Hypoallergenic Dogs: Fact or fiction? Sadly, fiction. There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. However, there are certain dog breeds that are less likely to elicit an allergic reaction, but they are not truly hypoallergenic.
There is a misnomer that pet allergies have to do with dog or cat hair. This is also not true. Read on to find out more about this misunderstood topic and which dog breeds might be suitable for pet owners with allergies!
Defining Hypoallergenic Dogs: They’re Not What You Think!
To define a hypoallergenic dog, one needs to get to the root of what causes the allergy.
It is believed that the cause of most pet allergies is proteins found in their saliva and exuded through their skin. These proteins transfer to their fur and skin when they clean themselves.
Fluff and dander (dead skin cells that have fallen off your pooch) float about the house and end up sticking to your couch, bedding and other surfaces. When you inhale or come in to contact with this protein-laden fluff and dander, your body will see it as a threat and launch an attack.
Hypoallergenic dogs are dogs that do not cause an allergic reaction in a sensitive person. This could be due to a lower shedding rate or to not having fur at all, e.g. Xoloitzcuintli (aka the Mexican Hairless Dog). Another factor to consider is how much saliva is produced… so drooly Bassets and Bull Dogs are not a good idea!
What the Best Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds Have in Common!
The dog breeds that are most suitable for pet owners with allergic tendencies are those with a low- or non-shedding coat. A dog that produces less dander will illicit less of an allergic reaction.
Dogs, like poodles, who go to the parlor often are also considered hypoallergenic as the potential threat is removed by washing and/or grooming.
The Drool Factor!
Most dog allergies are caused by proteins in dog saliva and proteins exuded from the dog’s skin. Choosing a dog with a low drool percentage will go a long way toward reducing potential allergic reactions.
The Skin Factor!
These proteins adhere to the skin when the animal is cleaning itself. They are also exuded from the skin in varying quantities.
Keeping your pup clean with regular baths or a wipe down with a damp cloth will keep the irritating dander at bay.
The Shed Factor!
All dogs shed to some extent and the dander sticks to the hairs. For allergy sufferers, low-shedders are the way to go! Keep seasonal shedding under control with regular grooming at that time of year.
“Low Shedding Dogs to Non Shedding Dogs” Does Not Mean They’re Hypoallergenic!
It is the proteins found in the saliva and on the skin that cause most allergies and not the fur. So, the amount of shedding is not directly related to the doggo being hypoallergenic.
Low-shedding dogs are only considered as more hypoallergenic because there is less of a likelihood of dander floating about.
The Benefits of Owning Dogs that Don’t Shed
Even if you don’t suffer from pet allergies, it is super handy to have a hound that doesn’t shed. No white fluff on your black coat just as you are about to walk out of the door. Less vacuuming and cleaning to be done!
Best Dog Breeds that Don’t Shed!
Poodles: Poodles come in many shapes and sizes (toy, miniature, standard). All three of the varieties have a curly, hypoallergenic coat. You are sure to find one that will suit your lifestyle to a T.
Schnauzers: Schnauzers also come in three sizes – miniature, standard and giant. They have a dense and wiry, weather-resistant double coat. This is a case of less is less. Less dog equals less dander, so a smaller dog might be more tolerable for a pet owner with allergies.
Terriers: Many of the Terrier breeds, e.g Airedale Terrier with its dense, wiry coat; and the Cairn Terrier with its double dose of attitude, are low-shedders or dogs who need regular grooming.
Weird but Wonderful Small Dogs That Don’t Shed!
Bichon Frise: AKA Cheerleaders of the canine world! Their plush and velvety coat is hypoallergenic. Their dense undercoat catches up shed hair, which is then groomed out.
Chinese Crested, Weirdest of them all: Chinese Crested dogs are either hairless (only have hair on the head, feet, and tail) or ‘powderpuff’ (soft coat covering the whole body). This dog sheds little to no hair.
