You are thinking of adopting a pet-small, but fun to have around. But you or a family member, has pet allergy. Then a small hypoallergenic dog which won’t aggravate the allergy symptoms is a good option. Here are a few breeds that might suit your needs.
Dog lovers will agree that dogs are loving and faithful pets that add much compassion and love to our lives. But along with the many smiles they bring, they may also be responsible for producing allergic symptoms like, sneezing, itching, runny noses, or even hives. The underlying cause of these is not dog hair, as many people think, but a protein present in their cells. This protein can be in their hair, saliva, urine, or dander (dead skin cells). There are a few dog breeds that are considered hypoallergenic, meaning dogs that cause fewer allergy symptoms. These dogs generally shed little hair, produce less dander, and drool less. The small amount of allergens they produce get trapped in their coat, and do not get released into the environment. Here are some breeds that are considered safer.
Often called monkey dogs for their distinctive facial structure, the Affenpinschers are sturdy toy dogs that shed less. Their coat is rough and usually black, though other colors like silver, tan, or red are also present. They are intelligent, active, and mischievous, and get along well with children and other pets. They can become possessive about their toys and food. Affenpinschers need constant stimulation, so require varied training and firm handling. They are best-suited for families with older children, and can live in an apartment, even without a yard. A daily walk and weekly brushing and combing is sufficient to keep them happy and at their best. Their coat may require some plucking, however, it shouldn’t be clipped too short.
American Hairless Terrier
This is a small working dog that is completely hairless, although a few dogs may have the recessive gene trait and are born with a coat of short hair. They come in a variety of colors and patterns. They are lively, playful, and energetic dogs; very easy to train and get along well with children. They require daily exercise-at least half an hour. While they can live in an apartment, a small yard is a must as they love to dig. Their hairless skin has to be protected from excessive sun exposure and cold weather. Bathing is recommended a couple of times in a week with an occasional application of lanolin-free moisturizer to prevent dry skin. With no hair and little dander, the AHT is considered the perfect dog for allergy sufferers.
The Aussie is a small, sturdy dog that sheds little or no hair. It has a shaggy, long coat that is usually tan, blue, sandy or red-colored with a lighter topknot. They are courageous, loyal, and easy to train. Australian Terriers are obedient, and friendly towards children and other pets. However, they must be watched closely, especially around small pets. The male Australian Terrier might not get along with other male dogs. They can live in urban as well as rural settings, and are suitable for apartments without a yard. The Aussie should be taken for walks daily, and their grooming consists of brushing the coat 2-3 times a week.
These elegant and athletic dogs have a short, shiny coat, that comes in red, copper, and black colors. Tricolors and brindles are also acceptable, however the feet, chest, and tip of the tail have to be white. They are very energetic, intelligent, and curious creatures with a few cat-like qualities, and need to be watched around children and small pets. Though reserved with strangers, they are quite affectionate towards their owners. They need consistent and firm training, as they may get destructive. They do not bark, and can live in an apartment with a small yard. They need daily exercise and long walks, with a few interesting games and activities to keep them physically fit and drive boredom away. They keep themselves clean and need just an occasional brushing to remove loose hair. Basenjis are excellent for people with allergies-these dogs shed little or no hair.
The Bedlington Terriers, with their short double coat of mixed soft and rough hair, resemble a lamb. They come in blue, sandy, or liver colors with tan points, and their color may lighten with age. Loyal, alert, and brave, these dogs love children, however, they need some training to get along with other pets. Training them might be a challenge; while they do not respond to harsh techniques, they respond well to positive reinforcement with lots of treats. They love to bark and dig, and need to be leashed as they are extremely fast runners. They can live in an apartment without a yard but need long, daily walks. They have to be combed weekly and clipped every two months to maintain their lamb-like appearance. They shed very little, and are thought to be good for people with pet allergies.
The Bichon Frise is a small hypoallergenic dog with a soft dense inner coat and a smooth, silky outer coat. Their coat is usually white with cream, apricot, or gray coloration. The Bichon Frise is easy to train, has loads of energy, and loves to snuggle. They are very social and intelligent, and can be taught to perform tricks. This dog breed is perfect for small children as well as the elderly. They can live in an apartment without a yard. Though playful, all they need is a daily walk. They have to be brushed everyday and need professional grooming and bath about once a month. This reduces allergens and shedding; the little hair they shed gets trapped in their dense undercoat.
