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Breeds for Allergy Sufferers
Hypoallergenic dogs? (1997-2008)
breeds commonly recommended for allergy sufferers
The following three breed lists (hairless dogs, coated dogs, and other
potential low dander breeds) are mostly based on dog breeds that are
either hairless or possess
a single layer of coat and therefore usually produce less dander than
double-coated breeds. I obtained the first list of "low allergy dog
breeds" from the American Kennel Club (AKC) around 1990,
but I added the two very rare hairless dog breeds, the American Hairless
Terrier and the Peruvian Inca Orchid, to the list. These two hairless breeds
generally do well with allergy sufferers. They are available in the U.S., although the numbers are low.
Based on owners' allergy trials with different breeds, the American
Hairless Terrier seems to be the least allergy causing of all the "low
dander" dog breeds. This is true for me as well. American Hairless Terrier is often the
last resort dog for those who cannot tolerate any other breed.
When studying the
breed lists, please keep in mind that people's allergies vary greatly. There is no dog breed that is truly non-allergenic! You can be
allergic to dog dander, dog saliva, dog urine, or all of them. Severe pet
allergy sufferers may not tolerate any dogs at all, even with the best
Read also the Allergic to Dogs? main
page. It contains information about human pet allergies, symptoms,
environmental controls to reduce dog allergens in your home, human pet
allergy discussion board, human pet allergy books, and allergy studies.
With hairless dog breeds, it is possible to have allergic reactions to the
coated dogs and not to the hairless ones within the same breed (Chinese Crested
Some people are so sensitive that even the hairless dogs aggravate their
allergies! After all, these dogs do still have skin cells and saliva.
The hairless dogs have the added advantage of being very clean, flee free,
and truly non-shedding!
Italian Greyhound - According to the IG breeder I spoke with, IG is
not a good choice for allergy sufferers. As of 2005, AKC does not
recommend the IG as a low allergy breed anymore.
Basenji - As of 2006, the AKC does not recommend the Basenji as a
low dander breed anymore.
Chihuahua - Contrary to popular belief, Chihuahuas are usually
not suitable for dog allergic people (Chihuahua breeders).
| Other possible
"allergy friendly" breeds
Bichon family dog breeds:
Coton de Tulear is not on the AKC's low allergy
breed list, but it
has been recommended by several allergic dog owners. Coton de Tulear is
a relative to the Bichon-type dogs. Breeds in the Bichon family are
Bichon Frise, Bolognese, Havanese, Maltese, and Lowchen. Bichon Frise
and Maltese are on the AKC allergy friendly dogs list above.
Other dog breeds sometimes listed as hypoallergenic:
Genetically engineered dogs
- Tibetan Terrier
See the Genetically
engineered dogs page.
While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic,
there are many breeds which the American Kennel Club (AKC) suggests
people with allergies to consider. Most of these breeds have non-shedding
coats which produce less dander. It's the dander not the hair which
causes most pet allergies.
The 1998 AKC allergy info page lists the Basenji,
Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Chinese Crested, Italian Greyhound,
Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese, Miniature Schnauzer, Poodle, Portuguese
Water Dog, and Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier as the most suitable dog breeds for
dog allergic people.
The 2005 AKC allergy
info page lists Basenji, Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Chinese
Crested, Irish Water Spaniel, Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese, Poodles (toy,
min, std), Portuguese Water Dog, Schnauzers (min, std, giant), Soft
Coated Wheaton Terrier, and Xoloitzcuintli (FSS breed) as "lower dander"
Changes: The Italian Greyhound is no longer listed by AKC as a recommended breed
for allergy sufferers.
The current 2006 AKC allergy info pages lists the
Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Chinese Crested, Irish Water Spaniel,
Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese, Poodle (all 3 sizes), Portuguese Water Dog,
Schnauzer (all 3 sizes), Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, and Xoloitzcuintli
as less dander producing dog breeds.
Changes: Basenji is no longer listed as a low dander breed.
