Fur babies and four legged friends are a large part many families. They bring comfort and affection and make themselves an active part of many family units. In the past, families who suffered from allergies have had a hard time adopting man’s best friend into their families. With research, the AKA has been able to determine several breeds of dogs that are hypoallergenic so that any family can invite these loving creatures into their homes. Here are the top nine hypoallergenic dog breeds.
The Poodle is hypoallergenic because it has hair, not fur, and does not shed. Poodles have hair in various colors including: black, brown, silver gray, apricot, red, cream, and sable. While most people associate the Poodle with France, it originated in Germany. France did, however, make the poodle its national breed. The word “poodle” derives from the German word Pudelhund, with pu del meaning “to splash about” and hundmeaning “dog”. It is translated into English as “puddle dog”. The breed became popular in the 15th and 16th centuries. Unlike other dog types, it comes in three sizes: Standard (the oldest of the sizes), Miniature, and Toy. The latter two types are considered lapdogs and were used in this way by women of Victorian-Era England. The Poodle is a work dog. It has great hunting instincts and is counted as a gun dog. It’s intelligence in this area is second only to the British Border Collie. Poodles have been used in militaries since the 1700s, and the Poodle has been given the honor of being designated as one of 32 dog breeds classified as war dogs by the Army.
2) Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu was bred for companionship and is not a hunter or herder. Like most dog breeds in this category of hypoallergenic, the Shih Tzu is a toy breed. The dog boasts a prestigious pedigree. It is an ancient breed, dating back to 800 B.C. It is said the Shih Tzu was named for Xi Shi; she was one of the most beautiful women in China at the time. The dogs were favored by Chinese royals, and it is rumored that The Buddha carried around a dog resembling the Shi Tzu. The Shih Tzu has an average lifespan of 13 years. It has drop ears, a tail that goes over its back, and a short muzzle. Interestingly, the dog’s lower jaw is slightly wider than its upper, so when its mouth is closed, its lower teeth are in front of the upper teeth. Because of its nation of origin and its mane of hair, it is known as “The Chinese Lion Dog”. It is also nicknamed “The Chrysanthemum Dog” because of the way the facial hair grows in all directions with the nose looking like the center of the flower. The Shih Tzu is a loyal, affectionate, outgoing, and alert canine. Those qualities make it a great family pet.
3) The Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier, affectionately nicknamed The Yorkie, was developed in Yorkshire, England, in the middle 1800s to catch rats in clothing mills. Its average full grown weight is seven pounds, and its lifespan is 13 to 16 years. The Yorkie’s coat consists of glossy, fine, straight hair that can be worn long or short. The hair is generally silver blue, pale cream, dark gray, and black. They have no undercoat and are low shedding dogs. Characteristics of the Yorkie include being overprotective, curious, and easily trained. It does not possess the soft submissive temperament seen in other lap dogs, so it is not necessarily a good fit for a family with small children. In fact, the Yorkie can be fiercely confident, taking on other dogs much larger than itself. The breed was officially recognized in the United States in 1888. Many Victorian-Era Americans embraced the Yorkshire Terrier, and the American Kennel Club named it the sixth most popular breed in America for 2012 and 2013.
Maltese dogs are good for people who suffer from allergies and asthma because they have no undercoat, and shedding is close to nonexistent for them. This breed of dog has a pure white coat, sports brown eyes, and possesses drop ears. They are the 29th most popular breed in the United States. Like the Shih Tzu, the Maltese is an old breed that dates back to Classical Greece and is mentioned by Aristotle in 370 B.C. The Greeks erected tombs to the little dogs, and paintings and poems representing them abound in ancient art. The Maltese can reach an adult weight of three to ten pounds. It is brave, playful, and sprightly. In fact, the Maltese is perfect for agility training and loves indoor games. Like many toy breeds, they make perfect companions and lap dogs. The Maltese is prone to tear staining, which is a brown discharge from the eyes. This secretion marks the area on the face around the eyes, and requires daily maintenance to keep clean.