The Bolognese is a small dog with a pure white, wooly single coat. They shed very little hair and are quite similar in temperament with their cousin, the Bichon Frise, just a little more docile and serious. These dogs are very obedient and friendly, and get along well with everyone. They are suitable for an apartment without a yard. They need a daily walk, but a good, energetic game can be a good-enough exercise for them. They need to be brushed everyday, and professionally groomed once a month.
These hardy little dogs have a short, dense, wiry double coat which gives them an adorably scruffy appearance. They come in a variety of colors like tan, red, blue, etc. They are lively, agile, and bold; yet affectionate and mild-mannered. These dogs are very easy to train and get along well with children. However, they are not good with other pets as they are hunting dogs. They are loud barkers, love digging, and may become timid if not trained properly. They can live in any environment, but need a small, fenced yard to run around; they also need daily long walks. Border Terriers look best in their natural, dust-resistant coat, so weekly brushing with a professional grooming session once in six months is usually necessary. They shed little, and are thought to be good for people with allergies.
The Cairn Terrier is a hardy, adventurous dog, best known for playing ‘Toto’ in the film, The Wizard of Oz. It has a harsh outer coat which comes in a range of colors. A few of them become more black or gray as they age. These dogs will fascinate the kids for their love of performing tricks and inquisitive nature. Though they adapt well in an apartment, they need some firm handling and a daily walk to keep them active. Grooming is a must and they have to be brushed several times a week. They also need a monthly bath followed by thorough brushing to prevent any matting. They shed very little fur if groomed properly, and can be great pets for people with allergies.
Chinese Crested (Hairless)
The hairless Chinese Crested dog has a single coat of fur, often on the lower legs, tail, and on top of the head, though some may just have hairless patches. Intelligent, playful and affectionate, they make great lapdogs as they love being around people. They need to be treated gently as they are quite delicate, and some may even find them clingy. They do not generally bark, and are suitable for apartments. However, they should be taken for daily walks to keep them active. Since they are hairless, they should be kept warm, and special care and attention needs to be given to maintain their soft skin. Applying a good sunscreen when taking them out in the sun will help avoid sunburns. Frequent baths are good, followed by rubbing a little oil or cream. These dogs may be allergic to wool and/or lanolin, and may suffer from dental problems if proper care is not taken. They shed little to no hair, and are considered hypoallergenic.
Chinese Crested (Powderpuff)
The powderpuff is a slightly harder variety of Chinese Crested, and has a double coat of long, soft fur that comes in a variety of colors. They are friendly, affectionate dogs, and require lots of attention. These dogs are quite intelligent, but have a tendency to become barkers if not trained properly, though it is not in their nature. They do well in an apartment but require daily walks. Their long coat needs daily brushing and frequent baths. They shed little and are thought to be good pets for people with pet allergies.
Coton de Tulear
The Coton de Tulear, also known by the nickname Cotie, has a fluffy, long coat which can be white, black and white, or tricolored. They are very affectionate and get along well with children and other pets. The ‘Cotie’ is a very curious, intelligent, and playful dog that will endear anyone with their tricks. They can live in an apartment without a yard and are good family dogs, though they require some firm handling. They have great stamina, and can play for hours, however, a daily walk is necessary for them. They need to be groomed daily-combing and brushing their long coat daily is necessary to prevent matting. They have very little dander, and the little hair they shed gets trapped in their coat, so they are considered excellent for people who are prone to pet allergies.
These little canines are quite sturdy and come in different colors and patterns. They love company-children, dogs, and even cats are welcome. They are very easy to train, love performing tricks, and will not bark if trained properly. The Havanese dog is an excellent pet for families with children. They do not like to be left out, so they will not adapt well to living outside your house, however, they can live well inside an apartment. They need to be exercised and taken for daily walks. They have to be brushed well at least 2-3 times a week, although if you cut their hair, less care is required. The Havanese is a good pet for people with pet allergies, as they shed little. The short-haired variety, Shavanese, is not considered hypoallergenic.
