Top 8 dog breeds for allergy sufferers

Stick to these breeds and you won't sneeze … sorry.

A dog is a man and woman’s best friend, so just because you are allergic to some breeds, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on having a furry companion.

Those with pet allergies are sensitive to a protein called Can F1, which many people believe is caused by fur, but the real source is in the saliva and urine of dogs and cats. This protein sticks to the dead, dried flakes, which are known as dander, from your pet’s skin and they cause an allergic reaction to some people when they fall off.

Pet allergies can raise their ugly heads in many ways, including swollen nose and eyes; itchy eyes, nose, skin and throat; a rash on the face, neck or chest; and coughing and shortness of breath.

While there is no such thing a completely hypoallergenic dog, some are marketed as such because they shed little to no fur, so allergy-causing dander doesn’t get released into the air or the home. 

Before committing to any pet, a responsible breeder or shelter should allow you to return the dog if they set off allergies. Many shelters will let you spend one-on-one time before going through with the adoption of a four-legged friend. 

Here are some of the most popular hypoallergenic dogs that you may want to consider if you have pet allergies but still can’t resist a pet pooch:

West Highland Terrier
West Highland Terrier (Credit: Getty)

1. West Highland Terrier

West Highland Terriers, aka Westies, are a Scottish breed that are known for having big and friendly personalities packed into their little bodies, making them an ideal family dog. 

They rarely shed, making them ideal for those with asthma or allergies. When they do shed their short, light, white hair is easily vacuumed or removed with a lint brush. Regular brushing will also help keep shedding to a minimum.

If looked after, they can live for between 12 to 16 years. They remain small dogs with an average female weighing between 6–7 kg, while an average male weighs 7–10 kg.

They don’t grow taller than 30 cm, making them also the perfect indoor dog.

Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise (Credit: Getty)

2. Bichon Frise

A Bichon Frise’s soft, white, fluffy coat contains corkscrew curls, ensuring dead hairs with dander stay in place until they are groomed.

They are small, lively dogs, ideal for people with dog allergies, and friendly and affectionate enough to let around children.

Their life expectancy is between 12 to 15 years for male and females, while they can weigh between 3–5 kg, on average.

Standard poodle and a toy poodle
Standard poodle and a toy poodle (Credit: Getty)

3. Poodle

Originally used as an aid for duck hunters in France, the Poodle has become a favourite among dog allergy sufferers too, mainly because they shed little of their tight, curly fur, which helps retain the dander.

Poodles are intelligent, active and faithful, and can live for between 12 to 15 years. They can come in a range of sizes depending on the type, including Toy Poodle: 24 – 28 cm, Miniature Poodle: 28 – 35 cm, Standard Poodle: 45 – 60 cm, and Medium Poodle: 35 – 45 cm.

They also come in a variety of colours including black, white, apricot, cream, grey, brown, and black and white.

Former US President Barack Obama with Bo, the family's Portuguese Water Dog.
Former US President Barack Obama with Bo, the family’s Portuguese Water Dog. (Credit: Getty)

4. Portuguese Water Dog

The most famous Portuguese Water Dog are Bo and Sunny Obama, whose owners are the former US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle. 

The pair went in search of a dog that wouldn’t trigger their daughter Malia’s allergies, so chose this medium-sized dog breed because they produce little dander making it perfect for the White House.

These gregarious, docile pooches are widely accepted as excellent family companions.

They can live for between 12 to 15 years with an average female measuring between 43-52 cm and 50–57 cm for a male. A male can weight up to 27kg, and a female up to 23kg.

Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu (Credit: Getty)

5. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus malt a lot less than many other dog breeds, while their coat is more like human hair as opposed to typical dog fur, so these small dogs are less prone to igniting allergies.

They are known as clever, affectionate, lively, intelligent and loyal, and can live for between 10 – 16 years.

They remain small their whole lives with average males and females weighing between 4 – 7.2 kg.

Irish Water Spaniel
Irish Water Spaniel (Credit: Getty)

6. Irish Water Spaniel

Irish Water Spaniels have short hair and rarely shed, but they should be brushed at least once a week to keep their curly coat from tangling or matting, as well as to keep it clean and healthy. 

They are originally from Ireland and come in a red colour. They can live between 10 – 12 years and have a clownish but intelligent nature, so are easy to train and make excellent guard dogs.

They are medium in size and can grow up to 61 cm in height, while males, on average, weigh between 25–30 kg, and females weigh between 20–26 kg.

Giant Schnauzer
Giant Schnauzer (Credit: Getty)

7. Schnauzer

All three breeds of Schnauzers, but in particular the Giant Schnauzer, are typically considered to be hypoallergenic. These working dogs live between 12 – 15 years and are intelligent, kind, and strong willed. 

Females can grow between 60–65 cm, while males are bigger at between 65–70 cm.

The Giant Schnauzers come in black, and salt and pepper.

Cavoodle (Credit: Getty)

8. Cavoodle

The Cavapoo or Cavoodle is a hypoallergenic dog breed that hardly sheds or drools. They are a cross between a miniature or toy poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 

In Australia in the late 1990s, this breed became highly popular with crossbreeding programs.

They are even-tempered with Toy Cavoodles growing to between 28cm to 35cm at the shoulder as adults. 

Mini Cavoodles will grow to between 33cm to 45cm at the shoulder as adults.

Note: While the breeds in this collection tend to be more allergy-friendly, no dog can be guaranteed not to cause any allergic reaction and individual pets will vary. Do not stop taking allergy medicine without speaking to your doctor.

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