No dog is entirely hypoallergenic. That means that all dogs produce dander (skin flakes), collect dog saliva on their skin, and collect other allergens from the environment such as dust. But some dogs have coats which seem to be much less likely to trigger allergic reactions in people who are allergic to dogs. Here’s a look at some small dogs that don’t shed as much as other dogs and which you might be able to live with if you are normally allergic to dogs.
The Bichon Frise is an adorable little white dog that often looks like a cotton ball. The dogs are bright and happy with a cheerful, playful personality. They have a curly double coat with a silky undercoat but they do not shed. Their coat grows continually and they usually need to be professionally groomed to stay looking nice. Otherwise, their coat will mat. Bichons are a small breed, standing between 9.5 and 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder. They get along well with kids and other pets. They make excellent pets, especially for people with allergies. Bichons are very smart and easy to train.
This small, elegant Toy dog comes in two varieties: the Hairless and the Powderpuff. Both varieties are good choices for people who have allergies. The Hairless variety is, as its name implies, hairless over its body and has soft, smooth skin. It has long hair on the head, a plume for a tail, and long feathering on the legs. The Powderpuff variety has a soft, straight double coat. Cresteds shed very little, if any, hair. You do need to take precautions with the Hairless variety to protect their skin. They are prone to sunburn and other skin irritations. Cresteds are playful and alert little dogs and they make nice family dogs if children are gentle with them. They stand 11 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder.
The Maltese is considered to be one of the most beautiful of all breeds of dogs. They have a long, flowing white coat that sweeps the ground if it is cared for regularly. They have a single layer of coat and they shed minimally. They are extremely clean dogs. They do need to be brushed and groomed regularly to keep their coats from matting. Some owners prefer to keep the coat of their Maltese trimmed short. The Maltese is an ancient breed and has been known on the isle of Malta in the Mediterranean for over 2000 years. They were praised by Greek and Roman writers long ago. The dogs are intelligent, brave, gentle, and very playful. The Maltese weighs up to 7 pounds.
Poodle (Toy and Miniature)
Most people associate Poodles with France but the breed originated in Germany as a water retriever. They are one of the most intelligent of all breeds and very easy to train. Poodles love to be the center of attention and they like performing tricks and showing off. They have a single layer coat that grows in curls and sheds very little which makes them an excellent choice for people with allergies. You may think of Poodles as being frou-frou dogs with a show-style hair cut but this kind of grooming takes hours of work and most pet owners don’t keep their dogs in this kind of clip. There are more practical pet clips for pet owners. Some people even allow their Poodles to grow their coats out in long corded curls. The Toy and Miniature varieties of the Poodle are great for someone with allergies who needs a smaller dog. Miniature Poodles stand between 10 and 15 inches tall at the shoulder; Toy Poodles are 10 inches tall or less at the shoulder. Poodles are active, fun-loving dogs and they do need daily exercise even if they live in an apartment.
The Miniature Schnauzer has a double coat with a hard, wiry outer coat and a soft undercoat. Their coat is usually hand-plucked for the show ring which is very labor-intensive but pet owners generally have their pets professionally groomed and the coat is clippered about every 6 to 8 weeks. In either case, Miniature Schnauzers shed very little which makes them a good choice for people with allergies. The breed, developed in Germany, was originally a farm dog and used to hunt and kill vermin. They are naturally protective and make excellent watchdogs. Miniature Schnauzers are smart and easy to train. They have a cheerful temperament and they can adapt to living in an apartment or in the country as long as they get regular exercise. They stand 12 to 14 inches tall at the shoulders.
These are the breeds most often recommended for people who are allergic to dogs. Before getting any dog you should always meet the puppy or dog in person and see how you react to it. If you are allergic to dogs you can reduce your odds of having an allergic reaction by vacuuming your home often; washing your bed linens in hot water at least once a week; washing your pet’s bed in hot water weekly; vacuuming drapes, curtains, and furniture; and bathing and grooming your dog often or having him professionally groomed.