Table of Contents
- What Does Hypoallergenic Mean?
- The Best Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
- Bichon Frise
- Giant Schnauzer
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Shih Tzu
Article at a Glance
- Just because you have allergies doesn’t mean you can’t be a dog owner
- Understanding what hypoallergenic means will help you find the right dog
- There are many hypoallergenic dog breeds out there that are ideally suited for dog owners
Is it your dream to be a dog owner, but you feel like you can’t because you suffer from allergies? According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, as many as 3 in 10 Americans suffer from allergic reactions to cats and dogs. So, you’re certainly not alone. Better yet, there are various hypoallergenic dog breeds out there that are perfect for dog lovers who suffer from allergies. There are hypoallergenic dogs in all shapes and sizes, and you don’t have to let your allergies exclude you from dog ownership.
If you’re wondering where to start, check out our guide to learn about the cutest hypoallergenic dogs to consider.
What is a Hypoallergenic Dog?
You’ll see the phrase “hypoallergenic dog” thrown around a lot in the pet world. If you’re trying to find a dog that fits your restrictions, it’s essential to understand what that phrase exactly means.
First and foremost, it’s essential to know that no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic or allergy-free. Instead, the term hypoallergenic is reserved for those dog breeds that are less likely to stimulate allergies in their owners. Therefore, if a dog is labeled as hypoallergenic, it doesn’t guarantee that it won’t trigger your allergies to some extent. Instead, it just means that the dog is less likely to cause an allergic reaction when compared to other breeds.
While there are certain characteristics that tend to make certain dogs more hypoallergenic than others, the truth is, it really comes down to the individual pet and owner. You may find that a dog that isn’t traditionally considered hypoallergenic does nothing to trigger your allergies. Or, on the flip side, you may find that a traditionally hypoallergenic dog disagrees with your allergies. That being said, most hypoallergenic dog breeds share some similar characteristics. These characteristics include:
- They don’t shed, or they have a non-shedding coat that produces less dander
- They don’t have hair, which means it’s less likely that dander will cling to them
- They have short, single-layered coats, which means that with no undercoat to shed, the dander will come off the dog and stick around your home
You may have noticed that all of the above characteristics have one thing in common: dander. While many people think that allergies are caused by the dog’s fur itself, they’re actually caused by dander found on the dog’s skin or coat. Therefore, if your pooch has a thick, double coat and sheds a lot, there’s more likely to be dander floating around your home.
The Cutest Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
Now that you have a better understanding of what the term hypoallergenic means, let’s talk about some of the cutest hypoallergenic dog breeds. Some of your top choices include:
1. Bichon Frise
The name Bichon Frise is French, and it translates to “fluffy white dog.” One look at these little marshmallows, and you’ll immediately understand how they got their name. In addition to being hypoallergenic, Bichon Frises don’t really shed, which is excellent news for your floors and furniture. They make great companions for both children and older people, as they’re intelligent, love to play, and really friendly.
During daytime hours, Bichon Frises tend to gravitate toward wherever their human companions are sitting or lying around, and they’ll look to pull up a seat right next to them. At night, they can sleep on their own, but they also love sleeping next to someone. Bichon Frises are also patient and quiet dogs that require minimal exercise. They thrive on positive affirmation, and they’ll often retreat when scolded.
An affenpinscher is another excellent hypoallergenic dog breed to consider. Affenpinschers come with low-maintenance, wiry coats that grow slowly. While affenpinschers’ coats don’t require weekly grooming, they do need some upkeep. You should brush your Affie regularly to help its coat maintain its clean appearance. They were initially bred to chase rodents, so be careful about introducing an affenpinscher into a household with other small pets.
In terms of personality, these dogs tend to take themselves very seriously. However, they are funny without trying to be and will definitely make you laugh. Affenpinschers are good with other dogs, and they tend to do just fine at dog parks and while encountering other dogs on walks. They’re also decently friendly with strangers, especially once they’ve been socialized.
Unlike some other dog breeds on this list, all poodles fall under the hypoallergenic category. That is, miniature, standard, and toy poodles are all hypoallergenic. Poodles are highly intelligent, and they’re known for being easy to train (There’s a reason why you always see them dominating at the dog shows!). Poodles also make excellent family dogs, as they’re fun, smart, and energetic. They do best with plenty of mental and physical exercise, and they prefer to be around people most of the time.
However, poodles do not make good kennel dogs, so keep this in mind before you commit. If you’re wondering about their fancy haircut, there’s a reason behind it that has nothing to do with them being prima donnas. The “poodle clip” protects the joints and organs of this water-loving dog when swimming. Plus, there’s no doubt that the cut makes them look extra cute.
4. Giant Schnauzer
The giant schnauzer is another hypoallergenic dog breed worth looking into. Giant schnauzers are one of three types of schnauzers, with the other ones being the miniature and the standard. Giant schnauzers were originally bred to be working dogs, so they have a lot of drive and intelligence. These dogs also love to play and have lots of energy. Because of this, apartment living isn’t usually best for a schnauzer. Instead, it’s better to have a big yard with lots of space for training and playtime.
While these dogs do shed a bit more than the average hypoallergenic dog, they’re relatively easy to groom. You can minimize their dander by grooming and brushing them regularly.
5. Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire terriers are small, cute, and the perfect dog for allergy sufferers. Yorkshire terriers do not have an undercoat that sheds, so if you keep your pup trimmed and groomed, your allergies should stay at bay. In addition to being hypoallergenic, Yorkshire terriers are also great apartment dogs due to their small size.
They also don’t need vigorous exercise, and because they’re friendly and affectionate, they make excellent therapy dogs. They’re also known for being great dogs for children with autism, as they can offer both emotional and practical assistance for correcting behaviors. Even though they’re small, their sharp eyesight and keen sense of smell also make them excellent guard dogs.
6. Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus are Asian toy dogs that originate from Tibet. In addition to being well-known for their short snouts and large round eyes, they’re also known for being hypoallergenic. They have double coats, which means their hair will shed off into the coat itself rather than all over your furniture. Shih Tzus make great companions and require minimal exercise. Many people find that Shih Tzus are best for first-time dog owners, as they adapt well to new environments.
Shih Tzus also have good temperaments, and they excel in home living situations, making them the perfect apartment dog.
Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds: Time to Choose the Right Dog for You!
As you can see, there are many great dog breeds out there that are equally adorable and allergy-friendly. Now, all you need to do is figure out which dog breed is best for your lifestyle. As we mentioned earlier, your allergies may not completely go away with a dog in the home, but the above breeds will help keep your allergies under control when compared to other dog breeds.
Once you get a hypoallergenic dog, be sure to check out our top at-home training methods for new puppies!