Updated - Mar 6th, 2022
Looking for a dog, but worried about allergies in your household? You’re not alone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, as many as three in 10 people in the U.S. have allergic reactions to cats and dogs.
Luckily, there are a variety of hypoallergenic dog breeds out there that are well-suited for dog lovers who don’t do well with pet dander. Your dog allergies don’t have to exclude you from dog ownership, in fact, it’s much the opposite! Some of the most popular breeds are hypoallergenic, varying widely in appearance and demeanor.
Here are 22 of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds and why they make great canine companions. Most of these breeds are in the small to medium size range and are either hairless dogs, dogs that don’t shed, or dogs with manageable coats that minimize dander. Let’s dig in!
Like many of the wiry-haired dogs on this list, Affenpinschers are great for allergy sufferers because of their low-maintenance coats. Affenpinscher’s wiry coats do not grow quickly and they’re not big shedders.
These dogs are known as confident, funny, and great toy-sized companion dogs.
2. Afghan Hound
Although Afghan Hounds might not seem like the best hypoallergenic dogs at first glance, their silky coats actually shed very infrequently. As puppies, these dogs have short, fuzzy coats, and as they get older, their fur grows long and requires regular grooming. If you don’t mind some trips to the groomer, however, this breed is a great option.
Afghan Hounds are known for their dignified and regal appearance. They’re also incredibly devoted and loyal to the people they call their own.
3. American Hairless Terrier
As you may have guessed based on their name, American Hairless Terriers are typically hairless — although there is also a coated variety. In any case, these are dogs that don’t shed, or at least, if they do, shed very little.
You’ll need to make sure to care for their ears and protect them from sunburn, but these dogs are an excellent hypoallergenic dog breed.American Hairless Terriers are known for their playful terrier attitude and make great family dogs.
Basenjis are independent, smart, and easily recognizable by their curly tails.
Also known as the “barkless dog,” Basenjis make a sound between a chortle and yodel, which is how they’ve earned their nickname!
These are great hypoallergenic dogs because of their short coat, limited grooming needs, and only occasional shedding. Additionally, Basenjis don’t emit a typical “dog smell” and only need to be bathed if they get into something dirty.
5. Bedlington Terrier
Another hypoallergenic dog with a recognizable appearance, the Bedlington Terrier’s coat is reminiscent of a sheep. These dogs are known for their liveliness and desire to be the center of attention.
Bedlington Terriers have crisp and curly coats that are a mix of soft and harsh, but not wiry, unlike many other terrier breeds. Although Bedlington Terriers don’t shed, their coats do grow quickly and require regular clipping.
6. Bichon Frise
A dog full of personality and charm, the Bichon Frise is an adorable lap dog easily identifiable by their pure white coat. With their energy, Bichons are excellent companion dogs that typically get along with children and other pets.
As a hypoallergenic dog breed, Bichons shed very infrequently, and according to the AKC, the hair they do shed is caught up in their undercoat. Bichons will need to be brushed and groomed, but generally are a great dog for allergy sufferers.
7. Chinese Crested
Chinese Cresteds are fun, playful, and known for their appearances in movies like Cats & Dogs, Marmaduke, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
Similar to the American Hairless Terrier, Chinese Cresteds come in both a hairless and coated variety called Powderpuffs. As you might expect, the hairless dogs do not shed — and even the coated dogs shed very little.
Both types of Chinese Crested, however, will require some kind of grooming – usually skincare for the hairless dogs and regular brushing for the coated dogs. Overall, these dogs are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a hypoallergenic dog.
8. Coton de Tulear
Although Coton de Tulears may not be as well known as their hypoallergenic counterparts, you’ll know one when you see one! These dogs have soft, cotton-like white coats that can grow long unless they’re kept in a short “puppy clip.”
Despite the flowing appearance of their coats, Coton de Tulears are only occasional shedders and require minimal grooming, especially if their coats are kept short.
If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic breed that’s a true companion, the Coton de Tulear will definitely be the dog for you. These dogs are fun, happy, and perfectly content to follow you around the house all day.
9. Giant Schnauzer
One of the biggest breeds on our list is the Giant Schnauzer! As their name suggests, these are big dogs who make great workers and companions.
In addition to the fact that they’re intelligent, loyal, and very trainable, Giant Schnauzers do not shed in large amounts. For mild allergy sufferers, dander can be minimized by regular grooming and brushing.
Without a doubt, if you’re looking for a hardworking, active, hypoallergenic dog, the Giant Schnauzer will be your best bet.
