The 6 Best Dogs if You Have Allergies, Vets Say
Allergies are frustrating in general, whether you're allergic to a certain type of food or just seasonal pollen. But if you're an animal lover and find that your allergies flare up around dogs, it can be downright disheartening. You may believe that your sniffles and sneezing are tied to a dog's coat, but you've actually been misled.
"Many people believe that pet allergies are caused by shedded fur, but in fact, most people who suffer are actually allergic to their dander," Whitney Woolstenhulme, founder of the poodle-mix website Doodle Doods, tells Best Life. "Dander will cling to fur, and so when the fur is shed, the dander particles will disperse into the air and cause a reaction."
While no breed is 100 percent hypoallergenic, some dogs are less likely to trigger severe reactions, explains Amanda Takiguchi, DVM and founder of Trending Breeds. "Scientists believe that the characteristics of the coat and skin in these breeds means that they produce fewer allergens," she says.
If you've been struggling to find the right dog to avoid those red itchy eyes and scratchy throat, our experts have got you covered. Read on to find out the six breeds Takiguchi and her fellow veterinarians recommend seeking out.
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One of the breeds most recommended to Best Life by experts was the Bichon Frisé. These small white dogs are surely fluffy, but they're not going to make your allergies flare up.
"Apart from their kind and lovable personality that makes them so great for family dogs, Bichons are well-known for their pure white double coats that produce almost no dander," explains Sabrina Kong, DVM at We Love Doodles. "Bichons shed very infrequently, but when they do shed, they do it in very small quantities as most of their hair ends up being caught up in their undercoat, which is why they're so great for people with allergies."
Aiden Taylor, professional dog trainer and founder of the blog FurDoos, adds that these pups' temperaments are great for those with depression and anxiety. Bichons also won't shy away from houseguests. "When they meet new people, they quickly become best friends, so you don't have to worry when people are coming for dinner or Netflix&chill," he says.
Searching for a sweet, unique, and allergy-friendly breed? Look no further than the Bedlington Terrier.
"Always fun-loving and wanting to be in the center of attention, this breed is best for toddlers and seniors," Taylor tells Best Life, noting that they're a "curly fur of cuteness."
Erin Mastopietro, CEO of Dope Dog, agrees and notes that the Bedlington Terrier also has "lamb-like fur" that's allergy-friendly. "Their coat does not shed much but can grow really quick, so you need to clip them now and then." But if you're fine with that, Mastopietro adds that "they are gentle, friendly, and love to gain the attention of their family."
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You might not recognize this unique breed, which is currently ranked as the 87th most popular in the U.S., according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Basenji is often cited as a "cult breed," and this is one group those with allergies might consider joining.
"This breed has a short and low shedding coat," Mastopietro says, adding that you'll want to tend to the Basenji's shiny fur with a "soft bristle brush." But what they lack in allergens they make up for in energy, so this dog is a great choice for those with an active lifestyle, she adds.
Yorkshire Terriers, commonly referred to as "Yorkies," are also a solid option for the allergy afflicted.
"They have a silky coat that's more similar to human hair than a fur coat, and they don't shed," Daniel Caughill, co-founder of The Dog Tale, explains. "This means they'll need a haircut a couple of times a year, but they won't shed all over your home, leaving pet dander to agitate your allergies."
Taylor calls the Yorkie "a walking hypoallergenic plushy," and notes that their small stature is good for those with limited space. "Being a lap dog during the Victorian Era, this breed is a perfect comfort during autumn and winter months," he adds.
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Poodles are another hypoallergenic breed, and like Yorkies, they have a single layer of hair. "Poodles have a single coat, as opposed to the double-layered coat that most other dogs have," Woolstenhulme says. "This means that rather than shedding, their curly, single coat will just keep growing."
Their signature curly coats don't require too many trips to the groomer, and using a hypoallergenic shampoo can further downplay allergy symptoms, says Erika Barnes, founder and CEO of Petsmitten.
However, Poodles are also known for their tricky temperament, which led to the development of crossbreeds, Woolstenhulme adds. These include familiar names like Goldendoodles (Golden Retriever and Poodle), Labradoodles (Labrador Retriever and Poodle), and Maltipoos (Maltese and Poodle). These are also good selections for those with allergies, but you want to make sure that your doggo "inherits more genes from the Poodle side," according to Woolstenhulme. This will require a bit of research into Doodle genealogy and a bit more grooming, so you'll have to accept that as a tradeoff.
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The Chinese Crested is a unique choice for those with allergies, as there are both hairless and powderpuff varieties.
According to Hilda Wong, founder of Bark Posts, if you opt for the powderpuff, you'll have to commit to daily brushing of its coat, but it shouldn't be too challenging.
"The undercoat is shorter and the overcoat is long, making it easy to brush," she says. "If you have a problem with a dog's hair then you can go for hairless Chinese Crested because the shedding is not a problem and dog odor is also less."
Wong further notes that, like other breeds on this list, the Chinese Crested will fit in with your family and is both attentive and adaptable.