Many of us are allergic to dogs — up to 10 percent of humans, according to some studies. If you are one of the unlucky sufferers, you know exactly how debilitating and frustrating a bad allergic reaction can be.
Dog allergens (the particles that trigger allergies) include their fur, their dead skin flakes, their saliva and their urine.
Obviously, all dogs have these, but some breeds shed less than others; also, for unknown reasons, some breeds’ allergens do not trigger the same severe reactions as others.
Here are 10 breeds that are considered hypoallergenic, in no particular order.
The Bichon Frise is a small at around 15 pounds, active, highly intelligent dog that can do well in most environments, be it an apartment or a house with a large backyard. Its hypoallergenicity is partly derived from the fact that it does not shed a lot of fur; the downside to that is that the breed requires a vigorous daily brushing.
The Chinese Crested, another toy breed that weighs about 12 lbs, has an unusual gene mutation that affects its hair coat. Some dogs may be completely devoid of body fur; others have little; still others, a full hair coat. Their playful and affectionate temperament make them a good addition to a family with children.
The Miniature Schnauzer, at about 11 to 15 pounds, combines high activity with high intelligence … which means they expect to be well integrated into your family activities. Its wiry coat is simple to maintain. Because it sheds very little, a daily brush is recommended to prevent matting.
Noted for its intelligence, the Poodle is another breed that less allergenic that most. However, their coats tend to require significant maintenance. Poodles come in three sizes, standard, miniature and toy; all three share a similar temperament. A poodle can be a great addition to any family, although it would be wise to select the size of your pet based on the environment you can provide.
Poodle mixes, like the Bichpoo, Yorkie Poo, and others, share a number of the poodle traits — intelligence, friendliness and hypoallergenicity. Because they are hybrids, they tend to suffer from fewer of the breed-specific diseases. The size of such dogs depend largely on their parentage, as do many of their other characteristics … which is why they are often referred to as “designer dogs”. They fit well into most environments.
The Maltese is a toy dog (just 4 to 6 pounds) that is active, energetic, fearless but gentle. Its silky, white coat does require regular maintenance and grooming. They make great companion animals. When crossed with the poodle, the resulting Maltipoo shares a number of similar characteristics.
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
The Wheaten, which weighs about 40 pounds, is single-coated and sheds minimally. These make great dogs for families that are active and have kids. When well brought up, they are protective but rarely aggressive.
The intelligent, lean and athletic Basenji is, on average, about 24 pounds. It’s classified as a hypoallergenic dog primarily because its short hair reduces the overall shedding load. But your family needs to be an active one, for a Basenji is no couch potato.
Irish Water Spaniel
If you are looking for a larger dog that is less likely to trigger allergies, the Irish Water Spaniel, at around 60 pounds, may be the one for you. It hardly sheds; surprisingly, brushing and grooming requirements are not very high — once every few weeks is often enough. It tends to be relatively easy to train and, while energetic, has a strong natural instinct to please.
At about 20 pounds and sporting very curly fur, the Bedlington looks a lot like a small lamb. This is a smart, energetic, exceedingly brave breed that has hardly any health problems. Its curly fur reduces shedding into the environment; however, for the same reason, daily brushing is required to prevent matting.
A Final Word On Hypoallergenic Dogs
There are two parts to every allergy equation: the allergen (hair, skin, etc) and you. Keep in mind that individuals vary in their reaction to different allergens and even though the above listed breeds are termed hypoallergenic, there could well be some that trigger allergies in you or other family members. So, before reaching a decision, it would make sense to confirm your compatibility by spending some time with the specific animal you are planning to make part of your family.