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5 Best Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

For most folks, the word "hypoallergenic"—which doesn't mean non-allergenic but merely less allergenic—translates into "as little shedding as possible." When dogs shed, they're not just shedding hair; they're shedding the dander and saliva that come with it. (Most people with dog allergies are allergic to the saliva or the dander, not to the hair itself.) Fortunately, there are many hypoallergenic dog breeds to help people with allergies avoid these issues. 

The more hair that stays on the dog, the less there is to fly around, stick to furniture, and invade your sensitive nasal passages. When choosing the best hypoallergenic dog, look for breeds that are: 

  • Small: Little dogs often have less hair to shed.  
  • Curly-coated: These dogs' hair tends to cord rather than fall out, leading to less hair around your home.  
  • Single-coated: Dogs with one coat don't have a heavy, allergen-ridden undercoat. 
  • Hairless: If you're looking to avoid shedding altogether, a hairless dog may be right for you. 
  • If possible, try hanging around with members of breeds you like and see which of them sets you to sneezing. Interestingly, a person can be allergic to one dog and not another, even of the same breed. 

    The following hypoallergenic dog breeds are much less likely to set off allergy symptoms than other furry friends. Always remember that you should select a dog based on many factors, so consider the size, temperament. and needs as well. 

     

    #1: Poodles, Poodles, and Poodles!

    The curly-coated Poodles are tops on the list because they are so versatile. They come in three sizes, several colors, and a multitude of personalities, from serene and regal to sharp and sassy. They are also, without exception, intelligent and loyal. They even smell great, at least compared to most dogs. The large Standard Poodle may be the most hypoallergenic dog, pound for pound, but the smallest, the tiny Toy Poodle, will obviously produce less dander. The Poodle is definitely for you if you like living with royalty. Professional grooming is a must.

    #2: Bichon Frise

    bichon frise outside

    The curly-coated Bichon Frise is a calm, small hypoallergenic dog with a lower activity level. This highly trainable pup has a friendly attitude, making them an ideal pet for many. However, a puppy's coat quality differs markedly from that of an adult's, and you may be allergic to only one type. The Bichon's coat does need frequent brushing, so a person with allergies might want to hand off this chore to another family member.

    #3: Italian Greyhound

    The peaceful, elegant, and long-lived Italian Greyhound requires minimal grooming, which is definitely a benefit. They’re quiet in the house and good with other dogs and cats, but most tend to bond with just one person. They have almost no doggy odor, bolstering their case as one of the best hypoallergenic dogs!

    #4: Portuguese Water Dog

    portuguese water dog portrait

    The water-loving Portuguese Water Dog has practically the ideal coat for an allergy sufferer: It is low shedding and single. This is an active, athletic dog who nonetheless is comfortable in an apartment if given sufficient exercise. They may exhibit a definite preference for one family member over another. The breed needs frequent brushing and professional grooming.

     

    RELATED: 8 Dog Breeds That Don't Shed Much

     

    #5: Chihuahua

    The Chihuahua has two things going for them: a single coat and a tiny frame. Intelligent, alert, and long lived, this small hypoallergenic dog comes in a wide variety of colors, markings, and coat types. They can get plenty of exercise running around your house, and they get along well with other Chihuahuas. But they won't cozy up to strangers.

    More Cuddling, Less Wheezing

    Now that you know what dogs are hypoallergenic, it’s important to find the best breed for your lifestyle. If you have a pool or live near an ocean or lake, for example, a Portuguese Water Dog could be a great match. Allergy sufferers with limited living space might find the compact Bichon Frise or Chihuahua a better fit. No matter which breed you choose, you’ll have a happy buddy by your side for years to come!

     

    Diane Morgan is a pet care expert in Williamsport, Maryland, who has authored numerous books on dog care and nutrition, and has also written many dog breed and horse books.

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