reaction, it is the way that allergens spread around the air. So by choosing a breed that doesn’t shed, you’ll be able to prevent allergens from being all over the place. Just be sure not to bury your face in their fur, because allergens are still there—they’re just not in the air.
The poodle is a popular hypoallergenic dog not just because of its anti-allergy characteristics, but also because of its general recognition as a friendly, intelligent breed. Since fur is the biggest factor that affects allergy sufferers, and poodles shed a minimal amount, poodles typically minimally agitate allergies.
Poodles are a little higher maintenance than other dog breeds because their fur can easily become matted and they require frequent grooming. To keep them looking their best and shedding minimally, weekly brushings are key.
The Maltese breed is not only non-shedding, but pretty darn cute too: talk about a win! A dog of this breed can be your perfect allergy-friendly companion. Maltese dogs, although they’ve got a lot of hair, typically have healthy coats that don’t require too much maintenance, making them great for allergy sufferers.
Another small dog that’s equally as cute, bichon frise dogs have a wooly coat that collects very little dander. While their curly fur means allergens don’t get into your air, to does mean they require regular grooming. If you are looking for a hypoallergenic dog that is just as playful as it is allergy-friendly, this is a great option.
The Shih Tzu is a great family-friendly hypoallergenic dog. These dogs are kind, outgoing, and very playful. Although small, they can have huge personalities. This breed differs because it has hair rather than fur. It does not shed, hair only falls off once broken or brushed – just like human hair!
If a little dog (or a poodle) isn’t right for you or your family, then you are in luck! The giant schnauzer is a large breed that still maintains the hypoallergenic element of many small dogs. Although their fur covers a larger surface area, it doesn’t shed much. These dogs do require some weekly brushing, and it is important to keep the fur around their faces trimmed.
Back to the smaller options, a Yorkie is a very popular hypoallergenic breed. These dogs shed very little, but they do need routine grooming to keep their coat looking it’s best. These dogs do have their own little independent streak that tends to come out, so they might not be the best option if you are looking for an ultra-patient family pet.
A breed originally from Mexico, the xolo (pronounced ‘sholo’) is also known as the Mexican Hairless Dog. While they’re not the most beautiful breed by any means, they’re phenomenal from an allergy perspective and can be very fun, energetic companions. To maximize their hypoallergenic characteristics, make sure you read up on caring for their unique coat, as they require occasional washing and sometimes some lotion if you’re in a dry environment.
Other Hypoallergenic Breeds to Consider
Though the above are the best, most popular hypoallergenic breeds, there are several more dogs that won’t stuff you up, including:
- Miniature schnauzer
- Soft-coated wheaten terrier
- Scottish terrier
- Italian greyhound
What Can I Do to Minimize Allergy Symptoms?
If you own a hypoallergenic dog and still suffer from symptoms, there are a couple of steps you can consider to live in harmony with your pet.
- Create a Safe Space: To best cohabitate with a dog that causes an allergic response, create some dog-free spaces that stay behind closed doors. These will provide an opportunity for the allergy sufferer to be minimally exposed while at home if symptoms act up.
- Anti-Allergy Drugs: Many allergy sufferers find that they suffer more at certain times of the month or during certain seasons. An anti-allergy drug isn’t a great long term solution, but they can provide some quick relief.
- Air Filter: An air filter can have great effects, purifying air and sucking out airborne particles. Place them in areas of the home that the dog spends time in, or the sleeping area of the allergy sufferer.
- Outsource Grooming: At-home grooming and brushing can spread hair and dander far and wide, which can not only be problematic if the person doing the grooming has allergies, but can cause allergens to be spread throughout the environment. Consider an outside-of-the-home groomer to minimize how much exposure you get to allergens.
Avoiding the Effects of Allergens
Animal fur tends to collect dander once it has been shed, and this is the culprit of most allergy symptoms. Don’t count yourself out as a pet owner just because you have some dog allergy symptoms, many pet owners with mild allergies have found success with a hypoallergenic dog. You will be surprised at the immense improvement a hypoallergenic breed can bring!