Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

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Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds and How to Protect Yourself From Your Best Friend

person with dog allergy

The term “hypoallergenic” is often used in reference to dogs that are less likely to cause allergic reactions. In the dog world, the general consensus is that these are some ways in which you can determine whether a dog would be hypoallergenic or not. While this list is not exhaustive, it is of a lot of help while determining the perfect breed for your health.

How do I know whether or not a dog is hypoallergenic?

Dog breeds that shed less are more likely to be hypoallergenic, since the dog’s dander and saliva stick to the hair and are not released into the environment. However, protein expression levels play a major role and amount of shedding alone does not determine degree of allergic reaction. “Even if you get a hairless dog, it’s still going to produce the allergen,” says Dr. Wanda Phipatanakul, chair of the Indoor Allergen Committee for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in the newsmagazine U.S. News & World Report.  “How hypoallergenic a particular dog is for a particular person may vary with the individual dog and the individual person.” If a person is allergic, they may be best able to tolerate a specific dog, possibly of one of the hypoallergenic breeds. Dr. Thomas A. Platts-Mills, head of the Asthma and Allergic Disease Center at the University of Virginia, explained that there are cases in which a specific dog (not breed) might be better tolerated by a specific person, for unknown reasons. “We think there really are differences in protein production between dogs that may help one patient and not another,” Dr. Platts-Mills said.

All dogs shed, and all dogs produce dander and saliva in some degree. As noted above, the amount of the allergenic protein present on the dander and in saliva varies by breed. Also, the amount of the allergen can be reduced or eliminated in individual dogs by treatments such as bathing. But for most breeds, when not regularly bathed, even a dog that sheds very little or has little dander can trigger a reaction in a sensitive person. Also, the length of a dogs hair is really insignificant when you consider that Portuguese Water Dogs and Poodles are both hypoallergenic and both have long hair!

Size may be a factor in determining the most suitable hypoallergenic dog breeds. It is possible that the total body surface area of the dog is more indicative of reduced production of allergens than its breed. Smaller dogs will also leave fewer environmental pollutants containing dog dander and dog allergens (reduced fecal matter, urine and saliva). Small hairless dogs may be less likely to cause allergic reactions “because it’s so easy to bathe them and the dander falls off them. Dogs may leave behind urine, saliva and fecal matter as allergen sources. Dogs with access to the outdoors may introduce outdoor allergens such as mold and pollen with larger animals tracking in more of these allergens. It is well established that most individuals with dog allergy also suffer with additional environmental allergies. Individuals with dog allergy may also be at increased risk for human protein hypersensitivity with cross-reactivity of dog dander allergen and human seminal fluid.

Which are the best hypoallergenic dog breeds?

While no dog has officially won the “hypoallergenic dog breed” award of the year (yet), here is a list of some dogs that tend to be better fighters of allergens and related health problems.  Again, no dog is “really” hypoallergenic. In reality, some are just less likely to cause allergic reactions.  Here are the top ten hypoallergenic dog breeds:


Chinese Crested hypoallergenic

The most efficient way to avoid dog-induced allergies is to get a dog without any, or with very little, hair. You can’t go wrong with the Chinese crested; they barely shed at all. They do produce dander and can be a little clingy, but they’re very good with children.


Basenji hypoallergenic

These pups don’t shed or bark, they have very little dander and they’re darling, so they’re a great choice. They do sometimes make an odd yodelling noise, and they can be hard to train, like most hounds). But this stubborn demeanor comes packed with a lot of lovable personality.


Italian-Greyhound Hypoallergenic

Perfecto! This little Italian has a thin coat, so he barely sheds, and it’s easy to keep him clean of allergens. The breed is very playful and loyal, and does not need a big yard. They’re extremely sensitive to cold, though, so this isn’t a good breed for a family living in a chilly climate.


Poodle hypoallergenic

Like the schnauzer, the poodle comes in three sizes: Standard, miniature and toy. They do not shed, but they do require a lot of grooming and care. They’re easy to train, but can get a little yappy. Poodles too prissy for your liking? Try a labradoodle. They have the hypoallergenic coat of a poodle but on a Labrador’s body.


