Best Dogs for People with Allergies

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.


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Hair vs. Fur

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Photos by Getty Images

If your kids have been absolutely begging for a furry friend, but the thought of it already has you running for a Benadryl, consider adding a hairy friend to the fam instead. The key word here is hair, points out Dr. Evan Antin (you may know him better as “the hot vet”), because dogs with hair–as opposed to fur­–have a non-shedding coat that results in less dander, which is what causes most animal allergies. While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, Dr. Evan and Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views recommend these pups for lots of hugs and less nose-running. We've also included information about each breed from the American Kennel Club (AKC).


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Poodles in three colors

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Photo by Getty Images

Lucky for small apartment-renters or large homeowners, poodles vary in sizes from standard, mini, to toy, meaning any family can take advantage of their playful, intelligent nature. Dr. Evan recommends them as great family dogs.

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Active, proud, very smart
  • Weight: 4-6 pounds (toy), 10-15 pounds (miniature), 40-70 pounds (standard)
  • Life expectancy: 10-18 years

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white maltese dog

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Photo by Getty Images

This is a small breed that Dr. Evan warns is “somewhat vocal,” but one of the more intelligent small breeds, with long straight hair.

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Gentle, playful, charming
  • Weight: Under 7 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years

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Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog

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Photo by Getty Images

These medium-sized dogs were bred to help fisherman, so they love playing in water and acting as companions to their owners. The Obama family famously owned two—Bo and Sunny—during their time in the White House.

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Affectionate, adventurous, athletic
  • Weight: 35-60 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 11-13 years

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Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

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“I grew up with two of these personally,” says Dr. Evan of the medium size breed, and they can be “occasionally aggressive at the vet, but otherwise a very good family dog.”

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Friendly, happy, deeply devoted
  • Weight: 30-40 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-14 years

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Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer

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Photo by Getty Images

From the mini to the giant, this breed is super smart, playful, and usually good with other dogs too.

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Fearless, smart, spirited (miniature); loyal, alert, trainable (giant)
  • Weight: 11-20 pounds (miniature), 80-85 pounds (giant)
  • Life expectancy: 12-16 years

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Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound

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Photo by Getty Images

This large breed is dignified with its long, silky hair (that needs regular grooming) and intelligent disposition.  

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Independent, sweet
  • Weight: 50-60 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-18 years

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Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

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Photo by Getty Images

These white-haired and whip-smart dogs get along well with others, love to play and love to relax too. Dr. Evan says they get along well with other dogs at home. 

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Playful, curious, peppy
  • Weight: 12-18 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 14-15 years

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Havanese

Havanese

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Photo by Getty Images

These long-haired pups are the only dog native to Cuba but are popular all over for their cheerful nature. Their hair needs regular grooming, and they’re sometimes stubborn at the veterinary hospital, but are easily trained and lovable.

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Intelligent, outgoing, funny
  • Weight: 7-13 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 14-16 years

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Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

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Photo by Getty Images

This small breed has a lot of hair and is brachycephalic (meaning they have a short muzzle), so they don’t love the heat or going swimming. They do love children and being the best lap dog, though.

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Affectionate, playful, outgoing
  • Weight: 9-16 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 10-18 years

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Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

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Photo by Getty Images

Yorkies are very loyal and sometimes possessive over their owners, but their funny personality and beautiful long hair make them a favorite of many.

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Affectionate, tomboyish, sprightly
  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 11-15 years

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Labradoodle

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This cross between a retriever and poodle has curly hair and doesn't shed. Labradoodles are quite friendly, making them great family dogs. —Michele C. Hollow

The labradoodle is not an official AKC breed.


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Italian Greyhounds

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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. —Michele C. Hollow

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Playful, alert, sensitive
  • Weight: 7-14 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 14-15 years

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Fox Terrier

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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.—Michele C. Hollow

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Confident, alert, gregarious
  • Weight: 15-18 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years

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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. —Michele C. Hollow

AKC description:

  • Temperament: Adaptable, friendly, gentle
  • Weight: 35-65 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-14 years

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Ease into adopting

women petting dog on sofa

Photo by Getty Images

Photo by Getty Images

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.


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Find the Best Family Pet for You

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Are you thinking about getting a pet? Take our quiz and find out which type of pet might be best for you!