According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, about 10 percent of Americans are allergic to dogs. Common allergies associated with canines include dander, hair, or a combination of both. Usually allergic reactions are quite mild, resulting in sneezing and itchy eyes, but others can experience asthma attacks and even constricted breathing.
But let’s face it – dogs are great to have around, most of them are quite cute, and they’re always the perfect addition to any home, so many people simply deal with the itchy eyes and the coughing and buy stock in Visine and Benadryl.
Ever since President Obama’s quest for a hypoallergenic dog to become part of the White House family due to his daughter’s dog allergies, the amount of pet owners seeking “hypoallergenic” dog breeds has about skyrocketed. While no dog is purely hypoallergenic, certain breeds have more predictable and consistent non-shedding coats. Typically a dog sheds its skin every 3-4 days while some breeds shed their skin every 21 days. Dogs that do not shed much or as often have shown to produce less dander, which makes them more tolerable for those with allergies.
Below are ten dog breeds that are best for dog lovers suffering from allergies. These breeds may ease the sneezing, itchy eyes and other allergic reactions to man’s best friend:
10. Irish Water Spaniel
Like many dogs on this list, the Irish Water Spaniel is a breed that requires plenty of exercise, as work comes naturally with these dogs. The Irish Water Spaniel is a very rare spaniel breed that has a hairless tail but plenty of hair on the rest of its body. The breed has a tight curly coat that does not shed often or much, making it a canine companion that is ideal for those with allergies. Since the Irish Water Spaniel has a thick coat, proper brushing and maintenance is required on a monthly basis. Trimming and brushing is usually all that’s required in order to prevent tangled hair and matting.
9. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
One of the many terriers on this list, the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, often more simply known as Wheatens, are very active dogs that love and need daily exercise. The breed originated in Ireland and is very similar to most terriers, but is unique in its very soft and silky coat. The breed is also well known for being a life-long puppy that thrives on being playful and merry. The breed is single-coated, which eliminates a great deal of shedding, but grooming is needed in order to prevent any matting that may occur.
8. Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terriers, often referred to as “Yorkies”, are the poster dogs for yappy canines that bubble with affection, energy, and a lack of fear. Despite their size, Yorkies will bark at pretty much anything, can be territorial, and aren’t afraid to stand up against larger breeds. The Yorkshire Terrier was originally bred to work as a ratting dog, and today the Yorkie has become an extremely popular breed, especially for those with allergies. Yorkies do not have an undercoat which means that they shed very little. Their hair must be cut routinely or it will continue to grow and grow. Maintaining a short coat on a Yorkie is a must for allergy sufferers, as it will minimize the amount of dander.
7. Portuguese Water Dog
As you may have expected, the Portuguese Water Dog makes the list, as the breed is not only great for dog lovers with allergies, but has become extremely popular due to the Obama Family and their White House dog “Bo.” This breed is very energetic, active, and requires daily exercise. The breed is intelligent and obedient, but sometimes high energy levels can make training an obstacle. Since Portuguese Water Dogs have a non-shedding, thick, curly coat, this breed is ideal for pet owners with allergies. Despite the non-shedding coat, the Portuguese Water Dog requires routine brushing and maintenance.
The Schnauzer is a breed said to have originated in Germany, and is said to be a cross between a Poodle and Affenpinscher. Schnauzers come in three different breed sizes, and can range from 11 to 30 pounds. While these dogs aren’t big by any means, Schnauzers are very protective and will bark at any new faces that may come into its home. Schnauzers do not shed much at all, though their coats do require grooming to keep hair at an acceptable length.
The Havanese is very comparable to the Bichon Frise, except the breed is native to Cuba, hence its name meaning “Little Dog from Havana.” The breed dates back to the time of the Cuban Revolution and slowly gained popularity in the U.S. years later. A very playful dog, the Havanese is another breed that does not shed much at all. But, despite the lack of shedding, this dog’s coat is known to produce and collect dander, so daily brushing is ideal in order to decrease the amount of allergy irritants.
Originally bred on the Island of Malta, the Maltese is another breed that is commonly compared to the Bichon Frise. The Maltese is a very active and playful dog for its small size, and short walks are ideal in order to keep them well-exercised. This breed is well known for its long, pure white coat that requires daily brushing and grooming to avoid matting and tangles. Grooming is also necessary to prevent tear-staining around the eyes. Despite the long coat, the Maltese does not have an undercoat, which greatly reduces the amount of shedding and dander.
3. Bichon Frise
As this breed’s name translates to in French, the Bichon Frise is truly a curly lap dog that is soft, cuddly, fluffy, and everything you’d expect out of a big puff of fur. The Bichon Frise is a playful dog, despite its size and is known for its gentle nature, making it a great dog for any family. This breed has an all-white coat that has very minimal shedding, which means that grooming is a must-do as the hair can easily become matted if not taken care of properly.
Though Poodles are often conceived as girlie dogs, the Poodle is actually a smart breed. Along with their intelligence, they are extremely obedient and highly trainable, which has landed them spots in European circuses dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The Poodle also sports a coat that does not shed. Because of this, the amount of hair that may cause one to sneeze is highly reduced. But, owners should be aware that Poodles do still produce dander, which can cause an allergic reaction just as dog hair can.
1. Chinese Crested
Lively, alert, and playful are perfect descriptions for the Chinese Crested. While the Chinese Crested may not be the most aesthetic dog on this list, the breed stands as one of the few that is known to be, for the most part, hairless. The Chinese Crested only has hair on its head, feet, and tail. With a lack of hair, the amount of dander and stray dog hair is minimal. However, due to the lack of hair, which serves as a protective surface just as in humans, Chinese Crested’s are more likely to suffer from sunburn, skin irritations, and ironically enough, allergies.