Small Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds



This article is posted as part of PGAA’s curation efforts. This was originally posted at Way
cool Dogs


Small Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds – 6 Top Dog Breeds That Enjoy Children

Small hypoallergenic dog breeds that are child-friendly are known to be excellent companions and partners. In fact, many of these dogs have become popular with our own grandchildren and great-grandchildren over the years due to the rescue work we do. Because so many children have allergies and serious reactions in today’s world, we are going to look at a few of these small hypoallergenic dog breeds that are very child-friendly. Research and make sure you know what you want and what dog would be best for your household.

6 Hypoallergenic small dog breeds that are child-friendly

  1. Australian Silky Terrier
  2. Bichon Frise
  3. Havanese
  4. Maltese
  5. Shih Tzu
  6. Tibetan Terrier

Looking in detail at a few small hypoallergenic dog breeds

Australian Silky Terrier

As you can tell by the name, the Australian Silky Terrier was first developed in Australia. It was also developed with ancestral types and breeds from Great Britain. But the name of Silky Terrier is what we use in the United States. Similar to the Silky Terrier are the Skye Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, and the Australian Terrier. They are good with family and children except for how easy it is to spoil them, causing the growth of small hypoallergenic dog breeds.

The Silky Terrier is one of the small hypoallergenic dog breeds of the terrier group. And like most terriers, it is keenly alert and very’ active. The love of their life is to run and play with children … gathering lots of toys on the way! The Terriers are considered excellent escape artists at the first moment of boredom, or not. So a tight fence to keep them in is highly necessary with continuous maintenance. But they love to be lap dogs when they are done playing and exercising, enjoying playing the typical couch potato.

In a recent survey of 91 small dogs, the Silky Terrier was listed in the top 20 for being intelligent and learning the quickest. That is why it is necessary to keep them busy, busy, busy. As far as their care, they knot up easily, require a bath and brushing at least once every three weeks or so ( with some dedicated brushing in-between) .

Silky Terriers can have serious eye disorders, but if both parents have been checked and cleared, they are at less risk than those not cleared. But the majority of Silky Terriers are healthy with few health problems like a lot of the small hypoallergenic dog breeds.

Bichon Frise

According to the AKC, the adorable little Bichon or “… Bichon Frise descended from the Barbet or Water Spaniel, from which came the name “Barbichon” later shortened to “Bichon”. The Bichons were divided into four categories: the Bichon Maltais, the Bichon Bolognais, the Bichon Havanais and the Bichon Teneriffe. All originated in the Mediterranean area.”

The Bichon was used as barter during the days of antiquity due to their wonderful dispositions. The breed originally came from France, under the name Tenerife bichon with documentation going back to the 1300s. But the bartering occurred more often than not in Spain.

Bichons love to show off and are rather conceited, enjoying children and other pets. However, you need to handle them with a gentle hand, as they are sensitive dogs and are prone to small hypoallergenic dog breeds. It is well advised to take them to an obedience school for both you and your little Bichon, as early as possible. They are highly intelligent and very, very trainable as they wish for nothing but to entertain and please you! And that is when the syndrome begins.

Cancer and old age are the most common killers of this breed. Meanwhile, common genetic disorders (conditions the dog is born with) of the Bichon Frise are:

  • Epilepsy(varying severity and duration. Seizures typically last between two and five minutes. Seizures are preceded by a period of atypical behavior that may include vacant staring or mild twitching.)
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Liver shunt (high risk; result of an incorrectly positioned artery). Symptoms of liver shunt include lack of growth, low intelligence, low energy and increased thirst.
  • Crowded teeth are common in small dogs. This is because the size of the dog has evolved to being smaller in size, but the teeth have not.
  • Diabetes and Cunning’s disease are two potentially serious yet entirely treatable metabolic conditions.


Originating from Cuba, the Havanese is thought to have originated from the Old World bichon… now called the Bichon of Cuba. It was brought to the United States in 1959 by the Cuban refugees who came to the new country. The Havanese have a personality that is very funny, outgoing, low energy, and highly intelligent. Altogether, this makes them an enjoyable pet for children and other animals.

Easily trainable, the Havanese would do best to take them to training school due to their intelligence and energy level. Without adequate training, a highly intelligent dog with high energy levels can get into all kinds of trouble. But they are very eager to please, there is no good reason not to take them to training school.

Generally, the curly-tailed Havanese is healthy with no major health issues. The Havanese Club of America, the AKC parent club for the Havanese breed, recommends four health tests be done to be disease certified to get a CHIC number.

  1. An annual eye exam (CAER)
  2. A hearing test (BAER),
  3. A hip x-ray
  4. Patella (knee) certification

Some Havanese breeders choose to do further testing for issues they feel are of benefit. These are cardiac, elbows, LCPD and thyroid.


