If you’ve got asthma, allergies, or another condition that affects your respiratory system, you know how depressingly debilitating it is to limit your time around dogs.
And owning one yourself can seem like a pipe dream — after all, your health needs to come first.
But many dog breeds are considered hypoallergenic, as they produce less dander (tiny flakes of skin) than others. And since dander is the primary cause of allergic reactions to dogs, these breeds are great options for allergy sufferers.
With 15% of Americans being allergic to dogs, demand for these breeds has skyrocketed, making them easier than ever to find.
So if you’re looking for a pup that can provide sniffle-free snuggles, consider one of these breeds. While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, these pooches come close!
11 Hype-Worthy Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
1. American Hairless Terrier
If the mere thought of a cloud of dog hair floating through the living room makes your lungs seize up, take a deep breath and meet the American Hairless Terrier.
This little lovebug is descended from the Rat Terrier, and it closely resembles its forebears with one notable exception: it’s virtually hairless. At most, these dogs sport very light peach fuzz, and many lack even that minimal coat.
Though American Hairless Terriers do still produce dander, the amount is hugely reduced compared to most other breeds. And without loose hairs to attach to, any dander produced tends to fall to the ground rather than float around, so you’re much less likely to breathe it in.
American Hairless Terriers are known for their high energy levels, reveling in active play and long walks. They’re excellent playmates for kids and other dogs, but when it’s time to relax, they’re all about long cuddle sessions and lots of head scratches.
However, if you need a dog that can be left alone for long periods of time, the American Hairless Terrier might not be the right fit for you. These dogs tend to get anxious when nobody’s around, so they need a steady stream of attention to feel — and behave — their best.
The quintessential hypoallergenic dog, poodles are a diverse breed that has a reputation for snootiness. But spend some time with one and you’ll see it’s unfounded — poodles are incredibly intelligent, sociable, and affectionate dogs.
Bonus: they rarely shed!
Their more permanent hair means that poodles need professional grooming every 3 to 6 weeks. And their high intelligence makes good training a must, or else you’ll find yourself at the mercy of a dog who can anticipate and outsmart your every move.
But if you put in the time and effort to keep your poodle happy and healthy, you’ll be rewarded with an amusing and devoted companion for many years to come.
From tiny toy poodles weighing just 6 pounds to massive standard poodles tipping the scales at 70 pounds, these curly-coated dogs can fit in with just about any family.
3. Spanish Water Dog
The Spanish Water Dog’s distinctive corded coat isn’t just eye-catching — it’s also highly practical for allergy sufferers. Curly at first, the hairs naturally mat into thick cords that keep dander to a minimum while lending the dog its unique appearance.
In their working lives, these striking dogs perform bomb detection, search and rescue, herding, and canine therapy, among many other jobs.
As family dogs, they’re adaptable and highly devoted, though the stamina and strength that make them such effective workers are still present. They need plenty of play and exercise and are excellent candidates for agility and sporting competitions.
Like the poodle, the Schnauzer comes in many sizes, from the 11-pound miniature to the 90-pound giant. All sizes sport the same wiry coat that rarely sheds, though if it isn’t hand-stripped two or three times a year, it will soften and begin to shed more.
The charming square muzzle and poofy mustache lend Schnauzers a lot of character, and their big personalities are instantly endearing. Curious and energetic, they’re always ready to play, though, with proper socialization, they’re equally likely to be found in a cuddle puddle with the family.
Originally bred as farm dogs, Schnauzers have an innate drive to protect their home and family, so they make excellent guard dogs. But these protective instincts also make them stubborn, so they’re best suited for those with prior dog experience.
5. Hairless Chinese Crested
If the idea of playing outside with your dog every day for hours sounds exhausting (or impossible), consider the Hairless Chinese Crested. These unique little dogs are true couch potatoes, though their lack of shedding means that when they do get up, you won’t find any hairs left behind!
Sporting silky hair on the head, legs, and tail, the Hairless Chinese Crested is otherwise nude. Some individuals do produce more dander than you’d expect, but many are well-tolerated by those with dog allergies, so spend some time with your specific Crested before making anything official.
