Many would-be dog lovers despair of ever being able to own a dog of their own or even spend any amount of time around dogs due to one rather crippling obstacle: allergies. It is estimated that between five and fifteen percent of the population are affected by an allergy to dogs to some extent; from the annoying but manageable tickle in the throat or occasional sneeze, right the way through to a fully blown allergic reaction that can lead to swollen, itchy eyes, sneezing, and breathing problems.
For some people, dog allergies are sadly insurmountable, and the only way to avoid potentially triggering a reaction for them is to keep well clear of dogs altogether. However, some people who are prone to dog allergies may find that some breeds and types of dogs cause a much less severe allergic reaction in them than others, or don’t seem to trigger the allergy at all. These dogs are well worthy of consideration for the dog allergy sufferer, and should certainly be considered before giving up all hope of ever owning a dog!
Many people assume that it is the coat of the dog, the hair itself that causes the allergenic trigger, but this is not entirely accurate. The actual trigger for allergies in people are the complex proteins that are naturally produced by the skin of the dog, which then coats the hair and is shed throughout the home. The protein compounds for each dog are slightly different, so some dogs will affect some sufferers less than others. Dogs that do not shed their hair prolifically mean that less allergenic dander is spread throughout the home, which can make all of the difference for an allergy sufferer.
In no particular order, some good options to consider are:
The Bichon Frise is a small, puffy-coated dog with fur similar to the Poodle, which requires regular brushing to remove loose fur but will otherwise not generally shed their coat and the allergenic dander around the home. These dogs are cheerful, lively, and suitable for smaller homes.
The Poodle coat is well known to be one of the most minimally shedding dog coats, and Poodles are often trimmed and clipped to minimise further the amount of shed fur. The wiry, curly hair of the Poodle means that shed hair remains entangled within the coat until they are groomed or bathed, which must be performed regularly. Poodles come in a variety of sizes to suit all households; toy, miniature, standard and giant!
The Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle, and many dogs of this type will inherit the desirable coat traits of the Poodle. However, some Labradoodles will err more to the Labrador side, so the potential Labradoodle owner should bear in mind that not all Labradoodle coats will be the same!
The Bedlington Terrier is an unusual-looking dog from the terrier family, that is again commonly referred to as a non-shedding dog. They are very good natured, laid back and personable, and have a lot to recommend them as dogs for allergy sufferers.
The long, silky hair of the Shih Tzu often takes people by surprise when it is mentioned as a good dog for allergy sufferers, but despite their long silky locks, these dogs do not shed much hair at all! They do, however, require daily brushing and grooming to remove loose hair and keep them in good condition, which is best performed by a non allergy-suffering member of the household!
These large, lanky dogs are laid back, good natured and surprisingly lazy when not showing off their impressive turn of speed! They have very short, fine coats that do not shed much at all, and require very little maintenance. Consider adopting an ex racing Greyhound!
The Samoyed has a thick, fluffy white coat that does shed hair at the normal rate, but which doesn’t seem to contain the dander, protein chains and odours that come naturally with most other dogs. This dog is definitely worthy of consideration if avoiding an allergic reaction is your main priority!
If spaniels are your thing, you’ll be pleased to learn that the Irish Water Spaniel is a potential option for you, although they are not the most common of dogs and you may have to go some distance to find one. They are renowned for their low-shedding coat, and again, with regular grooming can help to keep allergic reactions to a minimum.
The Portuguese Water Dog loves to swim, and has webbed toes to enable this! This dog has a rich, curly, single layered coat that does not hold water, and sheds only a very minimal amount.
The Kerry Blue Terrier, sometimes also called the Irish Blue Terrier, has a slightly wavy single layered coat that is soft to the touch. Their coats grow year-round and do not really shed, meaning that regular grooming and trimming is required to keep them healthy. Another good pick for people looking to avoid allergenic dander!
Even within set breeds, different dogs may affect different people to a lesser or greater extent. The trick for the would-be dog owning allergy sufferer is to find an individual dog that does not seem to cause a reaction, or certainly a much less severe reaction, and this is something that can only be achieved by a lot of shopping around and spending time with a lot of different dogs. However, some breeds and types of dogs are renowned to be much more likely to be a good match for sufferers than others, due to various different traits such as non-shedding coats, or coats that are normally kept trimmed short. All dogs shed hair to some extent, but a dog that does not shed prolifically around the house and is bathed and groomed regularly is a good place to start!