10 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds for Allergic Families
How to Choose a Hypoallergenic Dog
A hypoallergenic dog creates less allergens than other dogs. This type of dog does not shed its coat, meaning that it spreads less dander into its environment. If you are typically allergic to dogs, but you have a strong desire to get a dog, then a hypoallergenic breed might be right for you. Once you have decided on a hypoallergenic dog, you will need to figure out what breed of dog you would like and find the specific dog that fits the bill.
Evaluating Hypoallergenic Breeds
Understand how dog allergies work.Allergies are not caused primarily by fur itself but by the associated dander, which consists of shed skin cells and saliva. All dogs, regardless of their coat type will give off dander, so all dogs have the potential to trigger allergies in certain people. Therefore, no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic, they are just less likely to trigger allergies. Be aware of this ahead of selecting a dog so that you can make the most responsible decision.
Decide what size of dog you would like.Once you have decided to get a hypoallergenic dog, you will need to narrow down your choice even further. Begin this narrowing by deciding what size of dog you would like.
- This decision may be based on simple likes or dislikes, or it may be based on logistics, such as if you need a small breed due to space considerations.
- Whatever sized dog you would like, there is probably a hypoallergenic dog that size.There are small breeds, such as the bichon frise, Maltese and the Coton de Tulear, that are hypoallergenic. There are large breeds that are hypoallergenic, such as the standard poodle and Afghan hound.
Figure out what your dog's personality should be like.Different dog breeds have vastly different personalities and energy levels. In order to find the perfect dog breed for your family, you will need to need to figure out whether you want a dog with a lot of energy, a lap dog, a dog that can be easily trained, or a dog that is independent and spirited.
- Make a list of the activities you would like to do with your dog and assess what kind of dog will be best for these activities. For example, if this list includes hiking and outdoor activities, then you will need a dog that is large enough to keep up with you on a trail and will be motivated to do energetic activities. If you want a dog to snuggle with and go for short daily walks with, then you may want a smaller lap dog.
- Some hypoallergenic breeds that make good lap dogs include the Maltese and the coton de tulear. Some hypoallergenic breeds that are more active include the Irish water spaniel and the Portuguese water dog.
Do research on potential breeds.Once you have a list of the attributes you would like in a dog, you can match that list to potential breeds. Go online and do some research into what breeds are most hypoallergenic and what their other attributes are.
- Begin your research by looking at lists of hypoallergenic breeds. These are available on the websites of dog organizations, such as the American Kennel Club.Then, once you find a breed that might be right for you, do some more targeted research about that specific breed.
- You may want to prioritize certain attributes over others. That way, if you can't find a dog that fits all of your desires, you can at least find one that fits the most important attributes you are looking for.
Discuss breeds and make a decision.Once you have narrowed down your choices, make the final decision. This decision should be made with your family, if you live with other people, and should take everyone's desires into consideration.
- It may be a good idea to make a list of the two or three breeds that you would consider. This will allow you more options when searching for your specific dog.
- When making your breed decision you can also choose to look for certain hybrid mixes that are known to be hypoallergenic. Some of the most popular of these mixes are poodle mixes, which take on the hypoallergenic nature of the poodle breed.
Picking a Specific Dog
Look at a shelter or rescue organization.If you are concerned about pet overpopulation and the number of dogs that are homeless, then look for your dog at a shelter or through a rescue organization. They have fewer purebred dogs but you will be adopting a dog that really needs a home.
- It can be more difficult to determine if a rescue dog is hypoallergenic than to determine if a dog that comes from a breeder is hypoallergenic. That being said, there are some hybrid dogs that are hypoallergenic, especially dogs that are poodle mixes.
Contact a breeder.If you have a specific breed in mind, then you can go through a breeder to get your dog. One way to find a reputable breeder is to look at the websites of dog groups that focus on the breed you want. They should have lists of reputable breeders that specialize in the breed you want.
- Discuss the breeders practices and standards with them before committing to buying a dog from them. This will help ensure that you are paying an ethical breeder.
Meet potential dogs.Once you have identified a breeder or a rescue, you will need to meet potential dogs to see if they are a match. Since you are looking for a hypoallergenic dog in particular, this is a good time to assess if you are allergic to them or not. Spend some time with the dog and assess whether you are having an allergic reaction.
- If you want to make sure you are not allergic to the potential dog, you can bring a shirt or some other piece of clothing with you when you meet the dog. Rub the clothing on the dog and then wear it for a while after the meeting. If you have an allergy attack, it is likely coming from something on the dog.
- When meeting the dog you will also need to assess the dog's temperament. Make sure the dog has a good personality and is healthy before agreeing to adopt it.
Bring your new dog home.Once you have found a dog that you like and that you are not allergic to you can pay any adoption fees required and bring it home. The decision may have taken some time but will assure that you get the right hypoallergenic dog for you and your family.
- There are some things you can do to even further reduce allergens on any dog. These include bathing and grooming the dog regularly, cleaning your house regularly, and changing air filters in your home regularly as well.
Determining Your Hypoallergenic Needs
Assess your allergies.If you are considering getting a hypoallergenic dog it is probably because you, or someone in your family, is allergic to dogs. When you are around dogs your eyes are watery or itchy, your nose runs, you sneeze a lot, or your skin even turns red and bumpy. In order to decide whether the allergy is severe enough to limit your dog choices, you should assess those allergies and make sure they are associated with dogs.
- Get allergy testing done by your physician. This testing usually consists of skin pricks and the application of small amounts of dog allergens. If you are allergic, your skin will react. This will tell you definitively whether or not you are allergic to dogs and whether you need to consider adopting only a hypoallergenic breed of dog.
Learn about hypoallergenic dogs.Hypoallergenic dogs are different from other dogs in that they produce less dander. No dog will be 100% hypoallergenic, meaning that it doesn't produce any allergens, but certain breeds have non-shedding coats that produce drastically less dander.
- Hypoallergenic breeds do not shed nearly as much as other breeds. While even hypoallergenic breeds will shed at a low rate, they will retain their coat much more than other breeds. This means that dander, which is attached to pet hair, does not get released out into the environment as much as it would with a dog that sheds.
- Hypoallergenic dogs do require a bit of work to maintain. Because they don't have shedding fur, they must be groomed routinely. Without grooming, a hypoallergenic dog's hair can get overgrown and matted.
Spend some time with a hypoallergenic dog.In order to so see if your allergies are so strong that they even emerge around a hypoallergenic dog, you should spend some time with one. If you know a friend who has one, ask to spend some time with their dog. You may even be able to contact a local dog club that focuses on a breed of hypoallergenic dogs and see if anyone will let you meet their dog.
- In order to really see if you are allergic to a hypoallergenic dog you will need to spend some time with them indoors. If you only hang out with one outside, you may not get the full impact they can give when in a contained space.
Decide if a hypoallergenic dog is right for you.Some people who are only slightly allergic to dogs can eventually adjust to any dog that they bring into their homes. However, if you are severely allergic or don't want to risk not adjusting to a dog you are allergic to, then you should likely get a hypoallergenic dog. However, it is your decision to weigh and decide on.
- If you are having a hard time deciding, try making a list of pros and cons. This list could include how the lack of allergens will help you, whether or not you like the looks and temperament of hypoallergenic dogs, whether you are willing to take anti-allergy medications indefinitely, and the potential cost of getting a specific breed of dog.
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