The Italian Greyhound is a hypoallergenic dog breed suitable for an apartment, although they prefer the outdoors. This dog has a smooth and short coat, that come in colors like fawn, blue, black, and red, with a small amount of white on the chest and feet. They are affectionate, intelligent dogs but require firm handling. They love to run, and are quite fast, however, care should be taken as their thin bodies make them fairly fragile. Spooked easily by loud sounds or strangers, they are best-suited as companions for the elderly. They are one of the easiest dogs to groom-just rubbing them with a moist cloth is sufficient. Give a bath only when it is absolutely necessary. Their short hair sheds very little.
This cuddly, social dog is quite popular for its cute appearance and playful temperament. Its white coat can have an ivory tinge, or lemon, orange or brown marking. The Maltese is very intelligent and enjoys doing tricks. Though they are extremely affectionate, playful and lively, they do not like to be treated roughly. They are fairly active and well-suited for an apartment, although they bark quite loudly at any suspicious sound. This breed needs regular bath and shampooing, and their long silky coat has to be gently brushed every day. Their eyes and ears also need regular cleaning. They shed little to no hair, and are considered hypoallergenic.
Miniature Bull Terrier
These are strong, muscular dogs with a characteristic egg-shaped head. Their coat is rough, short and flat, and comes in various colors. They are playful, gentle and friendly, and get along with older children. Their stubborn streak and short attention spans make them a challenge to train. This breed requires lots of socialization to get along with other pets. They need firm handling and will not do well when left alone for long periods of time. They can live in an apartment with a small yard, and are best-suited for active families with older kids. They might become destructive if not exercised well, so the Miniature Bull Terriers should be taken for long walks daily with an occasional game or run in the park. They are very easy to groom-a weekly brushing is enough to keep their coat glossy. They shed an average amount of hair in spring and fall, though a daily rubdown with a rubber grooming glove will help minimize their loose hair.
The Norfolk Terrier is a short, hypoallergenic dog breed that sheds little. They are sturdy with ‘drop ears’, and are very closely related to the Norwich Terrier. They have a wiry, short coat that comes in various shades of red, tan, black, or wheaten. They are pretty intelligent, easy to train, and are particularly fond of a game of catch and fetch. They are good with other pets and children, but might consider small animals to be prey. They are quite bold and vocal, with high energy levels. They need plenty of exercise and adapt well in an apartment. They do not require any special care-a daily combing with a steel comb is enough, and a bath should be given only when required.
The Norwich Terrier differs from the Norfolk Terrier primarily in appearance-the Norwich has prick ears while the Norfolk has drop ears. The double coat of this breed is wiry and rough to touch, and comes in various shades of red, tan, black, wheaten, and grizzle. They are very friendly and affectionate; and get along well with children and other pets. However, they should be watched around small non-canines. They are playful, fairly easy to train, and are good for active families. They can live well in an apartment. A good daily walk and an occasional game of catch is necessary to keep them active. They need to be brushed or combed daily.
Peruvian Inca Orchid
This exotic pet is categorized as a hairless breed, but some may be born with a short coat while others may have tufts of hair on their forehead, lower legs, or tail. They require experienced owners, and are intelligent, affectionate, and loyal dogs, that get along well with children and other pets. The Peruvian Inca Orchid (PIO) is a rather sensitive breed, and they don’t like to be left alone for long periods. They are fast learners, and are suitable for living in an apartment with a small to medium yard. A daily, long walk should suffice, however, care should be taken to protect their skin from cold and sunlight. They require an occasional bath followed by a rub with an oil or cream to keep their skin soft and smooth. Besides being hairless, these dogs do not drool and have no body odor, hence they are considered ideal for allergy sufferers.
Poodle (Toy & Miniature)
Poodles are considered hypoallergenic, and come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and patterns. They are intelligent, friendly, and affectionate, and are said to be the easiest dogs to train. They get along well with other pets and children, but need proper handling, so they are best-suited for families with older children. They are loud and energetic, and live well in apartments as well as farms. They shed little to no hair; the shed hair gets trapped in their coat, so to prevent matting their hair needs to be clipped every 2 months or so. Their teeth, ears, and nails need to be checked on a regular basis, plus a regular bath is a must. They should be taken for daily walks and outdoor play as they enjoy playing and performing different tricks.
