Are Terriers Hypoallergenic?

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 02/10/22 •  11 min read
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Are Terriers Hypoallergenic?

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Many people who suffer from dog allergies wonder if there’s anything like a truly hypoallergenic dog breed. Unfortunately, there’s no dog breed that’s completely hypoallergenic. However, you don’t need to give up on having a dog! There may be dog breeds that you can tolerate!

In this article, we’ll take a look at dog allergies, and whether terriers might be a dog, your allergies can tolerate. Let’s get started!

What are Dog Allergies?

A dog allergy is a reaction a person has when they are near a dog or in a place where a dog has been. The allergy is caused by a protein found in the dog’s saliva, urine, and dander. The protein is left anywhere the dog has been, and it can be found on the dog’s fur, too. It’s not the fur that causes the problem. Instead, it’s usually from the dog’s saliva and dander,

When a dog licks his fur, his saliva dries on the hair. Even when dry, the protein can cause an allergic reaction in anyone who is sensitive to that particular protein. When a dog shakes, it’s the dander that flies from his body and fur that causes the problem. The dander contains the protein that causes the allergy.

It’s for this reason that a person may even have an allergic reaction if a dog wasn’t even in the room! For instance, it’s possible for this to happen at work. But how?

Let’s say you have a dog allergy and are sitting at your desk working. You feel fine, with no allergy symptoms. Suddenly, a coworker stops by to talk with you. All of a sudden, your allergy symptoms start up. It’s possible your coworker has brought dog protein in on their clothing, in their hair, and more! That can be enough to make your allergy start up.

It’s frustrating for anyone who loves dogs but has a dog allergy. What kind of dog might be OK for a person who has this type of allergy? The answer isn’t straightforward.

Each dog breed has its own proteins. It’s possible for a person with a dog allergy to tolerate one dog breed but not another. For instance, someone may not be able to tolerate the protein created in short-haired dogs. However, long-haired dogs may not cause much of an allergic reaction. It all depends on the protein of the dog.

That’s why no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic. It all depends on the person and the specific dog protein they react to.

How to Choose a Dog If You Have Allergies

So, how do you go about choosing a dog if you have dog allergies? First, you may want to consider allergy testing. This is the process used to determine the specific proteins you’re allergic to. Once the doctor has learned about your allergies, they may recommend allergy shots. These can help desensitize the immune system. In other words, allergy shots can help keep the immune system from overreacting to the dog protein.

In addition, the doctor may recommend medications to help manage your allergies. These can include antihistamines and other medications that control allergic reactions.

Once you’ve learned about the dog protein you’re allergic to and are being treated for allergies, then you may be ready to start searching for a fur baby!

Terrier Dog Breeds for Allergy Sufferers

Are there hypoallergenic terrier dog breeds that might be suitable for a person with dog allergies? Yes, there are some dogs that may be a good fit! We’ve created a list of terriers you may want to consider if you have dog allergies!

American Hairless Terrier

The American Hairless Terrier is the only hairless dog breed that’s native to the US! The dogs were introduced in the US during the 20th century. However, in 1972, a Rat Terrier was born hairless. This was a female dog whose hair fell out when she was only a few weeks old! The dog’s name was Josephine.

The pet parents of Josephine bred her and developed a hairless terrier, which eventually became known as the American Hairless Terrier.

These dogs are small, but they are known for having large personalities! And they have a ton of energy! These dogs need constant companionship; otherwise, they tend to develop separation anxiety. They do best for families or active city dwellers.

The American Hairless Terrier can be somewhat dominant. For this reason, they need proper training and socialization from a young age. The training and socialization processes must be consistent. These dogs are smart and curious, and they’re eager to please. While they may test their pet parents, the dogs do enjoy training.

The dogs are also loving and enjoy snuggling with their pet parents. They also tend to choose a “favorite” person and will stick by their side most of the time.

These small dogs are usually pretty healthy; however, they can suffer from certain health conditions, such as:

American Hairless Terriers are easy to care for and come in a wide range of colors. You can find American Hairless Terriers that are black, sable, blue, brindle, red, or brown. Their skin or short coat may be a solid color; however, other dogs may be a combination of two or three colors.

These dogs can be a great choice for people who have allergies. They don’t shed much, though they do shed some dander (as all dogs do).

American Hairless Terriers usually stand between 12 to 16 inches and weigh between 10 and 16 lbs. They have a life expectancy between 13 to 16 years.

Bedlington Terrier

Not everyone is familiar with the Bedlington Terrier. However, these are dogs that look a bit like lambs! The dogs can be entertaining and have their own opinions. Even so, they’re highly intelligent dogs that are alert and can be aggressive toward small animals outside.

