One of the reasons many people hesitate to adopt a canine companion is the thought of developing an allergic or asthmatic reaction to dog fur. This is a particular concern for parents who may have very young children in the home, or for people who have pre-existing health conditions or pre-existing medical conditions that can impede normal breathing. However, dog fur allergy is a misnomer. This is a type of disease in which the person develops allergic reactions not only to dog fur but also to dog saliva and dander (any material shed by the animal such as dead skin cells or scales). This condition only occurs when: a person is naturally prone to such allergies or was born with genes that are hypersensitive to any type of pet dander; and the dog releases more fur, saliva, or dander than the person can handle.
Therefore, for people with such concerns, healthcare providers recommend dogs classified as non-allergic dog breeds or hypoallergenic dog breeds. This means that the dogs do not shed or only shed very little, that the smallest traces of excess fur do not trigger any allergic reactions in humans. Some of the established non-allergic dog breeds are: Affenpinscher, Bedlington Terrier, Bergamasco, Bichon Frize, Bolognese, Brussels Griffon, Chinese Crested, Chinese Shar-Pei, Coton de Tulear, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Giant Schnauzer, Havanese, Irsih Water Spaniel, Lakeland Terrier, Maltese, Miniature Schnauzer, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Puli, Pumi, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Standard Schnauzer, Miniature Poodle, Welsh Terrier, Wirehaired Pointing Griffin and the Yorkshire Terrier… to name a few to name.
The Bichon Frize, Poodle and Yorkshire Terrier are highly recommended for people prone to a dog fur allergy. Aside from not shedding their coat, these dog breeds’ hair also doesn’t come out when combed or brushed. In addition, these dog breeds mentioned above also expel small amounts of saliva and dander.
Dog breeds like the Greyhound, Italian Greyhound, and Kerry Blue Terrier are also sometimes considered hypoallergenic due to their individual coats of short but heavy hair follicles. There are also dog breeds that are hairless, so fur is not a problem at all. Some of these hairless breeds are: Peruvian Inca Orchid and Xoloitzcuintli. However, these hairless dogs can still shed a lot of saliva through barking and dander from their grooming practices, so caution is still needed. Other examples of dog breeds that can still trigger allergic reactions to their saliva and dander include: Chinese Crested, Silky Terrier, and all types of Schnauzer.
Some mixed breed dogs, or those so-called designer dogs, can also be hypoallergenic. The Goldendoodle (cross between the Golden Retriever and the Poodle) will not shed if the coat is inherited from the Poodle bloodline. However, if the dog’s Golden Retriever side gets out more, the Goldendoodle will inevitably be shed and can still cause a dog fur allergy. The Pomeranian does shed, but due to its small size, it sheds minimal dander. The Samoyed also sheds but never sheds any form of dander.