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If you’ve ever had a friend who suffers from severe dog allergies, you likely felt extreme sorrow for their plight. After all, they can’t have a dog because of something they can’t control! What a terrible way to spend a life. But luckily, dogs have adapted, so that even people who go into terrible sneezing fits around dogs can still have a four-legged companion. Wasn’t that nice of the dogs?
In this post, I’ve rounded up a long list of breeds to choose from that have hypoallergenic coats. What does that mean? Well, the thing that people with dog allergies suffer from is a specific protein produced in a dog’s body. When a dog’s coat sheds all over the place, even a tiny little bit, that protein is attached to the hair. So it can get into the air and cause people to start sneezing. By choosing a dog who doesn’t shed, or who sheds the most minimal amount possible, you’ve got what we would consider a “hypoallergenic dog”.
Another thing that some people are allergic to is the protein found in dog’s saliva, so choosing dogs that aren’t prone to drooling a lot is another consideration. Keep in mind that just because a dog doesn’t shed too much or drool a lot, they’ll still be producing the protein in their body that people can be allergic to. There’s no such thing as a truly allergy-free dog. But most allergy sufferers have found that without the hair and drool everywhere, they don’t get triggered a whole lot, or can manage their allergies easily with medication. Additionally, washing a dog with a really good anti-bacterial, anti-fungal shampoo can really help cut down on their shedding and dander, so it’s a great idea to have a regular grooming routine with any dog that you own if you have allergies.
For someone bound and determined to have a dog companion, which I always recommend, these 31 breeds are going to be great choices:
The Poodle is the quintessential choice for allergy suffers. These dogs have tightly-curled coats that don’t tend to shed a lot, and they aren’t droolers. They come in multiple sizes, from teacup all the way up to standard size, and are favorites for their affectionate natures as well. A dematting rake, often known as a “poodle brush” will be a handy tool to keep their fur free of any loose hairs.
Another favorite for their fun personalities, the Yorkie is a small dog, that has no idea he’s tiny. His big attitude wins over those who prefer larger dogs, but have to have small dogs due to their living situation. His coat is very soft and doesn’t tend to shed, especially if it’s kept shorter than show standard. However, if you want that classic Yorkie look even while keeping their hair short, you can leave their little top-knot and put it up with dog bows – a very common look for this little pup.
The Schnauzer’s coat is wiry and dense, and although it doesn’t tend to shed a lot, it does tend to pick up dirt like a magnet. If you keep your Schnauzer tidy, he’ll be a great hypoallergenic dog. You may want to have a towel by the door, or even keep some dog grooming wipes handy so that you can easily wipe off any pollen or dirt before he comes inside. Be aware that the Giant Schnauzer does tend to be a drooler – I’d go for the Standard or the Mini with this breed for someone with serious dog allergies.
The Havanese is another small dog, very affectionate and gentle. They are perfect with kids and don’t need a ton of exercise, making them good choices for grandparents, for example. Their coats don’t shed,andas long as you keep the extra hair around their feet trimmed, you shouldn’t have to do much more than brush them once or twice a week.
The Maltese is an adorable little pup that looks like a walking stuffed animal, but they have a lot of energy! They don’t need a ton of outdoor exercise, but they’ll keep you busy inside. Once again, they are non-shedding dogs, but they do require a bit more attention to their coats, which can grow long. If you don’t plan to use a professional groomer, invest in a good set of dog clippers and keep them trimmed.
This is probably one of the most popular breeds on this list. The Shih Tzu is known for being affectionate and funny, and their soft coats don’t shed too badly. They are often found in retirement homes and other similar situations because they are gentle but still very entertaining – perfect companions for someone who needs a little furball to love but has immune system issues, for example.
(7) West Highland Terrier
This friendly little dog is actually a great watchdog for apartment-dwellers because he has no trouble letting you know when something is up. The Westie’s signature white coat sheds a tiny amount, but with proper grooming, you’ll be able to keep him mostly shed-free. He’s a bit feisty and will definitely go after squirrels and other small animals – but if you’re allergic to them, that may be a good thing.
(8) Bichon Frise
Another all-white dog, the Bichon Frise sort of looks like a cross between a Westie and a poodle. They have dense, curly hair that just needs regular clipping, but is almost completely shed-free. This dog is so frequently suggested for allergy sufferers that I’m pretty sure they are the official dog for elderly owners by now. They were bred to be lap dogs and nothing more, so they exist only for companionship – great for owners missing out on some affection.
