By Janice Jones | Updated July 25, 2019
There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed, but if you are an allergy sufferer, don't despair, there are many breeds that are very close to being hypoallergenic and if you want a small breed dog, you are in luck. There is quite a few from which to choose.
Dog hair is normally not what triggers allergies in people, but rather it is the dander that causes all those symptoms to flare up.
Pet dander is a term that describes the little particles of skin that are shed from animals that either have feathers or fur. That means mammals and birds. Most skin particles that are shed are microscopic but sometimes you can see them.
Dander contains a protein that triggers the allergic reaction. Urine and saliva also contain dander. It is unlikely that a pet owner can completely remove dander from the home because even the best house trained dog can bring droplets of urine back into the house by way of his hair.
Every time your dog licks you or himself, it spreads that allergy causing protein either to you or into the atmosphere. Barking can create droplets of saliva as well as drooling.
As the skin cells flake off the animal, it becomes airborne because it is very light. The dander can stick to any surface where it falls or continue to float unnoticed in the air. Often these surfaces are you. The dander rides on your clothes, on your hair or any where it lands. It can be anywhere even places that dogs are not permitted to be.
But if you live with a dog, the concentration of dander is much greater than if you were to go to the mall where dogs are not allowed.
Does that mean that you can't have a dog if you have allergies?
The good news is that you can be a proud dog parent and still have allergies, but a bit of caution is advised.
Dog breeds that produce less dander also shed less or not at all. Hairless breeds are good for allergy sufferers but also full coated dogs who shed very little.
Toy Poodles are probably the best known hypoallergenic dog breed. When poodles are bred with
other breeds that also carry these characteristics, the offspring are more
likely to be considered hypoallergenic dogs such as Malti-poos, Shi-poo, Bich-poo or
When poodles are matched with dogs that produce more dander, there is no guarantee that the offspring will carry the characteristics of the poodle or other dog but the chances are good that the offspring will produce less dander than the parent who sheds.
Terriers as a group might also be a good choice for a person allergic to dogs.
Their dense wiry coat does not shed much and they too produce less dander. Small dogs in this category include Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Cairn Terriers, Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Tibetan Terriers and West Highland White Terriers.
Here is a list of all small terriers with links to their breed profile pages.
Although they produce dander, pound for pound, the amount of dander produced is small compared to larger breeds so they land in the category of hypoallergenic dogs.
Another group of dogs you might like to check out include those that are low shedders such as Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, and Havanese. I personally have allergies, but have been able to live well with multiple Shih Tzu dogs over the last 40 years!
The American Kennel Club includes these small breeds among its list of hypoallergenic dog breeds.
To be sure, before deciding on a hypoallergenic breed, visit several breeders, spend some time with the dogs, holding, petting and interacting with them. Then and only then will you know for sure if this is the right dog for you.
If you have severe allergies, the best way to assure you don’t suffer is to live in a sterile environment, free of all pets.
But that is just not an option for most dog lovers. You can still have a dog, but there are some precautions you should take that will make living with your beloved dog much easier.
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