The Maltese is over 2,000 years old, one of the many bichon breeds around the Mediterranean. Greece erected royal tombs to their Maltese pets. Kept by royalty for over 28 centuries, this breed did not appear in the United States until the 1700s. Considered one of the toy breeds, it weighs under 7 pounds with little shoe-button eyes. Going back to the days of the Bible’s development, it is a gently flowing dog with a long flowing coat.

Moving with an effortless pace, the Maltese is very hardy and adaptable. The personality of this little dog is very gentle, playful, affectionate while completely fearless in a charming way. It is described best as being affectionate, eager and sprightly in action. Due to its very small size, it is better with middle to older children who are gentle and caring. Young children should be properly supervised and also other dogs, due to the Maltese’s small size and fragile bones.

The Maltese is slightly active yet is a classic lapdog. It enjoys brisk walks, playtime suited to toy dogs, and learning new tricks and new training. It is very trainable and intelligent. Because of its tiny size, it has numerous health problems. These are listed by Embrace Pet Insurance:

  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus (high risk) is when this structure is expected to completely close within the first week of life so that the blood can move directly to the lungs and receive the oxygen the body needs to carry on normal functions. When this vessel remains open, the resulting disease is called “patent ductus arteriosus” or “PDA.” (please click on link for further info)
  • Cryptorchidism (high risk) is very common, heritable condition of male dogs and cats manifests as a congenital abnormality in the position of one or both testicles. Affected animals are otherwise normal.
  • Necrotizing Meningo-Encephalitis (high risk) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that occurs in young, small breed dogs.
  • Maltese are 6.5 times more at risk to suffer from luxating patella than all other breeds according to a study published in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association in 2002.
  • Maltese are also at 32 times more risk than all other breeds of a liver defect, present at birth, known as “portosystemic shunt,” according to a 2003 report published in JAVMA. Requires surgery.
  • Maltese can suffer from “white shaker dog syndrome” (idiopathic cerebellitis.) Somewhere between the age of 6 months and 3 years, Maltese with this condition will start trembling uncontrollably, especially when they try to move or get up. Some become unable to walk at all.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu originated in China, and later on in Tibet. They are considered one of 7th century ancient breeds, with strong ties to the wolves. This breed was associated with the Chinese ruling class, causing many to be killed during the Chinese Revolution.

They are also one of the more beautiful dogs of the small hypoallergenic dog breeds, especially when they have been groomed for their dog shows. This toy dog breed weighs between 9 and 16 pounds, and has a low energy level. What makes them such wonderful dogs is because the get along with everyone – children, strangers, and other animals. Their personality is attentive, alert, lively and extremely affectionate.

The royal Shih Tzu is known by several names

  • Chinese Lion Dog
  • Chrysanthemum Dog
  • Foo Dog (resembles the tame lion, sacred to Buddhists)

Health problems of the Shih Tzu are hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and eye disease. A rare but serious health problem in this breed is juvenile renal dysplasia, in which the kidneys fail to develop normally. Other than that, they seem to be pretty healthy.

Tibetan Terrier

The Tibetan Terrier is an ancient terrier that dates back to 2,000 years ago. Originating in Tibetan, it was used to guard the Tibetan Lamaist monasteries. It was also used for herding and as a companion animal. The monks in the monasteries valued the Tibetan Terrier as a holy dog or good luck dog, never selling the animal but only giving it as a holy gift to those who were deserving.

Ironically, this dog breed is not actually a terrier but the forefather of the Lhasa apso. It entered the United States in 1956. the Tibetan Terrier is loyal and affectionate to the family. Extremely intelligent, it is good-natured and gets along with children and other animals once it is introduced to them. Considered a highly adaptable dog, the Tibetan Terrier is a healthy and robust breed of dog, with an endearing nature and willingness to please.

Some of the more common health problems of this dog breed are:

  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Lens luxation

Minor health issues

  • Patellar luxation
  • Ceroid lipofuscinosis
  • Cataract
  • Canine hip dysplasia (CHD)
  • Hypothyroidism.

Testing for other health distichiasis is noticed in this breed

  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Thyroid

Hypoallergenic dog breeds vs non-hypoallergenic dog breeds

Dogs are dogs; there is no way to get out of it. And … all dogs shed old or damaged hair. Some dogs just shed less while other breeds shed more. And all dogs need brushed and bathed. Shedding depends on the season. Warm weather brings about some heavy shedding in dogs who shed (called “blowing their coat”), while the hypoallergenic dogs do not shed a lot. But they still shed.

Cats shed fur. Dogs shed hair. We lose hair. These are natural processes with the animals depending on their breed and health. To put it plainly, all dogs shed to a point. You will never get a dog who does not shed at least one hair. The three worst shedding dogs I have ever had was the Pomeranian, the Shiba Inu, and the Miniature Eskimo. However, all double-coated dogs blow coats until it looks like a snowstorm.

WayCoolDog posts originally appeared on WayCoolDogs and are re-posted with the permission of Nancy Houser of WayCoolDogs © 2009 – 2018