It’s a dog lover’s worst nightmare: Experiencing an itchy nose, letting out a big aaccchhhoooo, and feeling the need to constantly rub your eyes every time you’re around a precious pooch. If you’re allergic to dogs, know you’re not alone. In fact, according to the Asthma And Allergy Foundation Of America (AAFA), “In the United States, as many as three in 10 people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs. Cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies.” Before we get to the list of popular hypoallergenic dog breeds, read on for a little about allergies.
Allergic reactions to dogs occur when a person’s immune system has a reaction to an allergen. In this case, it would be the dog’s fur, dander, saliva, or urine. Allergies are specific to an individual and, just because one person is allergic to a specific dog breed, doesn’t mean another person will be. That’s why some hypoallergenic breeds will be good for one person, but maybe not another.
Although no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, the dogs on this list will work for the majority of allergy suffers. You’ll notice these breeds are low to no shedding, which minimizes the dander around your home.
Before You Welcome A Dog Into Your Family …
If you or someone in your family suffers from a dog allergy and you’re in the market for a pooch, visit him several times before committing to an adoption. Hang out with him, sit with him, walk him, love and be all over him just like you would at home. If during the visits you find yourself coughing, sneezing, or itching, that’s not the pooch for you. But if not, you’re probably good to go. Doing a test run can save a lot of heartache since having to return or rehome a dog is traumatic for the dog and for a family.
Top 12 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
The poodle is a brilliant, beautiful, bubbly, bundle of joy. I can’t say enough good things about this breed. They come in 3 sizes and I’ve had them all. Growing up, we had 6 poodles: 4 standards, 1 miniature, and 1 toy. Sounds crazy, right?! Trust me, it wasn’t. It was wonderful! So, what’s the difference between them? Only their size. The toy poodle can grow up to 10 inches at the shoulder, miniature 10-15″ and the standard 15″+. They have a life expectancy of 12-16 years. Poodles come in many colors, black, white, apricot, red, and brown.
They’re great family dogs and companions who love to be with their humans. The poodle is extremely intelligent and easily trained. He doesn’t shed, but does need to be brushed and groomed. Poodle hair can be kept long or short, curly or straight. Currently, there are multiple hybrid dog breeds that are crossed with a poodle. Some of the reasons they use the poodle so often for these mixes are for their superior intelligence, good-natured personalities, loving, and loyal qualities. But it’s the non-shedding, hypoallergenic benefits of this pooch that make the poodle a top pick for allergy suffers.
2. Shih Tzu
The Shi Tzu is a small dog. He can grow to be 9-10.5″ to the shoulder and weigh 9-16 pounds. This pooch is another good bet for allergy suffers. Affectionate, loyal, frisky, and friendly, makes them an ideal family dog. If you’re looking for your next very best friend, it just may be the Shih Tzu. For an added bonus, he has a life expectancy of 10 – 18 years! This pooch has long silky hair and will need daily brushing. He will also need grooming. If you prefer to minimize the grooming, you can always keep his hair short.
The Shih Tzu is a brachyocephalic breed. They have a flat head with a short nose and can suffer respiratory difficulties from slight to severe. It’s common to hear them snorting and snoring. Due to their anatomy, they have an intolerance for heat, which must be taken into consideration. Breathing can become difficult for them on hot, humid days. Keep them cool inside the house on very hot days and limit their exercise. These dogs are great loving companions … not athletes.
The Schnauzer, like the poodle, comes in three sizes. But, according to the AKC, they are not the same dog. All three sizes originated in Germany. The AKC classifies the miniature schnauzer as a terrier, while the standard and giant are classified as working dogs. Although related, all three sizes of schnauzer are their own breed. So, three different size dogs – three different breeds. Whereas, with a poodle, the only difference is the poodle’s size – three sizes of the same dog. According to the AKC, “The Miniature Schnauzer is the most popular of the schnauzer breeds.”
3. Standard Schnauzer
The Standard was the first Schnauzer. He is a medium sized pooch. The female’s height is between 17-19 inches at the shoulder with average weights of 35-40 pounds. Males range between 18-20 inches in height, weighing 40-45 pounds. Life expectancy is 13-16 years. They are high energy, smart, loving, loyal, and protective. The standard schnauzer is not a couch potato lap dog. Rather, this breed needs lots of exercise and activity. They are not big shedders, therefore they are spewing less dander making them a good choice for people with allergies.
4. Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature was next in line to hold the Schnauzer name. The breed is said to be a cross between a Standard Schnauzer and the Affenpinscher or Poodle. This breed averages 12-14 inches to the shoulder with weights between 11-20 pounds. Life expectancy is 12-15 years. As with the Standards, these dogs are not big shedders, therefore are a good pick for allergy suffers. They’re hardy, intelligent, confident, devoted, friendly dogs, and are great for families. Originally bred as working farm dogs and ratters, they have lots of energy. But, on the flip side, they’re just as content being a loyal companion.