10. Irish Water Spaniel
Like the Giant Schnauzer, the Irish Water Spaniel is one of the largest hypoallergenic dogs – standing tallest amongst all the AKC spaniels. Additionally, Irish Water Spaniels are very active, hardworking, and as their name suggests, lovers of water.
These dogs are recognizable by their curled coats and tapering “rat tails.” Although Irish Water Spaniels will shed seasonally, their coats themselves are relatively hypoallergenic – but will require regular brushing and trimming.
11. Kerry Blue Terrier
With one of the most unique coat colors in the dog world, Kerry Blue Terriers are known as alert and adaptable family companions. Kerry Blues have coats that come in a shade of blue – ranging from deep slate to light-blue gray.
These dogs don’t shed, but they should receive regular brushing and trimmings. Of all the hypoallergenic dogs out there, Kerry Blues are also one of the larger breeds, making them greater workers and watchdogs.
12. Lagotto Romagnolo
Not only are Lagotto Romagnolos adorable, teddy-bear-looking dogs, but they also have a fascinating history. They were traditionally bred to search for truffles, earning them the nickname “truffle dog.” Needless to say, these dogs are hardworking and have excellent noses!
As a hypoallergenic breed, The Lagotto may not look like a hypoallergenic dog breed with its thick, double coat of curled hair, but they actually shed very minimally. Just be sure to bring them in for a regular trimming to avoid matting.
If you’re an allergy sufferer looking for an adorable dog, the Lagotto Romagnolo might very well be the breed for you.
Similar to Bichon Frise and Coton de Tulears, Maltese dogs are known for their white coats. This is a low-shedding breed, however, Maltese still require brushing and grooming if their coats are kept long.
Extremely affectionate and happy sitting in the laps of their family members, Maltese are true companion dogs that can make a great addition to the family.
14. Miniature Schnauzer
The second schnauzer on our list of the best hypoallergenic dogs, the Miniature Schnauzer is the smallest of the schnauzers – but don’t let their size fool you. These dogs are outgoing and energetic and can actually make great guard dogs with proper training.
Like the Giant Schnauzer, Miniature Schnauzers shed very little despite their double coat. Brushing and grooming will help keep the coat of the Miniature Schnauzer clean and help you avoid allergy symptoms.
15. Peruvian Inca Orchid
Perhaps one of the rarest hypoallergenic dog breeds on our list, the Peruvian Inca Orchid has a name that sounds like a flower – but this breed couldn’t be more different.
Originating in Peru, Peruvian Inca Orchids are sighthounds, similar to Greyhounds or Whippets. These dogs are very loyal and protective – making them good watchdogs.
In addition to coming in three sizes, Peruvian Inca Orchids are available in hairless or coated varieties. In either case, allergy sufferers do not have to worry about large amounts of hair or fur with these dogs, though, they will require skincare, especially when they’re out in the sun!
Likely the most recognizable of all the hypoallergenic dog breeds, the Poodle continues to make the top 10 of the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dog breeds year after year. Poodles are available in Standard, Miniature, and Toy varieties — but regardless of size, these dogs are incredibly smart, versatile, and excellent family dogs.
In terms of their coats, poodles shed very little and many owners choose to keep their coats cut short to simply make maintenance easier. If you let their coats grow, you’ll need to keep up with brushing in order to avoid mats. Without a doubt, poodles are one of the most common and popular hypoallergenic dogs.
17. Portuguese Water Dog
Made famous by former White House dogs, Sunny and Bo, the Portuguese Water Dog is a smart, athletic, and water-loving companion. These medium-sized dogs are also very easily trainable – with curly coats similar to some of the other breeds on our list.
Although the Portuguese Water Dog’s coat is hypoallergenic, it is thick and will shed seasonally. To minimize allergic reactions, you’ll want to take care to regularly groom this breed.
To make this process easier, many owners choose to keep the coat cut simple and short — but these dogs can be groomed in a variety of different ways.
18. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
While most terriers are known for their firm, wiry coats, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is known for its soft, silky coat! Other than being a joy to own, this breed makes our list for its low-shedding coat. They will, however, need frequent brushing to avoid mats and to remove excess loose hair.
Soft Coated Wheatens can be high-energy, so these dogs definitely require exercise and training. When nurtured and cared for, they are incredibly devoted and loyal companions.
19. Spanish Water Dog
Next on our list of best hypoallergenic dogs, is the Spanish Water Dog! This breed has curly and wooly locks that when grown out, can form tight cords – similar to a Komondor or Bergamasco AKA “Mop Dogs.”
