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What Are Hypoallergenic Dogs?

Written by Anna Hollisey


White poodle trotting along a path

The age old question - or at least the question that’s getting increasingly common; Do hypoallergenic dogs really exist? Is there really a dog that’s completely fine for people with allergies? As the word hypoallergenic actually means low shedding not non-shedding, it’s important you’re doing your research if you’re an allergy sufferer who wants to have a dog. 


Did you know that between 10-20% of people are allergic to pets? The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America,20%25%20of%20the%20world's%20population.&text=Allergies%20to%20pets%20with%20fur,cats%20and%20dogs%2C%20are%20common. explains that this allergy is caused by a protein which occurs in animals’ skin cells, urine and saliva

How Do You Know You Have a Pet Allergy?

You’ll notice symptoms (such as tightening of the airways, itchy nose and eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat) when or after you’ve been near a pet. The severity varies from one person to another. 

If you have very minor symptoms, you might find that you can manage your pet allergy quite effectively. You can reduce your exposure to allergens by regularly vacuuming (using a vacuum with HEPA filter), grooming your pets outdoors, and washing all bedding and slip covers as frequently as necessary. 

If you have a pet allergy, it’s important to know that you’re responding to an allergen which is present in animal saliva, urine, and dander (dead skin which is carried on fur). It’s the latter which is often the biggest problem. Dogs shed their fur a lot – often doing a major shed once or twice a year depending on their coat type/learn/dog-lifestyle/your-guide-to-dog-coats, with intermittent fluff-balls floating around for the other 11 months.

In the last couple of decades, we’ve seen the introduction of new breeds which are designed to reduce the symptoms in people with pet allergies. This is largely achieved by breeding from a dog which doesn’t shed its fur (such as a poodle). These dogs don’t spread allergens the way that heavy shedders can.

While there is technically no such thing as a non-allergenic dog, a hypoallergenic (ie: low-shedding) dog is less likely to cause a reaction for people who have pet allergies. 

If you’re looking for a dog which is hypoallergenic (less likely to cause an allergic reaction), there’s some good news: thanks to modern dog breeding, you have plenty of options!

Here are 5 of our favorite hypoallergenic dog breeds. 


Poodles/learn/dog-lifestyle/7-most-popular-poodle-cross-breeds are famously hypoallergenic – they shed very little, keeping their chic, curly coats to themselves. Did you know that poodles are also very intelligent? They’re trainable and loyal, too. Poodles have been matched with other dogs to create increasingly popular breeds like Schnoodle and Labradoodle. 

Wheaten Terrier

Covered in a soft, wheat-colored curly coat, these medium-sized dogs are friendly and cheerful. They love company/learn/dog-lifestyle/your-guide-to...-terriers#:~:text=back%20in%20favor.-,The%20Wheaten%20Terrier,-A%20medium%2Dsized and will be enthusiastic about welcoming you home. So if you want a couch-buddy who won’t shed fur all over your soft furnishings, this dog’s perfect.

Bichon Frise (and blends)

If you want to go smaller, the Bichon Frise is another hypoallergenic dog which has been widely bred to create lots of adorable mixes. Take a look at the well-known Cavachon (King Charles Spaniel – Bichon), Poochon (Poodle – Bichon), or the Chi Chon (half Chihuahua – producing a miniature dog with a big spirit). Most of these small dogs only require short walks; they’re designed for companionship.


The Schnauzer originated in Germany, where they worked as herders and guard dogs on farms. This breed still has a loyal nature and they’re so protective that they were used by police and soldiers in the last century. Schnauzers have a delightfully curly, hypoallergenic coat and they make great companions for active people. They come in small/learn/dog-lifestyle/whats-the-personality-of-a-miniature-schnauzer-like, medium, and ‘giant’ sizes, too!

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies are beautiful bundles of love – without the floating hairballs. You’ll love their zest for life and bold character. Yorkies/learn/dog-health/why-do-yorkshire-terriers-shake were bred for ratting but have since become beloved domestic companions. Their small size and hypoallergenic coats make them ideal for smaller apartments and people with allergies.

Further Reading

Ready to investigate some more hypoallergenic dog breeds? Discover the top 7 Poodle Cross breeds/learn/dog-lifestyle/7-most-popular-poodle-cross-breeds. Did you know that the Afghan Hound is hypoallergenic? It made our list of 10 Dogs that Don’t Shed/learn/dog-lifestyle/10-dog-breeds-that-dont-shed. Get the lowdown on the typical Schnauzer/learn/dog-lifestyle/whats-the-personality-of-a-miniature-schnauzer-like or on dogs suitable for apartment life/learn/dog-lifestyle/the-best-dogs-for-apartment-living