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Hypoallergenic Dogs and Dog Allergies

Updated on October 7, 2011

non shedding dog breeds

If you’re a dog lover who suffers from dog allergies, you’ll probably be a lot happier with hypoallergenic dogs. There are numerous hypoallergenic dog breeds from which to choose, so it’s not like you’ll be stuck with just one breed. There are miniature breeds, small dog breeds, medium-size breeds, and large dog breeds that are usually considered to be hypoallergenic dogs. There are also some popular crossbreeds that are included in the list of hypoallergenic dogs. Choosing a hypoallergenic dog might be a big relief for overall allergy symptoms, but it might not be the answer to your specific dog allergy.

What is a hypoallergenic dog?

Generally speaking, hypoallergenic dogs are non shedding dog breeds. Even though dog hair isn’t the chief trigger to dog allergies, hair and fur often compound the problem. Before you get too excited, however, you need to realize that anything with hair is going to shed some, and that includes humans. For example, I have long hair, and I reared three daughters with long hair. When all three were still living at home, I was always finding hair, sometimes in the strangest places. At least the stray hairs were colorful. I have dark brown hair, one daughter has dark auburn hair, one has blond hair, and one has light red hair. Think about how much human hair you find in the sink and in the shower.

The average human head contains around 100,000 hairs or so. Does that sound like a lot to you? I read that the average dog has around 15,000 hairs…PER SQUARE INCH! That means that just ten square inches of dog has 50% more hairs than an entire human head. And if math “ain’t your thang,” ten square inches would be equal to a strip two inches wide and five inches long. Obviously, even miniature dog breeds are larger than the area mentioned, and medium-size breeds and large dog breeds would have WAY more hair than humans have.

I love dogs, especially large dog breeds. I have two Great Danes, and Danes are NOT hypoallergenic dogs. Never could they be honestly included in a list of hypoallergenic dogs or non shedding dog breeds. My enormous boys shed year round, with heavier shedding in the spring and fall. It’s a good thing I don’t have pet allergies. Take a look at the Dane hair in the photo below. This was just an accumulation from a couple of days!

My dogs are definitely NOT non shedding dogs!
My dogs are definitely NOT non shedding dogs!

Dog allergies

What causes dog allergies? Obviously, exposure to dogs causes dog allergies. Actually, you don’t even have to have direct contact with a dog to trigger a dog allergy. And while some people’s dog allergies might be triggered by dog hair, largely because it’s a great hiding place for other allergens, most dog allergy sufferers are affected even more by dog dander. Dog dander is dead skin cells that are constantly being sloughed off, and they can get practically anywhere. In fact, according to research conducted by the National Institutes of Health, every home in the Unites States contains pet dander and other pet allergens – even homes that don’t have pets! How? Americans love their pooches, and dogs can be found just about everywhere. Dog allergens and other pet allergens can be carried by the wind, on human clothing, and on humans themselves.

How much dog dander and other dog allergens do you think these big guys produce?
How much dog dander and other dog allergens do you think these big guys produce?

Dog dander and dog hair: the relationship

All canines shed – even hairless dog breeds. Dander on dogs is like dandruff on humans. When a dog sheds hair, bits of dander are often attached to the hair shafts. Also, since dogs habitually lick themselves, traces of saliva are also frequently attached to the shed hairs. Dog hair might also contain traces of urine. When a dog sheds, all these proteins are released into the environment, along with the hair.

Other dog allergens

Okay, so you know about dog hair and dog dander, but they aren’t the only culprits that cause dog allergies. Practically any “dog juice” can contain an allergen and trigger a dog allergy, and that includes urine, albumin, and doggie drool. Proteins in these canine substances are generally harmless to humans with normal immune systems. For those with hypersensitive immune systems, however, the dog proteins are seen as dangerous invaders, in the same way as harmful viruses and bacteria. When such individuals are exposed to dog allergens, their bodies react in much the same way as they would with exposure to diseases.

Dog allergy symptoms

Dog allergy symptoms are similar to those caused by other allergens. They can include sneezing, coughing, wheezing, head congestion, itchy nose and eyes, a runny nose, and red eyes that might water and itch. Skin rashes can also occur, and people with severe dog allergies can even get hives when exposed to pet allergens. For those with asthma and other breathing problems, an allergic reaction to dog allergens can be especially dangerous.

Dog allergy symptoms are like symptoms from other kinds of allergies.
Dog allergy symptoms are like symptoms from other kinds of allergies.

Dog allergies treatment

Dog allergies treatment usually involves drugs – both over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications. Some over-the-counter drugs often used with dog allergies are decongestants and antihistamines, including Benadryl, Sudafed, and Allegra. Nasal sprays might also be effective as a dog allergies treatment. In some cases, dog allergy sufferers are given steroids or allergy shots.

There are also several dog allergies treatment methods you can do on your own, without drugs. These include dusting, vacuuming, and mopping often, and by using a HEPA filter. It’s also a good idea to get rid of places where dander and other allergens can hide, like drapes, curtains, rugs, and carpets.

