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Hypoallergenic Dogs: Which Dog Breeds Are Hypoallergenic? 

May 3, 2024 | AZPetVet, Dog

Hypoallergenic DogsDo you have pet allergies but still want to add a furry friend to your family? You might be interested in hypoallergenic dogs! Inspired by Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, AZPetVet understands the challenges that come with wanting a dog, and managing potential allergies that pet parents may face.  

In this blog, we’ll explore what it means for a dog to be hypoallergenic, the benefits of owning one, and which breeds are good candidates. We’ll also clear up misconceptions about these dogs, answer common questions, and offer insights to allergy sufferers thinking about getting a dog. Learn what you need to know about hypoallergenic dogs, whether you’re looking for the most hypoallergenic breed or just curious about what makes some dogs more well suited for those who suffer from allergies.  

What Does Hypoallergenic Mean? 

Before delving into the world of hypoallergenic dog breeds, it’s important to understand what “hypoallergenic” actually means. Contrary to popular belief, hypoallergenic doesn’t mean non-allergenic. Instead, it refers to breeds of dogs that produce fewer allergens than others, making them suitable for people who suffer from allergies due to pet dander or pet hair.  

Pet dander, which is the primary cause of allergies, is made of skin cells that are constantly flaking off the surface of the skin. Animals with fur or feathers like cats, dogs, rodents, and birds shed dander. Animals without fur, such as reptiles and fish, don’t produce dander, reducing allergy risks.  

The misconception that hypoallergenic dogs are entirely allergen-free likely stems from the fact that these breeds tend to shed less, resulting in fewer allergens being spread around the home. However, no dog breed is entirely hypoallergenic, as all dogs produce some level of dander. The proteins found in saliva, urine, and feces can also trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. 

Is There a 100% Hypoallergenic Dog? 

Photo of Portuguese water dog

Despite claims made by some breeders, there is no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog. While certain breeds produce fewer allergens than others, all dogs produce some level of dander, along with saliva and urine, which can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. 

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ls with severe allergies should consult with an allergist before bringing a dog into their home, regardless of the breed’s hypoallergenic status. Additionally, proper grooming, regular bathing, and maintaining a clean-living environment can help reduce allergen exposure and alleviate symptoms in allergy sufferers. 

Do Hypoallergenic Dogs Shed Less? 

One common misconception about hypoallergenic dogs is that they don’t shed at all. While it’s true that hypoallergenic breeds tend to shed less than others, no dog breed is entirely non-shedding. All dogs, regardless of breed, shed at least some dander, which can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. 

However, hypoallergenic dog breeds produce fewer allergens overall, thanks to their minimal shedding and reduced dander production. This makes them a more suitable choice for allergy sufferers compared to non-hypoallergenic breeds. 

Which Dog Breeds Are Hypoallergenic? 

Now that we’ve covered what it means for a dog breed to be hypoallergenic, let’s dive deeper into specific breeds categorized by size. Whether you’re looking for a small, fluffy companion or a larger, more active dog, we’ll highlight hypoallergenic breeds that could be the perfect fit for your lifestyle and allergy sensitivities. 

Small Hypoallergenic Dogs 

Small hypoallergenic dogs are a popular choice for individuals living in apartments or smaller homes. These breeds are not only small but also tend to produce less dander, making them ideal for allergy sufferers. 

Bichon Frise 

 The Bichon Frise is known for its fluffy white coat, making them look like a little cotton ball. These affectionate and playful dogs shed minimally, and the small amount of hair they do shed gets caught in their coat, meaning you’re unlikely to find it anywhere on your floor. Their minimal shedding makes them a great choice for allergy sufferers, plus their tiny stature makes them an ideal companion for those who live in an apartment. Bichons require regular grooming and at-home coat care.  

Maltese 

Maltese are known for their playful, energetic nature and affectionate demeanor, thriving on the love and attention of their owners. They have long, silky coats that don’t shed much, reducing the spread of allergens in the home. Their glamorous appearance doesn’t happen by accident, Maltese require regular grooming and at-home coat care to prevent matting and reduce dander. 

Shih Tzu 

Shih Tzus are beloved for their friendly demeanor and luxurious, flowing coats. While they do require regular grooming and at-home coat care to maintain their coat’s health, Shih Tzus shed very little, making them suitable for allergy sufferers. 

