Which Puppies Are Hypoallergenic?

There are so many things to contemplate, plan for, and remember when adopting a puppy that it can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming. Where will they sleep? Will you use a crate and crate train them? What about puppy pee pads, toys, training, and treats? All of these questions, and many more, are likely running through your brain right now if you’ve just adopted or are planning to adopt a puppy soon.

Besides the actual day-to-day tasks of taking care of a puppy, several other situations need to be considered as well. For example, is there another dog already in your home, or other pets like cats, hamsters, etc.? 

Also, do you have the time and energy to care for a puppy, as they need a lot of attention, care, and training? I’ve seen and heard from many new puppy parents who were utterly unprepared for how much work it can be to care for, train, and raise a puppy.

However, one situation in many American homes that demands special consideration when adopting a puppy is whether anyone in your home suffers from allergies. I was thinking about this the other day after receiving a message from a reader like yourself who, unfortunately, suffered from severe allergies. Their question to me was pretty specific, that being, which puppies are hypoallergenic?

The answer is that about two dozen dog breeds are considered hypoallergenic and will produce less of an allergic reaction in most people with allergies. I will list them below alphabetically and then by size (although their size has nothing to do with their hypoallergenicity.)  

I will also talk about other subjects related to hypoallergenic puppies, including what it means and why no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic. If that sounds like the information you’re searching for today, read on.

Dog Breeds Considered to Be Hypoallergenic

The dog breeds below are believed to be hypoallergenic. The AKC considers them to be the best for allergy sufferers. Do keep in mind, however, this sentence from the AKC website: “The truth is, there are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs, dog breeds, or mixed-breeds, but there are many dog breeds that are less allergenic for people with dog allergies.”

  • Afghan Hound
  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Chinese Crested
  • Coton de Tulear
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Lagotto Romagnolo
  • Maltese
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Peruvian Inca Orchid
  • Poodle
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Xoloitzcuintli

Small Hypoallergenic Dogs 

  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Bichon Frise
  • Shih Tzu
  • Toy Poodle
  • West Highland Terrier
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Griffon Bruxellois
  • Bolognese
  • Chinese Crested
  • Bedlington Terrier

Medium Hypoallergenic Dogs 

  • Border Terrier
  • Irish Terrier 
  • Labradoodle
  • Poodle
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Samoyed
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Tibetan Terrier
  • Welsh Terrier
  • Wire Fox Terrier
  • Xoloitzcuintli

Large Hypoallergenic Dogs 

  • Afghan Hound
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Aussiedoodle
  • Bouvier Des Flandres
  • Goldendoodle
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Labradoodle (Can be a medium to large dog.)
  • Standard Poodle (Can be a medium to large dog.)

What Does it Mean for a Dog to be Hypoallergenic?

Any dog or puppy that’s considered hypoallergenic is considered that way because it’s less likely they will cause an allergic reaction in humans. There are several traits that a puppy or dog will possess if they are considered hypoallergenic. Those include:

  • They don’t shed or shed very little. 
  • Because they don’t shed, the amount of dander they release is reduced considerably. (See below.)
  • They are typically purebred dogs. Mixed-breed or mutts can have wildly unpredictable physical characteristics, especially if you can’t determine who their sire and dam were.

Allergic Reactions to Puppies are Caused by Dander, Saliva, and Oil Glands

One crucial fact about hypoallergenic puppies and dogs is that neither their hair nor fur causes allergic reactions. Instead, it’s the dander, saliva, and oil their bodies produce. 

Dander is dead flakes of skin that slough off of any animal with hair, fur, or, interestingly enough, feathers. Typically, dander is so tiny you can’t see it unless there’s an awful lot of it. (By the way, human dandruff and dander are the same things.) 

A dog’s saliva and oil produced by their oil glands also contain allergens that can cause an allergic reaction. In other words, when they bark, sneeze or cough, your puppy can spread allergens. Also, if you touch their skin and then touch your own body, you can spread allergens from your puppy to your own body.

Is Any Dog 100% hypoallergenic? 

Unfortunately no, no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic. That’s because, no matter the type of coat they have, all dogs have skin and oil glands, which produce dander and allergens.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the controversy about hypoallergenic dogs. The thing is, some dog experts believe dogs that the entire notion of a dog being hypoallergenic is false. 

For example, in 2011, the New York Times published an article that claimed there was very little (or no) difference between the number of allergens produced by ‘regular’ dogs and the amount produced by hypoallergenic dogs. (It was based on a study conducted by The American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy.) The study found no significant allergen reduction produced by so-called hypoallergenic dogs. 

A senior author of the study, Christine Cole Johnson, is quoted as saying that “I have no idea where this whole concept came from,” adding that “it’s been around for a long time, and maybe people associate it with shedding. I think it’s just a legend.” 

Another study in 2012 Measured the number of dog allergens produced by a dog’s dander, saliva, and oil glands. Surprisingly, it found that some supposedly hypoallergenic dogs had higher levels of allergens.

Can you be Allergic to a Hypoallergenic Dog?

Unfortunately, yes, you can be allergic to a hypoallergenic dog. That’s because, as I’ve talked about already, allergens are produced in a dog’s skin, saliva, and oil glands.

In short, even if you adopt a puppy that’s considered hypoallergenic, their body will still produce allergens even if they don’t shed. If you’re allergic to the allergens and your pupper makes enough of them, you will likely have an allergic reaction.

Final Thoughts

Although there isn’t a dog breed that is 100% hypoallergenic, it makes sense that a dog that sheds less will produce less dander and thus less of an allergic reaction. Again, however, allergens are produced by your dog’s skin, saliva and oil glands. Since there’s no way to adopt a puppy that doesn’t have skin, saliva, and oil glands (they’re kind of essential to life), there’s no way to guarantee 100% that your new puppy won’t cause you to have an allergic reaction. 

That being said, if you plan to adopt and have allergies, adopting one of the puppies I listed today is a good plan. The only downside is that, since you’ll need a purebred puppy, adopting a mutt from a shelter is almost an impossibility.

Did you enjoy today’s blog about which puppies are hypoallergenic? I hope so and that it gave you the information you needed to decide on which breed of puppy to adopt. Please see my other blogs if you’d like to learn more about being an excellent puppy parent or have more questions about other puppy-related subjects. They’re filled with real-world, actionable information that can help you raise a happy, healthy and well-adjusted dog that will be your best furry friend for years to come.