No Sneezing, No Wheezing, No Coughing
You want a dog, but you or a family member is allergic. You even look at a dog, and you’re wheezing and hacking while screaming for the allergy pills. If you’re a lunatic, you touch the dog, and then spend the next 15 minutes surgically lathering your hands up to the arms. If it’s any consolation, it’s not dog fur that causes allergies, it’s the dander, which is just another name for doggy dandruff. Yes, it’s a dog’s dry, flaky skin that can set off a sneezing fit. However, there are dogs even for you.
According to the AKC Web site, there are quite a few you can own. All you have to do is match the dog’s lifestyle with yours.
This little puffball is cheerful, independent and active, but is also loyal and loving. Don’t be misled by his fluffy appearance; he’s sturdy, but no roughhousing, please. He’s usually white, but can have apricot and other light colors along with the white. Bichons weigh between 7 and 12 pounds and stand 9 to 11 inches at the shoulder. A daily walk is a must as is lots of brushing and frequent bathing and grooming (once a month) because his hair continues to grow. He can live up to 15 years.
There are two kinds of Chinese Crested, the Hairless and the Powderpuff. The Hairless has fur on his head, tail and feet; the Powderpuff has silky fur all over. This tiny toy is alert, playful and loving, but needs gentle children. The Hairless needs sunscreen and when you bathe him, he’ll need moisturizer to keep his skin soft and smooth. As small as he is, a daily walk will keep him emotionally well-balanced. Also, he’s sensitive to cold weather, so sweaters come in handy, even though they look cute or stupid, depending on your viewpoint.
Brush your Powderpuff daily and get him groomed frequently. That fur can tangle.
Both types stand 12 inches at the shoulder and weigh no more than 10 pounds. They can live 10 to 12 years.
Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish Water Spaniel is smart as a whip and is the tallest spaniel. You can tell from his name that he just loves the water. Not only does he love the water, but he’s also water repellant. He was originally a hunting dog so being impervious to water came in handy. He’s an active, energetic dog who needs lots of exercise, so no apartment living for him. He does need some brushing and trimming, and he has to visit the groomer fairly often because his fur can mat.
The dog stands 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder and weighs 45 to 65 pounds. He can live 10 to 12 years.
Here are more hypoallergenic dogs to choose from.
These tough little cookies are gentle, affectionate, lively, playful, fearless and smart. However, they don’t do well in extreme weather. Although they’re very active, they’ll do well in an apartment as long as they get enough exercise through walking and playing. They’re still very active in the apartment, so play time sometimes is extensive. The Maltese was always a companion dog. That long, silky fur doesn’t take care of itself, so prepare to brush and brush and brush some more. Also, they must be groomed frequently.
The Maltese weighs less than 7 pounds and stands 8 to10 inches at the shoulder. They can live 15 or more years.
Poodle (all sizes)
There are three sizes of poodle: standard (the big guys), miniature and toy. No matter what size they are they share the same energetic personality although the standard is perhaps more stately. Poodles are some of the smartest dogs around, and they love to exercise. Originally, they were water dogs and still love to play in water. That show cut reflects their water heritage. The shaved areas were to help them speed through the water, and the furry areas were to protect vital organs.
The Standard poodle stands 15 inches at the shoulder and weighs 45 to 70 pounds. He can live 12 to 15 years. The Miniature is over 10 and less than 15 inches and weighs 11 to 17 pounds. Minis can live 12 to 15 years. The Toy must be shorter than 10 inches and weighs only 6 to 9 pounds. They too can live 12 to 15 years.
Groom fairly often. Even the puppy cut grows fast enough.
Portuguese Water Dog
Another water-proof dog like the Irish Water Spaniel, the Portuguese Water Dog is robust, very active, athletic and, of course, loves water. They’re very playful and need lots of exercise. If he gets the right amount of exercise, then apartment living will work. The dog needs to be brushed regularly and groomed occasionally.
The Portuguese Water Dog stands 17 to 23 inches at the shoulder and weighs 35 to 60 pounds. He can live 10 to 14 years.
Schnauzer (all sizes)
There are three sizes of schnauzers: Giant, Standard and Miniature. They’re all alert and spirited. Also, they’re compact and sturdy. Their shape is fairly square. All schnauzers can be very energetic, so lots and lots of exercise, such as a long jog or run, is required.
