Many of us dream of owning a dog. They are the perfect excuse to get out and explore the great outdoors, but they also provide plenty of opportunities to lounge on the sofa cuddling for hours on end.
But for some pet lovers, the dog-owning dream hits a dead-end because of one issue. Allergies.
By coming into contact with dogs, or other pets, people with pet allergies can experience sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, difficulty breathing, and many other symptoms. This can make living with a dog a nightmare for some allergy sufferers.
Although pet allergies are common, there is some confusion about them. Many people believe pet allergies stem from the dog’s fur, but this is incorrect; it is actually triggered by the proteins dogs produce found in flaking dead skin (dander), saliva, or urine. This means that hypoallergenic dogs are not a quick fix for people with pet allergies; a breed that one person can tolerate might cause problems for someone else.
But some hypoallergenic dog breeds can offer some extra relief compared to dogs that shed hair frequently.
In this post, you’ll gain a better insight into 14 dog breeds that have been termed “hypoallergenic” and whether they would best suit you.
Table of Contents
The poodle is the most common and one of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds in the UK. They come in three sizes (standard, miniature, and toy) and four coat colours (black, blue, silver, and brown). This breed is also one of the most intelligent dogs, which means they are relatively easy to train. They do, however, have high energy. Traditionally, poodles were working dogs, so they need lots of stimulation.
Poodles do not shed their hair; instead, it grows continuously and might need daily grooming to prevent it from getting too long. Some people are put off by clipping their dog’s hair, but if you can get past that or find a reputable dog groomer, a poodle would make a great addition to your family. Poodle owners should also regularly check their dogs’ coats for ticks.
Crossbreeds, like the Labradoodle and cockapoo, can also have the poodle coat type, making them another hypoallergenic dog breed option. However, this is not definite, as they may possess the coat of the other breed, like the labrador or cocker spaniel.
Bedlington terriers, the first terrier breeds to appear on this list, are contenders to be among the best hypoallergenic dogs in the UK. This breed is well known for its lamb-like appearance. They are medium-sized dogs and come in blue, liver, and sandy colours.
Bedlington terriers do not have an undercoat, so they do not shed as much as most dog breeds. This is lack of shedding is why they have been deemed a hypoallergenic breed. However, the Bedlington terrier’s coat will still need regular clipping to prevent matting.
Now, this is a small dog with lots of personality. The bichon frise is a small, white puffball of a dog that originates from the Mediterranean. They are relatively common in the UK.
Like the Bedlington terrier, bichon frises do not have an undercoat, which means they do not shed much; a bonus for people with mild dog allergies. However, they have a lot of hair, which needs to be trimmed regularly. Their coat is best described as being “puffy” and “fluffy”, so if you’re looking for a dog with minimal shedding, but you’re not a fan of the poodle cut, this may be the dog breed for you.
Maltese dogs are small, white, toy dogs that weigh between 4-7lbs (2-3kg). They are a popular breed in the UK and are known to be friendly, loving, and affectionate.
Maltese dogs do not have an undercoat and, therefore, do not shed much, if at all, which can help prevent an allergic reaction. This is one breed that requires less grooming than most of the others on this list.
As the most popular breed of Schnauzer, the miniature possesses the most hypoallergenic coat compared to its giant and standard counterparts. Schnauzers tend to shed hair only twice yearly, meaning you won’t find much of their fur around the house. Of course, regular clipping is required.
Yorkshire terriers are the third terrier breed to appear on this list. They are small dogs weighing 4-7lbs (2-3kg). They are among the most popular dog breeds in the UK and are known for being great companions with very affectionate and loving personalities.
Yorkshire terriers do not have an undercoat, so they do not shed much. However, they have a silky coat that needs regular grooming and may also need styling if it is kept at a longer length.
Border terriers can be hypoallergenic if groomed regularly; they need hand-stripping from a professional groomer to ensure minimal shedding and dog dander. Getting them used to this level of grooming as a puppy is essential.
These dogs have lots of energy and are very active, so they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They are very loyal and affectionate and make great family dogs.
Hairless dog breeds, like the Chinese Crested, is one way to avoid a shedding coat. They do have two coat types; hairless or powderpuff. The former comes with hair on their head, feet, and tail.
While the lack of hair might benefit those suffering from allergic reactions, Chinese Crested dogs need skin care. They need protection from both the sun and cold; the latter can be protected against with a winter coat. This dog breed is also prone to skin irritation, unfortunately.
Portuguese Water Dog
As the fisherman’s friend, the Portuguese water dog is super-smart and great in the water.
Like poodles, these dogs are considered to have hair instead of fur as it continuously grows. This means their hair needs regular grooming to ensure their shedding is limited.
West Highland White Terrier
West highland white terriers, affectionately called “westies, ” are among the most common breeds in the UK. And why wouldn’t they be? They are definitely an adorable dog breed.
Although this breed has a double coat, with weekly brushing, it has proven to be more tolerated by people with dog allergies than other breeds.
Bred to chase and hunt rats, the cairn terrier is one tough dog. This trait is reflected in their coat, which is known to be short, wiry, and waterproof. This is a hypoallergenic breed, as the coat does not shed much but requires regular hand-stripping to maintain its texture.
Cairn terriers are also quite energetic, so plenty of exercise is needed to keep them happy.
The Scottish terrier is the last to appear on this list, but that doesn’t put them at a disadvantage. These little dogs are best known for being confident and bold with plenty of personality.
With a wiry coat, Scottie dogs are built for Scotland’s unpredictable weather. They may require hand-stripping from time to time, but if groomed regularly, this is one breed that sheds minimally.
Irish Water Spaniel
As the name suggests, the Irish water spaniel is an apt swimmer with webbed toes and a water-repellent coat. Their double coat does require brushing a couple of times a week to prevent matting, but they are great dogs for anyone with allergies as they do not shed much.
As well as being good swimmers, this dog breed is also known for being relatively intelligent and incredibly loyal, which means they are relatively easy to train. However, as they were originally bred as hunting companions, this is a high-energy breed, so they need a lot of exercise.
Coton de Tulear
Last on the list of hypoallergenic dog breeds is the Coton de Tulear, a small, white, hypoallergenic dog originating from Madagascar. They are not a very common breed in the UK, but their popularity is growing.
Coton de Tulears have a single layer of hair, which means they do not shed much. They do, however, need regular grooming to prevent matting.
To Sum Up
Some dog breeds classed as “hypoallergenic” have always been popular, whether as family pets or working dogs. They often become likeable due to their temperament, personalities, or abilities, but hypoallergenic dogs offer a little extra, especially for dog lovers who suffer from allergic reactions to dander.
From the poodle to the Coton de Tulear, there is a wide range of hypoallergenic dog breeds in the UK, allowing for a lot of choice depending on your lifestyle and preferences. Whichever hypoallergenic dog breed you choose, be sure to research their unique needs and get the help of a professional groomer to maintain their coat correctly.