For many people, having a dog might seem impossible due to allergies or breathing problems. Pet dander from dogs can trigger allergies, asthma, and more. But, certain breeds of dog are considered hypoallergenic. They are less likely to shed and release dander into the air.
According to the American Kennel Club, there are no dogs that are 100% hypoallergenic. But, many dog breeds don’t shed. The less a dog sheds, the less dander will float into the air. So, allergy sufferers can share the same space and interact with dogs directly.
Like any dog, it’s vital to understand the different traits and characteristics of a hypoallergenic dog so that you can decide on the right breed for you and your family. Whether you struggle with pet allergies or someone in your house does, you still need to choose a dog that will fit in with your lifestyle. Thankfully, there are many wonderful breeds for you to choose from.
Table of Contents:
- What Makes a Hypoallergenic Dog?
- Top 10 Dog Breeds for People with Allergies
- What Are the Worst Dog Breeds for Allergy Sufferers?
What Makes a Hypoallergenic Dog?
Hypoallergenic dogs don’t typically shed as much as other pets. As a result, dander from their fur doesn’t become airborne. Airborne dander from dogs is one of the primary reasons why people experience allergies in their own home.
Instead, the pet dander sticks to the hair of the dog. So, while you may still experience some symptoms if you’re continually petting the dog and then touching your face, etc., most allergy sufferers can live comfortably with a hypoallergenic dog.
This list will give you ten of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds if you experience allergies or other breathing problems. First, let’s take a look at some of the common human allergies to dogs, and the symptoms that you may experience.
What Are the Symptoms of a Dog Allergy?
Common allergies to dogs are due to dander, urine, and saliva.
Dander is one of the most prominent and invasive ones because it quickly spreads out into the air. If you’ve ever seen someone start to sneeze and wheeze if they are even in the same home with a dog, it’s because the dander can get just about everywhere. They don’t necessarily need to be next to the dog to feel the effects.
If you are allergic to dogs, you might experience some of the following symptoms:
- A runny nose and nasal congestion
- Watery eyes
- Itchy throat
You may have allergies to other things, but if these symptoms flare-up in a home with a dog, you can be reasonably sure that the pet’s dander is what’s causing the problem.
Top 10 Dog Breeds for People with Allergies
Hypoallergenic dogs and dog mixes are the perfect options for allergy sufferers. By choosing a dog from the list below to join your family, you can enjoy your new fur baby without having to struggle with strong allergy symptoms.
Shih Tzus are popular family dogs, even for people who don’t have allergies. Most Shih Tzus have a friendly temperament with everyone, including strangers. They also love attention. This is because they were specially bred to be companions. So, on top of being loyal and lively, they’re even hypoallergenic.
Shih Tzus don’t regularly shed their fur. It only ‘comes out’ when they are brushed or when the hair is broken. This makes it nearly impossible for their dander to escape into the air. It’s vital to keep a Shih Tzu adequately groomed and trimmed, but that can be done by a professional groomer.
These great family dogs only weigh anywhere from 9-16lbs, so they’re great toy dogs that can be taken with you in a dog carrier wherever you go.
Poodles often get stereotyped as being high-maintenance, ‘stuck up’ dogs. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While it’s true that poodles do need to be taken care of when it comes to grooming, they make fantastic family pets. Plus, their coat doesn’t shed easily, making them a hypoallergenic breed of dog.
Most dogs have double coats. Poodles only have a single coat, made of fur that is dense and curly. This makes it less likely for the fur to come off and for dander to be released into the air.
There are different types of poodles to consider:
- Standard poodle
- Miniature poodle
- Toy poodle
But, all three types have the same hypoallergenic coat and similar attitudes. Poodles are known for being faithful and intelligent, as well as alert. They are one of the easiest dogs to train because of their intelligence. That makes them a great breed for both families and single individuals who need a dog that will happily obey your commands.
Labradoodles are a mixed breed between poodles and Labrador retrievers. They are considered to be non-shedders or low-shedders, depending on the texture and type of the coat they are born with. They aren’t always considered to be completely hypoallergenic, but they are a low-risk dog for people with allergies.
They are so popular because they make great family pets. They are loyal, smart, and friendly. They’re also easily trainable and able to work with your commands quickly. So much so, in fact, that they were initially bred to be seeing eye dogs for people.
Depending on the size of the poodle a labradoodle comes from, they can weigh anywhere from 15lbs to over 100lbs. It’s critical to know the history of the dogs bred for a labradoodle before deciding if a certain one is right for you and your family.
