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Brown toy poodle lying in front of fire

Despite popular belief, there is no such thing as a “completely hypoallergenic dog breed.” However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope for people suffering from dog-related allergies. The allergens come from proteins in the dog’s saliva when they groom themselves, but low-shedding dogs or ones with short coats help alleviate this issue.

There are also breeds whose coat is made up of hair, much like human hair, rather than the typical fur. This coat type helps to keep the allergens and less dander from getting into the air around you. Let’s explore the best hypoallergenic dog breeds.

1. Bichon frisé

Known for their small size and beautiful white double coat, the bichon frisé is a playful breed. Affectionate dogs that are great with family members of all ages and sizes, this breed is a great choice for anyone looking for a new pup to bring home. Prioritizing grooming with this breed is a good idea, as they must be brushed multiple times a week.

Bichon frisé in a grassy field

Facts about the bichon frisé

  • Breed groupNon-sporting breed (American Kennel Club)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Only to alert
  • Life span — 14-15 years

2. Portuguese water dog

Sunny, the Obama family dog, is a perfect example of how Portuguese water dogs love to be involved with family events. Their thick, curly coat is very low-shedding, so they are a great option for a family looking for a hypoallergenic breed. An energetic and active dog, the Portuguese water dog is at home in the water and loves to swim.

Portugese water dog laying in grass

Facts about the Portuguese water dog

  • Breed groupWorking breed (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Life span — 11-13 years

3. Irish water spaniels

Loyal and affectionate, the Irish water spaniel is perfect for active families. This dog’s fur is curly, waterproof, and sheds very little. Brushing them regularly to keep the dead hairs from collecting in their coat is important. After a day of grooming and trimming, you can reward your dog with a refreshing swim.

Irish water spaniel standing in field with people

Photo: Canarian (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Facts about the Irish water spaniels

  • Breed groupSporting breed (AKC)
  • Intelligence — Average
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Life span — 12-13 years

4. Shih tzu

Loving, even-tempered, and friendly, the shih tzu lives to sit in your lap and receive affection. As such, this breed is a great option for dog owners new to grooming. Their long, wavy coat requires daily brushing, which keeps their hair from irritating allergies.

An adult shih tzu

Facts about the shih tzu

  • Breed groupToy breed (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Moderately vocal
  • Life span — 10-18 years

5. Chinese crested

Coat types vary across this breed, but hairless Chinese crested varieties require the least grooming. They need brushing every other day versus the daily brushing of the “powderpuff” variety. They are very low-shedding, but it is important to bathe them regularly. Dog allergies come not only from hair but also from dander and saliva. Regular bathing can help reduce this.

Chinese crested dog in a blue and yellow coat

Facts about the Chinese crested

  • Breed groupToy breed (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Semi-frequently
  • Life span — 13-15 years

6. American hairless terrier

While not the most popular dog breed — they are ranked 120 of 287 with the American Kennel Club — the American hairless terrier is a good choice for pet parents who are also allergy sufferers. A loving, curious, and playful breed, the American hairless are great dogs for families with children. Their hairless nature also keeps them from shedding, though they need to be bathed to keep their skin healthy.

American hairless terriers stood on a rock

Photo: (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Facts about the American hairless terrier

  • Breed groupTerrier breed (AKC)
  • Intelligence — Average
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Life span — 14-16 years

7. Coton de Tulear

The adults have long, soft, thick white coats, but some puppies are born with multi-colored spots that fade over time. A silly, happy-go-lucky breed, the coton de Tulear is great with children, other pets, and even strangers. Their silky fur needs to be brushed three to four times a week with a pin brush to keep the hair looking healthy.

Coton de Tulear sitting on grass

Facts about the Coton de Tulear

  • Breed groupNon-sporting breed (AKC)
  • Intelligence —High
  • Barking — Only to alert
  • Life span — 14-16 years

8. Peruvian Inca orchid

A playful breed, they are very loyal and loving with their family, though they may be wary of strangers. Engaging in mentally stimulating games such as hide-and-seek will keep your little orchid happy and involved. They are a very rare breed, with only around 1,000 around the world. They were originally bred as sighthounds and hunters in Peru.

Peruvian Inca orchid dog lying down

Facts about the Peruvian Inca orchid

  • Breed groupMiscellaneous breed (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Life span — 12-14 years

9. Giant schnauzer

The giant schnauzer may not technically qualify as a giant breed due to being under 90 pounds, but it has a giant’s personality. Fun-loving and energetic, this breed will excel with an active family that has plenty of land or goes on a lot of long walks. With a very high prey drive, the giant schnauzer does not do well around cats and may be wary of strangers. With proper socialization and training, they can do well around young children.

Giant schnauzer running through a forest with a stick

Facts about the giant schnauzer

  • Breed groupWorking breed (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Vigilant guardian
  • Life span — 12-15 years

10. Afghan hounds

Known for being independent and stubborn, the Afghan hound also has a fun-loving and clownish side. They are great with families with larger children, though they are not a danger to younger children. However, their high prey drive makes it more difficult for them in families with smaller pets.

Afghan hound posing in public square

Facts about the Afghan hound

  • Breed groupHound breed (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Occasionally around strangers
  • Life span — 12-18 years

11. Bedlington terriers

The Bedlington terrier is a very low-shedding breed with a short, curly coat made of hair rather than fur. They require weekly brushing to keep their hair from becoming matted or tangled. Their personality is very playful and affectionate, and they need mentally stimulating exercise to keep them from becoming bored and destructive. With a high prey drive, the Bedlington terrier is not suitable for a house with smaller pets like cats and rabbits.

Bedlington terrier walking across grass at a dog show

Facts about the Bedlington terrier

  • Breed groupTerrier breed (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Frequent
  • Life span — 11-14 years

12. Poodle

With hair that doesn’t shed or stop growing, The poodle is the perfect choice for a dog that will not upset your allergies. Plus, with three different sizes (standard, miniature, and toy) dog owners have many choices. Regardless of size, though, trimming their hair and keeping it properly brushed will keep it healthy. With very loving, playful, and loyal personalities, the poodle will want to bring a smile to your face as often as it can. They are great with the family — children and pets included.

Black poodle playing in a garden

Facts about the poodle

  • Breed groupNon-sporting breed (AKC)
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Above average
  • Life span — 10-18 years

Helpful tips for pet allergies

It is important to know where your allergies are coming from. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has found that it is not the fur or hair of your dog itself that you are allergic to — the allergens come from the proteins found in pet dander (dead skin cells), saliva, and dog urine.

Pet hair can also carry other allergens, such as pollen, mold, and dust mites. Your dog can carry in anything that they were exposed to while outside, so in addition to pet allergies, they can bring in others. Any of these can trigger allergic reactions if they get in your eyes, on your skin, or in your airways.

The best way to handle pet allergies is to limit your exposure to them in the first place. Having another family member groom or brush your dog doesn’t make you any less of a dog lover.

Additionally, pet hair can get tracked through the house and beaten into any soft flooring like carpet through repeated walking. It is best to replace them with dog-friendly flooring that can be easily swept and kept clean.

Finally, pet allergies are largely airborne. Therefore, it is important to keep your ventilation in mind. Central heating and air can push different particles throughout your house, so it is necessary to have good filters that can block any allergens coming through. Running an air cleaner with a HEPA filter can also help to keep the allergies down so that you can enjoy close proximity with your animal without suffering the allergic symptoms.