If you or a loved one suffers from dog allergies it can be really frustrating. But did you know that there are hypoallergenic dog breeds that might not provoke your allergies? Keep reading to find out more.
If yourself or a loved one has a dog allergy it can be really frustrating, and you may feel like you're missing out on all the unwavering love that a dog offers. For those unfortunate enough to have an allergy, you may have heard of hypoallergenic dog breeds. These dog breeds are commonly recommended because they don't shed hair or they produce less of a protein that causes allergic reactions in people.
But is there really such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog? Keep reading to find out what actually causes allergic reactions to dogs and which breeds could be best for you.
What are hypoallergenic dog breeds?
Hypoallergenic dog breeds tend to come in two distinct varieties: the first is dogs with little or no hair, such as the hairless Chinese Crested, and the other is breeds that don't shed their coat, which will need to have their fur regularly trimmed or stripped.
There is plenty of debate around what exactly causes dog allergies, and many people believe that the allergy lies within the hair, so dogs that don't shed won't cause allergic reactions. However, this is not the case as most people with dog allergies aren't actually allergic to the fur, it's usually either to dog dander - microscopic particles of skin that shed from all animals with fur or feathers - or a particular protein that is found in dander, saliva and urine of dogs. All dogs produce this protein, but hypoallergenic dog breeds produce less, meaning that they'll cause fewer allergic reactions.
Despite claims, there is actually no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog breed, so if you or a family member suffers from a dog allergy it's recommended that you spend time with your chosen breed first to discover if they will trigger any allergies.
The following are hypoallergenic dog breeds that don't shed that may be suitable for people with allergies:
1. Bichon Frise
This small, fun-loving pooch has curly white fur that keeps growing rather than shedding. Not only do they hardly ever drool, but their thick coat captures loose hair and dander, and this won't come out until the fur has been removed, so regular grooming is essential to maintain their coat.
The Bichon Frise is highly adaptable to a range of situations, and if you live in an apartment these dogs can adapt relatively easily.
The breed's affectionate and lovable attitude makes them perfect for family dogs. Interestingly, despite being from Tenerife their name actually means fluffy white dog in French!
2. Border Terrier
One of the most popular terrier breeds, a Border terrier's dense and wiry coat makes them a great choice for a dog breed that doesn't shed. However, their coat will require professional stripping once or twice a year, so bear that in mind.
Border terriers are extremely popular due to their calm yet adventurous personality. They will happily spend the weekends snuggled up with you on the sofa, but they are also always up for a new adventure, making them an ideal family dog.
3. Chinese Crested
The Chinese Crested is a hypoallergenic dog breed that comes in two varieties: hairless and fully coated. The fully coated breed is double coated, non-shedding and requires regular grooming, while the more widely known hairless breed has very little hair, making it ideal for those with dog hair allergies.
If you get a Chinese Crested dog with lighter skin, be aware that you will need to make sure that they wear a light cotton coat when they go out in full sunshine to protect their sensitive skin from burning.
Poodles actually come in three sizes, so whether you're looking for a small, medium or large dog, there's a poodle that will suit your requirements. They have non-shedding curly coats that require professional grooming to keep them under control. Some owners opt for a flamboyant style most commonly seen in show rings, whereas others simply keep their coat trimmed to a manageable level.
Poodle crosses like the Labradoodle and Cockapoo have grown in popularity in recent years due to their hypoallergenic claims. However it's worth noting that these crossbreeds will only be hypoallergenic dogs if they inherit the coat from their Poodle parentage.
5. Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dog skyrocketed to fame when Obama adopted one during his presidency. His beloved pooches Bo and Sunny were actually chosen because his daughter has a dog allergy and the Portuguese Water Dog is a hypoallergenic dog breed!
Bred as a fisherman's helper, this medium-sized breed has a single coat of tight curls, which is non-shedding and waterproof. Where they don't have an undercoat, their fur still requires regular maintenance. Their fur is most commonly groomed in one of two styles: the retriever clip or the lion clip, to keep their coat in tip-top condition.
If you're thinking about getting a hypoallergenic dog breed, take a look at our content hub, full of advice for getting a new dog. For more advice on choosing the best dog breed, explore our dog breed library for details on almost 200 breeds of dog.