The Bichon Frise is one of the most well-known dogs on this list. They do not regularly shed and are great for people who get pet dander allergies. They aren’t just great as hypoallergenic dogs – they make great family pets, even for people who don’t have allergies.
Because they’re small in size (ranging from 7-12lbs), Bichon Frise are great for all kinds of households, including small apartments. They’re easy to entertain at home if you go out to work. They’re typically good with kids, other dogs, and even cats.
While the Bichon Frise is a favorite breed, they do take a lot of grooming. They are often considered ’high maintenance’ when it comes to their grooming demands to keep their coat looking great. This includes daily brushing and bathing at least monthly. Their hair should also be trimmed periodically by a professional.
If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to properly groom your Bichon Frise, they are one of the best hypoallergenic dogs for almost any living situation.
Cavachons are a newer breed of dog, so you may not be as familiar with them as some other breeds on this list. They are a blend of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise.
Cavachons are great family dogs. They are mild-mannered and gentle with a playful side. Because they have the coat characteristics of a Bichon Frise, they are considered hypoallergenic. They are very well tolerated by people who regularly get allergies because they are low-shedding dogs.
Even though Cavachons are considered ‘designer dogs,’ they don’t need to be bought for show. They have a gentle and loving nature and are usually excellent with kids and other animals, too. Don’t let their ‘show dog’ appearance fool you. They are wonderful family pets!
Cockapoos are a mix of the poodle and cocker spaniel. Their coat is scruffy and can take a lot of grooming to keep it clean and orderly. But, if you’re willing to put in the time and work when it comes to grooming them, they make great family pets.
Because cockapoos are a crossbreed, they can all have different looks, even if they come from the same litter. But, they are generally bright-eyed and fluffy. On average, they weigh less than 30lbs, so they aren’t difficult to manage even in smaller homes.
They are great companion dogs who will do much better living in a home than outdoors. Cockapoos are considered ‘designer dogs,’ but don’t let the label fool you. They work well as family pets, and aside from a strict grooming schedule, they aren’t too high maintenance.
The Maltese dog is another popular breed. They are known for being playful and affectionate. But, they can be fierce and protective when provoked, despite their small size. Because of their loyalty to their owners, they make great family pets in homes of all sizes.
A Maltese is a member of the Toy Group of dogs. They usually don’t weight more than eight pounds, so they’re easy to take with you wherever you go, and they also don’t take up much room in a living space.
This breed is easily-recognizable thanks to its silky white coat. Maltese dogs don’t have an undercoat, so they don’t shed as often as other breeds. This is what gives them their hypoallergenic status. To keep their coat looking and feeling great, regular grooming is required. It’s best to brush them about 2-3 times a week.
The one issue many Maltese owners run into tear stains on the dog’s fur. Because the fur is so white, it’s easy for watery eyes to leave stains on their face. The best thing you can do is to clean your dog’s face regularly. Even using warm water can help. But, there are over-the-counter products and DIY solutions for cleaning your Maltese’s fur if they have tear stains. Other than that, they are relatively easy to take care of and keep healthy!
Yorkshire Terriers (Yorkies) are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They are known for their small size and unique fur. The reason they are considered hypoallergenic is that they don’t have ‘fur.’
Instead, the hair on a Yorkie is almost like the hair of a human. It can grow to be quite long and needs regular grooming. Because of the texture and growth, though, Yorkies don’t often shed. They can develop dander (and dandruff), but because they don’t shed like most other dogs, they are great for people who suffer from allergies.
Yorkshire Terriers are small dogs with big hearts. Though they are often considered to be show dogs, they make great family pets. They can be high maintenance when it comes to grooming. But, keeping their hair trimmed and clean will ensure that you don’t experience allergy problems with your four-legged friend around.
Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dog is a member of the Working Group of dog breeds. They are easily recognizable thanks to their unique coat. It’s usually black and white or white and brown. But, the texture of their coat is what sets them apart.
They can either have curly or wavy coats. In either case, they don’t have an undercoat, which makes it less likely for them to shed. The Obama family chose a Portuguese Water Dog for their White House pet because of family allergies!
With that being said, it’s important to note that this breed makes for a great family dog. They are obedient, extremely intelligent, and typically calm in most situations, even around kids. As their name suggests, their bodies were designed to be in the water. They are a fisherman’s dog! But, they do need regular grooming for their coat to stay clean and healthy. Brushing and combing should be done several times a week. Bathing should be done every three or four weeks.
While the Portuguese Water Dog isn’t as high maintenance as some others, proper coat care will help to ensure they don’t irritate the allergies of anyone in your family.
