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Pets

These are the best hypoallergenic dog breeds for allergy sufferers

Allergic to dogs? Stick to this list of low shedding pets.

A dog is a man's best friend, but when it causes you to sniff and sneeze it's time to look into a hypoallergenic dog breed.
Pet allergy sufferers are actually sensitive to a protein called Can F1, which is found in a dog's dander (dead skin flakes), saliva and other secretions. While all dogs have dander, there are some breeds that produce fewer allergens or shed less.
The only way to tell how a certain pet might affect allergies is for all members of the family to spend time around the specific dog (not just the breed) before bringing it home for good.
A dog is for life so do your research to ensure your new family member doesn’t end up in a pet shelter due to a last-minute allergy discovery.
No pet is 100 per cent ‘hypoallergenic’, but the following low-shed and single-coated breeds may be an option for those who can't resist having a canine companion.

Hypoallergenic definition

Hypoallergenic pets are less likely to trigger allergic reactions in people than other animals.
The symptoms of dog allergies are like those of any other inhalation allergy or cold.
They include:
• coughing, wheezing and sneezing
• red, itchy, puffy eyes
• runny, itchy, stuffy nose
• headache
• skin reactions, such as rashes and hives from dog licks, or hives on face or chest.
How you can reduce your risk factors:
• Groom your dog regularly, especially after ‘exciting’ play when they tend shed more Can F1 allergens. If you’re the one who’s allergic, have someone else do the grooming outside.
• Limit dog’s access to areas of the house such as bedrooms.
• Bathing dogs has this has been shown to reduce the levels of surrounding Can F1 by as much as 84 percent.

Poodle

Originally used as an aid for duck hunters in France, the poodle (standard or miniature) has become a fave among allergy sufferers, too. A poodle has tight, curly locks that don’t easily shed, and this in turn retains the dander.

Bichon Frisé

Don't let its puffy white coat fool you, the Bichon Frisé does not shed much at all and produces little dander due to it’s curly coat – they still need their coat brushed to reduce dander, though. If you love a lapdog and hate to sneeze, this is the pooch for you.

West Highland Terrier

Dog breeding sites describe the Westy as active, hardy, alert, friendly, independent, courageous – and then you can add to that honours list ‘hypoallergenic’. It also scores four stars on the ‘good with kids’ category on the Dogs Breeds List site.

Bedlington Terrier

You may think you are whistling to a sheep rather than a dog when you take your gorgeously shaggy Bedlington Terrier to the park.
They are said to be mild-mannered and suited to a laidback family, but they are avid diggers and barkers so if owners are too passive they can be willful and stubborn. Loving with children and family and fairly friendly with strangers.

Chinese Crested

Lack of hair doesn’t necessarily equate to a hypoallergenic dog, as we know that it’s the skin dander and secretions that are the culprits, but the less hair you have to fall off and spread the dander, the better. Considered ‘clingy’ by some, they're also very good with children. As shown here, they also come in a puffball version.

Irish Water Spaniel

With its loose, curly topknot (that needs frequent attention) and smooth hairless face and tail, this quirky-looking dog is buffered by its love of children but don’t expect it to get on with your cat. It has some great personality traits and a devilish shaggy appeal.

Kerry Blue Terrier

Its soft, wavy coat that is black at birth but fades to a blue-grey after 18 months. Originating from County Kerry in Ireland, the Kerry Blue is known for its retrieving skills and ability to hunt small animals (so they may not embrace the family cat!). They’re protective and should be extensively ‘socialised’ otherwise may be a handful. Animated and comical, this non-barker has a rep of making people laugh!

Maltese

The lively, loving Maltese may not strike you as being good for allergies but it is one of the best as it sheds very little. The long silky hair does require grooming, though, or keep it cut short. Don’t let it develop ‘small dog syndrome’, where it thinks it is the pack leader over humans – this can lead to snappish behaviour with children.

Portuguese Water Dog

When President Obama went in search of a dog that wouldn’t be an issue with daughter Malia’s allergies, he and the First Lady decided upon this charismatic breed as, again, it produces minimal dander and hardly sheds hair. The beautiful former First Dog, Bo, is pictured here.

Schnauzer

These attention-grabbing fellas are literally man’s best friend as their nature is to never let their owner out of their sight.
Be prepared to wield a firm disciplinary hand, as they are strong-willed and energetic. Suit yourself, because there are three sizes to choose from!

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

It’s long silky coat won’t irritate your allergies, but it can pick up other allergens in the outdoors, such as pollen. Lively, inquisitive and gregarious, loyal and full of confidence. Like most terriers, it's intelligent but easily distracted. Wheatens are known to behave in a puppy-like manner throughout their life and love to jump up and give the ‘wheaten hug’.

Yorkshire Terrier

These cuddly, indoor types need persistent grooming but the payoff is they won’t shed a lot of dander.
A Yorkie can be the perfect companion if you don’t have a big backyard.

Besenji

Hate a barker but love to yodel? Well, so does this low-dander darling – they make a noise that literally sounds like yodelling! While they are said to be stubborn to train, their beguiling personality will make it all worthwhile.

Havanese

Exceptionally bright, the bouncy little Havanese are easy to train as an alarm dog, but they are also affectionate, happy, charming and even a bit of a clown. They love children and will play with them endlessly. They stick to owners like glue but this can mean they get anxious when left alone – especially in the backyard, as they are definitely a housedog.

Shih Tzu

While this silken-haired breed may shed only lightly, they are renowned for being a little jealous of babies and toddlers, so you will have to ensure you have a well-planned ‘meet the new baby’ protocol in place if you’re about to introduce another ‘baby’ to the house. In general, though, they are affectionate and easygoing.

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