The Best Hypoallergenic Dogs

Best Hypoallergenic Dogs

If you’ve ever had a “German Shedder” or been in the dubiously delightful position of being able to knit a whole new dog out of the fur you’ve just brushed out of your Lab, you may be dreaming of the best non-shedding family dogs.

  • If a family member (whom you like) can’t visit because of a dog allergy, you may be considering a hypoallergenic dog.
  • If you don’t want to be relegated to one square foot of your couch or bed as the dog takes over the rest, you may be considering a small dog.
  • Luckily for you, there are quite a few small breeds that are non-shedding and hypoallergenic!
  • No dog is completely free of allergens, but many breeds have been shown to not set off allergic reactions in most people. Likewise, no dog is completely shed-free but it’s minimal and easily managed.

Hypoallergenic, Non-Shedding Small Dog Breeds

  • Affenpinscher: Called “monkey dogs” because of their distinctive facial features, Affenpinschers sport a rough, shaggy coat. Affies are intelligent, fearless, spunky and mischievous, and require constant stimulation. They do best in families with older children, and daily walks are a must.

  • American Hairless Terrier: Completely hairless, these small working dogs are sometimes born with short hair due to a recessive gene. Energetic and playful, they require daily exercise and if possible, a yard so they can indulge their passion: digging. All hairless dogs require protection from the sun and cold, as well as frequent baths and skincare.  
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  • Australian Terrier: Aussies are small, courageous, loyal, sturdy, and delightfully shaggy long-haired dogs. They’re great with kids, but usually not with other dogs. They require daily exercise as well as frequent brushing. 
  • Basenji: Perfect for active people who love athletic dogs who act a bit like cats. Basenjis are intelligent, curious, quiet (they don’t bark) and groom themselves like cats. They are perfect for apartment dwellers who give them exercise and mental stimulation lest they become destructive, and need to be watched around children and small pets. 
  • Bedlington Terrier: With a mix of soft and rough hair, these lamb-like terriers get along great with kids, but not necessarily other pets. They are diggers and barkers, quite independent, and must be completely clipped bi-monthly. They’re great for highly energetic, hands-on owners. 
  • Bichon Frise: Bichons are energetic yet snuggly, social and playful. They’re great pets for families, the elderly or apartment-dwellers. They require a daily walk and some playtime to be happy. They need frequent grooming and brushing to keep their coats looking great. 
  • Bolognese: A small dog with a pure white, wooly coat. Quiet and serious, docile and obedient, Bolognese get along well with everyone. They are perfect for an apartment without a yard and only need a daily walk or energetic game to keep them happy. Bolognese need daily brushing to keep their coat tangle-free. 
  • Border Terrier: A hardy dog with a short, dense, adorably scruffy, wiry, double coat that requires weekly brushing.  The Border Terrier is lively and agile, great with kids but not with other dogs. Border Terriers can be quite vocal and do best with a yard where they can dig, and lots of exercises. 
  • Brussels Griffon: The Brussels Griffon comes in a smooth-coated and rough-coated variety. Both need regular grooming. A daily walk and indoor play is enough exercise for this loyal and affectionate dog who thrives with people around. 
  • Cairn Terrier: Best known as ‘Toto’ in the film, The Wizard of Oz, the Cairn Terrier has a harsh outer coat that requires frequent brushing. They love to perform tricks, and although affectionate with everyone, they require a lot of stimulation and exercise.  
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  • Cesky Terrier: A quieter, calmer terrier, Ceskys sport a silky, long, and wavy coat that needs frequent grooming including bi-weekly brushing and quarterly clipping. They are loyal, playful, friendly, and get along with children and other pets. Although easy to train, they require firm handling and have a tendency to be destructive if not trained properly or if they don’t get enough exercise. They love running, so if you’re a runner who wants a small companion, the Cesky is your new best friend!
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  • Chinese Crested (Hairless and Powderpuff): Chinese Crested dogs come in two coat types: hairless and powderpuff. The Hairless variety has hair on their heads, tail, and feet; the Powderpuff sports a coat of fine hair. Chinese Cresteds are intelligent, affectionate and playful. They are quite delicate, however, and require gentle handling. Hairless Crested’s skin requires extra care: sunscreen, frequent baths, skin conditioners, and cold-weather protection. The Powderpuff is somewhat hardier because of their coats, and require daily brushing and frequent baths.