The Giants stand 23 to 27 inches and weigh 55 to 80 pounds. The Standard is 17 to 19 inches and weighs 30 to 45 pounds. The Miniature is 12 to 14 inches and weighs 10 to 15 pounds. They can live up to 15 years.
They all need to be brushed daily and groomed regularly. The Giants are not good for apartment living because they need too much activity. The Minis can be barkers, not yappers, but still…
In the next part we’ll take a look at the terriers and the mixed breeds. Yes, there are even some mixed breeds that won’t make you cough and wheeze and sneeze.
There’s hope for people who want dogs but are allergic to them. There are multiple breeds and cross breeds to choose from.
The Shih Tzu is and always was a companion dog. He’s a sweet-tempered little one, but has the heart of a lion. Shi Tzu means lion, so the name is probably not one that evolved although the breed certainly did. It comes from cross breeding (from many hundreds of years ago) a Lhasa Apso or a Tibetan mountain dog and a Pekingese. He doesn’t need that much strenuous exercise, but brush him daily and groom him frequently. He’s fine with apartment living as long as there are plenty of walks and playtime. Shih Tzus stand from 8 to 11 inches and weighs from 9 to 16 pounds. They live up to 15 years.
The following dogs that are not that common as household pets but are still hypoallergenic are:
- Bouvier des Flandres
- Spanish Water Dog
Terriers in general are feisty, independent, stubborn and smart. If you don’t let them know who’s boss (that’s you not them), they can outwit you or just dig their heels in.
Terriers prefer to be an only dog, but will tolerate other dogs if trained. They’re mostly small dogs, but Airedales are quite large.
Most of these dogs were bred for hunting and killing vermin, and they’re still on the prowl for any interlopers. Watch out for the holes they dig.
Some of them require a lot of brushing, some not as much. Grooming, however, is a must for all of them.
Spotlight on Some Terriers
This is the dog that’s described as one with the heart of a lion and the looks of a lamb. And he’s both. He’s very protective of his family and home and will bark up a storm when he feels threatened. At the same time, he’s loyal and loving.
Bedlingtons are high-energy and must play and walk every day, or they’ll get bored and destructive. They can also fly like the wind, so keep a good grip on the leash.
They weigh between 17 and 23 pounds, depending on the gender, stand between 15 and 17 inches at the shoulder and can live up to 15 years. Brushing and grooming play a big part in this dog’s life. They can live to 17 and beyond.
Kerry Blue Terrier
Kerry Blues are muscular and like to roughhouse. They’re good with children and engage in spirited play. These dogs need exercise, or the worst terrier behavior will show up in these beautiful blue dogs.
Kerry Blues stand 17 to19 inches, weigh 30 to 40 pounds and can live 12 to 15 years.
Brush weekly; bathe often because their beards will get gross. Groom every six weeks or so. They can live in apartments as long as they get walks, jogs, runs and playtime outdoors and indoors.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Wheatens, one of the oldest Irish breeds, are square-shaped, medium-sized pooches who are happy and playful. Originally, they were farm dogs, used for herding or vermin control.
They’re moderately active but still need some daily exercise. They’re good with children and can live in cities, the suburbs or the country.
They have a full coat that’s supposed to look a little mussed. Brushing is not what’s needed to keep the coat looking natural, but combing is. Even though they don’t shed much, combing will keep them tangle-free. Also, like the Kerry its beard will be unsightly if not bathed often.
Wheatens are 17 to 20 inches, weigh 30 to 45 pounds and can live 12 to 15 years.
The other hypoallergenic terriers are:
- American Hairless Terrier
- Airedale Terrier
- Border Terrier
- Cairn Terrier
- Tibetan Terrier
- West Highland White Terrier
- Wirehaired Fox Terrier
- Yorkshire Terrier
The Mixed Breeds
Essentially, to get a hypoallergenic mixed breed dog is to breed two different hypoallergenic dogs together. For instance, a poodle and a terrier make a lovely hypoallergenic Perrier, or a Bichon Frise and a Yorkshire Terrier or Shih Tzu are for sure hypoallergenic. Poodle and terrier mixes are good places to start when looking for a hypoallergenic mutt.
From Bichon Frise to Shih Tzu and everything in-between there are hypoallergenic dogs of all shapes and sizes for those with allergies. Even if you want a mutt, there are ways to find one who won’t make you sneeze, wheeze and tear up.