Schnauzers are sturdy little hypoallergenic dogs. They have a double coat that comes in shades of black, white, salt-and-pepper, and silver. Their coat is usually clipped, and they have bushy eyebrows, mustache and beard, giving them a distinct appearance. If socialized and handled well, they can be loving and friendly pets, otherwise they may be prone to barking and aggression. They adapt well in an apartment, but need regular exercises, although a long walk everyday is enough to provide them energy. Their coat needs to be combed and brushed daily, and clipped twice a year. They shed little to no hair, and are considered good for people who are prone to allergies.
Short legs and a long bearded face give the Scottie its distinct appearance. They have a soft undercoat and hard, wiry outer coat that comes in shades of black and gray, wheaten and brindle. Bold, independent, and with a tendency to dominate, these dogs need consistent and firm handling, which can be challenging. They are loyal and protective dogs, and need plenty of socialization to get along with other dogs. They are good for an apartment, but have a tendency to bark frequently. A daily walk or a good romp is sufficient to meet your dog’s exercise needs. Grooming consists of thoroughly brushing your Scottie on a weekly basis, and professional stripping twice a year. These dogs shed little, and are considered hypoallergenic.
Sealyham Terriers are rare, low-to-the-ground, sturdy dogs. They have a white double coat of medium length with a beard on their muzzle. They are independent and possessive. While they get along with older children who respect their boundaries, they might become snappy or even bite those who come near their toys or food. Quieter and less energetic than most terriers, they are best-suited for the elderly, and are affectionately called couch potatoes. They need firm, consistent training, or they may become clingy, aggressive, and bark excessively. They can live in an apartment, and should be walked on a daily basis. Their coat needs to be brushed every alternate day, and to minimize shedding, they should be stripped several times in a year. These dogs shed little to no hair. Though clipped, they shed more when compared to stripped dogs.
This adorable little dog was bred to resemble a lion, and was a favorite of the Chinese emperors. They are quite sturdy and come in lots of different colors. Affectionate and lively, they get along well with children and the elderly alike, and make great lapdogs. They might be a bit difficult to train, though rewards and consistent training will take care of most of their behavior problems. They do well in an apartment, however, a short walk or romp in the yard or park is necessary to meet their exercise needs. Their long, silky coats are prone to tangles and matting, and require an elaborate grooming routine consisting of brushing thoroughly once a day and a weekly bath. The brush needs to reach the skin to avoid tangles and matting. Their eyes are especially prone to infections, so they need to be kept clean. These dogs shed little to no hair and dander.
These hardy and robust dogs are not considered as true terriers, but an ancient breed from Tibet. They have a double coat; the outer coat is long with a large number of colors and patterns. They are friendly, intelligent dogs, but can become willful. They can be good family dogs with a bit of firm handling. Their barking is sharp and they are quite vocal. The energy level of Tibetan Terriers is pretty high, so they need long daily walks and some amount of running. They need regular exercises, and can adapt well in an apartment with a small yard. Their long coat is prone to tangles, so they need to be brushed at least twice a week and bathed once a week. They usually shed little to no hair, except once in a year. They are considered hypoallergenic, but have to be groomed regularly to minimize hair and dander.
This dog has two coats, a soft undercoat and a wiry, rough, and dense outer coat. The back, neck, tail, and upper thighs are black or grizzle while the rest of the body is tan. These curious little dogs are very friendly and gentle; they can even withstand rough handling by young children. They are barkers and require consistent training. These terriers are very active; they love to play and need plenty of exercise. They are perfect for active families with small children and can live in an apartment with a small yard. They need to be brushed or combed every couple of days and their coat has to be plucked 1-3 times in a year. They shed little to no hair, and are considered hypoallergenic.
