While pet ownership may not be a realistic pursuit for those who suffer from major allergies, if you or someone in your family has only mild or moderate allergies, welcoming a dog into the household may not be out of the question. While no dog can be considered completely “hypoallergenic”, there are many breeds which are more allergy friendly. These breeds are considered more allergy friendly because: they have minimal or no shedding, their fur is more hypoallergenic than other breeds, or they lack a coat altogether.
Basically, there are three basic coat types within the more hypoallergenic breeds. While not all breeds with these coat types are hypoallergenic, almost all breeds considered to be hypoallergenic will have coats that fall into one of the following categories: curly, silky, non-existent (hairless).
Curly-coated hypoallergenic breeds, such as Airedale and Bedlington terriers, Bichon Frises, Poodles (all sizes), Irish water spaniels, and Portuguese water dogs, to name a few, tend to have curly or wavy coats that naturally produce less allergens. In fact, the latter breed’s reputation for being so allergy friendly led to the Obama family welcoming Bo, a Portuguese water dog, into the White House in 2009 (First Daughter Malia Obama’s allergies made it necessary for the First Dog to be especially allergy compatible).
Silky-coated breeds that are considered to be hypoallergenic include the Maltese, the Havanese, the Shih Tzu, the Silky terrier, and the Afghan hound. The silky, fine hair on these breeds is more like that of people and therefore usually contains less doggy dander, the root cause of allergic reactions.
Lastly, for obvious reasons, there are several “hairless” breeds that make fine companions for those who are prone to allergies. These follically-challenged breeds include the Mexican Hairless, the Chinese Crested, the American Hairless terrier, and the Peruvian Inca Orchid. All of these breeds are either completely hairless or have very limited amounts of fur.
In conclusion, while no dogs can be considered to be completely hypoallergenic, there are several breeds known for being especially allergy friendly. With a little homework, one of these breeds may prove to be the perfect fit for the allergy-suffering dog lover in your family.