It’s a cruel twist of fate when you’re born a dog lover with allergies.
Those cute faces and wagging tails are impossible to resist, but sneezing, itching, and watery eyes can ruin even the best belly rubs. About 10% of Americans are allergic to dogs, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be pet parents. The trick to getting around that genetic misfortune is choosing a hypoallergenic dog breed.
Are Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds a Guaranteed Solution?
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to avoiding dog allergies. A hypoallergenic dog breed earns that classification because it’s “relatively unlikely” to trigger an allergic reaction. They shed less and don’t produce as much allergy-inducing dander as the average dog breed. They’re a mild-to-moderate allergy sufferer’s best chance for living symptom-free around dogs.
You have to remember, however, that there is no such thing as a completely allergen-free dog. Some of the dogs on this list might still trigger severe allergies. And mixes of these breeds might be hypoallergenic, but they might not. It’s a bummer, I know.
BUT if you experience mild to moderate allergy symptoms around dogs, try spending time around these hypoallergenic dog breeds. They could be your answer to coping with allergies without giving up your dream of having a dog.
Best Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
1. Maltese Terrier
Part of the toy group, the Maltese Terrier is one of the smallest dog breeds you can own. They weigh less than 10 pounds and stand only around nine inches high. This hypoallergenic dog breed is designed to be a pampered pooch. They can be swift on the agility course, but keeping a Maltese exercised is fairly easy with short walks or indoor play sessions. Their long silky fur will need regular grooming, but it rarely sheds—making it ideal for people with allergies.
2. Tibetan Terrier
The Tibetan Terrier is considered a medium-sized dog breed, and their wonderfully fluffy fur is ideal if you have allergies. Their double coat acts as a natural insulator, and despite their luxurious good looks, they’re built for outdoor adventures. A full-grown Tibetan Terrier will need a lot of grooming, but they rarely shed and don’t produce a lot of dander.
Poodles are what most people think of when they want a hypoallergenic dog. They have a reputation for being prissy and pampered (those fancy haircuts don’t help), but Poodles are actually strong athletes and loyal companions. Their nonshedding coat is perfect for people with allergies. They need attention from a professional groomer every few weeks, but you won’t be dealing with irritating allergy symptoms on a daily basis. Poodles come in three sizes (toy, mini, and standard), and they’re all equally easy on allergies.
4. Shih Tzu
As one of the most popular small dog breeds, the Shih Tzu is full of fun and personality. They enjoy being around people, and their idea of a good time is sitting pretty in someone’s lap. You won’t need to take your Shih Tzu on mile-long runs to keep them happy, and for this, they make great apartment dogs. Their long hair rarely sheds, and you can cuddle close without worrying about allergies.
5. Portuguese Water Dog
If you’re looking for a dog that will like to go on adventures and be a constant companion, a Portuguese Water Dog is a good choice. This hypoallergenic dog breed has fur similar to a Poodle. It’s curly, fluffy, and doesn’t shed. Their coat is designed to keep them insulated when wet and can range from tight curls to loose waves. Long weekly grooming sessions will be a must, but most people with allergies can spend all day with a Portie without a single sneeze.
6. Bichon Frise
Basically the teddy bears of all dogs, the Bichon Frise is playful, spunky, and oh so fluffy. They’re like little clouds that love belly rubs and treats. These small dogs are also popular choices for people who love dogs but are plagued with allergies. Their fur is soft, fluffy, and it doesn’t shed. They need regular grooming to prevent their fur from matting, but not sneezing every time you go in for a cuddle is well worth it.
7. Chinese Crested
Out of all the hypoallergenic dog breeds on this list, the hairless variety of the Chinese Crested offers the best chance for someone with severe dog allergies to enjoy being a pet parent. While the coated variety of this hypoallergenic dog breed is covered in soft fur, the hairless variety is born with hair only on their ears, feet, and tail. This makes them the ideal dogs for people who normally can’t go near dogs without having an allergic reaction. They’re small dogs with lively personalities and make affectionate friends.
The Havanese is the only dog breed native to Cuba, and they’re a popular choice for people with allergies. They have gorgeously long coats, and their silky fur isn’t prone to shedding or dander. You might choose to keep their hair clipped short to prevent tangles, but the Havanese will keep their hypoallergenic quality no matter their haircut.
Schnauzers come in three different sizes: miniature, standard, and giant. Whether they weigh 30 pounds or over 100, they all share the same kind of fur that makes them ideal dogs for people with mild allergies. A Schnauzer’s fur is wiry, and as long as it’s kept clean, it rarely sheds. They’ll need a bath once a month and brushed at least twice a week.
With a short and sleek coat, Basenjis rarely trigger allergic reactions. Their hypoallergenic nature might also have to do with their endearing cat-like qualities. They are committed to self care and regularly groom themselves. These dogs rarely need baths (only when they get themselves into messy situations), and they don’t have that typical “doggy” smell. They’re great for people who love dogs but don’t love the mess (or allergies) that often comes with them.
What’s your favorite hypoallergenic dog breed?