When my friend Mike said he was getting a Goldendoodle, my first question was, “Golden-what?” Then he told me all about how his allergies prevented him from owning all but a handful of dogs. And the Goldendoodle (which goes by the wickedly cool name of Loki) was his top choice.

Contrary to popular belief, people who are allergic to dogs and cats aren’t allergic to their fur. These pets release fluids and shed dander that contain allergens. And while pet hair isn’t an allergen, it can collect dander. And there are proteins in the dander, saliva or urine of a dog that are allergens.

But that doesn’t mean dog lovers who suffer allergies have to live in misery if they want to own a pet. These 10 hypoallergenic dog breeds might just let you enjoy a furry companion without all the furry problems.

1. Goldendoodle / Labradoodle

loki
As the name implies, this is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a standard poodle; it’s also a low-allergen dog. As Mike put it, this was a larger dog than most of the pets on this list, which suited him. They’re also ridiculously cute.

2. American Hairless Terrier

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Photo by Nyaah / CC BY

Perhaps the safest bet on this list, the American hairless terrier has… you guessed it… absolutely no hair, and no dander. If the fluffy fur of the poodle, Bichon frise or Labradoodle are too much for you, this little guy could be your next best friend.

3. Bichon Frise

The secret of the Bichon Frise’s success (at least as far as allergies are concerned) is its curled coat, which makes it tough for dander to escape. These small, friendly and generally happy dogs are widely available.

4. Miniature Poodle

While we’re on the subject of small and cuddly, the miniature poodle deserves a mention. All poodles are good bets for allergy sufferers because, just like the Bichon Frise, they have tightly curled coats that entangles dander and keeps it from detaching and floating out into your personal space. They also shed very little… and the miniature poodle sheds even less than standard poodles.

5. Portuguese Water Dog

An ancient breed, this dog was considered the faithful companion of fishermen along the Iberian peninsula for centuries. That may not matter much to allergy sufferes, but the fact that it sheds even less fur than poodles should be of some interest. The Obama family’s dogs, Sunny and Bo, are Portuguese water dog, chosen because Malia Obama happens to suffer allergies. 

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6. Chinese Crested Hairless

There are actually two varieties of Chinese Crested Dogs: the Hairless and the Powder Puff. Clearly, allergy sufferers will want to consider the former, which is indeed hairless except for its head, feet and tail.

7. Giant Schnauzer

Along with the Labradoodle, this is a great dog for owners who are looking for a larger pet. Like the Bichon Frise, its double coat prevents the release of too much dander into the air. A working dog, it’s also perhaps the most active breed on this list, and should make for a spirited (and hopefully allergy-free) companion.

8. Irish Water Spaniel

Another large dog with a curled hypoallergenic coat, this spaniel is a sporting dog. Creative and spirited, it has a signature “rat tail” and a distinctly colored coat. Regular exercise is important, as these are energetic dogs.

9. Shih Tzu

Known for its long, elegant double coat, the shih tzu is a lovely toy dog that doesn’t shed very much. Prized household pets in China for centuries (“shih tzu” means lion), it still carries a little swagger to this day.

10. Maltese

This playful toy dog has been the choice pet for royalty and carries an ancient lineage. Don’t let its beautiful, silky hair deceive you; Maltese shed very little, making. One note though: they do require extensive grooming.