Which Small Hypoallergenic Dogs Make the Best Choices for Small Dog Lovers

By Janice Jones  | Updated November 22, 2021

You may have heard of hypoallergenic dogs, dogs that don’t shed and therefore don’t induce allergies. Unfortunately; there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog breed.

However, 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 are quite a few small hypoallergenic dogs from which to choose.

A Bichon Frise is a good example of a nearly hypoallergenic dog breedHere’s a cute hypoallergenic dog breed, the Bichon Frise

Dog hair is normally not what triggers allergies in people, but rather it is the dander that causes all those symptoms to flare up.

Small Hypoallergenic Dogs and The Real Cause of Your Dog Allergies

Speaking generally, dog hair is 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 has feathers or fur.  That means mammals and birds.  Most skin particles that are discarded are microscopic, but sometimes you can see them.  

Dander contains a protein that triggers an allergic reaction.  Urine and saliva also include dander.  It is unlikely that a pet owner can altogether 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.  This can be dangerous, and the last thing you want is you or your dog to be injured (consider using Vet Wraps to protect your small hypoallergenic dog if he is injured!).

But if you live with a dog, the concentration of dander is much higher 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. Finding the perfect breed for you may mean checking into some small hypoallergenic dogs.  Here are some suggestions for you to consider.

What Small Dog Breeds Are Hypoallergenic (Produce Less Dander)?

Dog breeds that produce less dander also shed less or not at all.  Hairless breeds are suitable for allergy sufferers, but hypoallergenic dogs can be fully coated but shed very little.

Poodles are an excellent pick for hypoallergenic dogs, as well as terriers and other small dogs. Depending on the severity of your allergies you may be able to choose from more dog breeds.

Small dogs that do not shed, do not have hair, or have wiry coats tend to be called hypoallergenic.

Poodles are Nearly Hypoallergenic

Toy Poodles are probably the most well known hypoallergenic dog breed.  This is because they lack a fine undercoat that many dogs have, which makes allergies worse.

They also carry a gene for being hypoallergenic; 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 Yorkie-poo.

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.

Poodles also have a personality that is present in many of its variations. They possess traits that many people desire in pets. Poodles are considered one of the smartest breeds meaning their breeds will most likely be very intelligent. Poodle mix-breeds are also likely to be resistant to diseases and relatively low energy.

Popular Poodle Mixes include:


Bichpoo (Bichon Frise and Poodle Hybrid)

Highly intelligent, the Bichpoo, also known as Poochon is a mix between a poodle and Bichon Frise. These dogs are smart and active and love playing with children, so they make excellent family pets so long as the children are careful with them.


Cockapoo (American Cocker Spaniel and Poodle Cross)

The cocker spaniel poodle mix is a smart, confident, and devoted dog. Their adorable appearance and great personality make them one of the most loved poodles mixes available.


Malti-poo (Maltese and Poodle Mix)

Fun-loving, friendly, and smart the Maltese poodle mix is a highly desired pet. They love being around people and children and have high energy, however, because of their extreme friendliness they are prone to anxiety when left alone. Training will be required from a young age as Malti-poos love to bark whenever they get the chance.


Shi-Poo (Shih Tzu and Poodle Mix)

The Shih Tzu poodle mix is a great family dog, as its favorite activity is hanging out with its family. Good around children and other pets, they are very friendly, and like Maltipoos tend towards anxiety when not around family. Shihpoo are also alert and make good watchdogs.


Pomapoo (Pomeranian and Poodle Mix)

Pomeranian poodle mixes are adorable, spunky, and very lovable. They make excellent pets for elderly people who want a playful and affectionate dog. They are also good with children and are one of the lowest energy poodle mixes as they don't require quite as much exercise.

Terriers are Excellent Choices for Allergy Sufferers

Terriers as a group might also be the right 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.

Terriers are generally high energy and need lots of exercise, so they are perfect for anyone who wants a walking or jogging buddy. To go along with their energetic personality they are also very affectionate and loyal pets.

Here is a list of small terriers with links to their breed profile pages if you would like to know more.

Parson Russell Terrier

Energetic and lively, this terrier breed is a bit of a performer. If you’re looking for an affectionate and high energy dog, the Parson Russell Terrier is the perfect low shedding dog.

Rat Terrier

Playful and full of energy these small terriers make the perfect exercise partners. The rat terrier is an excellent choice for people with families as well as they get along well with children.

