All About Hypoallergenic Dogs 

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Breeds like Poodles, Labradoodles, and Maltese are frequently touted as hypoallergenic, but if you’re an allergy sufferer, you probably don’t want to take anyone’s word for it.  In this article, we’ll dig into what the phrase “hypoallergenic dog” really means, and whether there are any breeds that are genuinely safe for those with dog allergies.

What Causes Dog Allergies?

According to WebMD, people who are allergic to pets typically react to a protein found in a dog’s urine and saliva.  This protein attaches to dander, or flakes of dried skin, that fall off of the dog.1

Dog breeds that do not shed are the ones that are praised for their hypoallergenic qualities. However, pet hair itself is not an allergy trigger. Since these dogs must still salivate and urinate, what is it that makes them less of a trigger for allergy sufferers?  

Are these dogs really hypoallergenic?

Are There Any 100% Hypoallergenic Dogs?

Studies have been conducted to determine whether so-called hypoallergenic dogs really produce a lower dog allergen than other dogs. Many have found that there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that some dogs are hypoallergenic.2  

The Mayo Clinic also insists that no dog can be truly hypoallergenic. Some dogs just may be less triggering to allergy sufferers, since protein attaches to a dog’s fur and dander, dogs who don’t shed fur shed less dander, which means they release less of the allergen that people react to.3 

Why are so Many Dog Breeds Referred to as “Hypoallergenic”?

While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, dog breeds that don’t shed are likely the closest you can get to a hypoallergenic dog.  

In recent years, non-shedding breeds have become very popular, leading many breeders to tout their dogs as hypoallergenic. While this is overall false, it is safe to assume that any breed receiving the hypoallergenic designation is a non-shedding breed.

Which Dog Breeds are Best for People with Allergies?

In addition to non-shedding breeds, smaller dogs are a promising option for those who suffer from allergies.

Non-shedding dogs are more allergy-friendly because they release less pet dander into the air. We know that allergies are triggered by proteins in a dog’s urine and saliva. The smaller the dog, the less urine and saliva it will produce, which makes it that much more allergy-friendly.

The following are a few dog breeds that often receive the hypoallergenic designation. While there are no guarantees, these pups may be a good choice for those with allergies.

Best Dog Breeds for People with Allergies

  • Labradoodle
  • Goldendoodle
  • Shih Tzu
  • Maltese
  • Coton de Tulear
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Bichon Frise
  • West Highland Terrier
  • Chinese Crested
  • Basenji
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Bouvier des Flandres
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Norfolk Terrier

While the term 'hypoallergenic' may be a misnomer, the breeds that receive this title have the potential to create less discomfort for individuals who suffer from pet allergies.  

If you’re an allergy sufferer and you’re hoping to adopt a dog, make sure to do extensive research before committing to a certain breed. If you can, try to spend time with different dogs to see how your body reacts. There are no guarantees, but there is hope that you’ll be able to find a pup who doesn’t cause you physical discomfort.   

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions. 

1 Web MD: Dog Allergies

2 Embark: All About Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

3 Mayo Clinic: Are there any hypoallergenic dog breeds?