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  • Coton de Tulear: If you love fluffy dogs who are affectionate, intelligent, curious and playful, the Cotie may be the one. They require firm handling and lots of exercises, but they are great with kids and other pets, making them perfect for high-energy families. 
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier: A sturdy dog with a distinctive appearance, Dandies have a double coat that requires weekly brushing as well as frequent clipping. Lively, intelligent, independent and bold, they get along well with older children but are not great with other dogs and can snap if roughly handled. They require consistent firm training to overcome their digging and barking tendencies. They do best in homes with a small yard and require daily exercise. 
  • Havanese: Havanese is spunky, charming and personable. They love everybody – other dogs and cats included – and love to be the center of attention. They are great for apartment dwellers and for people who love to spend time training their dog to perform tricks. Their coats need to be brushed frequently. Note: the short-haired variety, called Shavanese, is not considered hypoallergenic. 
  • Italian Greyhound: The Italian Greyhound loves to be outdoors, so if you live in an apartment, be prepared for several daily outdoor excursions. A smooth- and short-coated dog, these athletic dogs require protection from the cold but otherwise, little grooming. Although athletic, their slight build makes them fairly fragile. They’re affectionate and intelligent, but can be quite nervous, making them ideal companions for the elderly or quiet people. 
  • Lhasa Apso: This small Tibetan breed is an excellent companion. Playful yet calm, Lhasa Apsos are perfect for the elderly. They require moderate exercise, and many owners prefer giving them a “puppy cut” clipping to avoid otherwise necessary daily brushing of their long silky hair. 
  • Lowchen: The name means “Little Lion.” This sturdy dog has a thick, wavy, and long coat, often cut to resemble a lion. They are intelligent, easy to train, and love children and other pets. They can be barkers and quite dominant. Lowchens thrive in apartments as long as they get a daily walk or a romp. Frequent brushing and twice-yearly clipping keep their long coat tangle-free. 
  • Maltese: A social, snuggly and playful dog, the Maltese has been a treasured companion dog for millennia. Their long, white, silky coats shed little but require frequent brushing. They are well-suited for an apartment, although they are quite vocal about any suspicious sound and need regular exercise. 
  • Miniature Bull Terrier: Strong, muscular, playful and friendly dogs with characteristic egg-shaped heads and a rough, short coat that requires little care. They enjoy older children but require socialization to get along with other pets. Bull Terriers need firm handling and lots of training and will become destructive if left alone for long periods. Best for active families with older kids. 
  • Miniature Schnauzer: This sturdy, cheerful and affectionate dog sports bushy eyebrows, mustache, and beard, giving it a distinguished appearance. As long as their people are close by, Schnauzers thrive anywhere, although they need regular exercise, training, and socialization to prevent excessive barking and aggression. Grooming consists of daily brushing and twice-yearly clipping.
  • Norfolk Terriers and Norwich Terriers: Sturdy little dogs with a wiry, short coat, the main difference between the two is the ears – the Norfolk has drop ears while the Norwich has prick ears. These terriers need a lot of exercise – fetch is their favorite – and are good around other pets and children, although they consider smaller animals prey. They are vocal and energetic but don’t require a lot of grooming other than regular brushing. 
  • Peruvian Inca Orchid: A hairless breed, this exotic dog may be born with a short coat or with tufts of hair on their forehead, lower legs, or tail. Intelligent, affectionate, and loyal, they get along with children and other pets and hate being left alone for long periods. A long daily walk is enough exercise. Their skin needs protection from cold and sunlight, and occasional baths followed by a skin conditioner to keep their skin soft and smooth.  
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  • Poodle (Miniature and Toy): Poodles are intelligent, friendly, and affectionate. They require regular grooming including clipping. They are easy to train, get along well with older children and other pets, and need daily exercise. 
  • Scottish Terrier: With their short legs and bearded faces, Scotties look quite distinguished. They have a big personality! Clever, bold, loyal, independent, and with a powerful prey drive, they are not great with smaller animals and often require very firm handling. Their wiry, weather-resistant coats require frequent brushing. 
  • Sealyham Terrier: Short, sturdy dogs with a medium-length white double coat and an adorable beard, Sealys are independent and should be monitored around children. They are quieter and less energetic than most terriers – tending to be couch potatoes – but need daily walks and firm training. Grooming consists of frequent brushing and twice-yearly clipping. 
  • Shih Tzu: The lion-faced Shih Tzu has long, silky hair that looks exceptionally regal when brushed. Affectionate and lively, they get along well with children and make great lapdogs for the elderly. They require moderate exercise, firm and consistent training, and daily brushing to avoid tangles and matting.
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  • Tibetan Terrier: Hardy and robust, Tibetans are friendly and intelligent but can be willful and vocal, requiring firm handling and lots of exercises. Frequent brushing and bathing keep their long coat from tangling. 
  • Welsh Terrier: These double-coated terriers’ soft undercoat and wiry weather-beating outer coat require frequent brushing and yearly plucking. They are active, friendly and gentle, even around young children but can be very vocal and require consistent training and plenty of exercises. 
  • West Highland White Terrier: Westies are sturdy little dogs with a solid white, coarse outer coat. The Westie is intelligent, curious, lively, loyal, happy, and can be highly entertaining but they’re known for their independent streak that can make training a challenge. They require daily brushing and regular clipping. 
  • XoloitzcuintliXoloitzquintli: Also called the Mexican Hairless, the Xolo comes to a hairless or coated variety. The hairless has a small amount of hair on their heads, while the coated has a short, fine coat. The Xolo needs protection from the elements but otherwise minimal grooming. Xolos are easily trained and make attentive watchdogs and affectionate companions. While they enjoy walks and play, they are famous for their tranquil personality at home.
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  • Yorkshire Terrier: Spunky and affectionate, Yorkies are full of personality. Their silky coats require daily brushing but can be clipped to minimize grooming. Yorkies are curious and adventurous, vocal, and often dog-aggressive, and require firm handling and daily walks.


A Fur-Free and Sneeze-Free Home

If you are dreaming about fur-free furniture (wait… isn’t that why it’s called furniture?) or you don’t want guests to ask for antihistamines the moment they walk through the door, choose one of these hypoallergenic small breeds. You don’t have to look any further than your local shelter! Fancy breeders abound, but many people give up perfectly wonderful dogs for all kinds of reasons. Given the number of hypoallergenic breeds to choose from, you’re sure to find a new best friend at your local shelter!

What do you think of this list of the Best Hypoallergenic Dogs? Do you own one of these non-shedding small dogs? Please share your experience with us!

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