Roughly 30 percent of people in the United States are allergic to dogs, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. While it’s easy to blame runny noses, itchy eyes, and sneezing fits on dog hair, it’s actually the stuff dog hair collects that causes allergic reactions. Think: dander (dead skin cells), urine, saliva and pollen. As dogs shed their hair, these items linger in and around the home. This is why non-shedding and hypoallergenic dog breeds are popular with folks who are allergic to canines but love them too much to stay away. Plus, The New York Times reported several studies found children living in homes with pets have fewer allergies in general as adults. Just some food for thought.
28 Non-Shedding Dogs (Because You’re Allergic but Desperate for a Pet)
Non-shedding vs. Hypoallergenic
The label “non-shedding” is a tad misleading. All dogs shed a little bit. Non-shedding breeds simply shed less. This doesn’t mean you won’t find any dog hair in your home, but anyone who doesn’t want to vacuum constantly or find dog hair literally everywhere should consider a non-shedding breed. Of course, less hair also means less dander.
Hypoallergenic means the breed’s fur doesn’t collect as many allergens. So, if and when the dog does shed, fewer particles of dander or saliva are dispersed into the air. Sadly, there is no magic dog breed that is 100-percent hypoallergenic.
Interestingly enough, since pet dander is composed of proteins specific to a particular pup (in the urine, saliva, and skin), VCA Ark Animal Hospital says it is possible that a person’s immune system can handle one animal but not another. This means two distinct poodles could cause different reactions in a single person.
Breeds that fall into the non-shedding and hypoallergenic categories cause fewer reactions in people known to be allergic to dogs. Many of these breeds have long hair, wiry hair or almost no hair. Always remember that each person and each dog is different; you may have to meet a few before you find “the one.” Until then, start here!
The American Kennel Club lets us know this breed is pronounced “show-low-eats-QUEEN-tlee.” There are three different sizes to choose from: toy, miniature and standard. Xolos have been around for almost 3,000 years, and the hairless varieties have no hair at all, just skin. Unlike some of the other hairless breeds on our list, the Xolo’s skin is tough and tight-fitting.
2. Chinese Crested
Yes, these tiny creatures look like something out of Star Wars, but they are super affectionate and can live up to 18 years old (hello, lifelong companion!). Hairless Chinese Ccested pups are accented with small puffs of hair on their heads, tails, and feet, but are covered in sleek skin everywhere else. All owners of hairless dogs should be prepared with dog-friendly sunscreen in the summer and warm puppy jackets in the winter.
These dogs have very short coats and are often compared to cats for their self-grooming tendencies. What they lack in allergens they make up for in energy—get ready to exercise frequently.
4. Peruvian Inca Orchid
Another hairless pup, the Peruvian Inca orchid comes in gorgeous shades like golden-brown, pinky-white, and spotted. Like the Chinese crested, these unique dogs have small tufts of hair on their heads, almost like miniature mohawks.
5. American Hairless Terrier
Surprise! One more hairless breed on our list, though this dog doesn’t have any tufts of hair sprouting anywhere. The AKC notes its skin is warm and soft to the touch, so go all in on the snuggling.
6. Bedlington Terrier
While the Bedlington terrier’s tightly curled coat doesn’t shed, it does grow fairly quickly and requires a nice haircut every month or so. Other than that, these dogs have a friendly disposition and make great family pets.
7. Kerry Blue Terrier
Looking for a stunning slate blue coat that won’t leave a trail everywhere it goes? Say hello to the kerry blue terrier. These pups do require routine haircuts and regular brushing (you don’t want that gorgeous blue-grey fur to end up in knots), but wreak minimal havoc in the shedding department.
8. Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier
Replace the kerry blue terrier’s curly blue hair for wavy golden locks, and you’ve got yourself another non-shedding terrier from Ireland. Its silky coat—including those adorable bangs—needs frequent brushing.
9. Yorkshire Terrier
Ah, Yorkies. The hair on these tiny, feisty animals is actually more like human hair than dog fur. If you let it grow long, you better be combing it every day and giving them a top knot.
