Hypo Allergenic Dog Breeds
While no dog is considered 100 percent hypoallergenic, some breeds are better suited than others as dogs for people who have allergies. Most allergies to dogs are caused by the dander rather than by the type of coat. Non-shedding dogs produce less dander so if you really, really want a dog and you have allergy problems, it would be well worth investigating the following breeds.
The unique-looking Bedlington terrier (above) is the fastest of the terrier breeds, thanks to an infusion of whippet blood in his ancestry. He is brave and confident, prized by the gypsies and miners as a fighting, racing and poaching companion. Crossed with whippets and greyhounds the result was the 'lurcher' which carried the best traits of both parents. When clipped, the Bedlington looks like a roman-nosed shorn lamb with a curly coat. They are great family dogs and suitable or the elderly as well.
While the Bichon Frise (above) is a non-shedding breed, the puffball double coat grows continually. They need clipping every six to eight weeks, bathing every second week and brushing and combing preferably every day. However in return you'll have a devoted, affectionate companion who will love anyone connected with you and most others as well. As with all supposedly non-allergenic breeds, it really is best to spend some time with a Bichon to ensure that you will not react. Bichons become distressed in the heat but are generally tough and healthy. They are between 10 and 12 inches tall so are about the right size for sharing a lounge and watching the soapies on TV.
Another breed often chosen by those with allergies is the Chinese crested dog (above). These come in two varieties: the hairless and the powder puff. The hairless has hair only on the feet, head and tail while the powder puff has a long, soft coat. These little dogs are around 12 inches tall and are alert, charming and intelligent. They can suffer from 'small dog syndrome' so be sure to assert your authority and don't let them rule the roost. They are best if socialised when young.
The hairless dogs need a good sunscreen if taken out in the sun and a coat if taken outin cold weather. They are also prone to dental problems and a high percentage are themselves allergic to wool and lanolin. Although they are small dogs, they still need exercise and should not be carried everywhere. They are clean dogs with no odour. Bathe the hairless often and apply oil or cream to the skin to keep it supple.
The Irish water spaniel (above) is a much bigger dog standing 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder. He is strong, intelligent and a bit of a clown. The liver-coloured coat has dense, tight ringlets and the 'rat-tail' is thick and covered with curls at the base. The tail tapers to a fine point which is covered in short, smooth hair.
The Kerry Blue (above) is another terrier breed that was popular with crofters and gypsies for its skills in hunting, retrieving and herding. The colour ranges from light to dark blue grey. He is an upstanding, muscular dog measuring 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder. The single coat is soft and wavy and grows continually. Regular grooming is needed to prevent matting. He doesn't shed and needs protection from extremes of weather. He will often have a handsome 'beard'. The Kerry blue is confident, headstrong and boisterous and is best with an experienced owner who will take charge. He also needs plenty of exercise and needs to be kept occupied. Some suffer from genetic disorders so choose your pup from a reputable breeder.
The labradoodle (above) is a hybrid breed, obtained by crossing poodles and Labrador retrievers. The Australian breeder Wally Conron was trying to develop a dog that could be used a guide dog for those people who were sight-impaired but allergic to dog fur and/or dander. Actually the first request for such a dog came from a sight-impaired woman in Hawaii whose husband was allergic to dogs. For some reason, the husband also reacted to poodle hair and saliva samples but there was no reaction to the labradoodle.
The breed is now a popular family dog as well as being used as guide, therapy and assistance dogs. The breed is still not 'set' completely and temperament and hair types are somewhat inconsistent. Most are intelligent, shed little and have little doggy odour. They tend to suffer the genetic diseases that beset the parent breeds so, if you'd like a labradoodle, choose one from a reputable breeder.
The Maltese (above) is an aristocratic little dog, completely covered with long, straight, silky 'hair' rather than fur so they are considered a hypoallergenic breed. They are big on maintenance but are great little dogs. They will need thorough daily brushing and a bath every week or two. The coat is single and will matt if not kept brushed. They can be kept in a 'puppy cut' which will keep the coat at 1 to 2 inches long. They have a square compact body and a jaunty, affectionate demeanour. They don't need a lot of exercise and are happy indoors.
The poodle (above) epitomises elegance, intelligence and dignity. They come in three sizes – standard, miniature and toy. The coat is curly, dense and harsh in texture. The coat can be clipped in any of several styles. They are very low shedders and were one of the foundation breeds of the Labradoodle. The poodle needs regular grooming and/or clipping and regular exercise. They are intelligent and have great learning ability.
The athletic, active Portuguese water dog (above) needs daily vigorous exercise. They are very intelligent with a profuse, waterproof, curly coat. They are reasonably high maintenance but can be kept clipped. It is a medium sized dog and stands 17 to 23 inches at the shoulder. It is spirited but obedient to its owner. It will swim or work all day so needs an owner who is into getting out and about regularly.
The schnauzer (above) is robust and active with a double coat which sheds very little. There are three sizes – giant, standard and miniature. All have a protective nature and are excellent watchdogs. They are cheerful, trainable dogs which make great companions. Many have the typical salt and pepper colouring although they can be silver and black or solid black. The miniature is 12 to 14 inches at the shoulder.
The soft-coated wheaten terrier (above) originated in Ireland. It is of medium size with a height of about 17 to 19 inches. The coat is a beautiful wheaten colour. All terriers are energetic and the soft-coated wheaten is no exception. He is really too exuberant for a family with small children and he carries his high spirits into adulthood. They can be a bit of a challenge and need to know who runs the household. The single coat needs a lot of grooming to stop it tangling. Some are prone to flea allergies.
One of these breeds should suit anyone with an allergy to dogs. Visit a breeder or interact with the dog of your choice before committing yourself so that you know there will be no problems.