Hypoallergenic Dogs – Are They Really Hypoallergenic?

If you are thinking about getting a dog but are an allergy sufferer, you may be looking into hypoallergenic dogs. Are hypoallergenic dogs really hypoallergenic?

This is one I get asked often. So I thought it was time to break it all down in a blog post to cover the topic. If you are not allergic to dogs and can adopt any kind of dog, check out our post on the best dog breeds.

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Hypoallergenic Dogs

Are they really hypoallergenic? The truth is no dog is really hypoallergenic.

While some shed less making them a better pet for those with allergies the real basis of dog allergies actually comes from dander from the skin as well as urine and saliva.

This protein can bind to the skin that just like humans will flake and fall off from your dog’s body. Shedding helps this skin fly through the air more triggering dog allergies easily.

What is a hypoallergenic dog?

A hypoallergenic dog is a dog that sheds little or not at all. Most dogs shed a large amount of fur during the warm months. This can be an incredibly difficult time for people with dog allergies that are often exaggerated during shedding season.

All dogs with hair shed, but some dogs shed very little helping to reduce allergens. For many with dog allergies, these dogs are less likely to trigger symptoms.

Hypoallergenic dogs are the best dogs for people with allergies. These dogs are also great companions for the elderly or disabled since their fur doesn’t shed as much.

A white poodle standing in a park.

How can I help control a pet dander allergy?

If you are allergic to dogs there are a few things you can do to reduce symptoms for allergy sufferers.

  • Choose a dog that is smaller. Less of a dog means less shedding and less dander than a larger dog due to the amount of skin surface area.
  • Bathe your pet often to reduce the amount of dander that ends up in the air by removing dander from their coat. Be sure to check out our homemade dog shampoo.
  • Provide your dog with quality food that will prevent skin and coat issues.
  • Keep up to date with your dog’s tick and flea treatments to avoid unnecessary scratching.
  • Talk to your doctor about allergy treatment options.
  • Keep your pet out of your bedroom where you sleep and other spaces you tend to spend a long time in.
  • Keep your pet outside when the weather is nice to help reduce the time your dog is in the home.
  • Choose a hard floor and not a carpet. Or run a strong vacuum designed to run in a home with pets. Dust mop daily to pick up loose pet dander.
  • Use a (HEPA) purifier and vent filters to help reduce pet allergens that are airborne.

What are the best hypoallergenic dog breeds?

For those with a dog allergy, a smaller hypoallergenic dog is the least likely to trigger a reaction.

Small hypoallergenic dogs

  • Yorkshire Terrier – this is a toy-size terrier that normally is no more than seven pounds. They have a long silky coat that is normally a tan, black and blueish color.
  • Shih Tzu – Is possibly the most common hypoallergenic dog. Their fur grows rather long due to the lack of shedding and they are really cute with proper grooming. Shih Tzus ranges between 9 and 16 pounds.
  • Scottish Terrier – This small dog with a scruffy mustache and cute pointed ears stands out in a crowd with its big personality that makes up for its small stature. A Scottish Terrier grows about 10 inches tall weighing between 16 and 22 pounds when fully grown.
  • West Highland Terrier – This dog is a classic lapdog known for being friendly and good with kids. This dog is often called a “westie” and can reach between 15 and 20 pounds.
  • Toy Poodle – These tiny and adorable poodles get up to a maximum of 10 inches with the same soft wavy fur of larger verities.
  • Miniature Schnauzer – this friendly and easy-to-train dog has a beard that makes them look like a cute little old man. They can range between 11 and 20 pounds.
  • Bichon Frise – This cute, friendly, and energetic dog makes for a great lap dog. In fact, its name means lap dog in french. They grow between 12 and 18 pounds.
  • Griffon Bruxellois – The Griffon Bruxellois is a very small breed getting up to a maximum of 10 pounds. This dog has a large shaggy beard and cute floppy ears making them a cute and lovable lap dog. Their body hair is soft and doesn’t shed, making them a soft yet low allergen breed.
  • Bolognese – This cute and fluffy dog doesn’t shed or leave much dander behind despite its very fluffy appearance. Bolognese grows to 5 to 9 pounds remaining small and soft, perfect for snuggling.
  • Chinese Crested – The Chinese crested is a unique dog that only has hair on its head, legs, and tail. Its fluffy ears look like cute fluffy pigtails making them an adorable dog that doesn’t shed much at all. This dog is a great option for those with a strong dog allergy.

Large hypoallergenic dogs

Not interested in a small dog and do not have a severe dog allergy? Big dogs that are hypoallergenic are low shedding and big enough to appeal to large dog lovers.

  • Standard Poodle – A standard pooled can range from 18 to 14 inches tall and weigh between 40 and 70 pounds. Their low shed fur is just what you need. If you are looking for a reduced shed but do not have a dog allergy a poodle mixed breed like a labradoodle is a great option.
  • Airedale Terrier – This larger terrier is mixed with a hound line making it larger and easier to train. Its long fur is low shed and can range between 40 and 50 pounds while standing about 2 feet tall. The Airedale Terrier is great with kids and other pets making for a great family pet.
  • Afghan Hound – The long sleek coat and athletic build of the Afghan Hound makes for a great dog for those that want a large breed. This gentle breed is great for a house pet and for raising with children but needs daily grooming to help keep their fur from tangling, making them best for an owner that has the time to care for it.
A brown poodle with a gold chain looking up.
Photo by Alexa Soh on Unsplash

Can hypoallergenic dogs cause allergies?

Yes, a hypoallergenic dog can cause someone to experience allergies because hypoallergenic dogs are not truly allergy-free. Hypoallergenic dogs are a myth. They still shed, just not as much as regular dogs.

Do hypoallergenic dogs have hair or fur?

Hair and fur are actually the same. People are not actually allergic to dog fur. They are allergic to the dander that lives in fur. Dogs with fur shed more often, and this causes the dander to be released. Dogs with hair still have dander and can still cause people to have allergic reactions.

Can hypoallergenic dogs get fleas?

Yes, it is possible but they are less likely to get fleas. Since they have hair instead of fur, there are fewer places for the fleas to hide.

Can hypoallergenic dogs cause asthma?

Yes, hypoallergenic dogs can cause asthma since there is no such thing as a truly non-allergenic dog. Hypoallergenic dogs still shed but not as much as regular dogs.

Can hypoallergenic dogs shed?

Yes, hypoallergenic dogs can shed. They still have dander coming off of their coat, just not as much as regular dogs.

Are hypoallergenic dogs genetically modified?

No, hypoallergenic dogs are not genetically modified. They have been around as long as regular dogs.

Are hypoallergenic dogs expensive?

Yes, hypoallergenic dogs purchased through a breeder can cost as much as $5000. There are many hypoallergenic dogs available through rescue organizations for a small fee.

Hypoallergenic dogs for adoption

If you’re wondering where to adopt hypoallergenic dogs, it is easier than you realize. I suggest you take a visit to your local animal shelter or rescue program.

Many dogs each year are euthanized because they can not find homes. When you are looking for hypoallergenic dogs to adopt, you are getting a dog that has a low amount of shedding while providing a home for great dogs.

These dogs are often surrendered when owners discover that hypoallergenic does not mean that they will not trigger allergies at all or that the owner’s allergy is too sensitive even for the lowest shedding dogs.

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