Which dog breeds are the best and worst for your allergies?
Who doesn’t love to cuddle with their favorite fluffy friend? Dogs are great companions, but can be a problem for those with allergies or asthma. While some people are allergic to dog fur, it tends to be pet dander or saliva that’s the culprit. However, the fur on your dog can be like a lightning rod for indoor allergens, giving them a place for these particles to collect, making your dog a walking (and cuddling) sneeze trigger.
There are no dogs that are 100% hypoallergenic, but hopefully our sneeze scale will help you decide which will be the best fit for your household. If you are thinking about adopting or rescuing a dog, a test period in your home can be a good way to find out how your allergies or asthma react to your potential new pet.
The best thing about these dogs for those with allergies is that they have very little fur to capture allergens. Aside from the one in five that are born with hair (due to hairlessness being a recessive gene), you’ll only find hair on a Xolo’s head, back, and tail.
Sneeze Scale: 1 out of 5
Fun Fact: This is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world at over 3,000 years.
Honorable mention: The Hairless Chinese Crested for its distinct lack of hair.
These fluffy dogs are known for having hair rather than fur, meaning less dander and no shedding. Their waterproof coat traps hair before it falls out, and tends to keep outdoor allergens from coming indoors on their coat. Because of this feature, they are a popular dog to cross breed, which is how we have goldendoodles, labradoodles, and oodles of other varieties.
Sneeze scale: 2 out of 5
Fun fact: Their fanciful (and sometimes froofy) follicles serve a purpose. Because these hunting dogs would frequently jump into freezing cold water, poodles needed hair around their joints and vital organs to keep them warm, but less hair everywhere else to prevent them from getting weighed down.
Honorable mention: The Portuguese Water Dog, which also sports a waterproof coat.
Despite its dapper facial hair, this bearded breed is known to produce less dander than other breeds. Less dander means less sneezing and itching for those with a pet dander allergy. Bonus points for the miniature schnauzer—their smaller frame means even less dander to worry about.
Sneeze scale: 3 out of 5
Fun Fact: Their name comes from the “schnauze,” which means snout or muzzle in German.
Honorable mention: The Bedlington Terrier. This lamb-like breed also produces very little dander.
These gentle giants tend to be one of the slobberiest dogs, which can be a big dilemma for those allergic to dog saliva.
Sneeze scale: 4 out of 5
Fun fact: A representation of a St. Bernard named Barry can be found in the Natural History Museum in Berne, Switzerland to commemorate the dog that saved over 40 people in the Swiss Alps in the early 1800s.
Honorable mention: The similarly slobbery Bulldog breed.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Beloved by English royalty, corgis are prone to heavy shedding. This is due to their double coat, used to keep them warm while they would herd cattle and sheep year-round. Because of their smaller size, however, they have less total fur to shed, dropping them slightly on our sneeze scale.
Sneeze scale: 4 out of 5
Fun Fact: According to Welsh lore, fairies would ride corgis into battle. The white fur around a corgi’s neck, usually sandwiched between tan or black fur, is referred to as a fairy saddle.
Honorable mention: Boston Terriers are another small pup that can pack a punch. This breed is allergy-prone, which gives them itchy skin and watery eyes — a combo that’s less than ideal for allergy-prone humans.
This breed has the trifecta of allergy-triggering traits. They exhibit year-round heavy shedding and constant drooling, plus, they have an extremely large body. This means more total hair and drool to deposit.
Sneeze scale: 5 out of 5
Fun fact: Captain Meriwether Lewis had a Newfoundland named Seaman that joined Lewis and Clark on their westward expedition.
Honorable mention: Also coming from chilly origins, Siberian Huskies have a thick double coat that perpetually sheds, along with a seasonal “coat blow” where an entire coat falls out to make way for the next season’s coat underneath.
While some dogs are more allergy-friendly than others, no matter what breed of dog you may have, you may need to take extra measures to keep your air clean. Deep clean your carpet and upholstery seasonally, become best friends with your broom and vacuum cleaner, and use a HEPA air filter to ensure that 99.97 percent of particulate matter is removed from the air in your home.