Miniature Schnauzers are the 10th most popular dog breed in the world for many reasons. They are friendly and obedient and make great family dogs even with people who have other pets and kids. They are also incredibly intelligent and alert. Schnauzers are much more than ‘show dogs.’ Even with their small size, they are considered to be great watch dogs and will alert you of anything strange or dangerous.
They are also popular because they are considered to be hypoallergenic. Unlike many other hypoallergenic dogs on this list, Miniature Schnauzers do have a double coat. But, their two coats work together to help prevent shedding.
The top coat of a Schnauzer is wiry. The undercoat catches the hair when the dog does shed, so the hair and dander aren’t left all over the house, furniture, etc. Schnauzers do need to be groomed every few weeks. This keeps them looking their best and gets rid of any hair that has developed on the undercoat.
Can You Have an Allergic Reaction to a Hypoallergenic Dog?
There are no dog breeds that are 100% hypoallergenic. It’s important to note that people who are allergic to dogs don’t only get triggered by dander. Saliva and urine are also common issues that can cause problems for people with dog allergies.
With that in mind, you can have an allergic reaction to a dog breed that is otherwise considered hypoallergenic. The breeds listed above, though, will make it less likely to suffer all the time from strong allergies.
There are some extra things you can do to keep your allergies to dogs at bay. We’ll list some tips later on so you can be around your fur baby as often as possible!
What Are the Worst Dog Breeds for Allergy Sufferers?
Dogs that are more prone to shedding are the ones allergy sufferers should stay away from. Unfortunately, some of the most popular dog breeds in the world are on the list of common shedders. Shedding leads to dander, and dander all over the house is what makes allergies flare up for some people.
Just as some dogs are better for people with allergies, some are inherently worse. Any dog that sheds a lot will likely cause you problems if you’re allergic. But, these furry canines can make your allergy symptoms almost unbearable:
- Basset Hound: These aren’t long-haired dogs. But, they make the list of worst dogs for allergies sufferers because of how much they shed. Their short, fine fur produces quite a bit of dander. Because allergens are also transferred through saliva, the Basset Hound is an even bigger risk. They are known for being ‘slobbery,’ and they seem to drool constantly, which can spread allergens all over a house.
- Akita: These are great family pets who love being outdoors. They are incredible swimmers thanks to their webbed toes. But, they have a thick double coat. The worst part? Akitas completely shed their coat every six months or so. When that happens, more dander is released into the air and can be a complete nightmare for those with allergies.
- Boxer: They are known for their energy and intelligence. They’re great dogs for kids which makes them a popular family pet. But, their short fur frequently sheds, releasing dander into the air. Like Basset Hounds, Boxers also tend to drool a lot. That saliva can be an allergy trigger for many people.
- Labrador Retriever: Labs are perhaps the most beloved dogs of all time! They are great for families, older people, kids, and active individuals. But, they don’t make great dogs for allergy sufferers. It has nothing to do with their loyal personality, and everything to do with their coat. Labrador Retrievers have short, smooth coats that release a lot of dander into the air. Because they’re so friendly, they’ll also be quick to give you a friendly lick! That saliva can create even more allergy problems.
- Pomeranian: They are cute, fluffy, and relatively easy to take care of. But, that thick and fluffy coat can be awful for people with pet allergies. They are heavy shedders and take constant grooming to keep their coats looking decent. Though these little balls of fluff might seem appealing, they’re not a good option if you’re allergic to dogs.
Are Pit Bulls Hypoallergenic?
Certain dog breeds are often mistaken for hypoallergenic. Pit Bulls are one of the most common ones because they don’t shed regularly. But, they do shed their coats twice a year. During those times, they can wreak havoc on allergy sufferers.
Pit Bulls aren’t the only dogs that occasionally shed their coats. Some dogs go through a shedding season where they blow their coats. Seasonal shedding is common for dogs like Huskies and Shiba Inus. If your dog was bred for colder climates, you can expect that they’ll have a heavy shedding season once or twice a year.
Can I Have a Dog if I Have Asthma?
Many people who have asthma are also allergic to dogs. The two tend to go hand-in-hand. Some people have more severe cases of asthma than others. In these cases, pet dander can cause a lot of breathing problems, on top of typical allergy symptoms.
A hypoallergenic dog or one that doesn’t shed often can be an option for someone with asthma or other breathing problems. But, dander can still spread through saliva and urine. Dogs can also pick up things that can cause asthma symptoms to flare up.