10. Border Terrier
Notice a trend here? Terriers are known to have wiry coats which make them ideal hypoallergenic and low shedding choices. The border terrier is double-coated, meaning wiry hair on top, soft fur underneath. Get ready for lots of brushing come summer, but minimal allergens year-round.
11. Spanish Water Dog
At first glance, this breed may look like an allergy sufferer’s worst nightmare. However, the corded curls rarely shed and are not to be brushed. Routine trims are all you need to keep these pups well-groomed.
12. Portuguese Water Dog
Similar to the Spanish water dog, the Portuguese has buoyant curls. Shedding is more frequent (particularly as the weather warms), but the coat is hypoallergenic and can be trimmed down to about an inch.
13. Irish Water Spaniel
If an '80s hair band was a dog, it might be the Irish water spaniel (of the Afghan hound below). Check out this furry head—full of hypoallergenic hair! The coat is also waterproof.
With the Havanese, we begin our journey into “small, white, hypoallergenic dog” territory. There are lots to choose from, like this little bugger who is energetic, silky soft, and doesn’t bark much.
Similar to the Havanese, Maltese coats can grow super long or be trimmed short. It’s totally up to your discretion. If you choose long, be sure to brush daily to avoid snarls.
17. Coton De Tulear
Coton is the French word for cotton, which should tell you everything you need to know about how soft these pups are. It’s recommended to use a quality doggy conditioner when brushing a long Coton de Tulear coat.
18. Shih Tzu
Often—surprisingly—referred to as the “Lion Dog,” the Shih Tzu is a ball of affection. As with the other tiny titans on our list, a long coat requires consistent grooming attention; trimming it short works well, too.
19. West Highland White Terrier
Westies are perfect for folks who need a hypoallergenic breed that always looks like it is smiling. They are independent, ready for anything and fairly straightforward to groom.
Miniature, standard and giant schnauzers are all hypoallergenic, low-shedding dogs. Like border terriers, schnauzers are double-coated, so may require extra brushing.
21. Afghan Hound
Talk about a showstopper. The Afghan hound’s coat is luxurious and long. Be prepared to brush and wash a ton—especially since these dogs love frolicking around outdoors.
Miniature, toy and standard poodles are some of the smartest canines around. These are great dogs for anyone with a taste for adventure, bold style and allergies.
Star Wars character, take two. The Affenpinscher is an adorable little pup with coarse fur that grows slowly. Trim occasionally and be ready to be bossed around a bit—these dogs know what they want.
24. Italian Greyhound
Note: Regular greyhounds are not hypoallergenic. Italian greyhounds have short, sleek coats. Be sure to wrap them up when it gets cold outside, as they have almost no body fat.
25. Lagotto Romagnolo
These water-loving dogs were originally used in Renaissance Italy to find truffles. Their waterproof coats rarely shed, but do require weekly brushings to make sure they don’t mat or snarl. The Lagotto Romagnolo’s full-body curls are actually more like human hair than doggy fur.
Bred as herding dogs, Pulis developed a thick, corded coat to protect them from brutally cold winters outdoors. Today, their coats can be clipped short, brushed out or corded. Though they hardly shed at all, keeping a Puli’s coat corded does require interacting with their fur often or spending lots of time at the groomer’s. The Puli Club of America offers tons of info on grooming this gorgeous canine.
Astonishingly, the Bergamasco does not shed, despite its lengthy, wooly coat. Like Pulis, a matted coat is normal. Unlike Pulis, clipping or shaving Bergamascos down isn’t wise. Their coat helps them regulate body temperature. Folks allergic to wool may want to steer clear, though.
28. Lhasa Apso
Even though these pups don’t shed frequently, they require regular baths and brushings to ensure a healthy coat and skin (even if you decide to clip their fur short). Lhasa Apsos have old souls and though they learn quickly, they can be stubborn and unfriendly with strangers.