Personality-wise, Hairless Chinese Cresteds tend to join their owners at the hip (or rather, ankle). They’d rather lounge in your lap than run around outside and need lots of attention throughout the day lest they get antsy and destructive.
6. Bichon Frise
With black button eyes, an impossibly puffy coat, and a deep love of snuggling, the Bichon Frise resembles a stuffed animal come to life. And since he doesn’t shed, you can cuddle him just like your favorite plushie without setting your allergies off.
Small, cute, and perpetually happy, the Bichon Frise makes it impossible not to smile when he’s around. They can be mischievous if not properly trained, but once they learn the ropes, they’re playful and friendly with people and dogs alike.
However, Bichon Frises require a lot of grooming, and their dense coat makes it tricky to DIY without prior training. You’ll need an adequate grooming budget if you own a Bichon.
7. Afghan Hound
The glamorous, silky coat of the Afghan Hound would make any supermodel jealous, and since it doesn’t shed, any tears you shed will be of envy rather than allergies.
But looks aren’t everything, and behind the Afghan Hound’s elegant appearance lie a comical yet sensitive personality and boundless energy.
Afghan Hounds tend to attach themselves very strongly to one person, but are otherwise independent and aloof, more like cats than other dogs.
But their quick wits make their solo antics highly entertaining to watch. They excel at puzzles and are so inventive with their mischief that you won’t even be mad when they break into the fridge or steal your favorite socks.
Originally hailing from Hungary, the Puli’s incredible dreadlocked coat is so dense, it’s nearly impossible to tell where it ends and the actual dog begins.
And though that mop of hair needs specialized grooming to look its best, when properly cared for, it doesn’t shed and releases next to no dander. It’s a dream for anyone with allergies or other respiratory issues — and anyone who wants a dog that turns heads on every walk.
Confident and caring, the Puli is the self-appointed household guardian. He’s excellent with children and highly adaptable to any family routine, though he needs plenty of attention to keep his strong will in check.
Pulis were originally bred as herding dogs, and they still have the stamina to prove it. They need ample exercise to stay happy, and make fantastic competitors in agility contests.
The Basenji is most commonly known for its unique vocalizations: it makes a yodel-like sound rather than a bark. But that’s not all this curly-tailed dog has to offer.
Basenjis are courageous and quick to embed themselves into their families, reveling in affection from loved ones. Their small frames are filled with muscle and energy, so playtime is always a blast.
And their short coats are both easy to groom and hypoallergenic, perfect for those with allergies who can’t commit to the intense grooming required by other hypoallergenic dogs.
However, Basenjis aren’t for novice dog owners. Stubborn, wildly intelligent, and tricky to train, they excel at finding ways to escape confinement, so expert handling is a must.
At first glance, the Maltese looks like the enemy of anyone with a dog allergy. But that cloud of long white hair is deceiving: underneath it all, there’s no undercoat to shed and very little dander, so it’s unlikely to set off any sneezing fits.
The sweet temperament and diminutive size of the Maltese makes it a fantastic breed for apartment dwellers and novice dog owners. Extremely affectionate and playful yet easy to train, it’s hard not to fall in love at first sight when you meet a Maltese.
However, the Maltese is a little high-maintenance when it comes to grooming. Daily brushing, weekly bathing, and regular ear hair removal are musts, and you’ll need to keep your Maltese’s head hair tied up so it doesn’t interfere with his vision.
11. Hairless Peruvian Inca Orchid
These regal dogs come in both coated and hairless varieties, with the hairless variety being far more common. And with no hair comes no shedding, making the Peruvian Inca Orchid a wonderful dog for those with allergies.
With the smallest Orchids weighing under 10 pounds and the heaviest weighing over 50, these dogs can fit into any living situation. Quick to learn and eager to please, they can go from watchdog to cuddlebug in a flash, making them excellent family dogs.
Though Hairless Peruvian Inca Orchids require minimal grooming, their lack of hair means they need some special care that other breeds don’t.
During winter in colder climates, they need to wear protective insulated clothing. And when the sun is blazing, their delicate skin needs to be covered with a t-shirt or dog-safe sunscreen so it doesn’t burn.
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