Hypoallergenic Dogs – What Does That Mean? Which Breeds are They?

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 04/27/21 •  10 min read
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Having a furry friend can be very rewarding. You can go on adventures and you have a companion for life. But one thing’s for sure, dogs have a lot of fur and this coat can be a problem for some people. In particular, if you have allergies, you may think that your dream of having a pooch in your home is over. But this is not always true. Perhaps it is time to think about adopting a hypoallergenic dog. Let’s find out more about it!

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Allergy to Dogs

If you are sneezing a lot around dogs or experiencing other unpleasant symptoms, chances are you have allergies. The main reason why this happens is because of a protein that is found in the skin cells and dander of a pup. This means that the allergens float around the house and can cause everything from sore eyes to sneezing. This is particularly true if dogs shed a lot of hair.

It can mean that dogs with longer fur and lots of this protein cannot be owned by those with allergies.

What Does it Mean If a Dog is Hypoallergenic?

Before we look at breeds that are classed as hypoallergenic, it is important to understand what this actually means. The best way is to break down the word. To start with, hypo means under or less than. In other words, hypoallergenic means that something is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, a hypoallergenic dog is less likely to cause symptoms of allergies.

Of course, it is essential to realize that hypoallergenic dogs can never be totally allergy safe. They may just reduce certain symptoms for you, but others may still experience allergic symptoms to pet dander.

Ways You Can Keep Your Allergies at Bay

There are some things you can do around the home to reduce your symptoms. These simple tips can help if you experience minor allergy symptoms around furry friends. For example, make sure that you keep up with hygiene in your home. Use a vacuum cleaner regularly to remove any pet hair in your home. An air purifier with a HEPA filter can be very useful for trapping pet dander and other allergens that are present in the air of your home too.

Make sure that you wash your dog’s bed on a regular basis. This is somewhere they will go often and allow pet dander to gather. If your canine lies on the sofa or is around other materials, make sure that they stay clean too. Even vacuums the drapes can help to get rid of pet dander that you cannot see.

Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

Now it is time to take a look at some of the hypoallergenic dog breeds that are out there. There is a mixture of small and large dogs that you may be able to adopt. So, without further ado, let’s take a look.


Despite the amount of hair a Maltese can have, this pooch is said to be a hypoallergenic dog. Perhaps this is also down to their size, as this is a small companion for your family. They also do not shed often. The good news is that this breed is known for being gentle and not as sassy as their glamorous white coat would suggest! This is why you often see this canine as a therapy dog, as well as involved in sports and obedience.

For a small pooch, you will be surprised by just how much energy a Maltese can have. They enjoy a lot of playtime, as well as regular walks. They can also become attached to their owners. This means that if you work long hours, they may become anxious and destructive when left alone. Socialization and training will be essential for this small pup. They may become snappy around children and this is something to consider if you have young kids in the family.

Shih Tzu

Next on the list is another small dog. This time, it is the Shih Tzu. This small but mighty canine has a name that actually means ‘little lion’. Perhaps this gives you a clue about the personality of this pup! But despite what you may think, the Shih Tzu was actually bred to be a companion dog. With their family, they are affectionate and love to spend time with their humans. Since the early days, they have also taken part in dog sports and obedience competitions.

Of course, the Shih Tzu has made the list because it is said to be a hypoallergenic dog. Despite this, they do have flowing hair. They are known for their undershot bite, which means that their lower jaw is wider than the upper jaw. One thing you should know about this breed is that they are often difficult to housebreak. It will take a lot of training and perseverance.

Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog is known for not shedding a lot. This is going to help those that have allergies and want to own a dog. This canine is known for being intelligent, loving the water and being very energetic. In fact, you may recognize this pooch because he was the dog of President Obama.

The Portugese Water Dog needs a lot of exercise. We are talking about daily activity that allows them to burn energy. Otherwise, this pooch will not be happy and they can become destructive in the house. Of course, if you can, they will love to go swimming and will happily chase a ball. You can even bring them running or hiking.

The good thing about his breed is that they will excel with their training. This is a way to keep them amused and burn energy. They love to please and are intelligent. Just make sure that you reward your furry friend too. Socialization from a young age will be important, just like it is for all breeds. This way, they can happily make new friends at the dog park.

