The Bottom Line. If you have greater than minor allergy issues do a dog a favor and get a goldfish. Don’t be the cause of a heartbreaking situation for you, your family and the dog.
A search for a hypoallergenic dog that is good for all allergy suffers is akin to Diogenes’s search for an honest man – there aren’t any. All dogs produce an allergen in their saliva or dander (similar to human dandruff), and the only true test will be a one on one test between the actual dog and the allergic individual. Even dogs of the same breed may produce different results in a person.
So you say, “I’ll get a non-shedding dog.” Well, there aren’t any of those either – all dogs shed. The shedding process is a natural process of the hair follicles – as an old hair follicle dies a new follicle replaces it and the old one is shed. However, some dogs shed less than others and may prove to be more acceptable to allergy sufferers.
To help in that search here’s a list of low shedding dogs. These are breeds recognized by the AKC as being good possibilities for people with allergies. There are other breeds considered by other groups and you can find them by doing a Google Search for “hypoallergenic dogs”. Be sure to test yourself with the dog before taking it home (see below).
Breeds under 10 pounds
Breeds 11 to 20 pounds
Breeds 21 to 50 pounds
- Bedlington Terrier
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Standard Poodle
- Standard Schnauzer
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Breeds 51 to 80 pounds
Designer dogs that are cross-bred with breeds in the above lists should not be considered as candidates. For instance, a cross of a Lab and a Poodle should not be considered “safe” just because it has a Poodle in its pedigree.
Test your allergic reaction to a dog by handling the dog PRIOR to taking the dog. Play with it. Rough up its fur and let it lick you. If you are looking at a puppy try to do the same with its parents. If that test is successful than the dog MIGHT be OK, but sometimes an allergic reaction won’t happen immediately. Make an arrangement with the breeder or the rescue group that will allow you to return the dog in a certain timeframe should your allergies start acting up.
How do you reduce the incidents of an allergic reaction once the dog is home?
- Frequent grooming, outside the home, will help reduce the amount of fur within a closed environment.
- Frequent baths. But check with your vet to make sure you are not harming the dog’s natural protective coats. Also ask the vet to recommend a good shampoo.
- Use air filtering devices and special vacuum bags.
- Keep you dog off the furniture, especially your bed.
- No licking (the dog not you)
- Wash hands after handling the dog.
- Anti-allergen sprays
- Drapes, carpets and rugs collect allergens and should be cleaned regularly.
Written by Ron Lueth, Pet Guardian Angel of America