Shih Tzu hypoallergenic

Despite those long, silky locks, this breed sheds very lightly. Although they need a lot of grooming, they are affectionate, kind and easygoing. But be wary: Shih tzus tend to become jealous of babies and toddlers, so protect your other little loved ones from their insecurity.


Bedlington Terrier Hypoallergenic

Although at first glance, he looks more like a lamb than a dog, the Bedlington terrier could be the perfect canine addition to a laid-back family. These do not shed and are very mild-mannered.


Yorkshire-terrier hypoallergenic

Don’t have a big yard? Then a Yorkie is perfect for you! They are content playing and cuddling with you indoors. This pup doesn’t shed and or have a lot of dander. She does require heavy grooming, however, so keep the brush in hand when she paws at your lap.


Schnauzer hypoallergenic

These shed-less pups are great for the owner who loves to be the center of attention — or the kid who loves playing “Follow the Leader.” The schnauzer loves his owners so much that he won’t let them out of his sight, so expect to have a buddy by your side at all times. He does need a firm hand, though, to balance his stubborn, energetic and protective temper. Schnauzers come in three sizes: Standard, giant and miniature.


Bichon hypoallergenic

Don’t let the puffy coat fool you. These little marshmallows are jolly, easy to train and don’t shed. As long as you brush their curly tresses, they won’t shower dander and dust. This breed is great for a family wanting a small, cheerful dog as an easygoing companion.

Are pugs allergenic?

Pugs DO shed and they are NOT considered a hypoallergenic dog. That being said, I have researched and found a lot of interesting thoughts on this matter.

Some people believe that pugs are hypoallergenic because they have wrinkles and those trap in the little allergens that are trying to escape into the air surrounding the pug dog. I personally do not think there are much more to those wrinkles that good looks and a simple storage place for extra food.

How to manage your dog allergy

Each person’s allergies are different. No matter which dog you choose, you should spend some time with it before agreeing to take it home for good, to test your reaction to that individual. I know some people with allergies who do fine with Pugs, and others who can not even be in the same house with one. And some people do okay with one individual of a breed, but can’t be near others of the same breed.

You also need to decide for yourself how far you are willing to go for your dog. Are you willing to take allergy medicine? Get allergy shots? Vacuum daily? Do you groom/bathe your dog regularly? All of those things will also determine which types/breeds of dogs are possible for you.

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  1. Please, please, please! The Samoyed is NOT hypoallergenic – it really isn’t. This incorrect information has the potential to cause heartbreak to families and uncertain futures for samoyed puppies. We want our babies to have happy lives with their families – not to end up in rescue or worse because the puppy or grown dog aggravates a family member’s allergies. Do hope you will consider removing the Sammie from your list. Thank you.

    • I am severely allergic to dogs and cats. If I am around them (ex. German shepherds, Chihuahuas, Huskies, and even the Bichon frises) for more than 5-10 minutes I begin wheezing, coughing and experience trouble breathing and hives. With that said, in my school we have a PT program which uses dogs to help patients regain mobility. The dog of choice is the Samoyed. The Samoyed owner was in my class and sat near me with this dog and I was scared to death but did not develop a reaction. I sat near him for 3 hours and even petted him. It was amazing since I’ve only been able to do this with Schnauzers. I think the article makes it clear that some may develop a reaction while others may not and in this case the Samoyed was great for me. I’ve now added the Samoyed to my list of potential pets.

  2. Why isn’t the Chihuahua mentioned? 30 yrs ago when I suddenly became very ill and diagnosed with cronic servere asthma I was forced to give up my cats, birds, and ordered to stay away from other animals. Eventially he told me I could have a poodle or chichi. I grimmished at the thought of either. But he was right, and who knew? 30 yrs, 12 chi chis, improved my life in many ways including having my life saved from a bear ( we live in Alaska) by my very smart 8 lb best friend.

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