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hair of the dog: a look at hypoallergenic dog breeds

  • Dr. Kim
  • Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan

If you sneeze at even the sight of a dog, I have bad news:  there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog.  All dogs shed skin cells and have allergens in their saliva.  Allergens are also found in fur and urine, too. 

There are, however, dog breeds that are BETTER people with allergies than others.  Poodles have long been touted as “hypoallergenic” dogs, and there is actually some truth to that.  Dogs that have hair, not fur, don’t shed as much and tend to produce less sniffle-provoking dander.  But poodles aren’t the only dogs that fit the bill.  Other good breed choices are:

  • Shih Tzu
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Maltese
  • Chinese Crested
  • Schnauzer
  • Airedale, and
  • Portuguese Water Dog


Remember that because these breeds have continually growing hair, they will all need to visit a groomer every four-to-six weeks, so be sure to include this in your budget (just like your pet insurance!). 

It stands to reason that large dogs will create more dander and shed more hair than a small dog.  If you have the choice, opt for a smaller version (such as a Miniature Schnauzer instead of a Giant Schnauzer, and a Toy Poodle instead of a Standard Poodle). 

You can cut down on your symptoms by controlling the amount of allergen in your environment.  Consider restricting your dog to certain areas of the house and purchasing air filters for your home.  Also be sure to vacuum frequently.  Bathing your dog twice a week will help him shed less dander.  Use a moisturizing shampoo to avoid excessive drying of his skin. 

Remember, not only will people vary in their sensitivities to dogs, but dogs will also vary in their production of allergens.  If at all possible, spend some time with your potential new pet before adopting him to make sure you’re a good match.

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Posted by Arlene Steinberg
on August 05 2011 13:48

I am extremely allergic and would not be able to have any of the breeds listed above. While it's true that it's not the hair that causes allergic reactions, the hair tends to trap the dander. However, I have discovered there is one breed that is low dander and has given me no problems in the 6+ months I've owned her. That is an American Hairless Terrier. All that is required is that I keep her bedding clean, and give her a weekly bath and I've had no issues at all from her. To be safe, she does stay out of our bedroom and we keep a hepa filter in there but otherwise she has the run of the house and is constantly jumping on me and yes, she even licks me. I strongly suggest that anyone who is allergic check out the breed.

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