5. Giant Schnauzer
As the name implies, the Giant Schnauzer is the largest of the Schnauzers. The breed is thought to have been a crossbreeding between the Standard Schnauzer, the Black Great Dane, and the Bouvier des Flandres. The female’s height is between 23.5-25.5 inches to the shoulder reaching weights between 55-75 pounds. Males range between 25.5-27.5 inches in height and weights between 60 – 80 pounds. Life expectancy is 12-15 years. This is a big dog!
This giant pooch is loving, smart, loaded with energy, playful, and has a really strong temperament. Early socialization and training for these dogs are essential. They are intelligent, motivated, have high energy, which needs to be positively channeled. They’re good family dogs as long as the owner is experienced and knows how to handle them. They’re not recommended for households with young children due to their size and strong temperament. Like the Schnauzers before them, they too are low shedders and considered hypoallergenic. This breed can be a bit of a challenge even for seasoned owners.
6. Chinese Crested
This cute little bundle of joy belongs to the toy group. I love these guys! They come in two varieties. One is hairless and has a pink spotted naked body with silky spiked hair on his head, tail, and lower legs. Not a lot of hair going on, so shedding is not a problem. Extra care is needed to maintain the health and condition of their exposed skin. The other variety has a full coat of soft, silky hair and is known as the powderpuff. Both varieties are very similar. Hair or no hair, the Chinese Crested is the perfect companion, loving, loyal, and playful. He’ll want to be your next very best friend. Although these dogs have lots of energy, they are totally content in being a lapdog. These dogs grow to heights of 11-13 inches at the shoulder and reach weights between 8-12 pounds. Life expectancy is 13-18 years. They are good family dogs and love their humans.
7. Bichon Frise
Beauty, brains, and personality … wow! How much better does it get than that? With an elegant white hypoallergenic coat of cotton not only is he stunning, but he’s also the perfect family dog. They’re loving, smart, and easily trained. The Bichon grows to heights of 9.5-11.5 inches to the shoulder and weighs between 12-18 pounds. Life expectancy is 14-15 years.
8. Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkie is a very popular choice for families and can usually be found as a top 10 breed. This pooch is intelligent, full of energy, loyal, and loves their family. The Yorkie has a beautiful coat of silkie hair. It needs brushing and grooming but does not shed. His coat can be kept long or short … the choice is yours. On average they will reach a height of 7-8 inches to the shoulder and weigh between 4-7 pounds. Life expectancy is 11-15 years.
9. Italian Greyhound
With the grace of a Greyhound, this miniature version, the Italian Greyhound, will be your next best friend. He’s beautiful, loving, loyal, smart, and full of energy. He’s also just as happy to be hanging out in bed or on the couch with the family. But, never underestimate this little cutie, he’s always got his eye on the prize so if he sees something running, he’ll be in pursuit – in a flash!
The Italian Greyhound grows to heights between 13-15 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 7-14 pounds. Life expectancy is 14-15 years. They are small and belong to the toy group. This breed has very short hair with little to no shedding.
10. Lagotto Romagnolo
The first thing you’ll probably notice about this breed is their thick curly coat. They’ve always reminded me of a poodle without the fancy groomed face. The Lagotto Romagnolo (“lake-dog”) was originally bred to work as a water dog where they would hunt waterfowl in Italy. Fast forward to today and you’ll find the Lagotto hunting on land instead of water. Known for their keen sense of smell, these dogs have been bred specifically to be truffle hunters. They are smart, loving, loyal, dogs and make good family pets. They don’t shed, but they do need grooming and as their hair grows it has the tendency to matt. It’s important to stay on top of this.
The Lagotto female will reach between 16-18 inches to the shoulder and weigh between 24-31 pounds. Males will grow to a height between 17-19 inches with weights between 28.5-35 pounds. Life expectancy is 15-17 years.
11. Bedlington Terrier
The Bedlington Terrier is adorable. He looks like a little lamb. He’s got a curly coat of hair coving his long, thin, graceful body and a poufy top knot on his narrow head. They shed very little if at all, making them a good choice for allergy suffers. They can reach heights of 15-17.5 inches to the shoulder and weigh between 17-23 pounds. Life expectancy is 11-16 years. These dogs are loving, loyal, playful, and protective. They make a great addition to a family.
Cute as a button with beautiful silky hair and big brown eyes, this breed comes to us from Cuba. They’re happy, affectionate, loyal, silly, social, and they love their humans. They are intelligent, easily trained, and great with families. The Havanese is a small dog, reaching heights between 8.5-11.5 inches at the shoulder and reaching weights between 7-13 pounds. Life expectancy is 14-16 years. This low to no shedding dog is another good pick for allergy suffers.