These terriers originally came from England, where they bred to get rid of rats, badgers, and other pests. The dogs are always enthusiastic about any activity they take up and love to spend time with their family and pet parents. What’s more, the dogs love to be the center of attention, even playing the clown when they want your attention!

Bedlington Terriers are usually friendly to guests and love to entertain everyone! However, they’re also a good judge of character and will let you know if someone doesn’t meet their specifications. Because of their great judgment of character, these dogs usually make great watchdogs.

The dogs need plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. However, they need a moderate amount of exercise. They enjoy walking, playing fetch, and may even make a great jogging companion.

These terriers also get along well if they’re raised with kids. They make great playmates; however, if you have young children, it’s best to always supervise the dog and the kids. Never leave them unattended (this is true of all dog breeds).

The dogs also get along well with other dogs, especially those they’re raised with. They may not start a fight, but terriers won’t back down, either. If another dog tries to dominate the Bedlington Terrier, they will not give way. They can be fierce fighters if attacked.

Bedlington Terriers come in a wide range of colors, including white, blue, sandy, liver, blue & tan, sand & tan, and liver & tan. You may also see bi-colors. The dog’s coat is a mix of harsh and soft hair that tends to curl. What’s more, they don’t shed much, which can make them an excellent choice for allergy sufferers.

Bedlington Terriers usually stand between 15 to 16 inches tall and weigh between 17 to 23 lbs. They have a life expectancy between 14 to 16 years.

Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier originally came from Ireland, where they were bred to be working dogs. They were used for hunting small game, birds, killing rodents, and guarding their homes. The dogs were also used to herd sheep and cattle.

Kerry Blue Terriers are alert, muscular dogs that are always ready for something! They have a unique blue-colored coat that has a bit of a grey tint. What’s more, the puppies may be born black and then transition in color as they mature.

These dogs are good-natured dogs who love people and kids. They make an excellent family companion who loves to join in with all family activities. This dog breed is happiest when spending time with their pet parents and family. While they are loving, they do make great watchdogs. They will give a warning if there’s an intruder about. And they have an intimidating bark!

While these are great people dogs, they don’t really do well with other dogs. Kerry Blue Terries are aggressive toward other dogs and will fight. This is especially true of intact males. However, dogs that have been properly trained and socialized may not be as aggressive toward other dogs. Even so, it’s necessary to keep an eye on them when other dogs are around.

These dogs are also strong-willed and need a pet parent who has a stronger will! The pet parent must know how to deal with these dogs in a positive way and let the dog know who is in charge. If a pet parent shows any weakness, the Kerry Blue will become dominant and run the household!

Kerry Blue Terriers also need plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. They love to jog, hike, and even run beside your bicycle!

The dogs must be groomed daily. They don’t shed very much and tend to be odor-free. However, their fur needs daily care to stay healthy and clean.

Kerry Blue Terriers usually stand between 17 to 19 inches and weigh between 33 to 40 lbs. They have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Our last terrier is the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. These dogs originally came from Ireland, where they were used as farm dogs and helped control vermin. They also did some hunting and protected their homes.

The Wheaten is a versatile family dog today who can live equally well in the city or the country. He just needs plenty of exercise and attention wherever he happens to live!

Wheatens are typical terriers in that they’re happy, active dogs. However, they aren’t as “scrappy” as other terrier breeds. They’re highly fond of people, and they love kids. When it comes to exercise, the Wheaten Terrier enjoys walks, hikes, and more. They also do well in agility and other dog competitions.

This is a dog that is extremely happy when you come home, and he’s not ashamed to show it! He will kiss you, jump into your arms, and more. He’s also happy to put his head in your lap, play with you, and more. However, they don’t like going out in the rain. For some reason, this dog breed doesn’t like to get wet.

While the Wheaten is a great dog, they do have a downside. Their coats need regular grooming to stay pretty and clean. In addition, these dogs may be messy eaters. Food and other things can become stuck in his fur. And he may just decide to use your pants as a napkin!

The dogs can also be stubborn, so they’re best for experienced pet parents who understand how to work with this dog breed. They respond best to positive reinforcement training. So, be sure to use plenty of praise and treats to let your dog know he’s doing a great job.

Summing It Up

So, can one of these terrier dog breeds be right for you? Possibly! They’re all low-shedders! However, it may be helpful to find a breeder and then spend some time with the dogs. See if your allergies start to act up. You may need to have more than one visit to see if your allergies become active around a specific dog.

The key is to have patience when looking for a fur baby you can tolerate. And then choose a dog that you know fits your lifestyle and situation.

Choosing the right dog for your allergies is essential, but so is choosing a dog you can care for in the way he needs!

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.