2007 & 2008 Updates:
AKC still recommends the same list of dog breeds as in 2006. (above)
Please note that the AKC only lists "lower dander" dog breeds that are
eligible for AKC or AKC Foundation Stock (FSS) registration on their
allergy page. "Low dander" non-AKC rare breeds are not included
shedding dog breeds
All hairless dog breeds (American
Hairless, Crested, PIO, Xolo), Affenpinscher, Airedale Terrier,
Australian Terrier, Basenji, Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise,
Bolognese, Border Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Cesky Terrier, Coton de
Tulear, Dachshund (Wirehaired only), Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Fox
Terrier (Wire only), Schnauzer (Giant, Standard, Miniature),
Havanese, Irish Terrier, Irish Water Spaniel, Italian Greyhound,
Kerry Blue Terrier, Komondor, Lakeland Terrier, Lowchen, Maltese,
Norfolk Terrier, Norwich Terrier, Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen,
Poodle (Standard, Miniature, Toy), Portuguese Water Dog, Puli,
Scottish Terrier, Sealyham Terrier, Silky Terrier, Soft-Coated
Wheaten Terrier, Tibetan Terrier, Welsh Terrier, West Highland White
Terrier, and Yorkshire Terrier are low shedding breeds.
being low shedding does not necessary mean low dander!
High dander dog breeds - Avoid
It has been found that the epidermal turnover is more rapid in breeds
that are prone to the various forms of dry and oily seborrhea (term
for any skin disease involving dry or greasy scaling), such as Cocker
Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, West Highland White Terriers, Chinese Shar-Pei,
Basset Hounds, German Shepherd Dogs, Irish Setters, Afghan Hounds, Doberman
Pinschers and Dachshunds. Instead of the normal 21 day cycle, the epidermal
turnover of seborrheic dogs is 3 to 4 days and so they produce exceptionally
large quantities of dander. (Allerpet
These dog breeds are known to be prone to skin problems and therefore
likely to shed more dander (shed more skin): Afghan Hound, Basset
Hound, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd,
Irish Setter, Shar-Pei, and West Highland White Terrier
(Asthma Magazine 2005).
Dog breeds to avoid if you have pet allergies:
- Afghan Hound
- Basset Hound
- Chinese Shar-Pei
- Cocker Spaniel
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shephard
- Irish Setter
- Springer Spaniel
- West Highland White Terrier
"Got Your Dander Up?"
by Susan H. Bertram, DVM, Dog Fancy magazine,
According to this article about human pet allergies, it is a myth that
nonshedding breeds of dog are less likely to cause allergies. The breeds
(e.g. Bichon Frise, Poodle, Schnauzer) with a reputation of being hypoallergenic
are those that get bathed and groomed frequently. It is known that bathing
cats decreases the amount of allergen on their skin, and it is assumed the
same is true for dogs.
A dog's size also contributes to the amount of dander it produces. So, a
larger dog is going to produce more allergen and be more likely to trigger
"Keep Your Dog's Dander in Check"
by W. Bradford Swift, DVM, Dog World magazine,
This article also dispels the myth of hypoallergenic dogs, but
mentions that certain breeds (terriers, Poodles, Bichon Frise) are
thought to produce less dander than other breeds. However, according to
this article the allergic reactions to dogs depend more on size of the
dog than on the breed. The bigger the dog is, the more dander it
Environmental controls and dry skin in dogs
are also discussed. Dry skin can result in irritation and itchiness
in the pet, which in turn causes even more dander to be spread around. This article mentions several common causes of dry skin in dogs,
including poor nutrition, lack or improper balance of essential fatty
acids in the dog's diet, over bathing the dog or using a wrong kind of
shampoo (e.g. human shampoos or using a medicated shampoo too
frequently), not brushing the dog frequently enough to release more oil
to the coat, and several medical reasons (e.g. various forms of mange,
hormonal disorders, fleabite allergies, chronic bacterial dermatitis).