Maltese Poodle: These pooches have a long silky coat that should be groomed daily. This should be done outside to avoid having unnecessary allergens inside the home.
Coton de Tulear: This adorable clown of a pup will make a super hypoallergenic companion if you are willing to put in the time to groom it almost daily.
Yorkshire Terrier: Yorkies are hypoallergenic because their coats are more like human hair than pet fur. Regular brushing and bathing will keep your Yorkie looking F.I.N.E fine and keep you from sneezing!
Medium Dog Breeds That Don’t Shed!
Shih Tzu: This playful “Lion Dog” has a long and luxurious coat that requires daily brushing.
Kerry Blue Terrier: These pooches don’t shed. To avoid matting, their coat should be meticulously brushed once a week.
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier: Once again, a high-maintenance hairdo, but it has the upside of being hypoallergenic.
American Hairless Terrier: The name says it all! These fur-free pups have a spunk and pluck without the sneeze-inducing fluff.
Portuguese Water Dog: Made famous by the Obama family, this super intelligent swimmer is a great companion! The dense and abundant coat is hypoallergenic but requires regular grooming.
Barbet: A French water dog with a dense curly coat.
Xoloitzcuintli: Once you have wrapped your tongue around its name, you can pack away your grooming kit. This Mexican pup requires minimal grooming. It might need a bit of sunscreen though if you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the sun.
Fluffy Big Dogs That Don’t Shed
The Bedlington Terrier: This fun-loving, non-shedder makes for a fantastic family pet.
Labradoodle: Technically, not a breed. This is a combination of a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle. Most pups are born with a poodle-like coat, but as this is a mix breed there is no guarantee.
Bouvier des Flandres: This barrel-chested big dog is hard-working, endearing low-shedding to boot! Low-shedding means a higher chance of their being hypoallergenic dogs!
Afghan Hound: Say what? This Ultra Hair Barbie of the dog world is hypoallergenic? Yup. Despite its luscious locks, the Afghan Hound is a low shedder. The regular bathing and grooming required to keep this hound looking its best help to keep dander to a minimum.
Irish Water Spaniel: One of the oldest spaniel breeds. These curly coated canines make for a playful and affectionate hypoallergenic companion.
Lagotto Romagnolo: This Italian, truffle hunter could be mistaken for a poodle with its curly locks. They have two layers of hair rather than fur and only shed nominally making them great potential hypoallergenic dogs!
Don’t Let the Dander Get You Down! 10 Tips to Keep Those Dog Allergies at Bay!
1. Opt for wood or tile floors rather than carpeted floors.
2. If you do have mats or carpeted areas, shampoo them frequently.
3. Vacuum your floors and furniture regularly, especially areas where your doggo likes to hang out.
4. If you have a breed of dog that looks snazzy with a salon trim, keep this up on a regular basis.
5. Groom your dog outside of the home or get someone else to do it.
6. Wash your pet’s bedding once a week.
7. If possible, don’t allow your dog in the bedroom.
8. If your allergy is specifically from your dog’s saliva, don’t let your dog lick you.
9. Bath your dog once a week or send it to the groomer regularly.
10. Buy an air purifier or vent filter to minimize pet allergens in the air.
Need to Test Which Breeds You’re Not Allergic To? Try the Animal Shelter!
Different dog breeds produce different proteins. Someone who is allergic to a low-shedding Bichon Frise might get on dandy with a German Shepherd. If you have a pet allergy, try to spend time with as many different dogs as you can to see whether your allergy is breed specific.
Once you have narrowed the search down to a few different breeds, offer to foster dogs from your local animal shelter to see whether you can find a best buddy that doesn’t make you sneeze!
You should give all dog breeds a chance! You might be surprised by your perfect match!
There are so many weird and wonderful dog breeds out there. You will be sure to find a great match for your situation. Check out the American Kennel Club site for a list of some of the fantastic fluff free pooches out there.