20 Dog Breeds for Allergy Sufferers

Certain Breeds May Offer Relief

Many pet lovers are allergic to dog dander, dog saliva, and/or dog urine, and can therefore find it challenging to live with a four-legged companion. The protein in the saliva and urine sticks to the dried dander of a pet’s skin which is then released into the air, triggering allergy symptoms in people.

While there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, certain breeds that don’t shed fur or shed very little offer hope to those who want to bring home a pet. Less shedding means less allergy-causing dander inside a home and, hopefully, fewer allergy symptoms for pet owners.

This list of 20 dog breeds for allergy sufferers highlights those known to have less dander and shed less. This doesn’t mean that another breed isn’t right for you, and it’s worth considering that there are hybrid dog breeds that may also work for those with allergies.

Affenspinscher

Affenpinschers

During the 1600s, the affenpinscher was in high demand for its rat-chasing skills, and became known for its unusual looking face which appeared to resemble that of a monkey. Hence, the breed was named “affen,” which means “monkey” in German. Today, the breed is a family pet, known for its affectionate, lively and confident disposition.

Afghan Hounds

Afghan Hound

Genetic testing traces the Afghan hound back to the wolf with very little genetic divergence, meaning the Afghan hound descended from some of the oldest-known dog breeds.

Due to the Afghan hound's regal appearance, the breed has affectionately been labeled as the "king of dogs" by canine aficionados. Afghan hounds are smart dogs seemingly with the ability to rationalize, which has made them well-suited as therapy dogs and agility course performers. They tend to be stubborn, so regimented obedience training is recommended, particularly if children are part of the dog's family.

Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terriers

The Airedale terrier is known as the “king of the terriers” and can be at home in the city or the suburbs. Very protective of those around him, the Airedale makes a great guard dog. He is very loyal but can also be stubborn. Another aspect of the Airedale’s personality that endears him to owners is his sense of humor. The Airedale is known to ham it up whenever he’s given the opportunity.

American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terriers

The American hairless terrier is an intelligent, playful dog, with a very inquisitive and affectionate nature. Like most terrier breeds, the American hairless terrier is feisty and fearless. Good with children, the breed is friendly; however, may have a tendency to become territorial. Eager to please, the American hairless terrier will respond well to training to curb that behavior.

Basenji Dogs

Basenji

Basenji dogs are arguably one of the more interesting dog breeds: some say they resemble a miniature deer; they trot like a horse and possess an unusual double-suspension gallop that allows them to skim the ground at high speeds; they don't bark — they yodel; they don't have a noticeable smell; they enjoy climbing and standing on their hind legs like meerkats; and they are one of the oldest dog breeds known to man.

This dog breed is known to form tight bonds with family, sometimes becoming emotionally attached to one family member in particular.

Bedlington Terriers

Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington terrier resembles a lamb, with its narrow, pear-shaped head and thick fur coat. Playful, cheerful and affectionate, the Bedlington terrier loves children and is known to be social, getting along well with people and other house pets. If not given enough daily exercise, this energetic breed can become board and stressed, leading to digging and constant barking. The Bedlington terrier loves to run and is very fast, so it’s often recommended that you only do so in an enclosed area and that your Bedlington is trained to heel when you call him back.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

Looking for a compact, cuddly friend who will love you to pieces? The Bichon Frise fits the bill. The Bichon Frise is a small dog, weighing 10 to 18 pounds, and is active indoors, making him great for apartment dwellers. Perky, playful and affectionate, the Bichon Frise is a great family pet and gets along well with other house pets.

Cairn Terriers

Cairn Terrier

Although the Cairn terrier is a small dog, weighing approximately 14 pounds, his personality is large: Affectionate but independent, a showoff who craves attention but needs a little help in the discipline department. Good with children, they enjoy playing and certainly have enough energy to withstand a play date or two. The Cairn terrier can also be territorial, willing to defend his turf at any given moment, so proper socialization is recommended.

Chinese Crested Dogs

Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese crested dog isn’t always hairless. In fact, the breed can be one of two types: hairless or powderpuff. Each type has a distinctive difference: the Hairless is born with an incomplete dominant gene which makes it hairless (topped off with a tuft of fur on its head), while the powderpuff, known as “puffs,” has a long, soft fur coat, which sheds very little.

This breed is very playful, alert and intelligent, excelling at agility courses, and embraces a challenge. It thrives on TLC, loves to cuddle and usually doesn’t leave its owner’s side. 

Havanese Dogs

Havanese Dog

Havanese dogs have an easy-going reputation. They are devoted and loyal to the people in their lives and thrive on affection; however, this breed is also self-entertaining and enjoys playing with a variety of toys by itself. A friendly dog, the Havanese gets along well with others and doesn't often show aggression toward strangers unless provoked. The breed is known to display a unique, lively gait that looks springy in motion, reflecting the dog's happy-go-lucky attitude.

