According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, between 7.5 and 15 million Americans are allergic to cats or dogs. That’s 15 to 30 percent of people who have allergies. That’s a lot of people and many of them are dog lovers. People who are allergic to dogs can be allergic to all dogs to certain breeds, or even to individual dogs. Fortunately, there are some breeds that seem to be less likely to trigger allergic reactions in allergy sufferers than others. They are not precisely “allergy-free” dogs or hypoallergenic but if you are allergic to dogs, you may stand a better chance of not having a reaction to these breeds.
Allergies and Dogs
For people who are allergic to dogs what they are allergic to are the allergens that go along with the dog. These include the dog’s dander or skin flakes, the dog’s saliva that is transferred to the skin and coat when he licks himself, and the dust and other particles that the dog picks up on his coat. Hair is not so much of a problem except as it provides a home for these allergens. There are some long-coated breeds, for example, which are often recommended for allergy sufferers because they have single-layer coats and do not shed as much dander as other breeds.
Hairless dogs can also be a good choice for people with allergies. Being without hair for the most part, or just having a slight bristling of hair, they do not carry the dander and skin cells that can trigger allergic reactions.
There are also some terrier breeds that are recommended for people with allergies. There are different kinds of terriers. The kinds that are recommended are breeds that don’t generally shed. Since they don’t shed, they don’t spread dander and other particles like double-coated breeds.
So, it’s really all about the dander and other particles that are found on a dog’s coat. If a dog has a coat that doesn’t spread these particles, someone with an allergy to dogs might be able to live with the dog. Here are the breeds which are often recommended for people with allergies.
An old terrier breed from England that looks like a lamb. They don’t shed and they have a wiry coat that needs to be plucked or trimmed.
An adorable little white ball of fluff. Very intelligent dogs that make great house pets. Bichons have single layer coats. The hair grows continuously and it doesn’t shed, so they need frequent trimming.
Cresteds are cute Toy dogs that come in two varieties: the Hairless and the Powderpuff. The hairless has no body hair but has long hair on its head and tail and feathers on the legs. The Powderpuff has fluffy hair all over. Both varieties are recommended for people with allergies because the breed sheds very little.
Irish Water Spaniel
A fun-loving hunting dog from Ireland. The Irish Water Spaniel has a water-repellant double coat of tight curls and is probably related to the Poodle and other water dogs. The coat sheds very little.
Kerry Blue Terrier
Kerries have a soft, wavy coat that doesn’t shed and which needs to be plucked or trimmed regularly to keep it looking good.
The Maltese is an ancient breed. They have a beautiful long, coat that is single-layered. They do not shed much but the coat needs regularly brushing to keep it looking good.
Poodles (all sizes)
Poodles have a curly single layer coat that does not shed much. They are considered excellent dogs for allergy-sufferers. When not groomed for the show ring, most pet owners keep their dogs in a pet cut. Poodles can also grow their curls out into dreadlocks.
Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dogs are intelligent, active dogs which have helped Portuguese fishermen for centuries. The coat is waterproof and curly or wavy. It is usually clipped in a lion cut (clippered short over the back and hips) or retriever cut (about one inch long all over).
Schnauzers (all sizes)
Schnauzers of all sizes have a wiry coat that doesn’t shed much. They need to be professionally trimmed about every 6-8 weeks.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier – The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is another Irish breed. They were kept for all-around farm work and even used as hunting dogs. They have a soft, silky, slightly wavy coat. It is a single layer coat that sheds minimally.
The Xolo is a hairless breed from Mexico. There is also a coated variety with a short, flat coat. The breed sheds little dander and is considered good for people with allergies.
These breeds are usually recommended if you have allergies but if you have allergies you should always meet individual dogs and see how you react. If you are allergic to one dog, keep looking. You can still find a dog that won’t cause you to have a reaction.
Having discovered a fondness for insects while pursuing her degree in Biology, Randi Jones was quite bugged to know that people usually dismissed these little creatures as “creepy-crawlies”.