Scottish Terrier

The Scottie is a lovable but sometimes difficult dog. They require grooming often to get that perfect Scottie coat, but if you love their cute look it’s well worth the effort. 

Sealyham Terrier

One of the less energetic terrier breeds, Sealies make excellent pets for first time dog owners. They are a rare breed and their looks stand out from other terriers making them unique.

Welsh Terrier

Excellent with children and other dogs these terriers make awesome family pets. Mild mannered but still energetic the Welsh Terrier is a rounded dog. They are also very intelligent.

West Highland White Terrier

Very playful and affectionate these dogs are perfect for anyone who values these traits. With their iconic adorable face and white coat they make one of the cutest pets.

More Small Terriers Worth Checking Out if You're Looking for Small Hypoallergenic Dogs

Small Hypoallergenic Dogs:  Very Small Breeds Make for Very Low Shedding

Some tiny breeds might also be suitable for allergy sufferers because of their small size.  In this category, you find breeds such as Yorkies, Affenpinschers, Chihuahuas, and Pomeranians. 

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! 

Read more about low shedding dogs.  

More Small Hypoallergenic Dogs

The American Kennel Club includes these small breeds among its list of hypoallergenic dog breeds.


These small dogs are incredibly affectionate and love being with their owners.

Cuddly and people pleasers anyone who wants a loving dog will want a Maltese.

They do require a fair amount of grooming however, and much more if you want to keep a long show coat.

Toy Poodles

Highly affectionate and energetic toy poodles make surprisingly good watch dogs.

Poodles are extremely intelligent and very easy to train as a result.

They are also one of the most hypoallergenic dogs available. Remember, they come in three sizes, toys, miniatures, and standards.

Miniature Schnauzers

Due to breeding Miniature Schnauzers have a very mixed reputation.

However, if you get one from a reputable breeder they are loyal, affectionate, and intelligent dogs.

Keep in mind they will need a lot of grooming to keep their coat looking its best.

Mexican Hairless

Though hairless and “bat-like” these dogs are extremely loyal and affectionate.  You may have heard them called Toy Xoloitzcuintli or just  Xolo, the Mexican hairless is a real possibility for those looking at small hypoallergenic dogs.

Many people find the hairless look of this rare breed adorable, and they need very little grooming.

Because of their lack of hair they are ideal for people who suffer allergies.

Chinese Crested 

The Chinese Crested breed often get called ugly by people who don’t know them, but many people find them elegant and cute.

They are fiercely loyal and will attach themselves to their owners.  They come in two varieties:  Hairless and Powderpuff. 

The Hairless variety is more hypoallergenic than the powderpuff which has a full coat of hair.

This breed is excellent for elderly people as they are lovely lap dogs, hate to be alone, and require little exercise and grooming. 

Bichon Frise

Very happy go lucky dogs, these cuties are perfect for anyone who wants a positive companion. The fluffy coat does require grooming regularly but is so adorable.

They make excellent family pets as they are very loving and good with children.


Good with other dogs, people, and children, these laid back but playful dogs have a great personality. Playful but calm, devoted, and easy to train, many people think they have the perfect traits.

Because their personality is so balanced you may have a hard time getting one of these rare breeds, and they can be expensive. 

Coton de Tulear

If you have allergies but want a fluffy dog with lots of hair the Coton de Tulear is for you. 

Their hair is soft and wonderful to touch.

Friendly and fluffy these dogs have a charming personality and make for good family pets.

American Hairless Terrier 

Curious and intelligent these little dogs make the perfect pet for apartment living.

They require daily walks but are perfect lap dogs and don't need to much space, however because of their skin health they must be kept indoors and use sunscreen or a shirt to protect from the sun.

Best Advice for Finding Small Hypoallergenic Dogs

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.

Life with Small Hypoallergenic Dogs:
Ways to Help Your Allergies

  1. Vacuum often or better yet, have someone else vacuum for you. Use a HEPA filter.
  2. Keep the bedroom door closed and keep your bed off limits to all dogs. 
  3. Bathe your dog weekly or even twice a week to remove dander.
  4. Wash your hands after petting the dog.
  5. Use a HEPA air cleaner in rooms where the dog stays.
  6. Sometimes additional Omega 3 added to your dog’s food help keep the coat in top shape and thus reduces dander.
  7. Remove carpet, heavy draperies and upholstery that tend to trap dander or steam clean regularly. 
  8. Wash the dog’s bed frequently.
Hypoallergenic Dog BreedsHypoallergenic Dog Breeds

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, English Bulldogs, Carin Terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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