One of life’s great injustices is that there are dog lovers cursed with dog allergies. For those unfortunate folks, however, not all hope is lost. While there is technically no such thing as a “hypoallergenic dog”, there are breeds that tend to do well with people with allergies due to their size, infrequent shedding, and/or minimal dander. We've compiled a list of breeds that have been reported to be compatible with allergy sufferers. Keep in mind that each individual person and dog are different, so you'll want to meet a dog before you choose to take them home. You may also want to consider visiting your local shelter and asking the employees if they have any low-shedding dogs available.
The Afghan Hound's long, beautiful, silky coat is surprisingly low shedding. This ancient breed is generally aloof and independent, demanding little attention from its owners. As a sighthound, the Afghan Hound has an intense prey drive and can run outrageously fast.
The Airedale Terrier is an intelligent, fun-loving breed with a typical terrier personality. They are playful, mischievous, and affectionate but can be serious when it comes to protecting their family and defending their dominant position with other dogs.
American Hairless Terrier
While most American Hairless Terriers are hairless, there are individuals who are coated, but their low shedding also makes them low on the allergic response-inducing scale. These dogs are smart, tenacious, friendly, and very social.
The Basenji is an ancient breed, sometimes considered the oldest breed by some experts. These are unique dogs with some strange attributes, such as grooming themselves like cats and “yodeling” instead of barking. They are known to be stubborn and generally won’t obey commands unless they see a good reason to.
The Bedlington Terrier is an intelligent, comical breed with a typical terrier personality. Their curly coat is considered to be hypoallergenic. While Bedlington Terriers look sweet and certainly are with their family, they tend to struggle for dominance with other dogs so they might not be fit to live with other pups.
The Bichon Frise is a small, white, curly-coated dog whose trainability has landed it as a circus performer. They are a popular companion dog due to their playful, loving, and gentle nature. However, they don’t do well when left alone for long, so only consider this breed if someone in the household is home during the day.
The Border Terrier is an affectionate breed that will make friends with everyone. They can be a bit mischievous and are known to be talented escape artists. They are a high energy breed that tends to do best with an active owner or family. Without enough exercise or mental stimulation, Border Terriers can be destructive and escape.
The unique appearance of the Brussels Griffon comes from years of breeders selecting for a human-like face. While they can be stubborn and moody, they are very loving and affectionate. Brussels Griffons do require almost constant attention from their owner, so they are not a great choice for people who are gone from the house all day.
The Chinese Crested comes in two varieties: the “hairless” variety with tufts of hair only on its head, tail tip, and feet; and the “powderpuff” variety that is fully coated. Only the “hairless” variety is considered hypoallergenic. However, it is important to mention that there have been reports of some allergy sufferers having difficulties with this breed. If you have allergies and are considering a Chinese Crested, be sure to spend time with some first to see if you experience a reaction.
Coton de Tulear
The Coton de Tulear is a small, strictly companion breed that prefers to spend the entirety of its time with its owner. They are intelligent, sociable, and adaptable. Cotons do not do well when left alone for long, so it is best to get one only if there is someone home during the day to keep them company.
The Havanese is a small, friendly, affectionate companion breed that thrives on constant companionship. While they are adaptable to most living situations, they are big-time barkers and might end up annoying your neighbors if you live in a busy apartment complex.
Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel is an intelligent, alert, curious, relatively easy to train breed. They are also very playful and sometimes mischievous. Irish Water Spaniels’ coats require a bit of upkeep, needing to be brushed 2-3 times per week to prevent mats and buildup of dirt. They were bred to be water dogs, so be prepared for them to leap into any body of water you happen upon.
Kerry Blue Terrier
The Kerry Blue Terrier is affectionate towards its family and makes a great watchdog. They do, however, try to assert dominance around other dogs, so they might not be best for a household that already has a dog. They are intelligent and easy to train, but can have a stubborn streak and are generally not recommended for first time dog owners.
The Maltese has a thick, single coat that sheds little, making them a good choice for allergy sufferers. They are a companion breed, meaning they are very loving but need to spend almost all of their time with family. They don’t do well when left alone for the entire day. Malteses are gentle but also can have a lot of energy, so don’t be deceived by their lap-dog appearance.
Peruvian Inca Orchid
The Peruvian Inca Orchid comes in two varieties: coated and hairless. The hairless ones are considered hypoallergenic due to their complete lack of shedding. Peruvian Inca Orchids are generally calm with a happy-go-lucky attitude and love to spend time with their family. They are known to be very sensitive and take a while to warm up to new people. While they have lots of energy to burn, once their exercise needs are met, they are calm couch potatoes at home.
Poodle (all sizes)
The Poodle is a highly intelligent breed that is known for being easy to train. They are playful, affectionate, and family-oriented. While they make great family companions to those willing to provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, Poodles do require somewhat frequent grooming. It is generally recommended that they go to a groomer once every 3-6 weeks. They come in 3 size varieties, toy, miniature, and standard, all of which are considered hypoallergenic.
Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dog is friendly, fun-loving, and energetic. They do best with an active owner or family who can give them plenty of exercise, especially if it involves being in the water. Their curly, waterproof coat sheds very little which is why they are considered to be hypoallergenic.
Schnauzers (all sizes)
Schnauzers are clever, dignified, and protective. They are quick learners who train easily but can sometimes be mischievous. Their cleverness can sometimes lead them to take advantage of gaps in training and take over the household. Schnauzers require firm, consistent training, so be sure to consider this before choosing to take one home. They come in three size varieties, miniature, standard, and giant, all of which are considered to be hypoallergenic.
The Scottish Terrier is an intelligent, energetic breed that requires lots of exercise. They are known to love to dig and chase after anything that moves, so be sure to always keep them on a leash when not in an enclosed area. Their low shedding coat that makes them hypoallergenic also requires a significant amount of grooming, so be prepared to dedicate the time for it.
The Shih Tzu is purely a companion breed and needs constant companionship. They are friendly, adaptable, comical, and devoted to their families. Due to the shape of Shih Tzus’ noses, they tend to overheat very quickly. Consider that they can’t be left outside or taken for walks in the heat of the day during the summer before you consider getting a Shih Tzu. Their long, hypoallergenic coat requires daily grooming, which is a time commitment to also consider before getting one.
The Silky Terrier is very much a typical terrier with a bold, tenacious personality. They are known for being tough and can hold their own while romping with big dogs, hiking with people whose legs are much longer than theirs, and alarm barking at intruders. They can do well in apartments as long as they get the exercise, mental stimulation, and attention that they need.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is an adaptable breed that tends to get along with everyone, including other dogs. They do require someone to be home most of the day or they may become destructive or stressed. Their coat sheds very little but will require frequent brushing to keep it from becoming tangled.
The Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced “show-low-eetz-kweent-lee”) is an affectionate and calm breed that loves spending time with its family. They are known to make good watchdogs as they are protective and cautious around strangers. If you want to take home a Xoloitzcuintli, know that they are very rare and you might have to wait a year or more for a puppy. They also require doggie sunscreen due to their sensitive skin.
The Yorkshire Terrier, or “Yorkie” is a feisty breed that has been said to be a big dog trapped in a little dog’s body. They will bark at any strange noise and chase after any small prey. Owners have reported that Yorkies are very in-tune to their humans’ emotions. As a companion breed, they are affectionate and demand a lot of attention. This makes them not suited for homes where no one is home during the day.