It is frustrating being allergic to your beloved pet. Do you know that an alarming 15-30% of Americans suffer pet allergies? Albeit less prevalent than cat allergies, dog allergies tend to be more severe. This explains why dog lovers are getting more enthusiastic about hypoallergenic dogs. With this class of dogs, you are less prone to pet-inspired allergic attacks.
A hypoallergenic dog breed is one that sheds less or doesn’t shed at all. Due to their reduced shedding frequency, these dogs produce lesser pet dander. It is the protein often stuck on such pet dander that triggers allergic attacks in dog owners.
There is so much to know about hypoallergenic dogs. Can you still be allergic to hypoallergenic dogs? Don’t hypoallergenic dogs shed fur at all? What breeds of dogs are hypoallergenic? These and other exciting questions we will cover in this guide.
What Makes a Hypoallergenic Dog?
People with dog allergies will react to specific dog breeds more. This is common for dogs that shed often. It is such profusion of pet dander that makes such dog owners more vulnerable to allergic reactions.
Hypoallergenic dog breeds shed very little hair, and in some cases, don’t shed at all. This implies they are far less pet dander being strewn around.
Pet dander is dead skin, flaky in appearance, and looks like dandruff. Such pet dander, in most cases, houses specific protein that causes allergies. Effectively, a hypoallergenic dog doesn’t carry much of that allergy-triggering protein because it doesn’t have such dander to accommodate the protein.
The most popular types of hypoallergenic dogs include the Poodle, Kerry Blue Terrier, Barbet, Irish Water Spaniel, and the Portuguese Water Dog.
Can You Be Allergic to a Hypoallergenic Dog?
Yes, you can still experience allergies when you are around a supposedly hypoallergenic dog. Take note that no dog is totally hypoallergenic.
This is because aside from pet dander, such proteins (that provoke allergic attacks) can also be conveyed by your dog’s urine and saliva. So despite having a dog that sheds less or doesn’t shed at all, you can come in contact with such proteins via your dog’s urine and saliva.
Do note that the production of this specific protein varies from dog to dog. Even two dogs in the same breed may not necessarily produce the same amount of protein.
Nonetheless, you can take concrete actions to reduce the frequency of such allergic attacks. These actions include washing your pet regularly, avoiding excessive hugging and kissing your dog, or better still, restricting your dog to specific rooms.
Are Hypoallergenic Dogs Non-shedding?
All dogs shed fur at one point or another. However, hypoallergenic dogs shed far less than other dogs.
There are scenarios where a supposedly hypoallergenic dog sheds more than usual. This can probably be due to a medical problem, poor feeding, or even stress. Here are steps you could take to normalize such excessive shedding.
Ensure Your Dog Has a Healthy Nutrition
Your hypoallergenic dog can shed more than normal if you are feeding it an unhealthy diet. This weakens its hair follicles, making it more prone to breakage.
When you feed your dog a balanced diet appropriately stacked with vitamins, its hair follicles get stronger. Also, adequate integration of omega-3 fatty acids supplements in your dog’s diet would improve its hair growth’s healthiness.
Improve Water Intake
When your hypoallergenic dog’s skin is dehydrated, it will lose more fur and hair. This means more pet dander and allergy attacks.
Dogs with inadequate water intake are vulnerable to skin dehydration. Your dog’s weight ideally determines its water intake per day. By standard, your dog should drink one ounce of water for each pound of body weight daily.
Be Keener on Grooming
Grooming plays a vital role in your dog’s shedding. Despite being hypoallergenic, it is recommended that you bathe your dog at intervals.
This helps in cleaning its coat and eradicating dead hair. By doing this, you are reducing the volume of pet dander – and consequent allergy-triggering protein – being spread around you.
Deshedding treatment is another essential part of your dog grooming if you are bent on drastically reducing your dog’s allergen spreading capacity. You leverage conditioners and deshedding shampoos to enhance the health of your dog’s hair.
These shampoos and conditioners are made of vital omega fatty acids and moisturizers that improve the hydration of its skin, further strengthening the hair follicles.
Deshedding treatments also reduce abnormally profuse shedding in your hypoallergenic dog by removing (via loosening) the surplus undercoat.
Miniature Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
Ready for some small four-legged sweethearts that don’t shed much?
This dog doesn’t shed often, but it helps if you groom it within periodic intervals of 4-6 weeks.
The Toy Poodle’s coat is tightly curled. Such arrangement reduces the chances of dead hair regularly falling off and scattering across your home as the curls trap such dander.
