If you have mild allergies to dogs but would still love to have a furry canine companion, you do have some dog options. Now keep in mind that there are no allergen-free dogs; it is simply not possible. However, there are some breeds that are considered hypoallergenic, which is basically means that these certain dog breeds will produce a lot less allergens than some of the bigger breeds such as the Golden Retriever.
It’s all about the Coat
Dogs that shed a lot and have thick undercoats are obviously not the right choice for potential owners who are allergy-prone. However, dogs with a single coat of hair with little to no undercoat are a good choice as are hairless dogs.
Keep in mind however, that even with the hairless variety there are always some allergens to contend with. This is due to the fact that all dogs, regardless of their coat produce dander which is a combination of urine, saliva and shedding skin cells. Some people with asthma and allergies are more tolerant than others, thus the choice of single coat and hairless dog varieties.
Types of Allergy-Friendly Dog Breeds
Of the hairless varieties, the Chinese Crested Hairless, Xoloitzcuintle Mexican Hairless and the American Hairless Terrier are three popular dog breeds for the allergy prone. Because they have no coat to speak of, you will have to take precautions in both sunny weather as well as cold weather because they have nothing to protect them.
There are quite a few single coat dogs that are hypoallergenic and the poodle is the most popular. They are distinct with their curly, wiry coat and the breed comes in the standard poodle size as well as a miniature model. All sizes of Schnauzers are popular too because they do not have the shedding problem that other dogs have. Their coats are normally rather wiry with a small soft undercoat.
Several terrier breeds make the list of allergy-friendly dogs as well. The soft-coated Wheaten Terrier is a popular variety and has a soft, wavy long coat which normally does not shed. The Kerry Blue Terrier, the West Highland White and the Bedlington Terrier are other relative non-shedders.
Managing your Dog Allergies
As mentioned above, even the most hypoallergenic dogs have some dander that will, well, get your allergy dander up as well. Therefore, there are a few things you can do to lower the allergens in the air of your home so that you can enjoy a relatively, sneeze and watery-eye free dog ownership.
Choose vacuum cleaner bags that have HEPA quality filtering so that dust and dander does not escape the bag. Buy a few HEPA grade air filters for several rooms in your home where you would most likely be with your dog. These machines will filter your air trapping dust and dander that could set off an allergic reaction. For your central air and heat, change your filter once a month using hypoallergenic filters which will screen out up to 99% of pollen, dust and pet dander. Open your windows every so often when the pollen counts are low to allow fresh air inside the home. This will help filter out some pet dander in the process.
Wash your dog bedding and toys once a week if possible as well. There is also a product out on the market that is an anti-allergen spray which neutralizes allergens such as dust, pollen and pet dander for several weeks. If you are serious about being a dog owner, practicing some of these management tips will really help in controlling your allergy symptoms and allow you to enjoy your new dog too.