I’ve wanted a puppy since I was six years old, but between my dad’s allergies, my allergies, and my brother’s asthma, it seemed that we were doomed to be fish owners. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that a family dog became possible. A friend of the family called us one evening to see if we would be interested in adopting a Cairn Terrier. His daughter had three of them, but she was moving and couldn’t take the dogs with her. So, they were on their way to the Humane Society. When my dad explained about the family’s allergies, the friend informed us that this particular breed was hypoallergenic. Cairns have a hair-like coat and shed less, creating less dander which triggers allergic reactions. We decided to give it a try and adopted the youngest of the three Cairns: Gretal. We’ve had Gretal for 10 years now, and she’s been a joy to my family. For those of you like me who have been longing to adopt a dog but your allergies have stopped you, here are five hypoallergenic dog breeds which might make that dream a reality.
Maltese- This breed has beautiful silky white hair and a loving disposition. It sheds less than most dog breeds; however, frequent grooming and upkeep is important for this dog. To prevent the coat from matting, soft brushing and once a month grooming is helpful. Also, some owners, like my grandma, do a “puppy cut” which is a 1” to 2” trim over the entire body. It gives her Maltese a fluffy, puppy look. Maltese dogs are perfect for home owners with limited space, as the dog stays pretty active inside the house. Half an hour walks during the day is also beneficial and help reduce behavior problems. These dogs are very smart, spirited, and playful.
Cockapoo- A cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle, this breed is bigger than a Maltese and ranges between 12-24 pounds in size. The marbled coloring and curly texture of the coat gives these dogs a lot of character. Low shedding and low dander producing, Cockapoo dogs require less grooming than a Maltese, but are also very playful and active, so an outdoor area and regular exercise is a plus for this type of dog. Very friendly, this breed has a sweet disposition with other dogs and people and is not known to be a “barker.”
Spanish Water Dog- A medium sized dog, they can range between 35-45 pounds. Very loyal and intelligent, these dogs have strong herding and guarding instincts. A hard worker, these dogs are very athletic and social, but because of their strong loyalty, can be wary of strangers. But, this breed has been used as rescue dogs, bomb and drug detection dogs, and the traditional herding dogs. A strong and focused working dog, a Spanish Water Dog will prove a loyal addition to your home.
Wire Fox Terrier- With an adorable long face, I would characterize this breed as enduring optimists. Tackling every task with the utmost enthusiasm, the wire fox terrier is very intelligent and can be taught to perform tricks. Originally bred to hunt foxes, badgers, and even boars, this dog is almost fearless. Though needing firm training to redirect its fearless hunting style, this dog benefits from frequent exercise and mental stimulation. Amusing and buoyant, a Wire Fox Terrier will bring adventure to your life!
Cairn Terrier- Saving the best for last, I would recommend a Cairn to anyone. Though I may be bias because Gretal has been such a joy in my life, Cairn terriers have an adorable fox-like face and sweet, loving character. They can range between 13-18 pounds in size and can live up to 17 years of age! They aren’t big barkers (though my dog will if she’s excessively bored), and they were bred to hunt small creatures like rabbits and squirrels, so they like physical and mental stimulation. Soft, sweet, and gentle, a Cairn terrier has been the best dog I’ve ever had.
Though these breeds are hypoallergenic, that doesn’t mean they’re completely allergy free. Every dog produces some degree of dander, but these breeds are “low allergy” dogs which many people with allergies find to be tolerable. But, every person can react differently, and you should gauge your degree of allergic reaction. But for my family, our Cairn terrier was the perfect fit, and she’s given us many years of delight. So, if you’re an allergy sufferer but have been thinking about adopting a dog, I would suggest looking into one of these breeds of hypoallergenic dogs.
Claire Wilson is a blogger for Serenity Health which retails holistic products for people and pets alike. With a wide range of orthopedic and memory foam dog beds, Serenity Health provides products focused on your pet’s comfort and health.
5 Great Dog Breeds for Allergy Sufferers