For those with dog allergies, the dream of having a furry companion may seem out of reach. Nevertheless, some dog breeds are considered hypoallergenic, shedding significantly less than their counterparts. While no dog is entirely hypoallergenic, these breeds can help alleviate allergic reactions for some individuals.
Do you long to cuddle with an adorable, fluffy puppy but suffer from allergies that lead to coughing, sneezing, and hives? You’re not alone, as pet allergies affect 10 to 20 percent of the global population.1 Fortunately, there are solutions to this issue, including medication, regular home cleaning to reduce allergens, and hypoallergenic dog breeds. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about hypoallergenic dogs and introduce 10 dog breeds known for shedding less and producing less dander.
What Triggers Dog Allergies?
It’s a common misconception that dog allergies result from fur. In reality, dog allergies are typically triggered by exposure to proteins found in a dog’s skin cells, saliva, or urine. These proteins can be carried by shedding hair or dead skin flakes (dander) and remain suspended in the air for extended periods due to their lightweight nature.2
People with dog allergies experience various symptoms, including nasal, ocular, respiratory, and skin irritation. In severe cases, anaphylactic shock can occur, leading to hives, swelling, and breathing difficulties, necessitating immediate medical attention.2 Common symptoms of dog allergies in humans include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Shortness of breath
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Dry, itchy skin
- Hives and rashes
It’s important to note that the more allergens a person is exposed to, the more severe their symptoms may become. The best way to alleviate discomfort related to dog allergies is by minimizing exposure to shedding hair and dander, which is where hypoallergenic dogs come into play.2
Are There Truly Hypoallergenic Dogs?
No dog is completely hypoallergenic; however, certain breeds have coats that produce minimal dander.
Regrettably, no dog is entirely hypoallergenic. The term “hypoallergenic” is applied to specific breeds because they have non-shedding coats that generate less dander. While their “hypoallergenic” status isn’t absolute, these dogs are less likely to trigger allergic reactions in individuals with mild to moderate dog allergies. Nevertheless, responses to hypoallergenic dogs can vary, so it’s essential to pay attention to your body’s reactions if you still experience coughing or sneezing around them.
10 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
Hypoallergenic dogs come in a variety of sizes and appearances, from toy-sized Malteses to 80-pound Giant Schnauzers. Surprisingly, many shaggy and furry canines are considered hypoallergenic. Identifying hypoallergenic dog breeds can be challenging, so here are 10 breeds that may alleviate your allergies and reduce the need for frequent cleaning.
The Bichon Frise is a beloved breed known for its adorable appearance, often featured on social media. Their small size, round head, and curly white fur give them a distinctive, lovable look. With a history of being sailors’ companions and aristocrats’ lapdogs, these dogs are cheerful and adaptable companions.3
All poodle varieties, including toy, miniature, and standard poodles, are hypoallergenic. With their dense, curly coats available in various colors, poodles exude elegance and charm. They are also highly athletic and require daily exercise, excelling in activities like fetch and obedience.4
Yorkshire terriers are dainty dogs with a long blue and tan coat that sheds less than many other breeds. Their energetic and feisty nature makes them ideal companions for those with mild dog allergies.5
Portuguese Water Dog
Bred to assist fishermen along the coast of Portugal, Portuguese water dogs are hardworking and trustworthy. They have medium, athletic builds and their tight curls or waves result in minimal shedding. These dogs are known for being loyal and easy to train.6
Maltese dogs are recognized for their floor-length, silky white coats. Hailing from the island of Malta, they have been admired by Greeks, and Romans, and depicted in various historical artifacts.7
Giant Schnauzers are among the larger hypoallergenic breeds. They have a rugged appearance with distinctive eyebrows and beards. Originally bred for guarding, transporting cattle, and even police work, they are loyal and versatile.8
American Hairless Terrier
American hairless terriers come in both coated and hairless varieties. Energetic and curious, they were bred as avid hunters. Training them for dog sports can be a rewarding experience.9
Chinese crested can be coated or hairless and are known for their distinct appearance. They have a slender frame with tufts of hair on their head, ankles, and tail. These dogs were once expert exterminators on trade ships and are still active today.10
Bedlington terriers have a lamb-like appearance with a plush, wool-like coat. Despite their gentle disposition, they were originally bred to catch vermin and engage in dog fights. Their coat rarely sheds but grows quickly, requiring regular trims.11
The Lowchen, meaning “little lion” in German, is another long-haired hypoallergenic breed. Descendants of the same ancient line as the Maltese and Bichon Frise, they were popular among nobles in various countries. Lowchens are adaptable, protective, and enjoy playing and learning tricks
How to Minimize Shedding in Dogs While dogs naturally shed, it is possible to minimize shedding. While some factors like breed and weather are beyond control, you can reduce shedding by improving your dog’s diet and nutrition, increasing their water intake, and using the right grooming tools. Regular baths and de-shedding sessions at the groomers can help keep your dog clean and minimize shedding.
If you’re dealing with dog allergies, knowing which breeds are hypoallergenic can help you make an informed decision about bringing a dog into your home. Keep in mind that even hypoallergenic dogs can potentially trigger allergic reactions, and individual reactions vary. It’s essential to monitor your symptoms and keep your healthcare provider informed of any changes.