If you have dog allergies yet you have a dog in your home, there are other dog allergies treatment options that might help. Some studies indicate that frequently bathing your dog might help control allergens, along with regular brushing. If you brush your dog inside, you’re just going to stir up the allergens, so it’s best to do this chore outdoors.

Several dog allergies treatment options involve cleaning.
Several dog allergies treatment options involve cleaning.

Hypoallergenic dog breeds

Finally, I’m returning to the topic of hypoallergenic dogs. It’s important to note here that while some allergy sufferers have fewer symptoms with hypoallergenic dog breeds, for others, it seems to have no impact. In fact, some doctors believe that some people are allergic to specific dogs, and that the breed isn’t usually a factor in such cases.

Instead of calling them hypoallergenic dog breeds, it’s actually more accurate to describe these canines as non shedding dog breeds. In all honesty, however, even that’s somewhat of a misnomer. Remember – all dog breeds shed some. A truly accurate term would be less shedding dog breeds – not non shedding dog breeds.

Poodles are often considered to be hypoallergenic dogs.
Poodles are often considered to be hypoallergenic dogs.

List of hypoallergenic dogs and non shedding dog breeds (so-called)

Airedale terrier

American hairless terrier

Bichon Frise


Chinese crested


Havanese dogs

Irish water spaniel

Kerry blue terrier


Mexican hairless (Xoloitzcuintle)

Poodles (all sizes)

Portuguese water dog



Soft-coated wheaten terrier

Spanish water dog

West Highland white terrier

Wirehaired fox terrier

Yorkshire terrier

NOTE: You’ll usually see the Maltese on a list of hypoallergenic dogs, but I didn’t include this charming little canine. My family has owned several Maltese, and they all shed profusely! Fine white hair would be all over our homes. That being said, it could be that they have low allergens, but they’re certainly not low shedders.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Habee, I enjoyed reading your hub. I have two german shepherds and they shed a lot while my beagle rarely sheds at all.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Many, many thanks, tl! I'll check out your hub!

    • tlpoague profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Terrific reading! My family has terrible allergies to animals. If I would visit a family member that had a dog or cat, I would have to change my cloths before I could touch my hubby. When we decided to purchase a pup for our daughter I did some research and visited some animal shelters to see what type of dog they could handle without an attack. We found that the Lhasa was the best. Our neighbors around us loved him so much that when I decided to breed him, before getting him fix, many offered to purchase one. I couldn't find another Lhasa in the area so instead bred him with a Bichon. I was surprise that the Bichon bothered my hubby's allergies so much along with Poodles. When our LaChons were born, it surprised me even more that they didn't bother him as much. In the end, we found homes for all the pups but one and the mother. The dad we had to put down, which was a sad day in our household. To this day, I haven't had problems with the allergies unless Bella isn't bathed for awhile. I did figure out that the Bichon shed more than the Lhasa when they were groomed, even though they are both considered no/low shed. The LaChon shed even less, unless they had a major itch like we do. I was so impressed I wrote about it. I would like link your hub to them if it is ok.

      Great reading! You have my vote!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Wow, thewahm - my co-worker's Schanuzer hardly sheds at all. Or at least, that's what she claims. Thanks for reading!

    • thewahm profile image


      8 years ago

      My mom has a Schnauzer and she sheds just as much as our St Bearnards do.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Leah, Goldies are awesome dogs!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Zak, I'm not familiar with that breed, but I'll check it out. Thanks!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Lisha, thanks for reading!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Please Do Not Forget….

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    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      8 years ago from Western New York

      I love it, Habee! We considered getting a Golden-doodle (poodle/golden retriever cross) for the reduced dander/shedding. Our kids don't have allergies, however, so we opted for a Golden Retriever. He sheds quite a bit, but we're fine with that since no one has allergies (and I have a great vacuum, lol). We have friends with a yorkie-poo because their kids have allergies, and the kids seem fine with the poodle cross. The reduced dander has allowed them to enjoy having a canine family member without sneezing all the time!

    • Zakmoonbeam profile image

      Michael Murchie 

      8 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Lovely hub, would like to add one to your list, the Lagotto Romagnolo, a super cute medium sized dog with little hair loss! Rated up :)

    • lishalove98 profile image


      8 years ago from 1234

      thanyou lol

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      lishalove, I showed it to illustrate a point! lol

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Jami, did you read the hub? I said that all dogs shed and that non shedding dogs and hypoallergenic dogs can be misleading terms.

    • lishalove98 profile image


      8 years ago from 1234

      :( :(

    • lishalove98 profile image


      8 years ago from 1234

      ewe why would show that

    • profile image

      jami l. pereira 

      8 years ago

      This is a wonderful Hub however , you have been misled , ALL animals on the planet shed... I and my mother ran a dog kennel for years (over 30) and that's all we ever did , was clean up doggie DANDER ...and i can also tell you that we had poodles ,maltese,yorkies and so many more ....even your hairless breeds will shed their skin , same as humans do! you might want to keep this Hub but talk to your local veterinarian afterwards , hypoallergenic means the dog hair has a lighter dander ,but THEY STILL HAVE DANDER ,and all dander is oily dirt , because yours ,theirs and most animals with skin secrete oil , but their isn't ANY animal on the planet that doesn't shed . sorry , but its so true


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