Dogs for People With Allergies

AiredaleThere are plenty of breeds of dogs for people with allergies. If you suffer from a dog allergy and would like to own a dog, you’ll be happy to know that you can choose from many breeds — from cute little pets like Yorkshire terriers up to larger breeds like Airedales or poodles.

Causes of Dog Allergies

If you’re allergic to dogs, it’s their dander, saliva or urine that trigger your adverse reaction — not the dog’s hair or fur. Dander is dead skin from the dog. Tiny fragments of dander float in the air as dust and are inhaled by everyone nearby. The National Institutes of Health reports that detectable levels of pet dander are in every American home. You need to steer clear of dogs that produce a lot of dander, love to slobber, lick everyone’s face or are hard to housebreak.

What Is “Hypoallergenic”?

Sometimes you hear certain breeds of dogs described as “hypoallergenic” — or free from allergens, or substances that induce allergies. This is a misnomer because animals can’t be completely free of potentially irritating substances. At best, some breeds, such as those mentioned below, are nearly hypoallergenic and are considered safe dogs for people with allergies.

Research the Breeds

If you want to know which breed of dog would be best for you, take a little time and gather some facts. If you have a breed in mind, do some research on its allergenic qualities. Search online for useful information. Visit the website of the American Kennel Club and websites dedicated to the breed you have in mind. If you don’t already have a favorite breed, investigate various alternatives to see which one might be best for you.

Trial Visit at the Breeder’s or the Shelter

If you have visited a breeder who raises the type of dog you like, ask if you can spend a half-hour or so in a closed room with the dog you want – to see if you have any allergic reaction. If you’d prefer to adopt a dog from a shelter, ask the manager if you could spend some time alone with the dog you like. Interact with the dog as you normally would and devote at least a half-hour to the experiment. If you begin to feel like coughing or sneezing — or your eyes start to water — it might be time to move on to another type of pooch.

Some Breeds to Consider

Below is information on several popular breeds that are known for being good dogs for people with allergies.

Airedale Terrier — Airedales come in two sizes — one weighing 35 to 70 pounds and the other, from 60 to 100 pounds. Airedales are very athletic, extremely intelligent and fairly difficult to train. They excel in protection work.

Greyhound — These natural hare hunters range in size from 60 to 70 pounds. Often praised as being hypoallergenic, greyhounds are known as loving companions that enjoy the company of family members and other dogs. Retired racers are often adopted as family pets.

Irish Water Spaniel — This rare breed has a tight curly coat and is low-shedding. These spaniels are very active and great for homes with other animals and children. The sporting nature of the breed gives these dogs the need for regular walks and plenty of exercise.

Kerry Blue Terrier — This medium size (30 to 40 pounds) dog hails from Ireland. Its background is in herding, guarding and hunting vermin on farmlands. Kerry Blues are considered loving companions and good family members. They don’t shed, but they do need regular clipping.

Miniature Schnauzer — This compact little dog (11 to 15 pounds) is low-shedding, alert and always up for playtime. The Mini Schnauzer is considered to be an excellent guard dog.

Poodle — These popular dogs come in three sizes: Toy, Miniature and Standard. All are very intelligent and active. The Standard is considered a good family dog. Poodles are often mentioned as being hypoallergenic.

Portuguese Water Dog — This is a working dog with webbed toes — an active breed that needs to be kept busy. The breed is non-shedding, with a curly coat, and is considered to be extremely smart and easy to train.

Yorkshire Terrier — The Yorkie, a toy breed developed in England to catch rats in the textile mills, rarely weighs more than seven pounds. The breed is low-shedding and has a tendency to bark at strangers.


If you suffer from a dog allergy, there’s still a good chance that you’ll find a dog you like that doesn’t trigger those unwelcome symptoms. Take plenty of time in learning about the various breeds. You’ll find that there are many more “safe” breeds than are mentioned here. Read about pet allergies. Talk with your doctor, a veterinarian and friends who are dog owners. Before you know it, you’ll gather an abundance of valuable information on dogs for people with allergies.

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