The toy poodle’s hair follicles enjoy an active growth span. Across its first 9 months, the Toy Poodle’s coat gradually transforms into an adult coat. This implies this poodle should be having its adult coat around when it is 18 months of age.
Take note that a female poodle sheds more than normal when it is in the heat cycle. This is not unconnected to hormonal changes in estrogen levels.
West Highland Terrier
Westies come with double coats. This comprises the topcoat, which can grow as long as 2 inches, and the undercoat, which is significantly shorter.
The topcoat is coarser compared to the soft undercoat. The West Highland Terrier has very reduced shedding levels and consequently low dander volume.
Also, when you regularly brush this dog’s coat, you remove the bulk of loose hair and potential dander that would have triggered your allergies.
Talk about a lovable and curly small dog, and you have the Bichon Frise.
Being hypoallergenic, the Bichon Frise is double-coated, fitted with a softer undercoat and relatively coarse outer coat. The coat is overall delicate and makes the Bichon Frise feel like a pouf.
Despite being a hypoallergenic dog that sheds less, the Bichon’s hair doesn’t stop growing and need significant maintenance. This means you will commit to grooming your Bichon Frise, regularly brushing and discarding old hair, and cutting the new hair emerging.
Effectively, this is a dog you have to bathe at least once in 4 weeks.
The Shih Tzu was previously bred for its charming coat. This dog has a double coat with a hard topcoat sitting on top of a soft undercoat.
The latter is reasonably feathery. The color and patterns of these coats vary.
The Shih Tzu is hypoallergenic and sheds less compared to other dog breeds. The Shi Tzu tends to shed more when it turns one.
Basically, this period of increased shedding shouldn’t exceed 21 days at most. After that, the Shih Tzu returns to its minimal shedding nature.
This dog, unique in a million ways, is alternatively referred to as the Mexican Hairless or Xolo for short. The Xolo is hypoallergenic with little to no shedding depending on whether it is hairless or coated.
The hairless Xolo still has a bit of hair on its head, which we admit can be quite weird. For the coated type, the coat is fine, short, and with minimal shedding.
Aside from its coat, the hypoallergenic nature of the Xolo can be attributed to it being a low drooling dog. Being that it is less likely to pour saliva across you and all over the place, there are reduced chances of spreading the proteins that trigger your allergies.
The Griffon Bruxellois is befitting for people with allergies. As a hypoallergenic breed, this dog doesn’t produce a significant amount of pet dander. This dog doesn’t slobber often compared to the likes of the Neapolitan Mastiff and Bulldog that drool terribly.
Its shedding frequency (generally minimal) depends on the type of coat your Griffon Bruxellois has. When classified by the coat, you have two types of Brussels Griffons.
These are the smooth-coated and rough-coated varieties. The smooth Brussels Griffon has a glossy coat that is closely attached to the body. The coat is short and straight, with no wiry hair at all.
For the rough-coated variety, its coat is dense and wiry. It completely lacks silky hair on its body. Regardless of the wiriness of this coat, it barely gets untidy.
It is preferable for aspiring dog owners that are very sensitive to dog fur to get the Griffon Bruxellois with a wiry coat. This type disburses far less pet dander.
This dog has a very distinctive appearance with wisps of fur embroidering its legs, head, ears, and head. But the rest of the body is entirely hairless. There is also the Powderpuff variant that is recessive and has a full coat.
The hairless Chinese Crested has little to no shedding. Hence it is more hypoallergenic of the two. This doesn’t mean the Powderpuff sheds enormously.
Both yet need regular grooming to reduce the pet dander on their body, reducing allergy attacks. However, don’t use moisturizers on the hairless Chinese Crested. Its skin is best left natural as it is more prone to skin problems.
Medium-sized Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
Great, having talked about some miniature hypoallergenic dog breeds, let us step the size a bit higher to medium-sized hypoallergenic dog breeds.
You wouldn’t be taken to jail for mistaking a Barbet for a Labradoodle. In fact, it takes keener inspection to distinguish between them.
The Barbet is definitely hypoallergenic. It sheds far less than the likes of Golden Retriever. In fact, Barbets lack fur. In their place their have hair, reducing pet dander.
You can get the Barbet if you have allergies. Just make sure to groom it properly, regularly comb the hair to eradicate all dead skin, and keep the Barbet’s skin healthier.
A hypoallergenic dog, the Puli has far less frequency of shedding. The Puli has a corded coat.
Such a coat is typical after the dog clocks a year in age. Most times, the Puli’s coat gets to its full length by the time it is about 4 years old.