West Highland White Terrier
Also known as Westie, the West Highland White Terrier is a sturdy, small dog with a hard, straight outer coat-their coat is solid white. They are quite lively and easy to travel with but cannot stand rough handling. Some Westies prefer solitude and might become possessive towards their toys and food. They are stubborn and independent, and have a tendency to be vocal. However, with consistent training and lots of treats, training them becomes quite easy. They can do well in an apartment, even without a yard, and have to be taken for daily walks. These dogs need to be brushed daily and clipped regularly; they also have to be stripped every year. They shed little to no hair, and are good for people with pet allergies.
Xoloitzcuintli (Toy & Miniature)
Also called the Mexican Hairless Dog, the Xoloitzcuintli resembles the Peruvian Inca Orchid, and can be hairless or coated. These are intelligent, friendly dogs, who get along well with children and other pets. They need constant companionship and a regular schedule, as they get upset by abrupt changes. The Xolos are easy to train, as long as the training is interesting and consistent; it is recommended that all members of the family play an active role in their lives. They require plenty of stimulation and a daily walk. They are hardy and adaptable, but their skin is naturally supple, so they require minimal grooming. A weekly bath followed by a light moisturizer or oil is all that is needed. Giving frequent baths can damage their skin. They are hairless and produce very little dander.
This adorable dog has a silky, glossy, and long outer coat. The adult Yorkie has a tan body with steel blue coloration. They are very curious and adventurous and require firm handling. They have a tendency to be aggressive, especially towards other dogs even if they are bigger than them. They can live comfortably in an apartment, but have a tendency to bark a lot. Yorkies should be taken for daily walks. Their long hair is prone to tangles and needs to be brushed daily. Shorter and clipped hair is easy to maintain, and has to be brushed once or twice a week. These dogs shed little to no hair.
The Cesky is a relatively new breed with a silky, long, and wavy coat, that comes in various shades of gray, tan, and liver. Though they are quieter and calmer than other terriers, they are loyal, playful, and friendly dogs. They get along with children and other pets, but do not like rough handling. Although they are easy to train, they require firm handling, and may become destructive or stubborn if not trained properly. They can live well in an apartment provided they are taken for long, daily walks. They are good jogging companions as they enjoy running and have pretty good stamina. The Cesky Terrier needs frequent grooming, consisting of bi-weekly brushing and combing; and clipping every four months. They are considered hypoallergenic and shed little to no hair.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
This sturdy little dog has quite a distinctive appearance with a long body, short legs, and a big head accentuated by a topknot. They have a double coat comprising hard and soft hair, that come in pepper or mustard colors. Lively, bold and inquisitive, they get along well with older children but can be aggressive towards other pets. Besides, they can also snap when roughly handled. They are intelligent and independent, and require consistent and firm training-some may find it challenging. These terriers are diggers and barkers, though this may be controlled by firm handling. They are suitable for an apartment with a small yard. A daily walk and a game is sufficient for them, however, care should be taken as they don’t have a lot of stamina, though they are tough little creatures. Their mixed double coat needs thorough brushing on a weekly basis; frequent professional grooming includes clipping and stripping. Their eyes and ears have to be cleaned regularly.
Also called the ‘Little Lion’, this sturdy little dog has a thick, wavy, and long coat, which is often cut to resemble a lion. They come in many colors. These dogs are intelligent and easy to train. They love performing tricks, and get along well with children and other pets-they can handle a bit of rough play and love to be cuddled. They are barkers, fearless, and have a tendency to dominate; but are considered good for first-time owners. They do well in an apartment provided they are taken for daily walks or a romp. Their long coat is prone to tangles, hence they need to be brushed thoroughly twice a week, and clipped once or twice a year. They are non-shedding breeds, and are considered good for people with allergies.
In addition to these, there are many other mixed breeds and designer breeds that are bred specifically for allergic people. But it is recommended that you stick to purebred dogs, as the hybrids can be a bit unpredictable. Before you adopt any pet, always visit the breeder and handle the dog as much as possible to ensure that it is safe for you. Also keep in mind that a thorough grooming routine is required to keep their coats clean. You will also have to take extra efforts to keep the house as allergen-free as possible, by vacuuming and dusting frequently. But once you have got the routine down, the little creature is sure to be the best housemate you could ever have.