As many pet parents can attest, it’s hard to top snuggling up with a cute pup. But what if that pup triggers sneezing fits, runny noses, or itchy eyes?
Let’s face it. Dog allergies are no fun.
Fortunately, being allergic doesn’t necessarily mean you have to choose between having a dog or suffering from symptoms. Bringing home a hypoallergenic breed can minimize the likelihood of a pet-related allergy attack.
What makes a dog hypoallergenic?
Trick question! There’s actually no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog.
Most allergens live in a dog’s saliva or dander—a microscopic material shed from the skin. All dogs produce these allergens, but those that don’t shed (or shed minimally) aren’t as likely to release them into the air and cause problems for their people. That’s because dander and saliva typically stick to a dog’s fur. So, the less a dog sheds, the fewer allergens they spread.
Though any dog is capable of triggering an allergic response, here are some of the best breeds for people with allergies. (Keep reading after the video for an even larger list of allergy-friendly dogs.)
Did you know? Small dogs that don’t shed have a double advantage in the fight against allergies: their size! Little dogs have less body mass to produce allergens. And they’re easier to bathe (compared to, say, a Saint Bernard). So, pet parents can wash away allergens on their coats more regularly. It’s no wonder these small hypoallergenic dog breeds are so popular.
Small hypoallergenic dog breeds
Toy and Miniature Poodles
Toy and Miniature Poodles are athletic, intelligent, and fun-loving dogs. These family-friendly pups make excellent pets for anyone looking for a "big dog" personality in a small size.
Feisty, alert, and fearless, Affenpinschers pack a lot of attitude into their tiny, 10 lb. bodies. Great guard dogs and devoted companions, these shaggy little pups will always have your back. And thanks to their slow-growing hair, they can go a few months between trims.
Yorkies are lively, determined breeds that love to play and won’t hesitate to protect their people. They’re known for their long, silky hair that hangs to the floor and requires daily brushing (and a stylish hair clip, if you’re feeling fancy).
The Shih Tzu, or "lion dog,” is an outgoing pup that’s happiest when occupying a spot near—or better yet on—their favorite human. These affectionate dogs are great with kids and make excellent apartment pets. Just don’t leave them alone for too long, or they may become sad or anxious.
West Highland White Terrier
One of the most popular terrier breeds, West Highland White Terriers are spunky, confident, and playful. These hardy pups love outdoor adventures and have outgoing (but sometimes strong-willed) personalities.
Coton de Tulear
The Coton de Tulear is a happy-go-lucky breed with a fluffy white coat and adaptable nature. They love learning new tricks to entertain their humans and excel at the only job they’ve ever known: lapdog extraordinaire.
Basenjis are active dogs and typically independent, if not flat-out stubborn. Though considered “barkless,” they do sometimes howl when lonely or excited. Their short hair, wrinkled heads, and curlycue tails give them a distinctive—and adorable—look.
Tibetan Terriers are sensitive, vigilant dogs that love a good snuggle session with their favorite humans. Despite their long, wooly coats, they require minimal grooming. And less time grooming means more time for these watchful dogs to survey their surroundings—one of their favorite activities.
Bright and alert, the Löwchen is a companion dog through and through. These dogs’ long, dense hair traditionally sports a lion clip, a look that—along with their brave natures—has earned them the nickname "little lion."
Wire Fox Terriers
If it were up to them, Wire Fox Terriers would always be on the go. Feisty and energetic, these crinkly-coated pups make great additions to active families with older children.
Though the hairless variety is the most well-known, the Chinese Crested can also come with a smooth, short coat. This devoted, affectionate breed is friendly toward other dogs and people and gets along well with kids.
Medium-sized hypoallergenic dog breeds
Barbets are intelligent, goofy, and loving dogs. These rustic-looking pups have curly hair and cute, distinctive beards. After a day of outdoor adventures—such as swimming or chasing tennis balls—they are more than happy to curl up on the couch with the family.
The Puli is a herding breed best known for its mop-like, corded coat. These affectionate dogs are loyal companions and excellent watchdogs. Because of their working dog background, Pulik need plenty of mental stimulation and physical exercise.
Spanish Water Dog
The Spanish Water Dog is a playful, intelligent, and even-tempered breed that’s generally best-suited for an experienced owner. These curly-coated, athletic pups perform as both herding and retrieving dogs. But they can also be great family companions—as long as they receive adequate exercise and socialization.
Kerry Blue Terrier
True to their terrier nature, the Kerry Blue Terriers are strong-headed and spirited. But they’re also loyal, affectionate dogs that are typically gentle with kids and protective of their families.
Irish Water Spaniel
The first thing you’ll notice about Irish Water Spaniels is their poofy topknots of curly hair. But get to know them, and you’ll find a goofy, boisterous breed that’s always keeping their humans entertained.
Lagotti Romagnoli are known for both their truffle hunting skills and their sense of humor. These hardworking, lively dogs get along well with other pets and love to be part of family activities.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Excellent watchdogs, kids’ playmates, and working dogs, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers have the typical headstrong terrier nature, but make gentle, loving family pets.
Large hypoallergenic dog breeds
Standard Poodles are intelligent, energetic, and athletic dogs. They form close bonds with their families, and these friendly pups typically get along great with kids.
Dignified and regal, Afghan Hounds are loyal and playful with their people—though often reserved around strangers. These devoted dogs bond closely with their families and need a lot of exercise to stay happy and healthy.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are excellent hunting, pointing, and retrieving dogs. And their outgoing nature and affectionate personalities make them great family pets, too. If a friendly dog with standout eyebrows and a scruffy mustache is what you’re after, the Griffon may be for you.
Alert, independent, and (as the name suggests) quite large, Giant Schnauzers top out around 100 lb. Equal parts working dog and family companion, Giant Schnauzers are loyal, protective, and always happy to be a part of daily activities. More energetic than most big breeds, these dogs need plenty of regular exercise.
Portuguese Water Dog
With their curly coats and strong bodies, Portuguese Water Dogs are rugged working dogs and adorable family pets. This friendly, active breed loves splashing in the water, going for long jogs, and (eventually) relaxing at home with their people.
Bonus: Designer hypoallergenic dog breeds
In addition to purebred dogs, many "designer" dog breeds have hypoallergenic characteristics. The Labradoodle (part Labrador Retriever, part Poodle) is among the most popular. But the Morkie (Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier), Cavachon (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Frise), and others are quickly becoming favorites.
Is your mixed-breed dog hypoallergenic?
Dogs don't need to be purebreds or designer dogs to be hypoallergenic. Mixed-breed dogs whose ancestry includes some of these low-or non-shedding breeds can have the same benefits as their pedigreed pals.Decode Your Dog