As the coat grows, the undercoat traps hairs that break, eventually getting merged into the overcoat. This is why the Puli’s coat has this curious look like it is dreadlocked. Overall, the overcoat has a significantly fluffy feel.
It would be best if you didn’t bathe this dog breed too frequently. Preferably, bathe only when the coat is dirty. When wet, the Puli’s coat can take as long as 48 hours to dry.
Kerry Blue Terrier
The Kerry Blue Terrier is hypoallergenic as it doesn’t shed at all, having a wavy coat that feels soft to touch. Nonetheless, its hair grows continuously all through the year.
The coat is remarkably unique. It has a slight hue of blue, with the majority dressed in grey. While this dog’s hypoallergenic nature means it wouldn’t trouble your allergies, its continuously growing hair means it would need regular grooming.
It is recommended that you groom the Kerry Blue Terrier at least once in 7 days and clip it at least once in 6 weeks.
Welsh Terriers have a proud stocky built. They are kind of the miniature versions of Airedale terriers. This dog’s face is supplied with scruffy hair, mainly concentrated on its snout.
Being hypoallergenic, these dogs don’t shed at all. They have hair structured in double layers.
The top layer is made up of abrasive fur that protects the Welsh Terrier from rain, wind, and dirt. The second layer underneath has insulating properties.
This is a hypoallergenic dog with German ancestry. This dog is well suited to people with allergies like asthma as it barely sheds at all.
It has double coats with the top wiry and the undercoat trapping the loose hair (and dead skin) that would fall off, scattering about the house and triggering your allergies.
Nonetheless, the Schnauzer has high grooming needs. Specifically, it needs to be groomed at least once every 5-8 weeks. To reduce matting, this dog should be brushed at least twice in 7 days.
Its coat is soft and silky, with minimal shedding. With a significantly reduced tendency to spread dander in your space, this dog is hypoallergenic and a lovable choice for people with allergies.
We will admit this dog needs more grooming as its coat easily attracts dirt and debris. The unique wheaten coat is low-shedding but needs diligent care to avoid matting.
This dog sheds less, with a rough coat. The coat packs tight curls that drape the dog’s entire body apart from its head. What more, the coat is waterproof, curling into ringlets.
The color of the coat varies. It could be thoroughly off-white in some cases, and in others, it could be off-white adorned with brown or orange patches.
Large Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
Wow, having talked about the small and medium hypoallergenic dogs, let us now talk about the really big guys.
Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel is hypoallergenic, courtesy of its double coats and diminished shedding capacity. This dog’s coat is curly, with notable density. Such curly nature ensures pet dander is easily trapped in the undercoat.
This dog admittedly requires you to commit to grooming. Its coat, while water repellant, contains oils that attract debris and dirt. Therefore, it helps to brush this dog’s coat about 2-3 times every week.
Portuguese Water Dog
Hailing from the Portuguese coast, this hypoallergenic dog was originally bred to retrieve lost tackle and herding fishes into the net: a fisherman’s mate.
The coat is dense and profuse, covering the bulk of the body in curls. This dog has a low shedding rate but requires more grooming.
This large dog sheds far less compared to the likes of the Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd. The Saluki comes in two variants, each differing in coat type.
One has a feathery coat and the other a smooth one. The feathery Saluki has its throat, thighs, legs, and ears decked with light fluffing. On either side, the fur is silky.
It is hard not to notice the peculiarity of the Afghan Hound at first sight. Its hair is charming, long, and very silky.
Unlike what you see from the kind of the Alaskan Husky, this dog lacks a thick undercoat. Dogs with such dense undercoats are notorious for triggering allergy attacks.
Despite being hypoallergenic and generally low shedding, there would be times the Afghan Hound loses hair significantly. If your female Afghan Hound is not spayed, you could notice it losing hair every season.
Nonetheless, these dogs don’t shed throughout the year, mostly restricting their shedding to every fall and spring. For this dog, its dander levels are remarkably low.
In the typical sense of the word, grown-up Komondors don’t shed. This hypoallergenic dog boasts a double coat, with the outer coat being curly while the one beneath is wooly.
The hypoallergenic nature of this dog can be further attributed to the dog’s hair being tightly formed. The hair has healthy follicles meaning less breakage and much fewer pet dander being strewn around.
Yes, you have heard us talk about the Schnauzer, but it has a huger sibling called the Giant Schnauzer.
Despite their enormous size, the Giant Schnauzer sheds very minimally. This dog’s coat is wire and reasonably dense.
Being double coat, this hypoallergenic dog’s undercoat is softer, sitting below an outer coat that is wiry. This dog needs regular grooming. Specifically, this dog should be brushed at least once weekly.
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