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Hairless and Hypoallergenic Dogs

Hairless dogs are hypoallergenic, but there are also some less obvious breeds which are good for allergy sufferers too.

Hairless Dogs

Some people think hairless dogs are beautiful, and lots of others disagree! They are certainly an acquired taste, their oddity exaggerated by the fact that you just don’t tend to see many hairless dogs around.

They have little or no dander, so tend to be good for people with allergies. They also need no brushing, although their vulnerable skin will need protecting in sunny weather. They require regular bathing to keep their skin healthy.

There are not many common hairless breeds – just the partially-naked Chinese Crested, Mexican Hairless, Peruvian Inca Orchid, American Hairless Terrier, and the very rare Ecuadorian Hairless Dog.

Breeds Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzer - fun-sized, full of character, and hypoallergenic

Dogs With Hypoallergenic Hair

There are plenty of dog breeds with hypoallergenic coats. It is nothing to do with the length of hair – a Boxer, for example, can cause violent symptoms in someone with a dog allergy. The culprit behind all the sneezing, wheezing and itching is dog dander (dandruff, i.e. dead skin) rather than the hair itself. More specifically, it is the type of protein in the dander.

The protein is also found in the dog’s saliva and urine, which is why a lick from a dog can cause an allergic reaction in people sensitive to it.

Hypoallergenic dogs shed very little hair, and their dander does not contain the offending protein. Wiry- and curly-haired breeds tend to be best, as their dense coats don’t allow flurries of hair and dander every time they’re caught in a draught from an open door.

Breeds Basenji hypoallergenic dog playing ball on lawn
the Basenji combines allergy-friendly smooth fur with great ball skills...

There are many different dogs with hypoallergenic coats, including some surprising ones such as the distinctly long-haired Afghan Hound, and the Golden retriever. The Poodle is a good choice, too, along with the various crossbreeds that include Poodle. A Labradoodle, for example, is a very safe bet.

Other hypoallergenic breeds include Basenji, Barbet, Brussels Griffon, Irish Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Shih Tzu, and various Terriers including the Wire-haired. Finding out whether a particular breed is going to be okay in a household with an allergy sufferer can only be done by spending time with the dog, or a different dog of the same breed. For example, some people have no problem with Yorkshire terriers, whereas others come out in hives and sneezes.

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