People are often confused when it comes to the term “hypoallergenic dogs.” Technically, from a scientific standpoint, there is no such thing. Studies have been conducted and all dogs, no matter the breed, have the same traits that can trigger allergies in people. However, and this is important if you are allergic to dogs, some breeds are much less likely to cause an allergic reaction than others. They produce allergens in such a small amount that they do not trigger a reaction in most people with dog allergies. However, allergies are always an individual matter, so if you are allergic to dogs, you should try to meet a dog in person to find out if you are allergic to it before buying or adopting it.
Hypoallergenic Dog Facts
People who are allergic to dogs are not actually allergic to the animals. They are allergic to dog saliva and dander (skin flakes). It’s not even dog hair that causes an allergic reaction. This means that it doesn’t matter if a dog has long or short hair. What really matters is how much the dog sheds because the shed hair, whether long or short, will have dander and saliva attached to it. That’s why dogs that don’t shed a lot are often considered good for people with allergies.
Dogs who have heavy undercoats that they lick a lot when self-grooming are usually a no-go for people with allergies. These would include dogs like Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs and Chows.
Any breeds or mixes that shed a lot can be problematic such as Labrador Retrievers, Pugs, German Shorthaired Pointers, and Beagles. These are all shorthaired breeds but they shed a great deal.
On the other hand, there are some breeds that shed very little. Some of these dogs have a single coat. This means that they do not have an insulating, downy undercoat. Poodles are a single-coated breed and they are often used as a crossbreed with other breeds in an attempt to produce hybrid dogs that shed less. They have a naturally dense, curly coat that sheds very little which makes them a good choice for people with allergies. Some other curly-coated dogs such as the Portuguese Water Dog and the Irish Water Spaniel are similarly good for people with allergies.
The Bichon Frise is a double-coated breed but they also have a curly coat and they shed very little. They are considered to be a good breed for people with allergies.
Some wirehaired dogs are good choices for people with allergies, such as the Bedlington Terrier, the Kerry Blue Terrier, the Schnauzer (Mini, Standard, and Giant), and the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. Wirehaired dogs have hair that grows into dense curls which have to be plucked or clippered off. They do not shed (or shed very little). The dead hair stays until it is removed. They do need to be groomed for this reason but they make a good choice for people with allergies. You won’t find the hair from a wirehaired dog around your home.
The Maltese is a beautiful little longhaired dog with a silky coat. They do not have an undercoat. Although they have a long coat and it requires a lot of brushing and care, they do not shed much and they make a great dog for someone with allergies.
Finally, there are some hairless breeds that are consdered a good choice if you are allergic to dogs. They include the Chinese Crested (Powderpuff and Hairless varieties) and the Xoloitzcuintli (also in two varieties). The hairless varieties of these breeds do not shed hair and their skin is very much like human skin. They can require some sunscreen when they go outside but they do not have the dander that causes an allergic reaction. Even the varieties that have some hair are considered good for people with allergies and do not shed much.
Some people also like Labradoodles and other Poodle crossbreeds. Some of these crosses can be good for people with allergies but you should know that these are not true breeds. The puppies in these litters can have varying kinds of coat. Some puppies will have coats like Poodles and others will have coats like the other parent. This means that some of these dogs will shed and they are not a good choice for people with dog allergies. Be careful is you are interested in getting a Labradoodle or other hybrid dog since some of these dogs will shed and cause allergy problems.
The breeds discussed here may not technically be hypoallergenic but they are as close as possible in dogs. If you are allergic to dogs you should consider these breeds. Talk to breeders and be sure to meet the dog in person to find out how you react to him.
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”.