Italian Greyhounds

Italian Greyhound

Italian greyhounds are the smallest of the sighthound breeds, weighing between 8 and 18 pounds on average. At its top speed, an Italian greyhound is able to run up to 25 miles per hour. The breed makes a good companion dog and usually lives best with a family that can offer space to run as well as a quiet home.

Fast, agile and athletic, daily exercise is highly recommended to keep your Italian greyhound happy.

Kerry Blue Terriers

Kerry Blue Terrier

Playful, affectionate and comical, Kerry blue terriers are eager to please the people in their lives. They enjoy a little rowdy playtime and get along with other pets in the house when supervised. They respond best when there’s a confident pack leader in the house, so it’s important to not let your Kerry blue terrier become dominant. Regular socialization is recommended to curb any aggressive behavior.

Highly intelligent, Kerry blue terriers can be taught to perform tricks and run agility courses. They bore easily, so it’s best to keep them entertained with a variety of activities.

Labradoodle

Labradoodle

The Labradoodle is often referred to as a breed but has yet to attain true purebred status; it is technically a hybrid dog resulting from crossbreeding a Labrador retriever and a standard or miniature poodle.

The Labradoodle's origin began in Australia, when, in 1989, dog breeder Wally Conron crossbred a Labrador retriever and a standard poodle in an attempt to create a dog with the low-shedding coat of the poodle and the personality of the Labrador.

Since Labradoodles, much like Cockapoos and Bernedoodles, are not breeds and therefore don’t have breeding standards, they are often born looking different from one another, or unlike what has come to be expected, so many puppies are sent to shelters. If you are interested in owning a hybrid dog breed, consider finding a shelter that cares for these specific hybrids.

Lagotto Romagnolo

Logatto Romagnolo

This Italian dog breed is a medium-sized working dog with a nose for sniffing out buried truffles. The Lagotto Romagnolo forms a strong bond with family and is known to be affectionate and loyal. Daily exercise will benefit the breed as it is highly intelligent and is eager to participate in activities (including hide and seek with children). With its happy disposition and willingness to please, the Lagotto Romagnolo is easy to train and makes a loving family companion.

Maltese Dogs

Maltese

The Maltese is a very lively, playful dog that thrives on human companionship and attention. Despite its small size, it is a very active dog that enjoys outdoor activities — and one that is also known to perform well on agility courses. Due to its high energy level, regular exercise and obedience training is recommended to curb any bad behavior or constant yapping.

While the Maltese tends to behave well around children and other pets, the breed can become over protective and snappish without obedience training. The dog can also be difficult to housebreak if pampered too much and, if left alone for long periods of time, is known to develop separation anxiety.

Poodles

Poodle

Poodles are the only breed that comes in three sizes: standard, miniature and toy. By nature poodles are energetic and active dogs, requiring daily exercise. They enjoy recreational activities, such as playing ball or fetch, but get bored easily if left alone for long. Because they are adaptable and easy to train, poodles tend to do very well in agility classes.

The breed is a people-oriented dog, and tends to be good with children. Poodles are bright, intelligent and eager to please, making an excellent addition to any dog-loving family.

Portuguese Water Dogs

Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese water dog is known to be intelligent, athletic, loving and loyal and easy to train in both obedience and agility skills. They present an ease around people and are well-suited with children.

The Portuguese water dog’s working nature lends very well to receiving direction and following commands. This breed thrives on being trained and has shown a habit to memorize extensive vocabulary as well as the names of objects. Because of its tendency to bond with owners and enjoy the close proximity of people and activity, the Portuguese water dog is not meant to be left alone for long periods of time.

Schnauzers

Schnauzer

Schnauzers are known for their charm, intelligence and devotion. They are affectionate, enthusiastic and spunky, with the temperament similar to that of a terrier. Considered to be very intelligent, they respond well to training and a leader in the family. This can come in handy should your schnauzer become dominant and territorial over objects, places or people. Daily walks help schnauzers exert both mental and physical energy.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

Described as happy, spirited, friendly and playful, the soft-coated Wheaten terrier is great with children and usually gets along well with other dogs. To avoid aggressive behavior toward other dogs or household cats, it’s important to establish a hierarchy within your family to let your soft-coated Wheaten terrier know who’s in charge. Routine obedience and socialization training is beneficial. The breed is typically sweet-natured and even tempered.

Spanish Water Dog

Spanish Water Dog

The Spanish water dog is a devoted family companion, a hard worker and attentive and happy. Reserved by nature, the breed benefits from socialization at a young age to prevent it from becoming territorial. Spanish water dogs are highly intelligent and eager to please; they are often used as search and rescue dogs, bomb detection dogs and therapy dogs and love competitive activities such as agility and herding.


Dr. James Li, Mayo Clinic


Return to the Pet HealthZone

Email this article to a friend or share it via your favorite social network.

Share This page

Related Articles

Toblerone

Catching snowballs while on vacation wasn't as much fun as anticipated when Toby's leg snapped like a broomstick after landing hard in the snow. Full Story