Sneezing, wheezing, and watery eyes, oh my!
If you suffer from dog allergies, does this mean you’re destined to trade in your dreams of dog ownership for a goldfish?
While there’s no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog, there are many non-shedding dog breeds that are great for people with allergies.
So which breed may be “top dog” for you and your family? Read on to find out …
The Sneaky Culprit Behind Dog Allergies
Weird, but true: it’s not actual dog hair that people are allergic to … it’s their dander.
Pet dander is tiny particles of skin that get shed off with pet hair. Dander contains a protein that triggers allergic reactions.
This protein is also found in dog pee and saliva, which is why sometimes you won’t notice a dog allergy until Fido bounds in to give you a big sloppy kiss!
Finding a non-shedding (or at least low-shedding) dog is the key to allergy-free dog ownership.
Less shedding = less dander = less chance of allergies!
Important: Spend time with the dog you’re thinking of adopting before bringing it home. Some allergic reactions take a few days to appear, and you can react differently to different dogs, even when they’re part of the same breed!
Dos and Don’ts for Dog Allergies
- DO bathe your dog regularly to wash away outdoor allergens that can collect on your pet’s fur, like dust and pollen. (We love this dog shampoo because it won’t irritate or dry out their coat.)
- DO housetrain your pup right away to avoid urine contact, a source of allergies.
- DO use a HEPA filter and HEPA vacuum cleaner to reduce allergens in your home.
- DO wash dog toys regularly to remove dried saliva.
- DON’T let your dog sleep on your bed … no matter how adorable that face is!
- DON’T forget to wash your hands after playing with your pup.
- DON’T let your dog lick your face, as saliva can trigger an allergic response.
Top 10 Dog Breeds If You Have Dog Allergies
#1: Bichon Frise
Meaning “Curly Lap Dog” in French, the Bichon Frise is an affectionate, gentle, easily-trained dog that gets along well with kids and other pets. While its fluffy, puffy hair doesn’t shed, it does continually grow, so regular haircuts are a must.
Ranked as the #2 smartest dog breed (just behind the border collie), the poodle is a popular family dog that comes in three sizes – standard, miniature and toy. The poodle barely sheds, but its signature coat does require regular trips to the groomer. Because they’re so smart and eager to please, poodles tend to do awesome in agility training – fun for both dog and owner!
Have you ever heard that dog owners start to look like their four-legged friends? If you’ve always wanted to rock bushy eyebrows and an epic beard, the Schnauzer could be your perfect breed. Available in 3 sizes, the Schnauzer is known to be a hypoallergenic dog breed, although its soft, wire-haired coat does require weekly combs. Schnauzers have high-energy needs and are strong-willed, making proper training essential.
#4: Chinese Crested Dog
If you want a permanent shadow following you around the house – one that doesn’t shed – consider the cuddly, affectionate Chinese Crested Dog. These little dogs are either born hairless (except for a tuft of hair on its head) or “powderpuff,” with a long, soft coat that doesn’t shed much. Chinese Crested Dogs are energetic and love being part of a gentle family pack.
Lively and playful, the Maltese is generally well-behaved around kids and other pets, but it can become yappy and snappy without obedience training. The Maltese has a single coat of hair and barely sheds, but it will still need regular brushing and bathing. You’ll also want to take care to remove the unsightly brown tear stains they’re known for. Owners swear by this product to do the trick.
OK, while the labradoodle isn’t technically recognized as a breed yet, it’s just too darn cute not to include on our list. (Seriously, look at that face!) This hybrid dog has the low-shedding coat of a poodle and the lovable, loyal personality of a Labrador retriever. Grooming requirements will vary depending on whether the dog’s coat takes after his mom or his dad.
#7: Portuguese Water Dog
Athletic, bouncy and a huge fan of all things water, this active dog breed is a great choice for “outdoorsy” families. Super smart, the Portuguese Water Dog has shown a gift for memorizing extensive vocabulary (especially T-R-E-A-T) and the names of objects. Because of its social nature, this breed doesn’t like to be left alone for long stretches. Its waterproof coat requires regular grooming.
#8: Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
The “sweetie Wheatie” is mild in nature compared to other terriers (but it still may want to chase the neighbor’s cat). This dog is a great family dog, but if patience is not your strong suit, you may opt for a pet that’s easier to train, as they can be stubborn. Note: they don’t wake up with a naturally beautiful coat. It requires quite a bit of regular grooming!
#9: Kerry Blue Terrier
Rambunctious and energetic, Kerry Blue Terriers are a fun-loving breed that do best with active families. They love learning tricks and doing agility training. This breed requires a confident pack leader and lots of mental stimulation, as they can get bored easily. Their coats need regular brushing and trimming.
#10: Irish Water Spaniel
Known as the clowns of the spaniel family, these playful, energetic dogs are the tallest of all spaniels and easily recognized by their crispy curled coat (which requires regular brushing) and tapered “rat tail.” Just like the name implies, they love the water and will do best with an active family.
No matter what kind of hypoallergenic dog you decide is best for your family, you’re going to want to get into full-on MacGyver mode and BE PREPARED. Yes, dogs are a lot of work, but they are so worth it! Check out this handy guide for new puppy ownership.
Got questions about how to care for a new pup? Comment below and we’ll get back to you faster than a Saint Bernard can drool all over the floor!