5) Lagotto Romagnolo
Lagotto Romagnolos have a thick, curly, water-resistant coat. This class of dog originated in the Romagna region of Italy. In fact, its name means “Lake Dog from Romagna”. It is a medium-sized dog reaching heights of 17 to 19 inches and weighing an average of 25 pounds. The dog has large round eyes, and its coat colors include white, brown, off-white, orange, and roan. This breed was specifically bred in the 1400s to be a water retriever. All modern water dogs are supposedly descended from this breed. It has the distinction of being the only dog that hunts Truffles. It has sharp senses, is a gun dog, and loves to work. The Lagotta Romagnolo has been instrumental in epileptic research. In Finland in 2011 it was discovered that one of their gene mutations can be linked to childhood epilepsy. Research in this area is ongoing.
6) Kerry Blue Terrier
The Kerry Blue Terrier is multifaceted. It herds, guards, and hunts. Its coat is non-shedding, wavy, and black at birth. The coat fades to blue when the dog is two years old. They can be aggressive with other dogs and are not recommended for first-time pet owners. Its adult weight is 30 to 40 pounds. The breed hails from Kerry County, Ireland, and was bred to be a working dog. It excels at herding sheep and cattle, hunting small game and birds, and killing rodents. Because of its active nature, the dog requires regular exercise.
7) Chinese Crested
The Chinese Crested is affectionately called “the ugly dog” and does not, in fact, originate in China. It comes in two types, the Hairless and the Powderpuff. The Hairless has hair only on the crest of its head, paws, and tail. The rest of the body is naked. The Powderpuff is quite the opposite, sporting a full coat of soft hair. Both types can be delivered in the same litter of puppies. This dog was bred to be an patient’s companion, so it can lie for hours without moving. It is loyal to the point of being prone to separation anxiety. They can become needy and succumb to barking and nervous habits, which can be destructive. Because they bond so strongly, they don’t take well to strangers. Some become so close to their owners that they seem to have the ability to read minds. This supposed talent is actually due to the fact that they study their owners so well. The dog is fine boned and agile. It is known to be an escape artist as its speed, slight body, and ability to jump make it hard to confine. They can jump four feet in the air from a standing position.
8) Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise (pronounced BEE-shawn FREE-say) is a white, curly- haired, non-shedding dog. It is so cute that it can be mistaken for a stuffed toy. It is French, and its name translates to “curly lap dog”. It reaches 7 to 12 pounds and stands 12 inches in height. Bichons boast black noses and black eyes. The dog does not shed, but is prone to skin issues. Because the hair is curly, proper grooming must be done on a timely basis. The Bichon’s white hair color often causes it to be confused with the Maltese breed. This toy breed is so faithful it suffers from separation anxiety issues, just like the Chinese Crested. It doesn’t just like to be around its family, it needs to be around its family. Because it bonds so well, it makes a great family pet. The Bichon Frise is intelligent and loves to learn and do tricks. Its intellectual acumen lends itself well to therapy work, so the Bichon makes a great rehabilitation dog.
9) Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer was created in Germany from three different breeds: the Standard Schnauzer, the Poodle, and the Affenpinscher. It is consistently in the top 20% of most popular dog breeds in the United States, England, and Germany. Their countenance is comprised of a low-shedding coat, bushy eyebrows, cropped ears, walrus mustache, and long beard. It grows to weigh 11 to 15 pounds and is not a toy breed. This dog does not prefer sitting in your lap; it is too high energy. Because of their temperament, they make excellent watchdogs. They can be stubborn and high strung, but their ability to win your heart surpasses those qualities.
10) Coton de Tulear
The “Cotie”, whose formal name is Coton de Tulear, is a Bichon type toy dog whose home country is Madagascar. The Coton displays fluffy hair, not fur, and does minimal shedding. It derives its name from its hair, which is said to be so soft it resembles cotton. Since the hair is so cotton-like, it requires daily care and grooming. When properly groomed, this breed has absolutely no “doggie smell”. Although the breed has been in Madagascar since the 16th century, it is relatively new to the United States. Its first arrival was in 1973, and the breed was not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club until July 1, 2014. Cotons come in colors of white, tan, and black. They have short legs, a black nose, weigh from 5 to 13 pounds, and stand around 10”. They also have fewer health issues than most breeds. These dogs are affectionate. They do well with other dogs, and they strive to please their human owners.