Sure, adopting a dog brings many benefits to both human and pup, but just where do you start if you’re allergy prone? You first need to know that no dog breed is entirely hypoallergenic or allergen-free; some breeds are just less likely to trigger allergies in many people who have them. Another thing worth knowing is that people tend to react to pet dander rather than just the particular coat itself, and dander consists of skin cells the animals shed, as well as their saliva, urine and any sweat on their fur.
The good news is that if you’re looking for a canine companion but are allergic to dogs, there are great options out there that may be a potential fit (just keep in mind that even within different hypoallergenic breeds and even within a single breed, you may have different levels of reaction to different pups, so it’s always a good idea to spend ample time around the dog and the litter you have in mind before committing to avoid heartbreak on everyone’s part). Whether you’re looking for a large hypoallergenic dog or small non-shedding breeds, here is a list of hypoallergenic dog options for you and your loved ones.
This regal-looking breed does tend to have moments of silliness, but is devoted and loyal to the core. Famous for their elegant beauty, the Afghan Hound’s temperament requires the right human pairing, but this agile hound is one great option for those who also have allergies. While at first blush it may not seem like this breed is hypoallergenic, their silky coats shed quite infrequently. When they are young, they have a short, fuzzy coat that gets longer and silkier as they get older. Afghan Hounds are a breed that requires regular grooming, but if you don’t mind that, they may be just the breed for you.
American Hairless Terrier
As their name suggests, the American Hairless Terrier is a great option for those with pet allergies, because they don’t have the hair of most other canines. They shed very little, but because they have so little hair on their body, you’ll need to make sure to care for their ears and protect them from sunburn. The breed is a native of Louisiana and you can expect the same lovable traits of other terriers.
This breed is known for its unique bark – or rather lack there of – and for being intelligent and independent. They also have a cute tail that curls. This breed also doesn’t come with that “dog smell” and their short coat only sheds once in a while, limiting the need for extensive grooming.
This sheep-like terrier is known for its fluffy appearance, and is good news to pet allergy sufferers. Known for their playful energy and desire to be the centre of attention, they have curly coats that don’t shed. Their coats do grow quickly, so you will need to schedule regular grooming sessions for this soft and cuddly breed.
This large hypoallergenic breed can grow to between 55 and 85 pounds. Their unique coat knots and actually consists of three different types of dog hair. Best part? They don’t require combing or brushing, so they are a great option for those looking for a low-maintenance pup in that department. This calm, generally happy breed is eager to please, and like other Shepherd breeds is smart, devoted to work and loyal to its human.
This sweet, white fluffy dog is known for its playfulness, and has charm and personality to boot! They have lots of energy, are great with kids and their coats make them great for those with pet allergies. Bichon Frises shed rarely and when they do, their hair is caught in their undercoat. This breed does require regular brushing and grooming to avoid knotting, but for those willing to put in the work, they make a wonderful canine companion.
Coton de Tulear
This breed isn’t as common as some of the other ones on this list, but that doesn’t make them any less cute! They have long, soft, cotton-like hair that does need to be groomed occasionally. Also known as the Royal Dog of Madagascar, this breed is a perfect home companion, with a happy-go-lucky and goofy personality. They’re loyal and are happy to spend much of their days following their humans around. They are a small breed, only growing to about eight to 13 pounds, making them perfect dogs for apartment living.
Recall Toto from The Wizard of Oz? This small, yet fearless wiry-coated breed seldom sheds, making them an ideal furever furiend for those with allergies. Growing up to 14 pounds, they are an affectionate and warm breed that was originally bred to root out foxes in the Scottish countryside. They have a happy disposition and are endless busybodies that are at their happiest in an attentive household.
For those who prefer larger dogs, the Giant Schnauzer is one of the largest on this list. Like the two other types of Schnauzers, the Giant variety is easy to train, super intelligent and very loyal. This breed does shed, but not a lot at any one given time — making them a good choice for those with pet allergies. Regular grooming and brushing does also help keep these at bay.
Happy by nature, this small-sized curious pup can have a coat spanning a variety of colours. You can keep their coats trim and short (advised for allergy sufferers), or just let their regal manes flow (but be sure to brush them regularly). They are considered as non-shedding, and their personalities are extremely warm and affectionate, also making them great with children and other dogs.
