Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

Has anyone else noticed how much hypoallergenic dog breeds have been gaining in popularity lately?  And for good reason. Many adults and kids suffer from allergies to pet dander, and simply not owning a dog isn't always a decision everyone will be happy with!

Case in point - my family. Our son has allergies to dogs, but being dog lovers, we knew that finding the right dog that didn't set off his allergies was worth it. I grew up with a dog, and wanted my son to have that opportunity as well! Of course, this isn't possible for everyone... if his allergies were severe, his health would absolutely come first.

So if you're on a mission to find the best hypoallergenic dog for your family, the first thing you need to realize, though, is that there is no such thing as a truly "hypoallergenic" dog breed.  Some dogs may shed less fur or hair, but all dogs shed at least a little dander.

Keep in mind that some people are allergic to dog saliva, not dander, and there are no breeds that can help with this type of allergy. Every dog has saliva. Also, even the most hypoallergenic dog breed on this list can still cause an allergic reaction in some people.  Every human is different, and so is every dog.

What Makes a Dog Hypoallergenic?

In general, these breeds are ones that have hair that grows continually, as opposed to fur which only grows so long and falls out.  What do I mean?  Dogs with hair don't shed as much as dogs with fur, especially if their hair is wavy or curly. The curlier the coat, the less shedding you're going to see.

Fur only grows to a certain length (determined by the breed), then falls out.  Hair will continue to grow, and calls for much more grooming and maintenance. Don't underestimate this aspect of owning a dog with hair!

I have a Cockapoo, and he needs brushing and combing every single day to keep the tangles at bay. Left unchecked, these little tangles will quickly turn in matts, which are incredibly painful for a dog. You'll also need to have your pooch professionally groomed every 6 to 8 weeks, and that's not cheap.

And while the best option is to stay away from dogs completely if you're an allergy sufferer, for dog lovers who just can't say no, these breeds can be a breath of fresh air! 

Enough with all that.  Here's a list of the top dogs for people with allergies.  Some of the ones listed are mixed breeds, some are large, and some are small. I think you should be able to find a winner somewhere here...

Hypoallergenic Dog Breed List

Small Breeds

  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Basenji
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Bichon/Yorkie
  • Bolognese
  • Border Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Cavachon
  • Chinese Crested (hairless)
  • Cock-a-poo (Cocker Spaniel/Poodle)
  • Havanese
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Schnoodle (Schnauzer and Poodle)
  • Shichon (Shitzu and Bichon)
  • Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier (I love this breed - so playful!)
  • Tibetan Terrier
  • West Highland Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie)
  • Coton Du Tulear
  • Hairless Khala
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Lowchen
  • Maltese
  • Malti-Poo (Maltese and Poodle)
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Shih-Tzu
  • Toy Poodle
  • Wire-haired Fox Terrier
Cocker Spaniel non allergic dog breedWhile cocker spaniels aren't hypoallergenic, a cock-a-poo (mixed with a poodle) is an option for allergy sufferers!
(Photo courtesy of Neil Conway via Flikr)

Large Breeds

  • Airedale Terrier
  • Bergamasco
  • Bernadoodle - Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle
  • Portuguese Water Dog - remember Bo, the Obama's dog?
  • Labradoodle (Lab and Poodle cross - look for a second or third generation, not a first generation, as the coat of the puppy is more easily predicted)
  • Standard or Giant Schnauzer
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Bouvier des Flanders
  • Puli (now that's an interesting breed!)
  • Shepadoodle
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Standard Poodle

As you can see, there's a lot of options when it comes to a hypoallergenic dog breed. And you may very well find a breed that is not on this list that you don't have an adverse reaction to.

As I said, our own dog, Milo, is a small Cockapoo, which is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle (in his case, a toy poodle). He doesn't shed at all that I've ever seen, making him a good non-allergic dog breed. That being said, my son has allergies, and while there is no fur to set off his allergies, he does still get a slight skin reaction if Milo licks him.

Dogs for people with allergies come in all shapes and sizes. Be patient in your search - you're guaranteed to find one!