Italian Greyhounds  

Italian Greyhounds are playful, highly affectionate dogs with quirky personalities that make them popular on social media. This breed does shed more than other breeds listed as they do have fur rather than hair, but their thin, short coats shed minimally, meaning they are unlikely to trigger allergies. Due to their extremely thin coat, cold climates are not ideal for this breed.  

Basenji  

Basenjis have a short, fine coat that produces very little dander, making them less likely to trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Additionally, Basenjis are self-groomers (like cats!) and tend to keep themselves clean, further reducing the spread of allergens in the home. 

Large Hypoallergenic Dogs 

While large hypoallergenic dogs may produce more dander than their smaller counterparts, they can still be suitable companions for individuals with allergies. Here are some popular large hypoallergenic dog breeds: 

Portuguese Water Dog 

Known for their intelligence and athleticism, Portuguese Water Dogs have curly coats that don’t shed much. Regular grooming is essential to prevent matting and keep their coat hypoallergenic and limit dander.  

Irish Water Spaniel 

 Irish Water Spaniels make excellent companions for active individuals. While they may require more grooming than some other breeds, their dense, curly coat is not only water-repellent but also hypoallergenic, making it an excellent choice for individuals with allergies. 

Airedale Terrier 

Airedales are often considered good hypoallergenic dogs due to their wiry, dense coat which sheds minimally, resulting in fewer allergens being released into their surroundings compared to breeds with more traditional fur. Additionally, Airedale Terriers produce less dander, which is a common trigger for allergy sufferers. While no dog breed is entirely hypoallergenic, Airedales’ low-shedding coat and reduced dander production make them a suitable choice for individuals with allergies. Regular grooming and maintenance of their coats are essential to minimize allergen exposure further. 

Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds in Multiple Sizes 

Now that we have mentioned both large and small hypoallergenic dog breeds, let’s look at some breeds that come in multiple different sizes.  

Schnauzer  

The Schnauzer is a unique hypoallergenic breed because of the fact that they can be three different sizes: giant, standard, and miniature. Their variation in size makes them a suitable size for each type of living situation. Schnauzers are considered a hypoallergenic breed because of their wiry, low shedding coats. These loyal and protective dogs require regular grooming to maintain their coat’s health and appearance. 

Poodles 

Just like the Schnauzer, Poodles can be various sizes, including toy, miniature, and standard, making them ideal for different living situations and preferences. Their curly, hypoallergenic coat eliminates shedding, making them a popular choice for allergy sufferers. While poodles do not shed, it is important to note that they have higher grooming needs than most of the previous breeds listed.  

Poodle Mixes  

Poodle mixes, also known as ‘doodles’ have become an increasingly popular option for owners who want to add a hypoallergenic dog into their lives. Just like Poodles, doodles come in various sizes like toy, miniature, and standard. These fun-loving dogs combine the allergy-friendly coat of poodles with other breed characteristics, making them versatile companions. Poodle mixes like Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, and Cockapoos make great choices for allergy sufferers. Their friendly demeanor, intelligence, and adaptability make them ideal companions for both individuals and families. Along with their poodle counterparts, doodles require higher grooming needs to keep their coats healthy and help to reduce further allergen exposure.  

Lifestyle Considerations for Owning a Hypoallergenic Dog 

When considering owning a hypoallergenic dog, various lifestyle factors come into play. A few factors to consider include your living arrangements, the breed’s temperament, outdoor environment, grooming needs, and other pets you may have.  Make sure you understand the exercise needs of different hypoallergenic breeds, ensuring you are capable and willing to ensure they receive adequate physical activity and mental stimulation through daily walks and playtime. As discussed, no dog can be completely hypoallergenic, so implementing allergy management strategies like creating pet-free zones, specifically around sleeping areas, and using air purifiers can help minimize allergic reactions. Socialization is essential for well-rounded companionship, exposing hypoallergenic dogs to diverse environments, people, and pets. It’s also important to recognize and account for the time commitment involved in grooming, as this can vary significantly based on breed.  