(9) Airedale Terrier
One thing you’ll see a lot of on this list is terriers. Terriers tend to have denser coats that are either curly, or very short, or wiry – all of which means that they won’t shed quite as much. The Airedale Terriersare slightly larger dogs that are very active and are great with kids. They aren’t super fond of other dogs, but if you are allergic, you likely only want one anyway. They do need a lot of exercise, so this is a good choice for a dog-allergic person who likes to get out and hike or toss a ball.
The famous Obama dog, the Portuguese Water Dog, is a very loyal and playful dog. They have curly coats that often grow into matted locks, so regular grooming is a must, but the good news is that they really won’t’ shed too many hairs because loose hairs just get tangled into the locks. These aren’t very common dogs, so you may have trouble finding a reputable breeder.
(11) Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
If ever a dog looked like a walking teddy bear, it is the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. These are large dogs with beautiful silky coats, a lot like a Yorkie coat on a larger scale. Once again, little to no shedding, and unlike many other large dogs, this breed doesn’t tend to drool. These dogs are well-known for being animal therapy dogs, as well as for competing in obedience events. They just love to please and want to help you in any way they can.
(12) Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
I have a soft spot for this breed because I grew up with a neighbor who had one. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a larger dog with a bearded They are good with kids and other dogs and love long walks and hikes. They are also good running buddies. Their fur does need occasional stripping to keep the undercoat from shedding, but otherwise, they are considered hypoallergenic.
These dogs look like little polar bears and are a lot of fun. They have lively, playful personalities and their medium size makes them good with kids of all ages. They do need regular grooming for trimming, but if you keep up with that, they won’t shed, despite having a bulky double coat. If you like Huskies, but have heard the horror stories about the shedding, I would say that a Samoyed will offer you a very similar dog in appearance and personality, but will be better for your allergies.
(14) Scottish Terrier
Yet another Terrier, the Scottie is the Westie’s darker cousin. These little cuties have wiry hair that doesn’t shed too badly, and they are known for being at once dignified and very personable. Scottie owners usually tend to really fall in love with the breed, embracing their lineage with tartan collars and dog accessories.
The beautiful Greyhound is a large, thin dog that surprisingly only needs a bit of regular exercise to be comfortable. Otherwise, they are known to be couch potatoes, and mostly just want to hang out with you. Their very short, silky coats don’t shed much at all, and these dogs don’t tend to drool even a bit. It’s hard to find a Greyhound puppy, as breeding these dogs is heavily regulated due to racing abuse. You’re more likely to find a Greyhound rescue organization with retired racers who need loving homes.
(16) Chinese Crested
It’s hard to get much more hypoallergenic than a dog with barely any hair at all. While this dog often falls into the “so ugly it’s cute” arena, that doesn’t mean they aren’t good pets for someone who finds that sort of thing charming. They are very happy, sweet-tempered dogs who like to give affection to their chosen person. They are even known for being okay with kids, which is not at all common for dogs of their size. They do need a bit of playtime every day, but you can get their exercise needs met indoors, so they are great for allergy sufferers who have a hard time being outside in the spring or fall.
(17) CotonDu Tulear
The CotonDu Tulear is a surprisingly popular dog, despite most people not recognizing the name. However, when you see one of these little furballs, you recognize them right away. They are another breed that looks like a stuffed animal, with long white hair that doesn’t shed if it is kept groomed. They have very sweet little faces, and temperaments to match.
The Rest of the Bunch
I wanted to give you information about all of these dogs, but that would make for an article so long that even I wouldn’t slog through it! So here are the other 14 hypoallergenic breeds that I would highly recommend you check into if you are looking for a dog that will be a good companion for someone who can’t handle a lot of pet fur:
Of course, with absolutely any dog that has fur, some shedding will occur, because the body gets rid of dead hair to produce new hair. But these 31 breeds have the least amount of shedding known and are also not droolers. That’s the best that we can do for someone who suffers from extreme dog allergies but still desperately wants a dog.
Good grooming habits, and also keeping your dog clean, will prevent a lot of the issues that many dog owners have. If you are interested in adopting a mixed breed, look for curly coats, or dogs with short, wiry coats. Be sure to ask the kennel worker or rescue organization if the dog sheds, and be honest about your allergies so that you get an honest answer.
But just be aware that allergies can’t stop you from having your own wonderful companion!