Best & Worst Dog Breeds for People With Allergies

What do you do when you love dogs, but you or a family member is allergic? You do what many people do: Get one of a number of dog breeds touted as hypoallergenic. They’re described as the best types of dogs for people with dog allergies because they tend to shed less than other breeds. Pet hair or pet dander is a common cause of allergic rhinitis, a chronic disease that affects 40 million to 60 million Americans and more than 600 million people worldwide. Commonly known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis happens when the body overreacts to something that does not cause a problem in other people.

More than 200 million people worldwide also suffer from allergy-related asthma, and researchers say both conditions are underdiagnosed and undertreated; probably because people would rather live with itching, sneezing, and wheezing than give up their beloved pets. Most people are not actually allergic to dog hair. Rather, they're allergic to dander, flakes on the dog’s skin, or saliva. Hair does have something to do with it, though: Sometimes other indoor allergens like dust, or outdoor allergens like grass or tree pollen, can build up on a dog’s furry coat and trigger allergy symptoms like sneezing, congestion, nasal swelling, asthma and rashes. Many people with dog allergies complain about red, itchy eyes.

There are theories that suggest that children who are exposed to pets during early infancy may be less likely have dog or cat allergies later on. But if a child already has a dog allergy, bringing a new puppy to your home would not be beneficial. If you already have a dog, here are a few tips to prevent pet allergies:

  • Keep the dog outside. It may take weeks or months before your house is free of pet allergens.
  • Keep your dog clean and bathe it weekly in warm water. This may reduce the amount of dog dander and dog saliva deposited throughout your home.
  • Get a groomer to bathe your dog so you're not exposed to the allergens.
  • Wash the dog’s bedding weekly to remove excess dander.
  • Keep the dog out of the bedroom and off the bed during sleep.

If you’re on the hunt for a hypoallergenic dog that won’t leave you watery-eyed, you’ll need to do your research and perhaps an in-home test to make sure your new pup doesn’t trigger an allergy or asthma attack. Don’t go straight for the breeds of dogs with shorter coats, and don’t count out shaggy pups. There are many types of hypoallergenic dogs; some with more hair, some with less.

Here’s some more information on the best and worst breeds for people with dog allergies.

  • Best
    • Schnauzers -produce less pet dander
    • Maltese - Or other tiny, toy breeds
    • Bichon Frise & Labradoodle - great hypoallergenic dogs
    • Portuguese Water Dogs - live well outside
    • Xloloitzcuintli - good fit for families
  • Worst
    • Saint Bernards & Bulldogs - known for excessive saliva
    • German Shepherd - dry skin causes excessive pet dander
    • Boston Terriers - suffer with allergies and mucus
    • Pekingese- hard to house-train

A dog is more than just a pet for most dog owners, a pup is more than just an animal who requires time and energy. A dog is a member of the family who brings happiness and unconditional love. Though finding and keeping the best breeds of dogs for your allergy will take extra effort, the prep work is worth it. Taking extra steps to minimize exposure to dander and other allergens allows people with allergies the chance to enjoy the unparalleled companionship of man’s best friend.

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