Some examples include:
- Dust mites
If these triggers get caught in your dog’s fur, even if they’re considered hypoallergenic, it could cause your symptoms to become severe. You may even have a hard time breathing.
So, while asthma-sufferers can have dogs, choosing the right breed is essential. If you have a severe case of asthma, you may want to stay away from dogs completely.
Can You Develop Allergies to Dogs?
Many people assume that if they don’t have allergies to dogs as kids, they won’t get them as adults. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Adults can develop allergies to almost anything at any point in life! In fact, there is no breed of dog that can’t trigger allergy symptoms in someone, even if that person has never experienced them before.
You might not even realize you’re developing or have developed an allergy at first, especially if you’ve been around dogs your whole life. Pay attention to the common symptoms of allergies whenever you’re around a dog (whether they’re hypoallergenic or not). If you start to experience itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose around dogs, you could have developed an allergy over time.
At any point in life, you can see your doctor for an allergy skin test. They are relatively painless and non-invasive. Once you get the results, you’ll be able to see a full list of things that could make you experience an allergic reaction. If you’ve never had an allergy test before, it can be worth it to get one to protect yourself from possible everyday triggers.
Can Dog Allergies Go Away?
Just as you can develop allergies at any time in life, they can also become less severe. Can allergies disappear over time? Yes! If you were allergic to dogs as a child, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be today.
That’s not a good enough reason to go out and adopt or buy a dog right away. If you’re unsure about your allergies, it’s a good idea to get tested before getting a dog and making a commitment. But, if you’ve wanted a dog for a while and have been worried about old allergic reactions, it doesn’t hurt to see how they might affect you today.
One thing to keep in mind is that spending one day with a dog isn’t a good indicator of whether you still have allergies or not. If you used a friend’s dog as a ‘test,’ and didn’t experience any symptoms, it doesn’t mean your allergies are gone! Pet dander can take awhile to be released into the air or stick to carpet or furniture. Even if you spent a whole day with a dog symptom-free, you might start to experience your symptoms a day or two later thanks to the dander everywhere.
Is There a Cure for Dog Allergies?
Even though allergies can indeed go away on their own over time, there’s no guarantee of it. There also isn’t a complete ‘cure’ to get rid of them. The best thing you can do if you suffer from allergies is to remove the trigger from your life or avoid it as much as possible. Unfortunately, for many people, that means not having a dog in their life.
But, if you’re set on getting a dog, or you already have one, you can talk to your doctor about different treatments and management plans. Some people get allergy shots from their doctors to manage their symptoms. Others do well with over the counter drops or tablets.
There are a variety of different allergy medications that can make life more manageable when you’re suffering from such severe symptoms.
Tips for Dog Allergy Sufferers
Again, no dog is 100% hypoallergenic. Finding a dog that sheds as little as possible is the best way to lower your chances of experiencing an allergic reaction when they’re in your home. If you love dogs but have been too worried about your allergies to get one, there are still some extra tips you can try.
These suggestions will help you to feel better around your fur baby and keep your allergy symptoms at bay:
- Brush your dog daily: If your allergies flare up from brushing the dog, have a family member do it. Regular brushing will remove loose hairs from the dog that might otherwise collect in carpet and on furniture, spreading dander around.
- Sleep alone: It’s understandable to want to sleep with your fur baby. But, for allergy sufferers, it can end up being a nightmare! Keep your bedroom and bed off-limits to your pup to breathe easier while you sleep.
- Vacuum: It’s important to keep your home as clean as possible if you have pet allergies and a dog. Regularly vacuuming carpet and furniture will keep fur and dander from settling in. But, you do need to be aware the vacuum cleaners could scare your dog.
- Take medication: If you still struggle with allergies, even with a hypoallergenic dog, there are over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help. Talk to your doctor about the best options for finding relief.
Can I Get a Dog if I Have Allergies?
As you can see, many great dog breeds are perfect for allergy sufferers. While no breed is completely hypoallergenic, choosing a breed that doesn’t shed often is your best chance at reducing your allergy symptoms.
The dogs listed in this article all have different personalities and characteristics. Some need a lot of room to run around. Others do well in smaller homes or apartments. So, just because you have allergies doesn’t mean you’re limited to one or two types of dogs. The perfect hypoallergenic dog is out there for you and your family!
If you do suffer from pet allergies, don’t worry. Not only will choosing the right dog help, but there are things you can do to reduce the severity of your symptoms. It starts with keeping your dog clean and well-groomed at all times.
We hope this article has given you some hope if you’ve been looking for the right kind of dog for your family. If someone in your household suffers from allergies, you can still enjoy having a furry friend in your home.