There is nothing worse than discovering you may be allergic to dogs — especially when you’re looking into adopting one. However, those allergies shouldn’t hold you back from finding the perfect companion because there are a variety of hypoallergenic dogs (and cats) that won’t make you sneeze constantly or break out in hives.
A hypoallergenic dog, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), is a dog that has a predictable, non-shedding coat which produces less dander. It is that dander that causes the annoying, itchy eyes and runny nose. But just like some people are more sensitive to dog dander than others, there are some dogs that produce less of it than others.
And no, shaving your dog will not make them hypoallergenic, so don’t even think about it!
So, if you’re looking for a dog that doesn’t shed too much and will keep those allergies at bay, scroll through this list of hypoallergenic dog breeds to see which one would be perfect for you.
Any Havanese owner will tell you that these dogs are pretty perfect pets. Not only are they hypoallergenic and low-shedding — Vetstreet.com gives them a 1 out of 5 on the shed-scale — but they are also incredibly friendly, affectionate, and smart, making them ideal for people who have kids or who like to entertain.
This dog breed kind of looks like a cross between a dog, a pony, and a mythical creature — and that's a beautiful thing. Chinese Crested's are renowned lap dogs, so they're most happy when cuddling with the family. You can choose between two varieties, the hairless and the Powderpuff, and Vetstreet.com dubs them both hypoallergenic (though those who need a true no-shed breed should opt for a hairless Crested).
Schnauzers were originally bred to work on German farms, and are now known as amazing companion dogs. Playful, protective, and easy to groom, they're energetic family dogs through and through. And while Dogtime.com rates them a 5/5 for wanderlust, they score an ideal 1/5 for shedding.
If you're looking for a pup that just wants to love on you all day, look no further than a Maltese Shih Tzu. A hybrid of the two breeds, these pups are bred solely to be companion dogs for people with allergies, are obedient, outgoing, and always affectionate. Dogtime.com rates them a 1/5 for shedding, and recommends them as a great option for first-time pet owners.
These floppy-eared little fellas aren't just cute, they're also super easy to care for. A low-maintenance dog that doesn't require a lot of bathing or training, border terriers were bred to be less aggressive than their predecessors. While they don't shed a ton, Hillspet.com makes it clear that their coats will need to be hand-stripped twice a year at the groomer's.
In the market for a dog-slash-teddy bear? These toy-like creatures are always white in color and have big, beautiful black eyes and noses. Because they're a double-coated breed, Bichon Frise's don't shed, and Dogtime.com highly recommends them for people with allergies. They do suffer from separation anxiety though, so if you're not home a lot this breed may not be the right pet for you.
A former Belgian street dog, the Brussels Griffon is as quirky as he is cute. With an expressive, adorable visage that's often compared to a human face, these dogs are known for their intelligence, sense of humor, and self-importance. Dogtime.com notes that neither smooth nor rough-coated varieties shed much, but stripping their coat makes them even friendlier to people with allergies.
This dog may look like a walking mess of dreadlocks, but Dogtime.com says these adorably unusual dogs don't need to be brushed and shed minimally (though care should be taken to keep their white fur free of dirt and parasites). Their personalities are a little more high-maintenance than other breeds, but they have a strong protective instinct that makes them an ideal family dog.
Have you ever seen such a sweet face?! A cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle, the Labradoodle was originally developed to be a hypoallergenic guide dog. It didn't take long for families to want to bring them into their homes, as they're praised for being smart, sociable, and "non- to average-shedders" depending on their hair coat type. Remember: It's important to spend a good chunk of quality time with a dog before taking him home to see how your allergies will react.
Yorkies are the ninth most popular breed of dog in America, according to the American Kennel Club, and for good reason: they're insanely cute, great with kids and other dogs, and adapt easily to their surroundings. Rover.com also credits their popularity to how little they shed — because Yorkies' hair grows at the same rate all year long, they don't shed nearly as much as other dogs who need a heavier coat come winter.
These fun-loving pups make for great pets and excellent watchdogs, though they also love to chase squirrels, dig holes, and go on walks with their families. Dogtime.com says that owners love how little they shed, though they do require significant grooming to keep their coats in good order.
The largest of all the terriers, the Airedale Terrier is an adventurous, sporty dog that's known for their playfulness. (Not to mention their intelligence, making them easy to train.) Dogtime.com notes that though they do shed a few times a year, maintaining a good coat through regular brushing will keep the stray fur at bay.
Arguably the most famous no-shed dog breed, many other breeds have been crossed with Poodles to create perfect, hypoallergenic pups. There are a few varieties of Poodles to choose from — including miniature, toy, and standard — but they're all known for their fun personalities and how quickly they take to training.
These tough-looking pups are all the rage among allergic owners, as their short and fine coat rarely sheds. (They're rated a 1/5 on the shed-scale by Dogtime.com.) Basenjis are touted as amazing adventure dogs too, thanks to their great sense of smell and sight, but they can also be stubborn, so you'll need to train them well.
Originally a hunter of small prey, the Australian Silky Terrier is a feisty dog, despite only weighing eight to 10 pounds when fully grown. While their coats are long, Dogtime.com notes that they're pretty easy to care for, requiring only a couple of brushings a week.