This teddy bear of a pup is not only incredibly cute, they also have a quirky history. They were bred specifically to hunt for truffle mushrooms – a prized delicacy – earning them the nickname “truffle dog.” Like some of the other dogs on this list, they are hardworking and sturdy, and naturally, have a very sensitive nose. The breed’s double coat consists of thick, curly hair rather than fur, making them an ideal hypoallergenic pet. They shed minimally but they do require regular trips to the groomer to avoid matting.
Portuguese Water Dog
Made famous as the Obama family’s White House dog breed of choice, Portuguese Water Dogs are also a great option for more humble abodes. They are a medium-sized, water-loving breed (hence their name), who are equal parts smart and trainable as well as athletic. While their coats are hypoallergenic, they do shed seasonally, so grooming should be a priority especially around these times of year.
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This beautiful breed is known for its trademark perpetual smile and white-coloured double coat that does require quite a bit of maintenance – both regular brushing and grooming. Worth knowing, however, is that this intelligent breed is a working dog breed, bred to be their human’s companion so they don’t fare well being left alone without their owners. They are one of the largest dog breeds on this list (growing up to 65 pounds) and they require regular mental and physical stimulation to feed their curiosity and endless supply of energy (they were bred to survive in the coldest climes, pulling sleds among other tasks). If you can provide this, the Samoyed is an irreplaceable companion who is loyal, loving and and incredibly social.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
As you might have noticed, majority of the terriers on this list have wiry coats, but not the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, as the name suggests. By contrast, this breed’s coat is silky-smooth and seldom sheds, but does require frequent brushing to avoid matting. This active, energetic breed is friendly, devoted and loyal, requiring lots of exercise and firm training as they tend to be on the stubborn side, as many terrier breeds are.
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Like their miniature or standard variants, you cannot go wrong with this incredibly intelligent dog, making them one of the most popular breeds on this list. They come in white, black or apricot in colour, their coats shed very little. If you choose to keep your pup’s coat short, you’ll need to groom it pretty regularly, otherwise, you’ll need to brush it regularly to avoid matting. Poodles are eager, trainable, athletic and make wonderful family pets, so if you’re looking for a hypoallergenic breed, this one may be the one for you.
West Highland Terrier
Just like other terriers, Westies have a playful curiosity and energy to spare, making them a favourite among their dog group. Playful by nature, their beautiful white coats also make them a great hypoallergenic option. They are small in size and grow to about 15 to 20 pounds, so they won’t take up too much space if you live in a smaller home or apartment.
Wire Fox Terrier
This sweet terrier breed is not only hypoallergenic, but their coats require minimal maintenance. Their coats are short, rough and wiry – typical to many other terriers. They make wonderful family companions and have loads of energy. They are also smart and fairly independent, excellent athletes with a natural sense of humour.
While the name might be tricky to say (for this reason they’re often called Xolo – pruned Show-low for short), this breed is in fact similar to the other hairless variety on this list (the American Hairless Terrier), as well as another breed not on this list (the Peruvian Inca Orchid). Like the aforementioned, they have no hair to protect their skin, so you’ll need to be cautious with their skincare, avoiding sunburn. Originating in Mexico, the Xolo is an excellent watchdog and a loving companion. They come in three sizes and there is also a coated variety that sheds only a little.
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Sweet little Yorkies are one of the smallest breeds on this list, easily packing into a purse. Don’t let this fool you on their personality though: they lack none of it. Their coat is made of hair similar to our own, making them a hypoallergenic dog breed. Just like humans, their coats do require regular maintenance and combing to avoid tangling.
This wide mixed-breed category includes any combination of poodle and any other breed. While doodles are wonderful and popular family options, it’s important to know not all are hypoallergenic. Because they are mixed, it’s hard to predict even within a single litter which parent traits each puppy will pick up. So, if one of the parents is an allergy-triggering pup, you’re risking having an allergy-triggering dog (still, doodle breeds between hypoallergenic dogs – such as maltipoos – would make them more hypoallergenic). Just be sure to do your research and spend ample time with the particular breed you’re hoping to bring into your family.