Border Terrier

Another small dog to add to the hypoallergenic list is the Border Terrier. They are known for their wired coat and this can be good for people that have allergies. This pooch started off by helping to get foxes out of their hiding places. This allowed the hounds to chase them. This means that they do have a prey drive and Border Terriers love to dig. This means a secure yard is essential for this pooch.

This is a dog that has a lot of energy. They love to be active and you will have to work hard to prevent boredom. This means they need toys and a lot of attention in order to be happy and non-destructive in the house. They can also bark a lot if they are left unattended for long periods of time.

But this dog does make a good companion and they will love to spend some quality time with you.

Afghan Hound

This one may surprise you. The Afghan Hound is known as a hypoallergenic dog even though it has long silky hair. This canine is from Afghanistan and despite their elegant look, they were used for hunting large prey. Of course, their abundance of hair kept them warm up in the mountains. Did you know that this pooch once hunted leopards?

Due to their hunting background, Afghan Hounds can be independent thinkers. This means that they like to have their own schedule and can do what they want to. They will only want affection on their terms. In addition, this pooch is known to steal items from around the home. They can be mischievous, which can be funny to behind with. But they will need some training to leave some belonging alone. This dog will require socialization and training. But training can be due to their independent nature and will take a lot of time and perseverance.


The Basenji is a hypoallergenic dog that is from Africa. This pooch was originally traced back to Congo and they are great for hunting. They have good eyesight, as well as smell, which means they were used for hunting small game. In addition, they are an intelligent dog breed that will make a good companion for a family. Of course, they also have a short coat and they are small, which may be why they are better for those people that suffer from allergies.

Are you looking for a pooch that is willing to please? Perhaps you want to consider another breed and not the Basenji. They are known to be stubborn and they can still what is in a situation for them. This means that you should be aware that this breed will try to manipulate you too. They can also be escape artists and it is important to have high fences and an enclosed yard. The Basenji does love to play to make sure that you have the time to play fetch at the park. They love nothing more than to chase and retrieve for you. But they can become chewers in the house and it is best to leave nothing lying around.

Kerry Blue Terrier

Next up is the Kerry Blue Terrier. This pup joins the list for hypoallergenic pooches and is known as a working dog. They are originally from County Kerry, which is located in Ireland. Since then, they have spread around the globe and become companions. Indeed, they love to spend time with their pack and are dedicated members. They will protect their family and you know you have a loyal companion with the Kerry Blue Terrier.

One thing to know about the Kerry Blue Terrier is that they are not great with other dogs. If they are not extensively trained from a young age, they can be prone to aggressive tendencies. This is particularly true if they are not neutered. With early socialization, they can learn the correct ways to behave and have fun with furry friends. They are an active breed and this means you will have to plan on going out walking and hiking often.

Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is also a hypoallergenic dog and you can choose between hairless and pups with silky hair. Of course, their name comes from the fact that they have a crest head with hair. This pooch was bred to be a companion and they will happily be lazy all day. They do not require a lot of exercise but they still like to go exploring with their pack. They are actually quite athletic for their size.

This pooch loves their humans but they are known to be a spoiled dog breed. They can be sensitive and needy. They will have to be properly socialized so that they can also be friendly to strangers. Chinese crested might start to bite if they are entered into unknown situations. Make sure that you keep this canine nice and warm during the year. The hairless variety will benefit from jumpers even when you are in the house.

American Hairless Terrier

Last but not least is the American Hairless Terrier. Of course, the clue is in the name. This pooch does not have any hair and this may be why they are such a good hypoallergenic pup. The ancestors of this breed were used for hunting and the American Hairless Terrier today remains alert and active. They were first bred by Edwin Scott in Louisiana and this was back in the 1970s.

For a small dog, this one is packed with energy. They are intelligent and respond well to training and staying active. This pooch loves to spend time with their family and get along well with children. They can also live with other dogs and animals. They do have a prey drive, which means that they will need to be good at their recall before adventuring off leash. The American Hairless Terrier will also benefit from having a yard with a fence since they like to dig and run.

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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