Dogs are one of the most loyal and affectionate pets for families of all sizes, so what do you do if you love dogs but are allergic to them? Here, we look at what dog allergies really are, what you can do about a dog allergy, and some of the dog breeds that could be more suitable for those with dog allergies.
Understanding dog allergies
Allergens are usually harmless substances that trigger an immune response in people with allergies, resulting in symptoms such as sneezing and itchy eyes.1
The main source of dog allergen is a protein found in dog saliva2, but dander (made up of skin particles) is thought to contain allergens as well.3 As such, while all dog breeds can potentially cause allergies, the degree to which they are suffered will vary because of the variation in how much hair and skin flakes different breeds3 shed. Dog allergies, along with other types of pet allergies, are a common trigger for allergic diseases such as asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
How different dog breeds rate for those with dog allergies
There’s no way to be 100% certain that a particular breed will not cause an allergic reaction. However some dogs are believed to trigger less allergy symptoms than others due to the nature of their coats.9 By spending some time with the dog before you buy or adopt, you may be able to determine how certain you are before committing.
These are some well-known breeds to look out for if you have allergies, as well as popular breeds with single-layered coats you can consider adopting if you are sensitive to dog allergens.
Breeds that shed less
The Australian Terrier is a smaller breed with a coarse-haired coat and topknot that makes it a wonderful watchdog and family companion. This breed is easy to care for provided you do some regular brushing and light trimming.10
The Maltese is another small dog with a silky, flat coat which may make it suitable for those with allergies.
The Miniature Poodle could be a suitable dog for those with dog allergies as it is low-shedding.12 This intelligent breed has a curly coat that can be left to cord or clipped.
The Irish Terrier is known for being a hypoallergenic or non-allergenic breed.13 While it has a double coat, it is relatively low shedding and has dense, wiry hair that requires less maintenance.13
This intelligent, affectionate, social dog has a double-layered coat14 but is considered to be a low-shedding breed, which makes it suitable for those with allergies.
The Airedale Terrier is the second largest of all terriers and is considered a low shedder15 that could be suitable for families with dog allergies. Intelligent with a strong personality, this dog makes a playful companion animal.