Caring for Hypoallergenic Dogs 

Caring for hypoallergenic dogs involves several key considerations to ensure their health and well-being. Grooming plays a crucial role in maintaining the hypoallergenic qualities of these breeds. Regular brushing to remove loose hair and prevent matting is essential, the absence of regular brushing can create skin irritation as well as increase the likelihood of fleas and ticks.  Person Grooming Dog

Bathing should be done as needed using dog friendly shampoos to keep their coat clean and free of allergens, it is not recommended to use any shampoos intended for humans as they can result in skin irritation. Regular grooming at home is important, but occasional trips to professional groomers offer extra advantages. Professional grooming ensures thorough cleaning and clipping, reaching areas that may be difficult to manage at home. While your dog may not need frequent professional grooming, occasional visits can greatly improve their overall appearance and health. 

Like with any dog, regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for monitoring their health and addressing any potential issues promptly. By following these care guidelines, pet owners can ensure that their hypoallergenic dogs live happy, healthy lives. 

What’s the Most Hypoallergenic Dog? 

Toy Poodle resting on bed While there is no breed of dog that is 100% hypoallergenic, some breeds are known for producing fewer allergens than others. The level of allergens produced by a dog can vary depending on factors such as coat type, grooming habits, and individual sensitivity. 

Poodles, and poodle mixes are often considered one of the most hypoallergenic dog breeds due to their curly, non-shedding coat and minimal dander production. Additionally, breeds such as the Bichon Frise, Maltese, and Portuguese Water Dog are also known for being hypoallergenic, making them suitable choices for allergy sufferers. 

Which Dog Is Best If You Have Allergies? 

The best dog for individuals with allergies depends on various factors, including the severity of the allergies, lifestyle, and preferences. While no dog breed can be completely allergen free, some breeds are better suited for allergy sufferers due to their minimal shedding and reduced dander production. 

For example, individuals with mild allergies may find that hypoallergenic breeds such as Poodles, Bichon Frises, or Maltese dogs are suitable companions. However, those with more severe allergies may need to explore alternative options, such as hypoallergenic mixes or breeds with shorter coats that shed less. 

Low Maintenance Hypoallergenic Dogs  

Italian Greyhounds and Basenjis are both excellent choices for individuals seeking low maintenance hypoallergenic dogs. Italian Greyhounds have short coats that shed minimally and require only occasional grooming to keep them looking their best. Their sleek, fine fur produces minimal dander, making them less likely to trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  

Similarly, Basenjis have short coats that shed infrequently, and their self-grooming habits help keep allergens at bay. With their minimal grooming needs and hypoallergenic qualities, both Italian Greyhounds and Basenjis are ideal companions for allergy sufferers who want a furry friend without the hassle of extensive grooming. 

Benefits of Having a Hypoallergenic Dog 

Owning a hypoallergenic dog can offer numerous benefits for individuals with allergies, including: 

Reduced Allergen Exposure 

Hypoallergenic dogs produce fewer allergens than non-hypoallergenic breeds, reducing the risk of allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. This is because hypoallergenic breeds typically have coats that shed less and they produce less dander, saliva, urine, and have less oily skin, which are common triggers for allergies.  

Cleaner Living Environment 

With minimal shedding and dander production, hypoallergenic dogs help maintain a cleaner living environment, making it easier for allergy sufferers to manage their symptoms. This reduced allergen presence also means less frequent cleaning and vacuuming, allowing individuals with allergies to spend more time enjoying their pets rather than constantly battling allergens. 

Improved Air Quality  

Owning a hypoallergenic dog can help improve the air quality in your home. These dogs can make it easier for people with allergies or asthma to breathe. Less of these irritants in the air can help to reduce coughing or sneezing fits. This cleaner air can also reduce the chances of getting sick from respiratory infections. 

Encouragement for Physical Activity 

Many hypoallergenic dog breeds are active and playful, encouraging their owners to engage in regular physical activity, such as walking, hiking, or playing fetch. 

 

While no dog breed is entirely hypoallergenic, some breeds produce fewer allergens than others, making them suitable companions for individuals with allergies. By understanding what hypoallergenic means and choosing the right breed for your lifestyle and sensitivities, you can enjoy the companionship of a dog without exacerbating your allergy symptoms. 

 

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.