Being allergic to dogs doesn't mean you have to give up owning a pet. If someone in your house is allergic, consider these hypoallergenic breeds.
By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views
Often called "powder puffs," these soft and curly-coated dogs don't shed, making them hypoallergenic. Plus, they have pleasant dispositions that make them perfect family dogs.
Schnauzers come in three sizes: miniature, standard, and giant. All have wire-haired coats that are soft to the touch. They do need to be bathed and groomed. Schnauzers are smart and enjoy being at the center of attention, so they're a great fit for active families.
Like schnauzers, poodles come in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard (small, medium, and large). These incredibly smart dogs don't shed, but they do need regular grooming. Easily trainable, poodles are excellent dogs for families with kids.
This cross between a retriever and poodle has curly hair and doesn't shed. Labradoodles are quite friendly, making them great family dogs.
A little smaller than a greyhound, these dogs barely shed, which makes it easier to keep them free of allergens. Brushing them outside of the house keeps the fur to a minimum inside. Italian greyhounds need exercise and are extremely loyal and playful. They are good dogs for families. However, these dogs are quite sensitive to cold, so they aren't well suited to areas where the temperature dips to freezing and below.
We all know Bo, the four-legged resident living with the Obamas at the White House. The Obamas promised their children Sasha and Malia a dog in 2008. Malia has allergies, so the late Senator Edward Kennedy gave them Bo as a present. Portuguese water dogs are obedient, docile, and smart.
Playful, affectionate, and faithful, these large dogs have long silky coats that are soft to the touch. They don't shed in the spring and fall. Combing their hair will ensure that loose hair is kept to a minimum at home.
Samoyeds shed, but their skin has no dander, which makes them a good choice for families with allergies. These laid-back dogs are great around children.
Originally bred for hunting foxes, these bold and energetic dogs tend to pick fights with other dogs, but they are wonderful around children. They are curious and love to explore, and could benefit from obedience training.
Lively, gentle, loving, and trusting, Maltese dogs are devoted to those who care for them. They are good at learning tricks and great with kids. Most owners keep a Maltese dog's hair groomed short. Maltese dogs are popular because of their cheerfulness and because they don't shed.
If you have allergies and are considering adopting a hypoallergenic breed, why not foster one to see how well your family reacts to the dog? You can also purchase air purifiers. If allergies persist and you want to keep the dog in your family, make sure the dog is kept out of the bedroom. Grooming should be done outside the house -- if hair flies, it won't stay inside.
Michele C. Hollow writes the family-friendly pet blog "Pet News and Views."