Most dog owners choose to keep the coat of their Spanish Water Dog short, as the longer, corded coat requires much more maintenance and expertise. Either way, these dogs shed very minimally – making them great for allergy sufferers.With a history of herding and retrieving, the Spanish Water Dog is an active, playful companion as well as an industrious watchdog.
20. Standard Schnauzer
The last of the schnauzers on our list is the Standard Schnauzer. Smack dab in the middle of the Miniature and the Giant Schnauzer, this breed is a nice medium size.
In terms of personality, these dogs are active, willful, and very trainable. Standard Schnauzers are a dog breed known for being great with kids and very protective of their families – making them excellent family dogs and guard dogs.
Like the other schnauzers, this dog has a double coat, but sheds very infrequently. The Standard Schnauzer’s coat is stripped instead of clipped, as clipping results in more dirt and shedding.
21. Wire Fox Terrier
The breed with the most historical wins at the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City, the Wire Fox Terrier is both hypoallergenic and a friendly family companion. As evidenced by their track record, these dogs are smart, independent, and full of energy!
Wire Fox Terriers have rough, wiry coats — characteristic of many terriers. These coats do not shed very much and are very low maintenance, especially when kept short.
Last but certainly not least on our list of best hypoallergenic dogs is the Xoloitzcuintli, often called the Xolo (“Show-low”) for short.
Originally from Mexico, these dogs resemble the American Hairless Terrier and the Peruvian Inca Orchid. Xolos, however, are known for their wrinkled foreheads and are both loving companions and excellent watchdogs.
Again, similar to the Peruvian Inca Orchid, xolos come in three sizes and two varieties, hairless and coated. The hairless dogs don’t shed and the coated dogs shed very little, requiring occasional brushing. Like the other hairless dog breeds, xolos require special skincare, especially when out in the sun.
Is there a 100% hypoallergenic dog?
The phrase “hypoallergenic dog breeds” is thrown around a lot – but is there really such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog?
It’s important to establish that no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic or allergen-free. Instead, as Dr. Lynn Buzhardt writes for VCA Hospitals, the term hypoallergenic is used to refer to “breeds that are less likely to stimulate allergies in people.”
Therefore, even if you have a hypoallergenic breed, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the dog won’t cause an allergic reaction if you have dog allergies. It just means that the dog is much less likely to cause an allergic reaction in comparison to other breeds.
Interestingly enough, according to Dr. Buzhardt, what constitutes a “hypoallergenic dog breed” is often debated in research studies and amongst experts. She suggests that although some dog breeds are often considered hypoallergenic due to certain characteristics, the truth is it often depends on the individual dog and person.
Overall, hypoallergenic dog breeds are those that:
- Don’t shed, or have a non-shedding coat that produces less dander
- Don’t have hair, and therefore, are less likely to have dander clinging to them
- Have short, single-layered coats which means there is less dander coming off the dog and sticking around your home
Dr. Buzhardt continues on to say that not all dogs produce the same proteins, so some people are allergic to a specific dog and not a specific breed. Therefore, a person could react to one Maltese and live allergy-free with another. Ultimately, it’s a toss-up.
What about Doodles?
If you’re wondering where mixed breeds such as Labradoodles (Labrador Retriever + Poodle), Goldendoodles (Golden Retriever + Poodle), and others fall in terms of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds, the answer is a little less clear.
Although doodles are often touted as hypoallergenic, it’s actually pretty difficult to predict what kind of coats these dogs will have and how their fur will affect allergy sufferers.
With Goldendoodles, for example, although half of their gene pool comes from the Poodle, the other half comes from a Golden Retriever – a breed known for its dense, double coat. As Golden Retrievers are frequent shedding dogs, it’s uncertain whether the puppies that result from this cross will have a hypoallergenic coat, a full, shedding coat, or somewhere in between.
Generally, it’s safe to assume that these mixed breeds will have coats that fall somewhere in the middle – but it’s hard to know for sure.
Choosing the right hypoallergenic dog for you
As you can see, there are a variety of adorable hypoallergenic dog breeds to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a big, fluffy dog or a hairless lap dog, there are plenty of breeds out there to consider. When it comes to your allergy severity and dander tolerance, you know yourself best. Keep yourself honest and think hard about whether or not you should get a dog before bringing one home!
If you do find the breed that’s right for you, be sure to protect them with a pet insurance plan. Pumpkin Dog Insurance plans cover 90% of vet bills for accidents and illnesses – so you can focus less on cost, and more on care.